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Comparison of Nesting Features and Breeding Success of Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur between Orchards and Riparian Habitats

Comparison of Nesting Features and Breeding Success of Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur between... Hindawi International Journal of Zoology Volume 2021, Article ID 5566398, 7 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5566398 Research Article Comparison of Nesting Features and Breeding Success of Turtle Dove Streptopelia turturbetweenOrchardsandRiparianHabitats 1 1 1 1 Ismail Mansouri , Wafae Squalli , Abdelbari El Agy , Abderahim El-Hassani, 1 2 Lahcen El Ghadraoui, and Mohamed Dakki Laboratory of Functional Ecology and Genie of Environment, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, USMBA, Fez, Morocco Geo-biodiversity and Natural Patrimony Laboratory, Scientific Institute, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, Rabat 10106, Morocco Correspondence should be addressed to Ismail Mansouri; mankhori@gmail.com Received 29 January 2021; Revised 21 March 2021; Accepted 29 March 2021; Published 8 April 2021 Academic Editor: Marco Cucco Copyright © 2021 Ismail Mansouri et al. %is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. %e European turtle dove Streptopelia turtur breeds in both farmlands and woodlands, and it is important to explore the difference in breeding ecology of this threatened game in these two ecosystem types. %is study, carried out during four years (2015–2018), compares nesting features of this species and its breeding success between apple orchards and riparian vegetation in Midelt Province, Morocco. %e main result revealed that the nest placement, including nesting-tree height and nest height, is similar between orchards and riparian trees. However, the nest dimensions (big and small diameters) were larger in orchards. Cor- relations were variable among nest placement parameters and dimensions. On the contrary, in four breeding seasons, where 566 nests were monitored (467 in orchards and 99 in riparian sites), the average breeding success was different (57% of chicks in apple farms and 53% in riparian vegetation). Moreover, in apple orchards, clutches’ failure is due to both predation (18.89% of eggs and 10.54% of chicks) and temperature lowering (5.03% of unhatched eggs and 5.49% of dead chicks), while in riparian vegetation, the loss is due to nest desertion (21.33% of clutches) and mostly predation (33.16% of clutches). national territory [14] and farmlands representing 1.5% [11] 1.Introduction of the total land area. In agricultural lands, they are more %e European turtle dove Streptopelia turtur is among birds frequent in farm landscapes with irrigated perimeters that have dramatically declined in Europe (−78% in Britain [10, 15–19], including olive, orange, and apple orchards between 1980 and 2013, as well as −70% in Spain between being particularly favoured [15, 18–20]. Similarly, in Algeria, 1980 and 2017) [1]. Consequently, it has been classified as the turtle dove is distributed over a wide area of the northern “Near %reatened” within the European countries and part of the country and over the palm oases and groves in the “Vulnerable” throughout Africa and Europe, following re- south [21–23]. On the contrary, in Tunisia, where this cent evaluation [2]. Potential factors responsible for the species is less studied, rare information exists on its breeding species’ decline include breeding habitat degradation [3], and foraging ranges [24]. reduction of food availability due to agricultural intensifi- Most studies of the turtle dove on both European and cation [4, 5], hunting, and variation in ecological conditions North African populations have focused on farmland throughout the migration flyway [5–7]. habitats, involving breeding biology [3, 19–22], habitat use In Northwestern Africa, the turtle dove is a common [3, 4, 7, 25–28], foraging [4, 18, 29–31], and migration breeder and summer migrant [8–10]. It has an important [32–34]. In natural forests, studies were mainly limited to breeding population in Morocco [11], largely dispersed in habitat use [27, 35–39] and feeding resources [31, 37]. forest ecosystems [12, 13] that represent 12.7% of the Moreover, no breeding comparison has been carried out 2 International Journal of Zoology between wild and farmland habitats in both Europe and tree was referenced using a mobile GPS and then reported Africa, and this justifies the crucial need to analyse the in open-source GIS (Quantum GIS v1.7.3). Finally, dis- tances between dove’s nests and the nearest human farms situation of turtle doves in