Birding in Djebel Babor Nature Reserve

The ancient conifer and mixed forests of the Djebel Babor Nature Reserve located in the Djebel Babor Mountains of northern Algeria are home to a number of wildlife species, some of which are considered to be endangered, such as the Atlas deer and Barbary macaque. Birding enthusiasts will find a wide variety of bird species in the reserve, which is considered to be one of the country’s top bird watching areas. Among the bird species visitors may see is the Kabylie nuthatch (Sitta ledanti), also known as the Algerian nuthatch, which has the IUCN (International Union of the Conservation of Nature) conservation status of ‘endangered’. Other bird species include the great spotted woodpecker, nightjar, wood pigeon, rock dove, pied flycatcher, spotted flycatcher, jay and hawfinch.

Nightjar species found in Algeria include the red-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis), Eurasian nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), and Egyptian nightjar (Caprimulgus aegyptius). As their name may suggest, nightjars are nocturnal birds. They are medium-sized, have short legs, short bills and long wings. They mostly nest on the ground, and because of their mottled brown coloring they are masters of camouflage among the fallen leaves of a forest.

With its crimson abdomen and undertail coverts, and a crimson marking on the back of the male’s head, the great-spotted woodpecker has glossy black upper parts, white on the neck and sides of the face, and black zigzag lines from the shoulder halfway across its breast and back to the nape of the neck where it blends with a black stripe running from the bill below the eyes. It has white patches on its shoulders, and black and white barred flight feathers. Woodpeckers are best known for the fact that they peck at wood, or other substances, making a drumming, vibrating sound as they search for grubs and insects, or make their nesting cavities. While insects are its preferred food, which it removes from crevices by means of the tip of its sticky tongue, the woodpecker will eat fruits, seeds, and the chicks and eggs of other bird species, as well as small rodents.

The Djebel Babor Nature Reserve has restricted access to protect it from deforestation, hunting and grazing, but is open by permit to those who are interested in enjoying its natural beauty and the wildlife it is home to.