Nest characteristics and food supply affect reproductive output of white storks Ciconia ciconia in semi-arid areas

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The aim of this study was to test the influence of nest site characteristics and food supplementation from rubbish dumps on reproductive parameters of white storks breeding in semi-arid habitats. A total of 148 nests were monitored in two colonies of white storks (control colony vs. colony that benefited from high food supply in rubbish dumps) in eastern Algeria over a six-year period (2011–2016) to measure nest characteristics and reproductive parameters (clutch size, number of hatchings, number of fledglings, breeding success). Results showed that pairs breeding at proximity from rubbish dumps had larger clutch sizes (5.1 ± 0.6 vs. 4.6 ± 0.6), hatched more chicks (4.7 ± 0.7 vs. 4.3 ± 0.7) and raised more fledglings (3.0 ± 0.9 vs. 2.6 ± 1.0) than pairs breeding far from rubbish dumps. Results also showed that clutch size was positively related to nest surface area, and that pairs nesting on electricity poles had a lower breeding success than those nesting in trees (48.9 ± 20.4% vs. 64.6 ± 17.6%). Our findings suggest that breeding outputs are strongly related to selective behavior in nest placement and food availability surrounding the nesting site.

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Last updated on 04/20/2022