Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia


This is a squacco heron video from Bulgaria.
I was lucky to see these beautiful herons in Greece, the Gambia and Morocco.

Analysis of 594 pellets of three heron species (Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis and Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides) collected at colonies in northern Tunisia (Ichkeul National Park, Lebna Dam and Chikli Island). Cattle Egrets consumed preferably insects (most important group in number and biomass), vertebrates did not exceed 1 % and 2 % (in number) and 4 % and 9 % (in biomass) respectively at Ichkeul and Lebna. The diet consisted in Coleoptera, Orthoptera (Caelifera, Gryllidae, Gryllotalapidae) and Hymenoptera (ants). Squacco heron nestlings were fed with annelids, crustaceans and mainly insects (62 % in number and 77 % in biomass) which included larvas of Odonata, Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Dermaptera (Forficula), Coleoptera and Hymenoptera. The diet of Little Egret consisted mainly in insects (76 % at Ichkeul, 98 % at Chikli). However the percentages of fish did not exceed 10 % and 2 % at both sites respectively: here.

Fouarat’s swamp is one of the Gharb’s region wetlands. It represents a habitat for an important fauna and flora witch are clearly in perpetual seasonal changes. In order to enhance this area, and to show its importance in the local, regional and national biodiversity, we undertook to study its avian biodiversity, including that of the Ardéiformes order and its different species phenology, putting the accent on the nesting, wintering and migration pre – and post-nuptial of its taxa. Notification of presence and almost weekly censuses were done in 2013, which allowed us to make a list of all the Ardeiformes species in the marsh and to have an idea about the seasonal fluctuations of theirs numbers. During our visits, we met ten Ardéiformes species: Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Great White Egret (Casmerodius albus), Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) and Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia): here.

Environmental factors affecting the foraging behavior of herons in Ichkeul National Park, Tunisia: here.

North African Birds

Nefla, A., Tlili, W., Ouni, R., & Nouira, S. (2014). Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology126 (2): 393–401.  doi:10.1676/13-130.1

Abstract:

We studied the reproduction patterns of Squacco Herons, Ardeola ralloides, during 2009–2010. This study was carried out in two colonies located at Ichkeul National Park (37.184992 N, 9.633758 E) and Lebna Dam (36.744161 N, 10.916569 E), in northern Tunisia. We determined the reproductive performance of the species, and investigated the relationship between reproductive parameters and nest characteristics (height and diameter). We registered successful nesting, with mean clutch size of 4.51 ± 0.85 for both years combined. Hatching success was 3.67 ± 1.07 eggs hatched/nest and fledging success reached 3.06 ± 1.28 young/nest. All reproductive parameters varied between years. The diameter and the height of nest had no effect on the clutch size, the initial brood size, or the final…

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2 thoughts on “Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia

  1. Pingback: International Vulture Awareness Day, 6 September | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Tunisian vulture saved from illegal bird trade | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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