Breeding ecology of the Purple Heron Ardea purpurea in Numidia, north-eastern Algeria

  • Riad Nedjah
  • Abdenour Boucheker
  • Farrah Samraoui
  • Rachid Menaï
  • Ahmed Alfarhan
  • Khaled AS Al-Rasheid
  • Boudjéma Samraoui

Abstract

During 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

Author Biographies

Riad Nedjah
Laboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, University of Guelma, Guelma 24000, Algeria
Abdenour Boucheker
Laboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, University of Guelma, Guelma 24000, Algeria
Farrah Samraoui
Laboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, University of Guelma, Guelma 24000, Algeria
Rachid Menaï
Laboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, University of Guelma, Guelma 24000, Algeria
Ahmed Alfarhan
Center of Excellence for Research in Biodiversity, King Saud University, PO Box 2455, Riyadh 1145, Saudi Arabia
Khaled AS Al-Rasheid
Center of Excellence for Research in Biodiversity, King Saud University, PO Box 2455, Riyadh 1145, Saudi Arabia
Boudjéma Samraoui
Laboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, University of Guelma, Guelma 24000, Algeria;  Center of Excellence for Research in Biodiversity, King Saud University, PO Box 2455, Riyadh 1145, Saudi Arabia
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Articles

Journal Identifiers


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