Wild ostrich (Struthio camelus australis) reproduction in Orbata, a nature reserve in Tunisia
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- Kennou Sebei, S., Bergaoui, R., Hamouda, M.B. et al. Trop Anim Health Prod (2009) 41: 1427. doi:10.1007/s11250-009-9331-x
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The aim of the current investigation was to determine wild ostrich reproductive behaviour in Orbata Nature Reserve by observing 16 hens and 28 cocks over a seven-year period. Intense laying commenced in January, one month after the cessation of the rainy season, and 92% of the eggs were produced during the dry season (January to May, peaking in March). Over the seven years, 1,322 eggs were laid in 69 nests, which corresponded to an annual average production of 19.2 ± 9.1 eggs/nest and 11.8 eggs/hen. 24 nests (34.78%) were non-brooded, 17 nests (24.64%) were deserted in the course of incubation, and 28 nests (40.58%) possessed hatched eggs. All the non-incubated nests had egg losses equivalent to 46.6 ± 12.6%. Hatchability success of incubated eggs was 41.9 ± 12.0%. Ostriches tended to dig their nests adjacent to the reserve enclosure which had direct access by road and track, the latter subjecting them to human disturbance and predation. The systematic obstruction of these nests stimulated ostriches to build additional nests within the reserve perimeter. The authors discussed the results recorded in an ostrich flock in relation to the environmental factors (climatic factors, food disponibility and predation) and suggested possibilities for improved wildlife management.