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Diet of chicks of Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis in the lower Soummam valley, Algeria

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The diet of Cattle Egret chicks in the lower Soummam valley, Algeria, was investigated in 1998 and 2006, when 145 and 23 regurgitates were collected, respectively. In 1998, 1 698 individual prey items were identified. Insects formed the bulk of the diet of chicks: 94% in terms of frequency, 71% in terms of mass. Orthopterans were dominant, especially in terms of biomass (22% by frequency, 58% by mass), whilst Dipterans were well represented in numbers (59% by frequency). Vertebrates, despite their lesser frequency (3%), contributed 23% by mass of the diet. In 2006, 441 prey items were identified. The contribution of insects decreased to 79% by frequency and 15% by mass (mostly Orthopterans) but vertebrates made up a higher frequency: 20% of prey items and 85% by mass of the diet. The availability of prey items was not correlated to their occurrence in the diet, suggesting that the Cattle Egret is a selective predator, with adults selecting prey species for their chicks. A drought in the spring of 2006 increased the availability of fish and lizards to the Cattle Egrets.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire de Zoologie Appliquée et d'Ecophysiologie animale, Faculté des Sciences de la Nature et de la Vie,Université de Béjaïa, 06000,Béjaïa, Algeria 2: Département de Zoologie Agricole et Forestière,Institut National Agronomique, El Harrach, 16200,Alger, Algeria 3: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMS 305, CP 305, 57 rue CuvierF-75005,Paris, France

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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