both woodlands and agricultural habitats. (mainly cereals), the nearest water source, and the nearest %is study, carried out in the high Moulouya valley at road were measured with QGIS in order to explain any altitudes of 1300–1600 m (Midelt region, Morocco), aims to potential difference in studied parameters. compare nesting features (nest placement and dimensions) and breeding success of the turtle dove in farmlands (apple 2.3. Statistical Tools. Statistical analyses were performed in orchards) and wild habitats (riparian vegetation) and to Statgraphics Centurion software, version XVI. I. Before identify the most impacting factors of the turtle doves’ re- running the statistical analysis, we checked for normality production in these two types of habitats. and homogeneity of variance for all variables with the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test. To assess differences in nest 2.Materials and Methods placement and dimension between orchards and riparian sites, we used the independent t-test, considering the two 2.1.StudyArea. %is study was carried out in the upper valley sites as unrelated ecosystems. Similarly, breeding success, of Moulouya, in Midelt region, located between the Middle including nesting, laying, and fledging survival, was analysed Atlas in the northeast and High Atlas Mountains in the north with the t-test. In addition, correlations among nest (Figure 1). %is area is characterized by a cold arid climate placement and nest dimension parameters were tested with (the annual average temperature and precipitation being Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Results were given as about 29 C and 89 mm successively) with a mountainous sample size and mean± SD. tendency, and the rainfall regime is marked by high seasonal In order to investigate the relevance of distance to variations, with low rainfall and stormy precipitation [40, 41]. neighboring human farms (cereals), to neighboring water Two zones were selected for this study: (1) Ansegmir plants, to neighboring nests (of other turtle doves), and to ° ° Valley (32 38′20.29″N, 4 59′26.89″W), in Ait Ayach area, at neighboring roads as predictors of fledging probability the foot of the El Ayachi Mountain, and (2) Tabelkhirt Valley (response variables: 0 (no fledglings produced by eggs’ ° ° (32 42′29.28″N, 5 7′10.10″W) in Imzil area. Twenty apple predation or nest abandonment) and 1 (at least one fledgling orchards were selected as farmlands (Ait Ayach and Mou- produced)), a model with a binomial error structure and log louya), and eighteen line transects were selected at Ansegmir it link function was applied. and Tabelkhirt rivers. Moreover, apple orchards and riparian habitats were selected jointly to avoid any potential differ- 3. Results ence in climate conditions or geographic location that could influence our nesting parameters, and this will allow a better 3.1.Nest PlacementandDimensions. During the whole study comparison between the two sites. period (2015 to 2018), a total of 566 turtle dove nests were found, among which 467 were only in apple orchards and 99 in diverse riparian supports. In fact, 55 nests were found on 2.2. Data Collection. We systematically searched for nests wild rose (Rosa canina), 37 nests on hawthorn (Crataegus from early March to late August between 2015 and 2018, azarolus), three on Tamarix sp., one on Salix sp., one on using parental behavioural cues and Common Bird Census poplar, and one on blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) (Figure 2). (CBC) methodology [42]. In our case, this methodology %e t-tests conducted on nest placement characteristics of was adopted inside apple orchards, where nests or breeding turtle dove Streptopelia turtur showed that the nest height pairs were actively searched along the whole tree lines of (NH) and the nesting-tree height (NTH) were similar between the apple orchards [19]. In the riparian vegetation, we used orchards and riparian breeding habitats (Table 1). On the line transects [18], and nests were searched side by side of contrary, the nest dimensions (NBD and NSD) were signifi- the river banks. %ese prospections were carried out during cantly larger in orchards compared to those in riparian hab- the nest construction period, generally between 06:00 h and itats, while the nest depth was the same in the two habitats. 