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

The avifauna of two high atlas valleys: breeding assemblages in forest stands and open lands

Mohamed Mounir, Mohamed Dakki, Ikram Douini, El Mostafa Benka, Ouibimah Abdessamad, Ayoub Nouri, Ismail Mansouri, Soumaya Hammada

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In this study, we surveyed the diversity and distribution of breeding birds in dominating habitat of Central High Atlas valleys and principal governing factors. In the point-counts method with 170 sampling points from 2018 to 2019, richness parameters and multivariate analysis were used to assess the distribution of recorded birds. We recorded 92 breeding birds of migrants (34%) and residents (68%), belonging to 34 families and 13 orders. The families of Muscicapidae (13 species), Fringillidae (8 species), and Accipitridae (7 species) were the most abundant, while the Regulidae, Malaconotidae, Acrocephalidae, Cettiidae, Pycnonotidae, Cinclidae, Oriolidae, Laniidae, Phylloscopidae, Troglodytidae, Meropidae, Coraciidae, Cuculidae, Caprimulgidae, Upupidae, and Ciconiidae, were the less observed with one bird species each. One species of conservation concern, namely the globally vulnerable Turtle dove, was recorded. On the other hand, Statistical analysis showed that bird richness was similar among forest stands, while abundance differed significantly. In contrast, both richness and abundance were statistically different among open habitats. Further, 46 species were found in Juniper stand surrounded by agricultural fields, followed by 30 species in Holm Oak stands where the density of trees, shrubs, and canopy coverage were higher, while in black poplar stands characterised by higher trees and shrubs, and high availability of water hosted only 20 species. Rare and accidental birds dominate the forest and open lands, demonstrating the vulnerability of these habitats. This study could serve as a great reference for comparative studies of interesting birds on both slopes of the Mediterranean.


avian species, Atlas Mountains, breeders, diversity, habitat use


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