Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Research Article Open Access

The turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) in Midelt plain, Morocco: nesting preferences and breeding success versus the impact of predation and agricultural practices

Ismail Mansouri, Driss Ousaaid, Wafae Squalli, Hakima Sqalli, Lahcen El Ghadraoui, Mohamed Dakki

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Breeding success plays a crucial role in the dynamics of bird populations and yet is the least-studied avian life-stage. Habitat quality during breeding phase may have important implications for survival and conservation, particularly for declining populations in landscapes that have undergone wide-scale human modification. The European Turtle dove is a widespread but fast declining species both in breeding and wintering zones. Reduced food availability is thought to influence breeding success of this game species, but it is not known how agriculture practices could influence breeding Doves, in its high altitude breeding zones. Here, we monitored Turtle dove nests in apple orchards from early Marsh to the end of October 2015. Nest-tree support, breeding success, and predation were determined and analysed depending on agricultural practices. Compared to prune, cherry and other plantation, apple orchards had the highest overall Turtle doves’ nests (85%). However, 60% of recorded nests were located on Golden delicious, where are noted the highest nesting success rates (respectively 77.6% and 57.9% for eggs and chicks). However, Turtle dove showed high rate of nesting failure in the Midelt region, more especially in apple orchards, and this is mainly due to predation attacks, which caused a loss of 77.8% of broods, both among eggs and chicks. In addition, several farming practices in apple orchards influenced significantly nesting success of this species. In fact, this game bird does not breed in the orchards covered by hail-nets. Similarly, tree pruning disturb doves nesting on apples.


apple orchards, breeding success, farming activities, European turtle doves


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