As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Algerian Nuthatch in decline


New research has found that Algerian Nuthatch has declined markedly in one of its strongholds over the past 25 years.

Algerian Nuthatch is, as its name suggests, endemic to Algeria. It is found only in the ancient, humid oak forests in the north of the country, occurring at just four known sites: Djebel Babor, Guerrouch Forest in Taza National Park, Tamentout Forest and Djimla Forest. The four sites are relatively close to each other and are all located in the Babor Mountains.

The study, led by Riadh Moulaï, concentrated on assessing population size at Guerrouch Forest during the breeding season, by counting the number of territorial singing males and conducting a systematic search for nest sites. The results were then compared to population data collected in the early 1990s.

The results showed a significant and worrying decline in the Algerian Nuthatch population at Guerrouch. The researchers found a very low population density of between one and two pairs of nuthatches per 10 hectares in the forest, a significant decline on the 2-3.1 pairs per 10 hectares noted in 1991 and the 3.25 pairs per 10 hectares in 1992. Moulaï and his team counted just 18 individuals in a 300-hectare section of surveyed forest, a stark contrast to the 91 individuals counted in an 800-hectare area of the same forest in 1991.

Moulaï, R, Bouchareb, A, Gheribi, A & Bougham, A F. 2017. Statut de la population et biologie de la reproduction de la Sittelle Kabyle (Sitta ledanti) dans la forêt de Guerrouch (Algérie). Alauda 85 (2), 2017: 101-107.

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