18:00 h. To determine the laid eggs, hatched nestlings, and Correlation was variable among nest placement pa- survived chicks, each nest was visited weekly until it failed rameters (nest height and nesting-tree height) and nest or chicks fledged. Moreover, breeding success, including dimensions (nest big diameter, nest small diameter, and nest hatched egg’s rate (100 × hatched eggs/all laid eggs) and depth) in studied habitats (Table 2). At riparian sites, the flying chick’s rate (100 × chicks leaving their nests/fledged NSD and the NBD were significantly correlated, as well as chicks), was calculated in percentage [10]. In parallel, along the NSD and ND parameters, while at orchard habitats, only with each breeding season, failure factors were recorded, NSD and NH were significantly correlated, as well as NH based on carcasses and other signs, such as the status of the and NTH. On the contrary, the other parameters were nest and feathers inside or outside the nest. Moreover, after uncorrelated at both studied habitats. chicks leave, each nest was characterized, in terms of placement, including nesting tree, nest height (NH), and nesting-tree height (NTH), as well as in terms of dimen- 3.2. Breeding Success. We recorded a total of 566 turtle dove sions (big diameter-NBD and small diameter-NSD) and nests during the entire three years between 2015 and 2018. nest depth (ND). Furthermore, the location of each nesting Among the monitored nests (Table 3), only 73.87% were International Journal of Zoology 3 5°15′0″W 5°10′0″W 5°5′0″W 5°0′0″W 4°55′0″W 4°50′0″W 4°45′0″W 4°40′0″W 33°0′0″N 32°55′0″N 32°50′0″N 32°45′0″N 5°0′0″W 4°0′0″W 3°0′0″W 2°0′0″W 1°0′0″W 35°0′0″N 32°40′0″N 34°0′0″N 32°35′0″N 33°0′0″N 32°30′0″N 32°0′0″N Riparian sites Flood plain Hassan II Dam Apple orchards Midelt province 32°25′0″N Figure 1: Breeding habitats of the turtle dove in orchards and riparian habitats in Midelt province (Morocco). 500 between these habitats. In orchard habitats, predation, nest abandonment, and nonhatching presented the most threats menacing turtle dove breeding success, while in riparian sites, predation, nest desertion, and nest destruction dom- inated all failed clutches. In riparian habitats, broods located at longer distance from human farms, mainly cereals, are less likely to produce fledglings. %e fledging probability significantly increased as distance to water plants or roads was longer. No relationship was found between fledging probability and distance sep- arating broods to neighboring nests (Table 4), while in orchards, all analysed factors were not influencing breeding Nesting trees success because nests were recorded inside human farms, Figure 2: Nesting trees used by turtle doves in both farmlands and and water sources were a few meters or less inside apple riparian sites. farms (irrigation systems of farms). Table 1: Comparisons of nest placement parameters and nest 4. Discussion dimensions of turtle doves between apple orchards and riparian habitats, tested using t-tests. In the Mediterranean region, the turtle dove uses mostly farmlands (olive, orange, apple trees, etc.) as breeding sites Habitat Test [10, 11, 19]; but, this bird has also more or less preference for Orchards Rivers t P different native trees as the nesting support. %e riparian NTH 4.52± 0.94 4.56± 1.17 0.114 0.910 vegetation was only recently revealed as favourable breeding NH 2.44± 0.51 2.17± 1.07 −1.016 0.316 habitat for the turtle dove in Italy [43]. Our findings confirm NBD 16.23± 1.72 14.10± 1.84 −3.774 0.001 the results of this study and provide comparison between NSD 12.58± 2.05 11.43± 1.25 −2.134 0.039 farmlands and woodlands as breeding habitats for this bird. ND 4.79± 1.24 4.20± 1.152 1.535 0.133 %e abundance of nesting trees (apples in orchards and wild rose, Salix, and Tamarix in river banks) and water succeeded at orchards, compared to 53.35% at riparian sources (irrigated orchards and stream water) and the habitats. During the incubation phase, fledging success was availability of large cereal fields [11] explain the high inci- higher in orchards, compared with river vegetation. How- dence of nesting turtle doves in these both habitats [18, 41]. ever, during the rearing period, the success rates were the Nevertheless, the fact that the nesting incidence of doves is same in the two sites. Failure factors were also variable higher in orchards than in riparian sites does not indicate a Nests Apple Wild rose Hawthom Tamarix Salix sp. Poplar Blackberry 4 International Journal of Zoology Table 2: Pearson’s correlation coefficients among nest placement characteristics and dimensions of the turtle dove in orchard and riparian habitats. Riparian habitat Orchard habitat NBD ND NH NSD NTH NBD ND NH NSD NTH NBD — 0.021 −0.08 0.73 0.34 NBD — 0.01 0.25 0.35 0.21 P — 0.92 0.70 0.001 0.13 — 0.96 0.27 0.11 0.35 ND 0.02 — 0.03 0.513 0.02 ND 0.01 — 0.44 0.36 0.09 P 0.92 — 0.86 0.025 0.91 0.96 — 0.05 0.10 0.68 NH −0.08 0.03 — −0.07 0.37 NH 0.25 0.44 — 0.52 0.57 P 0.70 0.86 — 0.74 