Foraging efforts and behaviour of the European Turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur) during the breeding season
Keywords:breeding season, feeding rates, Morocco, Turtle dove
During the breeding season, many avian species face spatial and seasonal variation in the availability of food resources required to rear chicks. Reduction of food abundance is often identified as the most important factor determining population trends and breeding success in bird species, such as the vulnerable European Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur. During the breeding periods, the increase of food requirements in chicks should increase foraging effort to maintain the amount of food required for optimal chick development. To investigate the feeding effort of Turtle doves during the breeding season, we monitored foraging and drinking rates, in different wild habitats and farmlands, from March to September 2016-2017 in Midelt, Morocco. Similarly, breeding chronology, including nesting, laying, and chicks' fledging, were monitored in the same habitats to evaluate the correlation between breeding efforts and foraging rates. We found that Turtle doves feed actively from the arrival to departure dates. Foraging activities were intense during breeding phases, mainly laying and chicks' growth periods. Equally, Doves feed intensively during the end of the breeding season before migration departures. Besides, Doves feed actively during the morning and evening to avoid the hottest periods as a strategy to save metabolic water.
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