Contribution à l'étude de la niche écologique de la Cigogne blanche Ciconia ciconia L. , 1758 (Aves, Ciconiidae ) et du Héron garde- boeufs Bubulcus ibis L. , 1758 (Aves, Ardeidae ) dans la région de Batna
par Naoual BOUKHTACHE
Université El Hadj Lakhdar Batna Algérie - Magister en agronomie 2008
This study focuses on the ecological niche of the White stork Ciconia ciconia and Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis in the region of Batna. The monitoring is conducted in two different zones, El Madher and Merouana, during a period of 13 months, from November 2006 to November 2007.
During this period, we have clarified the biological cycles of both species. In the light of these stages phenological, we have studied the settings of their trophic niches.
The study of food availability is carried out in the zone of El Madher, in three types of foraging sites: a grassland, a wetland and a low culture. We have identified 234 species of invertebrates. Insects dominate with 83.9%. The abundance of invertebrates was relatively similar in the three areas studied. The greatest number of invertebrates was recorded during the spring and summer seasons.
The monitoring of biological models studied in their backgrounds food, has allowed us to raise 7 different foraging sites frequented by the White stork and 10 foraging sites frequented by the Cattle egret. The main food areas used by the two species are grassland, low culture, harvested areas and plowing. In addition, we have noted the attendance of dumps such waste of farmers and the deposits of garbage. In foraging sites, we have noted the association active of the Cattle egret to livestock and agricultural machinery.
The analysis of 96 pellets of C. ciconia and 110 pellets of B. ibis, shows that both waders are entomophagous predators, feeding mainly on insects with rates of 99.2% and 98.4%. Feeding of Cattle egret is more diversified (134 species) than that of the White stork (79 species). Nevertheless, we have recorded the dominance of Orthoptera, Coleoptera, and Dermaptera in the diet of the White stork, and the dominance of Orthoptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Dermaptera in that of Cattle egret.
The Cattle egret, species in global expansion, has recently installed in the Batna region, from the year 1995. Comparison of ecological niches of these two waders reveals interspecific competition risks, including during rearing of chicks. However, B. ibis shows skills and strategies such as diversifying its preys and feeding areas as well as active association to the cattle which are considered factors for the current time minimizing the risk of competition of the two species. Recommendations for conservation and management are made in the light of results obtained.
Keywords: Batna, Biological cycle, Bubulcus ibis, Cattle egret, Ciconia ciconia, Niche overlap, Trophic niche, White stork.
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