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Variations in bird communities of the Saharan mountains

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Characteristics and variations of the bird communities in the Saharan mountains were evaluated in five massifs from West to East: the Adrar of Mauritania, the Ahaggar in Algeria, the Adrar of the Iforas in north-eastern Mali, the Aïr Mountains in northern Niger, and the Red Sea Mountains in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Bird censuses (n = 110) were conducted during dry seasons. A total of 139 species were recorded, of which 120 remained after elimination of occasional visitors and were used for analysis. Total richness and diversity increased from the most central and high Ahaggar towards the western, eastern and especially southern massifs. Among the resident communities the number of Saharo-Sindian species was higher in the central, eastern and western massifs, whereas Afrotropical species were more abundant in the southern ones. A principal component analysis distinguished three opposite poles of species linked with Adrar of the Iforas, Aïr and Red Sea mountains and cluster analysis led to the ordination of the five massifs along a longitudinal gradient from West to East. Avifaunal variations between the different Saharan mountains sampled led to a regional pattern in relation with faunistic affinities and it fitted with the three biogeographical subregions of the Saharan biome: Sahara, Sahel and Nubian Desert.
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Keywords: Saharan mountains; bird communities; faunistic affinities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Association Régionale Ornithologique du Midi et des Pyrénées (AROMP), Muséum Histoire Naturelle, 35 Allées Jules Guesdes, F-31400, Toulouse, France 2: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Comportement et Ecologie de la Faune Sauvage, Chemin de Borde Rouge, BP52627, F-31326 Castanet Tolosan Cedex, France

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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