Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Breeding of marine birds on Farwa Island, western Libya

KS Etayeb, MFA Essghaier


The Libyan coast is characterised by many wetlands that are used as stopover routes for many migratory marine birds. They provide food, shelter and nesting grounds for many avifauna during their migration from their home to wintering grounds. Farwa Island, which is located at the furthermost western part of Libya, is considered to be one of the most important coastal wetlands in Libya. It has unique diverse habitats of extensive tidal areas and mudflats and an accumulation of Posidonia oceanica on the northern part of the island and at Ras-Attalgha, beside the plant cover of the island itself. These conditions provide good nesting grounds for some species such as Sterna albifrons and Sterna hirundo. This study was conducted during January–December 1999, June 2001 and May 2004 on migratory and resident marine birds that inhabit the western part of Farwa Island and Ras-Attalgha. It recorded the breeding of Sterna caspia for the first time in Libya and some behavioural indicators as evidence of breeding of Charadrius alexandrinus and Tringa totanus in this area as well. Human activities — especially fishing, traffic from fishing boats and tourism — are considered to be major disturbance factors that may have a negative impact on successful breeding of birds that utilise the diverse habitats of this area.

Ostrich 2007, 78(2): 419–421

AJOL African Journals Online