0.10 0.27 0.05 — 0.022 0.011 NSD 0.73 0.51 −0.07 — 0.24 NSD 0.35 0.36 0.52 — 0.24 P 0.001 0.025 0.74 — 0.27 0.11 0.10 0.022 — 0.28 NTH 0.34 0.02 0.37 0.24 — NTH 0.21 0.09 0.57 0.24 — P 0.13 0.91 0.10 0.27 — 0.35 0.68 0.011 0.28 — NBD: nest big diameter; NSD: nest small diameter; ND: nest depth; NH: nest height; NTH: nesting-tree height; P: P value. Table 3: Turtle dove’s breeding success at orchards (n � 20 apple orchards) and riparian vegetation (n � 18 riparian sites) tested with a simple t-test. Orchards Riparian Test Phase Parameter Number % % t P Total 467 100 99 100.00 Succeeded 345 73.87 53 53.35 Nests Predated 98 20.98 27 27.27 1.1748 E + 16 0.001 Deserted 24 5.14 18 18.18 Destructed 0 0 1 1.01 Total 635 100 184 100.00 Succeeded 455 71.16 125 67.93 Predated 120 18.89 36 19.56 Eggs 8.5267 E + 14 0.001 Deserted 28 4.41 22 14.13 Destructed 0 0 1 0.54 Unhatched 32 5.03 0 0.00 Total 455 100 125 100.00 Succeeded 362 79.56 99 79.20 Chicks Predated 48 10.54 17 13.60 1.2796 E + 14 0.001 Died 25 5.49 0 0.00 Deserted 20 4.39 9 7.20 Table 4: %e effect of distance separating the broods to neighboring human farms, water, nests, or roads on the probability to produce fledgings. Estimate Standard error Wald test P Intercept −1.073 0.530 4.101 0.043 Distance to human cereals −0.118 0.038 9.523 0.002 Distance to water sources 0.063 0.028 4.991 0.025 Distance to nests of other doves −0.001 0.002 0.525 0.469 Distance to roads 0.116 0.036 10.153 0.001 Scale 1.000 0.000 particular attraction, but reflects, particularly, their abun- nesting trees mainly to elevate their nest placement [35]. dance (apples) in the study area in comparison with less- On the contrary, nests are particularly large in orchards, abundant riparian vegetation [18, 19, 41]. similar to the results reported in olives in Northwest %e use of high nest placement and taller nesting trees Algeria [45], with, however, more nest variations by the species, in both orchards and riparian vegetation, depending on habitat types. More generally, a high vari- ensures a better protection of its nestling from ground ability in nest morphology was noted [46] depending on threats (terrestrial predators and human disturbance), available nesting materials, which are suggested in our mainly in farmlands [19]. Indeed, the nest height is re- study to be the main factor controlling the difference ported to promote greater breeding success of turtle doves observed in nest morphology. in different North African habitats, including Morocco and Our monitoring showed, in the four breeding seasons, Algeria [19, 44, 45]. %erefore, turtle doves select taller different breeding success rates in farmlands and riparian International Journal of Zoology 5 habitats (Table 2). In summary, 73.87% of nests, 71.16% of Data Availability eggs, and 79.56% of chicks survived in orchards, while only %e data used to support the findings of this study are in- 53.35% of nests, 67.93% of eggs, and 79.20% of chicks cluded within the article. succeeded in riparian sites. In total, 57% of chicks (flown chicks/laid eggs) survived in apple orchards compared to Conflicts of Interest 53.80% in riparian sites. Even the low difference recorded between the two sites is probably due to human disturbances %e authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. and food availability. Indeed, the riparian sites are highly frequented by humans and motorized engines, in relation Acknowledgments with the intensification of irrigated agriculture on the river banks. In apple orchards, the breeding period of the turtle %e authors are grateful to Ait Ayach farmers for their help dove (April to August) does not coincide with a high human on the field work and data collection. presence (which is in August and September), making the breeding success of the species even greater than in orange References groves [10, 19]. %e major factor of breeding failure was predation in [1] J. C. Dunn, J. E. Stockdale, R. J. Moorhouse-Gann et al., “%e both types of sites, mainly by reptiles. However, in the decline of the Turtle Dove: dietary associations with body condition and competition with other columbids analysed relatively cold region of Midelt, low spring temperatures using high-throughput sequencing,” Molecular Ecology, seem to be another significant factor, as it was responsible vol. 27, no. 16, pp. 3386–3407, 2018. for 5.03% unhatched eggs and 5.45% dead chicks in or- [2] Birdlife International, Streptopelia turtur. 1e IUCN Red List chards. 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Fadil, “Nesting habitat and breeding success of Fulica atra in tree wetlands in Fez’s region, central Morocco,” Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 282–287, 2020. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Zoology Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Comparison of Nesting Features and Breeding Success of Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur between Orchards and Riparian Habitats

