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Breeding ecology of the Andalusian Buttonquail <i>Turnix sylvaticus sylvaticus</i>


Understanding the breeding cycle of wildlife is essential to afford conservation strategies. This is especially important for barely studied species and urgent for those at serious risk of extinction. The Andalusian Buttonquail is an endangered endemic of the Western Mediterranean, confined to a cultivated strip in the Moroccan Atlantic coast. We performed 2 302 sampling events to determine the presence-absence and breeding of the species. The breeding season lasted for eight months, from February to October. Present in 17 different crops, breeding occurred in all but cucumber and artichoke. However, a strong preference for breeding crops was found for alfalfa, pumpkin and maize fields. Nests were 82 mm × 71.4 mm grass-lined structures built on a ground scrape. Eggs had 26.14 mm mean maximum length, 20.24 mean diameter and weighed 5.9 g. All complete clutches had four eggs and the hatching rate was 3.42. All but one of the monitored nests successfully reared at least one chick. Clutch size and hatching rate matched other Buttonquail populations and species, so causes of the decline must be found in other stages of the reproductive cycle. In this sense, additional studies are needed to reveal chick and juvenile survival.

Keywords: breeding cycle, clutch size, conservation, egg size, hatching rate, nest

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eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525