Skip to main content

The Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis): an expanding species in the Middle Atlas wetlands, Morocco


The present study investigates the population trends of Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (Podicipedidae: Podicidae) over 5 years (2009–2013) in three Middle Atlas wetlands (Aguelmam Afennourir, Dayet Aoua and Dayet Ifrah). Using generalized linear models with a Poisson distribution, we demonstrated that the number of Black-necked Grebe breeding pairs has varied significantly and positively over the 5 years and between the three study wetlands. The annual population growth rate of the three colonies was 0.48 (±0.01). This positive trend is consistent with the current Least Concern conservation status of the IUCN Red List. Further more detailed studies are, however, needed to improve our understanding on the mechanisms driving the population increase in this part of North Africa. This remains a prerequisite for proper population conservation and management.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Birdlife international (2012) Podiceps nigricollis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2012.2.

  2. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical infor- mation-theoretic approach. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  3. Cherkaoui I, Dakki M, Lahrouz S, Hanane S (2013) Dix années de suivi des anatidés nicheurs sur le lac de Sidi Boughaba (Nord-Ouest Marocain): situation, tendances d’évolution et perspectives de recherche. Rev Écol (Terre Vie) 68:167–180

    Google Scholar 

  4. Couturier T, Cheylan M, Bertolero A, Astruc G, Besnard A (2013) Estimating abundance and population trends when detection is low and highly variable: a comparison of three methods for the Hermann’s tortoise. J Wildl Manag 77(3):454–462

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Dean CB (1992) Testing for overdispersion in Poisson and binomial regression models. J Am Stat Assoc 87:451–457

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. del Hoyo J, Elliot A, Sargatal J (1992) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona

    Google Scholar 

  7. Friend M (2006) Evolving changes in diseases of waterbirds. In: Boere G, Galbraith C, Stroud D (eds) Waterbirds around the world. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, pp 412–417

    Google Scholar 

  8. Isenmann P, Moali A (2000) Les oiseaux d ‘Algérie [Birds of Algeria. Societe d’étude ornithologiques de, France

    Google Scholar 

  9. Isenmann P, Gaultier T, El Hili A, Azafzaf H, Dlensi H, Smart M (2005) Oiseaux de Tunisie (Birds of Tunisia). Seof editions, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  10. IUCN (2012) The IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2012.2.

  11. Loh J, Green RE, Ricketts T, Lamoreux J, Jenkins M, Kapos V, Randers J (2005) The Living Planet Index: using species population time series to track trends in biodiversity. Philosophical Trans Royal Soc B 360:289–295

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Martí R, Del Moral JC (2003) Atlas de las aves reproductoras de España. Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza-SEO/BirdLife, Madrid

    Google Scholar 

  13. Martin B, Smith J (2007) A survey of breeding Black-necked Grebes in the UK: 1973–2004. Brit Birds 100:368–378

    Google Scholar 

  14. Mccullagh P, Nelder JA (1989) Generalized Linear Models. Chap man & Hall, London

    Book  Google Scholar 

  15. O’Donnel C, Fjeldså J (eds) (1997) Grebes: status survey and conservation action plan, vol VII. IUCN, Gland, p 59

    Google Scholar 

  16. Ogilvie M, Rose C (2003) Grebes of the World. Bruce Coleman, Uxbridge

    Google Scholar 

  17. Palomino D, Molina B (Eds.) (2009) Aves acuáticas reproductoras en España. Población en 2007 y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid

  18. Smith P, Heitjan F (1993) Testing and adjusting for departures from nominal dispersion in generalized linear models. Appl Stat 42(1):31–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. R core development team (2009) R: A Language and Environment for Statistic al Computing. R foundati on for statistical computing, Vienna,

  20. Thévenot M, Vernon JDR, Bergier P (2003) The Birds of Morocco. British Ornithologists’ Union Checklist Series: 20. 594 pp

  21. Woollhead J (1987) A method for estimating the number of breeding pairs of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus on lakes. Bird Study 34:82–86

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank the two anonymous reviewers and the Editor of Wetlands Ecology and Management journal, for commenting on an earlier version of the manuscript. This study complies with the current Moroccan laws as it is based on simple field observations without any experiment or prejudice to the animals studied.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Saâd Hanane.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cherkaoui, I., Bouajaja, A., Elbanak, A. et al. The Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis): an expanding species in the Middle Atlas wetlands, Morocco. Wetlands Ecol Manage 22, 93–98 (2014).

Download citation


  • Podiceps nigricollis
  • Black-necked Grebe
  • Western Middle Atlas
  • GLM
  • Positive trend
  • Least concern