Algerian Nuthatch discovered breeding at a new site

By MaghrebOrnitho | 19 October 2018

A new breeding site of the Algerian Nuthatch was discovered in 2018 after almost three decades since the discovery of the last new breeding sites.

Until now, the Algerian Nuthatch (Sitta ledanti) was known only in four sites, namely the forests of Babor, Guerrouch, Tamentout and Djimla (see map below). All sites are close to each other but separated by unsuitable habitats, and are located in what’s known as ‘Petite Kabilie’ or Kabylie of the Babors, in north-east Algeria.

The species was first discovered at the first site, Djbel Babor, in 1975 (and named as a new species to science the next year). The species was first considered to be endemic to that mountain range. However, the discovery of a much larger population at Guerrouch forest in 1989 (14 years later!), and at the forests of Tamentout and Djimla in 1990 showed that the species is not restricted to Djbel Babor. No new site has been discovered during the past 28 years, and this despite searching for the species in other seemingly suitable sites. This is going to change this year.

New breeding site discovered at Ghabet Ezzen

The new breeding site was discovered by Riadh Moulaï and Mohamed El Arbi Mayache from the Laboratory of Applied Zoology of the University of Bejaia (Algeria) during spring 2018. The species was first detected at Ghabet Ezzen by its song and calls in April. A second visit in late May confirmed the presence of the species (by using playback). During that visit, six birds were observed or heard in an area of more than 30 ha.

Ghabet Ezzen is located between the communes of Chahna and Oudjana, wilaya of Jijel. It’s about 10 km north of Djimla forest, but the two sites are separated by unsuitable habitats.

Until now, only part of the Guerrouch forest that is protected as the Taza National Park. The University of Bejaia team, once again, stresses the need to formally protect the habitats of the Algerian Nuthatch on all known sites.

A paper will appear in the journal Alauda later this year:

Moulaï, R. & Mayache, M.-E. 2018. Un nouveau site de reproduction pour la Sittelle Kabyle Sitta ledanti. Alauda 86: 321-322.

More reading:

Status and breeding biology of the Algerian Nuthatch in the Guerrouch forest (Moulaï et al. 2017).

The Algerian Nuthatch twitch: easier than you think.

Distribution range of the Algerian Nuthatch, the newly discovered site, Ghabbet Ezzen, shown by the red arrow is located at the edge of the four known sites (Riadh Moulaï).
Distribution range of the Algerian Nuthatch: the newly discovered site, Ghabbet Ezzen, shown by the red arrow is located at the edge of the four known sites (Riadh Moulaï).

La découverte d’un nouveau site de reproduction de la Sittelle Kabyle

Découverte d’un nouveau site de reproduction de la Sittelle Kabyle en printemps 2018 par une équipe du Laboratoire de Zoologie Appliquée de l’Université de Béjaia (Algérie).

Le nouveau site, Ghabet Ezzen, est situé entre les communes de Chahna et d’Oudjana dans la wilaya de Jijel. Six oiseaux ont été observés ou entendus dans un secteur de plus de 30 ha durant une prospection réalisée en mai 2018.

Une publication à paraître à la fin de 2018 dans la revue Alauda. (Mise à jour: l’article est publié, voir le titre ci-dessus).

Lire aussi :

Moulaï R., Bouchareb A., Gheribi A. & Bougaham A. F. 2017. Statut de la population et biologie de la reproduction de la Sittelle Kabyle Sitta ledanti dans la forêt de Guerrouch (Algérie). Alauda 85: 101-107.

The Algerian Nuthatch twitch: easier than you think.

Algerian Nuthatch / Sittelle Kabyle (Sitta ledanti), an adult feeding a young at the nest, Ghabet Ezzen, Wilaya of Jijel, Algeria, May 2018 (Riadh Moulaï).
Algerian Nuthatch / Sittelle Kabyle (Sitta ledanti), an adult feeding a young at the nest, Ghabet Ezzen, Wilaya of Jijel, Algeria, May 2018 (Riadh Moulaï).
The Algerian Nuthatch research ream of the University of Bejaia (right: Riadh Moulaï, left: Mohamed El Arbi Mayache).
The Algerian Nuthatch research ream of the University of Bejaia (right: Riadh Moulaï, left: Mohamed El Arbi Mayache).

The following photo is taken at Djimla forest by the Algerian talent Djamel Hadj Aissa.

Algerian Nuthatch / Sittelle Kabyle (Sitta ledanti), Djimla forest, Wilaya of Jijel, Algeria, July 2017 (Djamel Hadj Aissa).
Algerian Nuthatch / Sittelle Kabyle (Sitta ledanti), Djimla forest, Wilaya of Jijel, Algeria, July 2017 (Djamel Hadj Aissa).

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