Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Nesting ecology of Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta in Sfax salina, Tunisia

Mohamed Ali Chokri, Slaheddine Selmi


Even though Sfax salina in Tunisia hosts a significant part of the Mediterranean population of Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, data on the breeding ecology of this species in this area are lacking. Such data are nonetheless necessary, not only for the understanding of the ecology and dynamics of this species in general, but also for conservation purposes. In this paper we use the results of a one-year monitoring of nests in Sfax salina to provide information on its nesting parameters, in particular nesting phenology, colony size and hatching success. Our results show that Pied Avocets formed dense colonies at the beginning of the nesting season, but colony size decreased  as the nesting season advanced. Clutch size varied between 1 and 7 eggs, similar to other Mediterranean and European populations. Hatching success, estimated by the Mayfield method, was relatively low, mainly due to predation by stray dogs. Overall, our work shows that relatively high nest losses occur here. It also highlights the need for management efforts aiming to enhance the reproductive success in this artificial habitat. Creation of suitable and safe nesting sites is proposed.

OSTRICH 2011, 82(1): 11–16

AJOL African Journals Online