Breeding ecology of the Purple Heron Ardea purpurea in Numidia, north-eastern Algeria
AbstractDuring 2002–2007, we assessed the status of the Purple Heron Ardea purpurea in Numidia, Algeria by surveying all the major wetlands in the region. We located six distinct breeding sites; four of these were not previously known. We also investigated nest site selection and determined the species’ reproductive success at Dakhla, a dunary pond during two successive years (2006 and 2007). The egg laying period was comparable to that reported for southern Europe (March–May) and a seasonal change of breeding success was recorded. A growth curve was derived for developing nestlings and the impact of an ectoparasite (mite) infestation upon nestling’s growth was considered. We also examined 73 food boluses regurgitated by nestlings and identified 329 prey items. Fish, mainly Gambusia holbrookii and Cyprinus carpio, dominated by mass, whereas insects, mainly aquatic Coleopteran larvae and aeshnids (Odonata), were the most frequent prey (67.1%). Loss of habitat is identified as a major threat to the future of colonial herons in Algeria.
OSTRICH 2010, 81(3): 189–196