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We carried out a quantitative description of the use of a Mediterranean wetland (Tonga, North-east Algeria) by 22 waterbirds species (11 residents and 11 Palaearctic migrants) during late summer-wintering period, also analyzing their species-specific diurnal time budgets and the main related features of the landscape. The analyses of similarity in time budgets across birds (Hierarchal Cluster Analysis) showed four clusters of species associated with four major activities: day time mostly feeding (11 species), sleeping (6), swimming (3) and resting (2). Residents (Herons and Rails) showed a higher feeding time when compared to migrants (diving ducks, Gulls and Cormorants). From late summer to winter the time budget activity change in migrants; in contrast residents behave uniformly among daytime and at the course of the season. The use of this natural wetland in a complementary way by a high number of waterbirds (residents and migrants), is principally promoted by the existing of numerous habitat types. We found that 3 main ecological units, open water body, mudflats, and flooded meadows were the most utilized as foraging habitats among grebes, rails, ducks, gulls, and herons. In contrast, floating-leafed vegetation, and tall emergent vegetation were the commonest habitat categories used in resting activities especially by cormorants and herons. Data on behaviour requirements of these waterbirds can be used for conservation and correct management of this and other Mediterranean coastal wetlands.
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