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Abstract

Hindawi International Journal of Zoology Volume 2021, Article ID 5566398, 7 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5566398 Research Article Comparison of Nesting Features and Breeding Success of Turtle Dove Streptopelia turturbetweenOrchardsandRiparianHabitats 1 1 1 1 Ismail Mansouri , Wafae Squalli , Abdelbari El Agy , Abderahim El-Hassani, 1 2 Lahcen El Ghadraoui, and Mohamed Dakki Laboratory of Functional Ecology and Genie of Environment, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, USMBA, Fez, Morocco Geo-biodiversity and Natural Patrimony Laboratory, Scientific Institute, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, Rabat 10106, Morocco Correspondence should be addressed to Ismail Mansouri; mankhori@gmail.com Received 29 January 2021; Revised 21 March 2021; Accepted 29 March 2021; Published 8 April 2021 Academic Editor: Marco Cucco Copyright © 2021 Ismail Mansouri et al. %is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. %e European turtle dove Streptopelia turtur breeds in both farmlands and woodlands, and it is important to explore the difference in breeding ecology of this threatened game in these two ecosystem types. %is study, carried out during four years (2015–2018), compares nesting features of this species and its breeding success between apple orchards and riparian vegetation in Midelt Province, Morocco. %e main result revealed that the nest placement, including nesting-tree height and nest height, is similar between orchards and riparian trees. However, the nest dimensions (big and small diameters) were larger in orchards. Cor- relations were variable among nest placement parameters and dimensions. On the contrary, in four breeding seasons, where 566 nests were monitored (467 in orchards and 99 in riparian sites), the average breeding success was different (57% of chicks in apple farms and 53% in riparian vegetation). Moreover, in apple orchards, clutches’ failure is due to both predation (18.89% of eggs and 10.54% of chicks) and temperature lowering (5.03% of unhatched eggs and 5.49% of dead chicks), while in riparian vegetation, the loss is due to nest desertion (21.33% of clutches) and mostly predation (33.16% of clutches). national territory [14] and farmlands representing 1.5% [11] 1.Introduction of the total land area. In agricultural lands, they are more %e European turtle dove Streptopelia turtur is among birds frequent in farm landscapes with irrigated perimeters that have dramatically declined in Europe (−78% in Britain [10, 15–19], including olive, orange, and apple orchards between 1980 and 2013, as well as −70% in Spain between being particularly favoured [15, 18–20]. Similarly, in Algeria, 1980 and 2017) [1]. Consequently, it has been classified as the turtle dove is distributed over a wide area of the northern “Near %reatened” within the European countries and part of the country and over the palm oases and groves in the “Vulnerable” throughout Africa and Europe, following re- south [21–23]. On the contrary, in Tunisia, where this cent evaluation [2]. Potential factors responsible for the species is less studied, rare information exists on its breeding species’ decline include breeding habitat degradation [3], and foraging ranges [24]. reduction of food availability due to agricultural intensifi- Most studies of the turtle dove on both European and cation [4, 5], hunting, and variation in ecological conditions North African populations have focused on farmland throughout the migration flyway [5–7]. habitats, involving breeding biology [3, 19–22], habitat use In Northwestern Africa, the turtle dove is a common [3, 4, 7, 25–28], foraging [4, 18, 29–31], and migration breeder and summer migrant [8–10]. It has an important [32–34]. In natural forests, studies were mainly limited to breeding population in Morocco [11], largely dispersed in habitat use [27, 35–39] and feeding resources [31, 37]. forest ecosystems [12, 13] that represent 12.7% of the Moreover, no breeding comparison has been carried out 2 International Journal of Zoology between wild and farmland habitats in both Europe and tree was referenced using a mobile GPS and then reported Africa, and this justifies the crucial need to analyse the in open-source GIS (Quantum GIS v1.7.3). Finally, dis- tances between dove’s nests and the nearest human