Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Breeding and foraging behaviour and habitat characteristics of the Scaly Ground-roller Geobiastessquamigerus in Madagascar

Jean Eric Rakotoarisoa, Berthin Be


The endemic Scaly
Ground-roller Geobiastes squamigerus was studied during two breeding
seasons from October 1997 to January 1999 in Masoala National Park, Madagascar. Several vocalisations were associated with territorial defence, contact, excitement, and
aggressiveness towards intruding conspecifics. Of the 269 prey items observed,
71.5% were invertebrates, 7.5% vertebrates, and 21.0% unidentified. Earthworms
and centipedes represented the most numerous prey-types taken, representing 55%
and 21% of the identified prey, respectively. Three nests were located in
valleys and near streams. Nests were placed in ground burrows with tunnels that
measured less than 10cm in diameter and less than 1m in depth. A single egg
clutch was laid in each nest, and incubation and the nestling periods lasted 18
days and 24 days, respectively. Nesting began in late October, and one young
from each nest successfully fledged in mid-December. Only the female incubated
and brooded the young. Both male and female provided food for the nestling, and
feeding rates did not differ between the sexes. Nesting habitat differed
significantly from random plots sampled. Herbaceous coverage density was higher
in nesting areas than random plots.

Ostrich 2004, 75(1&2): 25–31

AJOL African Journals Online