Moroccan Birds

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Request for help: ringed Osprey near Azemmour

This is a request for help from birdwatchers in or near Azemmour (received this morning from Joanna Dailey of the 'Kielder Osprey Project').

An English juvenile Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) fitted with a satellite tracker has been overwintering near Azemmour since her arrival there on 23 September 2014. Data is downloaded via the cell phone network and none has been received since 22 January. The osprey has a Blue ring '7H' on her right leg and the aerial is visible on her back. There are more maps of her range on the Kielder Osprey blog. If anyone in the area sees her please could they reply to this message? Thank you.

Demande de l'aide: Balbuzard pêcheur prés d’Azemmour

Un Balbuzard pêcheur juvénile (Pandion haliaetus) équipé d’un transmetteur satellitaire en Angleterre a été en hivernage près d’Azemmour depuis son arrivée le 23 septembre 2014. Les données sont téléchargées via le réseau de la téléphonie mobile et aucune n'a été reçue depuis le 22 janvier. Le Balbuzard a un bague Bleu '7H' sur sa tarse droite et l'antenne est visible sur son dos. Plus de cartes sur leur mouvement prés d’Azemmour son disponible dans le blog de Kielder Osprey Project. Si quelqu'un dans la zone la voit, s'il vous plaît pourriez-vous répondre à ce message ? Merci.

Winter range of the Kielder osprey '7H' at the mouth of Oued Oum er-Rbia
 and surrounding areas near Azemmour (
Kielder Osprey Project).

Kielder osprey '7H' in England, note the Blue Ring (Kielder Osprey Project).

10 Brent Goose (Branta bernicla) at Dakhla Bay today

Today, 10 Brent Goose (Branta bernicla) in the north end of the Dakhla Bay. This must be one of the biggest numbers to be recorded in this area.

Tim Jones (at mid-day)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Observations of Bearded Vultures in Algeria give new hope for the species

Some really good news today also!

Repeated observations of Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatusin the Theniet El Had National Park, Algeria in springs 2012 and 2014 give new hope for the species not only in Algeria but also in the wider region of North-west Africa. The news is released by the staff of the Theniet El Had National Park and the Algeria’s National Agency for the Conservation of Nature in the bulletin of the National Park named Atlantica. 

In the “Recent observations” section of the report, the authors wrote: “Additional new observations in the springs of 2012 and 2014 of adults gliding over the hills of the Theniet El Had National Park, have re-given life-breath to the team of the Park to deepen its knowledge of this very rare raptor particularly its use of territory and its selected biological corridors. A monitoring work is under development”.

Better still, the first sentence of this paragraph is understood to mean that there are other previous sightings not mentioned in the text (in other words, the frequent observations are a good indication that the species is breeding there or somewhere near rather than a vagrant from far away). 

The population of Bearded Vulture in Morocco is also very small and endangered. With this good news from Algeria, at least we can’t say that the North African population is only present in Morocco. Yes, it is sill endangered, but is present in more than one sub-population which is better than just one.

The pages of the report are available in the blog of North African Birds at this link:

Djardini, L. Ouar, D. & Fellous, A. 2014. Le Gypaète barbu dans le ciel du Parc National de Theniet El HadAtlantica 1: 3-4.

"De nouvelles observations supplémentaires aux printemps 2012 et 2014 d’adultes planant sur les hauteurs du Parc National de Theniet El Had, ont redonné du souffle à l’équipe du Parc afin d’approfondir ses connaissances sur ce très rare rapace particulièrement sur son utilisation du territoire, et sur ses corridors biologiques choisis. Un travail d’investigation et de suivi et en cours d’élaboration”

A sub-adult Bearded Vulture near Oukaimeden, Hight Atlas, 7 December 2009 (photo: Brian Stone). This photo is for illustration only, it was included in the blog-post about the "Status of Gypaetus barbatus in Morocco" written some time ago. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Record breeding season for Northern Bald Ibis in 2014

Tamri cliffs: Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) and  European (Phalacrocorax aristotelis riggenbachi) share the same spot
Tamri cliffs: Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo maroccanus) and  European Shag (P. aristotelis riggenbachi) share the same spot. (Rachid El Khamlichi, January 2015).

The Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) in the Souss-Massa National Park and Tamri cliffs has experienced another good breeding season in 2014. Every breeding parameter (breeding pairs, fledged chicks, chick survival, and productivity) has slightly increased in comparison with the breeding season of 2013 and with the previous seasons. During 2014, a record number of 115 breeding pairs were recorded, which have produced 192 chicks (productivity = 1,6 chick/pair). The size of the population in the Souss-Massa region is estimated at 512 ibises at the end of the breeding season of 2014.

It should be noted that despite an annual productivity of ever 100 chicks, the size of the population at the Souss-Massa NP and Tamri has not experienced a significant increase because of the post-nuptial dispersion affecting a part of the population. This is confirmed by the observations of flocks of Bald Ibis outside of the territory of the Souss-Massa NP and Tamri, in particular at Imessouane and Sidi Kaouki, north of Tamri. It therefore becomes necessary to monitor the dispersal movements, through ringing and satellite telemetry, to localise the different sites used by these birds.

The full report is available at the website of GREPOM/BirdLife Morocco: Rapport sur la reproduction de l’Ibis chauve dans la région de Souss-Massa pour la saison 2014 (PDF).

Breeding parameters of the Bald Ibis in the Souss-Massa National Park and Tamri cliffs in 2014
Breeding parameters of the Bald Ibis in different sites in the Souss-Massa National Park (A, F and E) and in Tamri cliffs in 2014.
Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) at Tamri cliff
Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) at Tamri cliff, January 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First record of Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) for Morocco

A Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata - Bécassine de Wilson) was found and photographed at Dar Bouazza near Casablanca on 27 December 2014 by Benoît Maire. This is the first Moroccan record for the species. The observation was first reported in Go-South.  

The relatively recent split of the Wilson’s Snipe from the Eurasian Common Snipe (G. gallinago) means that the Nearctic species is still new to most countries/regions of the Western Palearctic. For instance, Britain got it's first in 1998, France in 2005, and the Canary Islands in 2013 (for more details about the ID of the latter record see this article in Rare Birds in Spain)More records are listed in Netfugl and Tarsiger.

Also the difficulties in distinguishing the two species should probably also cited as a possible cause of scarcity of records (only guessing!). For the ID see this article (PDF):

Reid, M. 2008. Identification of Wilson's and Common Snipe. British Birds 101: 189-200.

Birding in Morocco accelerating (4 new species in 2014):

The Wilson's Snipe record is the forth new species to be added to the Moroccan list in 2014 after the White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus), the Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) and the American Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus).

Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicate), Dar Bouazza, 27 December 2014
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata), Dar Bouazza, 27 December 2014 (photo: Benoît Maire)
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata), Dar Bouazza, 27 December 2014
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata), Dar Bouazza, 27 December 2014 (photo: Benoît Maire)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rare birds in Morocco: 20th report of the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee

The 20th report of the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee is published. It includes several interesting rarities including four species new to Morocco:
  • Upland Sandpiper - Bartramie des champs (Bartramia longicauda) seen near Dakhla in October 2013.
  • Senegal Parrot - Youyou du Sénégal (Poicephalus senegalus): seen at Mahammadia since 2011, without a doubt escaped from captivity.

You can download the full report (PDF) here:

Bergier P., Franchimont J. & CHM. (2015). Les oiseaux rares au Maroc. Rapport de la Commission d’Homologation Marocaine, Numéro 20 (2014). Go-South Bulletin 12: 1–23.

Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus), Oued Jenna, Aousserd, 4 March 2014 (photo: Jorrit Vlot). This mega-rarity at the scale of the Western Palearctic is becoming more regular at Aousserd (seen in 2009, 2013 and several times in 2014). 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Allen's Gallinule relocated again on 31 Dec 2014

The Allen's Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni) found at Oued Massa by Ali Iziri on 28 December 2014 was relocated again at the same place by Daniel Vrauwdeunt on 31 December 2014.

The Allen's Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni), Oued Massa, 31 December 2014 (Daniel Vrauwdeunt)
Allen's Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni), Oued Massa, 31 December 2014 (Daniel Vrauwdeunt on Facebook).