farms situation of turtle doves in both woodlands and agricultural habitats. (mainly cereals), the nearest water source, and the nearest %is study, carried out in the high Moulouya valley at road were measured with QGIS in order to explain any altitudes of 1300–1600 m (Midelt region, Morocco), aims to potential difference in studied parameters. compare nesting features (nest placement and dimensions) and breeding success of the turtle dove in farmlands (apple 2.3. Statistical Tools. Statistical analyses were performed in orchards) and wild habitats (riparian vegetation) and to Statgraphics Centurion software, version XVI. I. Before identify the most impacting factors of the turtle doves’ re- running the statistical analysis, we checked for normality production in these two types of habitats. and homogeneity of variance for all variables with the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test. To assess differences in nest 2.Materials and Methods placement and dimension between orchards and riparian sites, we used the independent t-test, considering the two 2.1.StudyArea. %is study was carried out in the upper valley sites as unrelated ecosystems. Similarly, breeding success, of Moulouya, in Midelt region, located between the Middle including nesting, laying, and fledging survival, was analysed Atlas in the northeast and High Atlas Mountains in the north with the t-test. In addition, correlations among nest (Figure 1). %is area is characterized by a cold arid climate placement and nest dimension parameters were tested with (the annual average temperature and precipitation being Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Results were given as about 29 C and 89 mm successively) with a mountainous sample size and mean± SD. tendency, and the rainfall regime is marked by high seasonal In order to investigate the relevance of distance to variations, with low rainfall and stormy precipitation [40, 41]. neighboring human farms (cereals), to neighboring water Two zones were selected for this study: (1) Ansegmir plants, to neighboring nests (of other turtle doves), and to ° ° Valley (32 38′20.29″N, 4 59′26.89″W), in Ait Ayach area, at neighboring roads as predictors of fledging probability the foot of the El Ayachi Mountain, and (2) Tabelkhirt Valley (response variables: 0 (no fledglings produced by eggs’ ° ° (32 42′29.28″N, 5 7′10.10″W) in Imzil area. Twenty apple predation or nest abandonment) and 1 (at least one fledgling orchards were selected as farmlands (Ait Ayach and Mou- produced)), a model with a binomial error structure and log louya), and eighteen line transects were selected at Ansegmir it link function was applied. and Tabelkhirt rivers. Moreover, apple orchards and riparian habitats were selected jointly to avoid any potential differ- 3. Results ence in climate conditions or geographic location that could influence our nesting parameters, and this will allow a better 3.1.Nest PlacementandDimensions. During the whole study comparison between the two sites. period (2015 to 2018), a total of 566 turtle dove nests were found, among which 467 were only in apple orchards and 99 in diverse riparian supports. In fact, 55 nests were found on 2.2. Data Collection. We systematically searched for nests wild rose (Rosa canina), 37 nests on hawthorn (Crataegus from early March to late August between 2015 and 2018, azarolus), three on Tamarix sp., one on Salix sp., one on using parental behavioural cues and Common Bird Census poplar, and one on blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) (Figure 2). (CBC) methodology [42]. In our case, this methodology %e t-tests conducted on nest placement characteristics of was adopted inside apple orchards, where nests or breeding turtle dove Streptopelia turtur showed that the nest height pairs were actively searched along the whole tree lines of (NH) and the nesting-tree height (NTH) were similar between the apple orchards [19]. In the riparian vegetation, we used orchards and riparian breeding habitats (Table 1). On the line transects [18], and nests were searched side by side of contrary, the nest dimensions (NBD and NSD) were signifi- the river banks. %ese prospections were carried out during cantly larger in orchards compared to those in riparian hab- the nest construction period, generally between 06:00 h and itats, while the nest depth was the same in the two habitats. 