Working for birds in Africa


Thu, 01/03/2013 - 12:00 -- abc_admin

Algerian Nuthatch adult male

Image Credit: 
Karim Haddad

Djebel Babor is probably the best place to find the endemic Algerian Nuthatch Sitta ledanti, the site where the species was first discovered and described in 1975. The population at this site was estimated in 1982 to be 80 pairs. The site is located in the Petite Kabylie mountain range, in wilaya of Setif, which runs roughly parallel to the Mediterranean coast, south and east of the coastal town of Bejaia and north-west of Constantine, and lying only 20 km. from the coast. The Djebel Babor forms a long crest within the mountain range, extending over 4 km. and reaching a peak of 2,003 m. Three other species of the Mediterranean North African biome have also been recorded at this site: Levaillant’s Woodpecker Picus vaillantii; Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans and Moussier’s Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri. A number of raptors have also been recorded including breeding Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus and probable Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus.

Subsequent to the discovery of Algerian Nuthatch Sitta ledanti at Djebel Babor, larger populations were found at Parc National de Taza in 1989. In 1990, it was also found to be widely distributed in two other nearby forests in the Petite Kabylie, namely Tamentout (9,500 ha up to an altitude of 1,626 m) and Djimla (1,000 ha up to 1,352 m). In 2018 the fifth biotope is dicovered The five known sites all lie within about 30 km of each other, but it is not yet known whether there is any interchange of birds between the sites.

The coastal lagoons around El Kala are considered the most important site for breeding waterbirds in eastern Algeria and one of the most important in the Mediterranean. Lac Tonga is one of the six IBAs in this complex and lies about 70 km to the east of the northern city of Annaba and about 5 km west of the Tunisian border. The site comprises a marshy basin and a shallow, seasonal freshwater to brackish lake bounded in the north by an extensive sand dune system. Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca and White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala breed at this site as have the following species: Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris, Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Grey Heron A. cinerea, Common Pochard Aythya ferina and Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio. The site is also important in winter with large number of Greylag Goose Anser anser, Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, Common Teal Anas crecca, Northern Pintail Anas acuta and Eurasian Coot Fulica atra having been recorded. Several raptor species have been reported from the site including European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus, Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus, Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus, Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina and Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo.

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