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Title: Loess and Bee-Eaters II : The 'loess' of North Africa and the nesting behaviour of the Northern Carmine Bee-Eater (Merops nubicus Gmelin 1788)
Authors: McLaren, Sue
Svircev, Zorica
O'Hara-Dhand, Ken
Heneberg, Petr
Smalley, Ian
First Published: 20-Feb-2014
Publisher: Elsevier for International Union for Quaternary Research
Citation: Quaternary International , 2014, 334, pp. 112-118
Abstract: The Northern Carmine Bee-Eater (Merops nubicus) lives and breeds in a well demarcated region stretching across Africa close to the 15°N line of latitude. The Bee-Eater zone appears to be associated with a band of loess, defined by Scheidig on his 1934 map as second-order loess. Bee-eaters are known to favour loess for nesting tunnels and it appears that the 15°N material is sufficiently loess-like. Obvious sources for particulate materials for the 15°N band are the Fonta-Djalon highlands which supply sedimentary material to the River Niger; the Bodele Depression, the deepest part of Lake Megachad, source of dust for the World; the Ethiopian highlands at the eastern end of 15°N which supply silt to the Nile system and particulates to the 15°N region. In soil moisture terms the region is ustic, which is possibly a necessary condition for bee-eater nests. The clastic material requires an ustic environment. The River Niger can be seen as a loess river; in some senses a mirror-image of a major loess river like the Danube; but where a restricted range of particle inputs leads to a restricted range of loess deposit outputs. Nevertheless loess river considerations can be applied. The Niger delivers second-order loess and an important loessic admixture to the landscape. Enough loess for selective nesters like the Carmine Bee-Eaters to build their nest tunnels in it. It seems likely that climate change will cause a change in bee-eater distribution; it seems unlikely that they will abandon their nesting regions, the living and wintering zones may shift.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.01.040
ISSN: 1040-6182
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2014, Elsevier. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geography

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