18:00 h. To determine the laid eggs, hatched nestlings, and Correlation was variable among nest placement pa- survived chicks, each nest was visited weekly until it failed rameters (nest height and nesting-tree height) and nest or chicks fledged. Moreover, breeding success, including dimensions (nest big diameter, nest small diameter, and nest hatched egg’s rate (100 × hatched eggs/all laid eggs) and depth) in studied habitats (Table 2). At riparian sites, the flying chick’s rate (100 × chicks leaving their nests/fledged NSD and the NBD were significantly correlated, as well as chicks), was calculated in percentage [10]. In parallel, along the NSD and ND parameters, while at orchard habitats, only with each breeding season, failure factors were recorded, NSD and NH were significantly correlated, as well as NH based on carcasses and other signs, such as the status of the and NTH. On the contrary, the other parameters were nest and feathers inside or outside the nest. Moreover, after uncorrelated at both studied habitats. chicks leave, each nest was characterized, in terms of placement, including nesting tree, nest height (NH), and nesting-tree height (NTH), as well as in terms of dimen- 3.2. Breeding Success. We recorded a total of 566 turtle dove sions (big diameter-NBD and small diameter-NSD) and nests during the entire three years between 2015 and 2018. nest depth (ND). Furthermore, the location of each nesting Among the monitored nests (Table 3), only 73.87% were International Journal of Zoology 3 5°15′0″W 5°10′0″W 5°5′0″W 5°0′0″W 4°55′0″W 4°50′0″W 4°45′0″W 4°40′0″W 33°0′0″N 32°55′0″N 32°50′0″N 32°45′0″N 5°0′0″W 4°0′0″W 3°0′0″W 2°0′0″W 1°0′0″W 35°0′0″N 32°40′0″N 34°0′0″N 32°35′0″N 33°0′0″N 32°30′0″N 32°0′0″N Riparian sites Flood plain Hassan II Dam Apple orchards Midelt province 32°25′0″N Figure 1: Breeding habitats of the turtle dove in orchards and riparian habitats in Midelt province (Morocco). 500 between these habitats. In orchard habitats, predation, nest abandonment, and nonhatching presented the most threats menacing turtle dove breeding success, while in riparian sites, predation, nest desertion, and nest destruction dom- inated all failed clutches. In riparian habitats, broods located at longer distance from human farms, mainly cereals, are less likely to produce fledglings. %e fledging probability significantly increased as distance to water plants or roads was longer. No relationship was found between fledging probability and distance sep- arating broods to neighboring nests (Table 4), while in orchards, all analysed factors were not influencing breeding Nesting trees success because nests were recorded inside human farms, Figure 2: Nesting trees used by turtle doves in both farmlands and and water sources were a few meters or less inside apple riparian sites. farms (irrigation systems of farms). Table 1: Comparisons of nest placement parameters and nest 4. Discussion dimensions of turtle doves between apple orchards and riparian habitats, tested using t-tests. In the Mediterranean region, the turtle dove uses mostly farmlands (olive, orange, apple trees, etc.) as breeding sites Habitat Test [10, 11, 19]; but, this bird has also more or less preference for Orchards Rivers t P different native trees as the nesting support. %e riparian NTH 4.52± 0.94 4.56± 1.17 0.114 0.910 vegetation was only recently revealed as favourable breeding NH 2.44± 0.51 2.17± 1.07 −1.016 0.316 habitat for the turtle dove in Italy [43]. Our findings confirm NBD 16.23± 1.72 14.10± 1.84 −3.774 0.001 the results of this study and provide comparison between NSD 12.58± 2.05 11.43± 1.25 −2.134 0.039 farmlands and woodlands as breeding habitats for this bird. ND 4.79± 1.24 4.20± 1.152 1.535 0.133 %e abundance of nesting trees (apples in orchards and wild rose, Salix, and Tamarix in river banks) and water succeeded at orchards, compared to 53.35% at riparian sources (irrigated orchards and stream water) and the habitats. During the incubation phase, fledging success was availability of large cereal fields [11] explain the high inci- higher in orchards, compared with river vegetation. How- dence of nesting turtle doves in these both habitats [18, 41]. ever, during the rearing period, the success rates were the Nevertheless, the fact that the nesting incidence of doves is same in the two sites. Failure factors were also variable higher in orchards than in riparian sites does not indicate a Nests Apple Wild rose Hawthom Tamarix Salix sp. Poplar Blackberry 4 International Journal of Zoology Table 2: Pearson’s correlation coefficients among nest placement characteristics and dimensions of the turtle dove in orchard and riparian habitats. Riparian habitat Orchard habitat NBD ND NH NSD NTH NBD ND NH NSD NTH NBD — 0.021 −0.08 0.73 0.34 NBD — 0.01 0.25 0.35 0.21 P — 0.92 0.70 0.001 0.13 — 0.96 0.27 0.11 0.35 ND 0.02 — 0.03 0.513 0.02 ND 0.01 — 0.44 0.36 0.09 P 0.92 — 0.86 0.025 0.91 0.96 — 0.05 0.10 0.68 NH −0.08 0.03 — −0.07 0.37 NH 