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The first recorded reproduction of the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus in Algeria: behavioural and ecological aspects

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Following several decades of unsuccessful attempts at locating breeding colonies of the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus in Algeria, breeding was recorded on a natural islet of Garaet Ezzemoul, a seasonal salt lake near the town of Aïn M'lila in the Hauts Plateaux. This successful mass breeding event by at least 5 379 breeding pairs followed two failed attempts due to human disturbance at the same site during preceding years. Egg-laying started relatively late (mid-May) with precocious pairs nesting in the middle of the islet and at a higher nest density. Estimated breeding success was notably high (∼5 000 chicks) with apparent good hatching rate and chick survival. Ring sightings indicated that the breeding population was made up in part of adults born in Spain, France and Sardinia, supporting evidence of a metapopulation of nomadic birds breeding and wintering across the Mediterranean Basin. Garaet Ezzemoul does not benefit from any conservation status and is not labelled as a Ramsar site in contrast to some of the neighbouring wetlands. In the light of the key role played by this site, at the regional scale, its status should be reassessed and in view of the threats facing it, urgent conservation measures should be initiated. Local authorities have reacted swiftly in response to the discovery of the breeding colony of the Greater Flamingo, and administrative steps are being taken to formally protect Garaet Ezzemoul.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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