Songbirds and pollution in Tunisia

This video is called Birds from Tunisia. White-crowned Wheatear and House Bunting.

From North African Birds blog:

Passerine abundance and diversity in a polluted oasis habitat in south-eastern Tunisia

Posted on 27/05/2014

Alaya-Ltifi, L., & Selmi, S. (2014). Passerine abundance and diversity in a polluted oasis habitat in south-eastern Tunisia. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 60: 535–541. doi:10.1007/s10344-014-0817-0


Gabès region, in south-eastern Tunisia, is nowadays considered as one of the most remarkable pollution hotspots in the Mediterranean due to the emissions of the Gabès-Ghannouche factory complex of phosphate treatment. However, because of the lack of detailed studies, the impact of such pollution on the terrestrial wildlife inhabiting this area still remains unknown.

In this work, we checked whether the proximity to Gabès-Ghannouche factory complex was associated with a decreased abundance of passerines breeding in the neighbouring oasis habitat. Overall, passerine abundance was found to decrease in the proximity of the factory complex, but this decrease was more pronounced in insectivorous species than in granivorous ones. The latter species seemed to be more dependent on vegetation structure. Moreover, we found that in the sites close to the factory complex, the studied passerine community was dominated by the Sparrow Passer domesticus × hispaniolensis, which seemed to be the less sensitive species to pollution.

However, in the more distant sites, passerine abundance was more equitably distributed among species due to the increase in the densities of pollution-sensitive ones. Our findings give support to those reported in polluted European forest habitats and stress once again the usefulness of passerines as reliable biomonitors of polluted terrestrial environments.

Distribution and abundance of Greater Flamingos wintering in the central part of the gulf of Gabès, Tunisia: here.

Wintering Waterbirds in the central area of the Gulf of Gabes in south-eastern Tunisia.

Abstract: The Gulf of Gabes, in southeastern Tunisia, is reputed to be one of the main wintering areas for water birds in the Mediterranean. To have a better knowledge of this avifauna, we conducted a census in 50 stations from the Bay of Kneiss Islands in the North to the entrance of the lagoon of Boughrara in the South, during the winter of 2012 – 2013. Overall, we counted 45, 431 birds belonging to 50 species, 16 families and 10 orders. The Anseriformes and Charadriiformes groups are rich in different species. Among the 50 species   listed, 11 are sedentary, 4 are irregularly wintering and 35 are regularly   wintering. The Dunlin (Calidris alpina), the Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), the Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), the Redshank (Tringa totanus), the Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei), the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), the Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) and the Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) are the most abundant species: here.

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7 thoughts on “Songbirds and pollution in Tunisia

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