0.25 0.44 — 0.52 0.57 P 0.70 0.86 — 0.74 0.10 0.27 0.05 — 0.022 0.011 NSD 0.73 0.51 −0.07 — 0.24 NSD 0.35 0.36 0.52 — 0.24 P 0.001 0.025 0.74 — 0.27 0.11 0.10 0.022 — 0.28 NTH 0.34 0.02 0.37 0.24 — NTH 0.21 0.09 0.57 0.24 — P 0.13 0.91 0.10 0.27 — 0.35 0.68 0.011 0.28 — NBD: nest big diameter; NSD: nest small diameter; ND: nest depth; NH: nest height; NTH: nesting-tree height; P: P value. Table 3: Turtle dove’s breeding success at orchards (n � 20 apple orchards) and riparian vegetation (n � 18 riparian sites) tested with a simple t-test. Orchards Riparian Test Phase Parameter Number % % t P Total 467 100 99 100.00 Succeeded 345 73.87 53 53.35 Nests Predated 98 20.98 27 27.27 1.1748 E + 16 0.001 Deserted 24 5.14 18 18.18 Destructed 0 0 1 1.01 Total 635 100 184 100.00 Succeeded 455 71.16 125 67.93 Predated 120 18.89 36 19.56 Eggs 8.5267 E + 14 0.001 Deserted 28 4.41 22 14.13 Destructed 0 0 1 0.54 Unhatched 32 5.03 0 0.00 Total 455 100 125 100.00 Succeeded 362 79.56 99 79.20 Chicks Predated 48 10.54 17 13.60 1.2796 E + 14 0.001 Died 25 5.49 0 0.00 Deserted 20 4.39 9 7.20 Table 4: %e effect of distance separating the broods to neighboring human farms, water, nests, or roads on the probability to produce fledgings. Estimate Standard error Wald test P Intercept −1.073 0.530 4.101 0.043 Distance to human cereals −0.118 0.038 9.523 0.002 Distance to water sources 0.063 0.028 4.991 0.025 Distance to nests of other doves −0.001 0.002 0.525 0.469 Distance to roads 0.116 0.036 10.153 0.001 Scale 1.000 0.000 particular attraction, but reflects, particularly, their abun- nesting trees mainly to elevate their nest placement [35]. dance (apples) in the study area in comparison with less- On the contrary, nests are particularly large in orchards, abundant riparian vegetation [18, 19, 41]. similar to the results reported in olives in Northwest %e use of high nest placement and taller nesting trees Algeria [45], with, however, more nest variations by the species, in both orchards and riparian vegetation, depending on habitat types. More generally, a high vari- ensures a better protection of its nestling from ground ability in nest morphology was noted [46] depending on threats (terrestrial predators and human disturbance), available nesting materials, which are suggested in our mainly in farmlands [19]. Indeed, the nest height is re- study to be the main factor controlling the difference ported to promote greater breeding success of turtle doves observed in nest morphology. in different North African habitats, including Morocco and Our monitoring showed, in the four breeding seasons, Algeria [19, 44, 45]. %erefore, turtle doves select taller different breeding success rates in farmlands and riparian International Journal of Zoology 5 habitats (Table 2). In summary, 73.87% of nests, 71.16% of Data Availability eggs, and 79.56% of chicks survived in orchards, while only %e data used to support the findings of this study are in- 53.35% of nests, 67.93% of eggs, and 79.20% of chicks cluded within the article. succeeded in riparian sites. In total, 57% of chicks (flown chicks/laid eggs) survived in apple orchards compared to Conflicts of Interest 53.80% in riparian sites. Even the low difference recorded between the two sites is probably due to human disturbances %e authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. and food availability. Indeed, the riparian sites are highly frequented by humans and motorized engines, in relation Acknowledgments with the intensification of irrigated agriculture on the river banks. In apple orchards, the breeding period of the turtle %e authors are grateful to Ait Ayach farmers for their help dove (April to August) does not coincide with a high human on the field work and data collection. presence (which is in August and September), making the breeding success of the species even greater than in orange References groves [10, 19]. %e major factor of breeding failure was predation in [1] J. C. Dunn, J. E. Stockdale, R. J. Moorhouse-Gann et al., “%e both types of sites, mainly by reptiles. However, in the decline of the Turtle Dove: dietary associations with body condition and competition with other columbids analysed relatively cold region of Midelt, low spring temperatures using high-throughput sequencing,” Molecular Ecology, seem to be another significant factor, as it was responsible vol. 27, no. 16, pp. 3386–3407, 2018. for 5.03% unhatched eggs and 5.45% dead chicks in or- [2] Birdlife International, Streptopelia turtur. 1e IUCN Red List chards. 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Journal

International Journal of ZoologyHindawi Publishing Corporation

Published: Apr 8, 2021

References