Dietary analysis across breeding seasons of Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae on the western coast of Algeria
The study of the contents of 318 Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae pellets, collected from three islands off the western coast of Algeria, allowed us to identify 134 prey items. These are divided into 55 families, 21 orders and five classes. These represent 92 insect species, 39 birds, one mammal, one gastropod and one fish. In terms of abundance, insects constituted the main part of the diet (80.7%), followed by birds (18.5%), mammals (0.7%), and fish and gastropods (0.1% each). Among the insects, the Hymenoptera were the most numerous (45.2%), with ants being the most frequent family. In the class of birds, passeriforms were most frequently found (12.3%). The dominant family in the bird class was the Apodidae with a frequency of 5%. In terms of biomass, birds dominated with 98.1% of the total biomass, followed by insects with 1.2%. The diet of these Eleonora Falcons of Algeria was thus diverse, but varied with breeding status. The study of the dietary variation of the Eleonora Falcon during the breeding period shows that insects were most frequently encountered during the three breeding stages, whereas birds were highly consumed during the fledging stage, with frequencies of 43.9%.
Keywords: Diet, Eleonora’s Falcon, breeding phases, Algeria, Régime alimentaire, Faucon d’Eléonore, phases de reproduction, Algérie