Karima Es Salai, Mohamed Dakki, Ismail Mansouri, Asmaâ Ouassou, Wafae Squalli, Nasser Eddine Zine

New data on breeding bio-ecology of the Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata Gmelin) in North Africa

Abstract This study attempts to document the breeding bio-ecology of the Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata) in two North-African mountainous wetlands. Data were collected weekly in the Zerrouka and Hachlaf lakes in Morocco during the breading seasons of 2018 and 2019. Field visits were carried out between February and August. The obtained results showed that important breeding populations colonized the two sites. Nesting sites were selected on the emerging vegetation at the Zerrouka site, while at Lake Hachlaf nests were located in open waters. During the two years, the breeding season was different in the two sites and from year to year: in 2018, it was from mid-March to the end of July in Zerrouka and between April and mid-August in Hachlaf. In 2019, the breeding activity took place between January and mid-July in Zerrouka and between the end of February and the end of August at Hachlaf. Nests and eggs were relatively larger in Zerrouka than in Hachlaf, while the breeding success was much lower in Zerrouka (around 33.3% in 2018 and 39.8% in 2019) than in Hachlaf (56.1% in 2018 and 54.7% in 2019). In summary, this study provides the first significant results on the breeding bio-ecology of the vulnerable North African populations of the Red-knobbed Coot and allows formulating some measures for its conservation. Furthermore, the obtained results will allow future comparative studies in the Western Mediterranean basin.

Doi https://doi.org/10.35513/21658005.2022.1.7

Keywords Fulica cristata; breeding parameters; selection of nesting sites; Middle Atlas; Morocco

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