Moroccan Birds

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

White Stork and Cattle Egrets breed successfully in one nest

An amazing nesting association between a White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) and Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) was observed at Auberge Amros, near Azrou in the Middle Atlas by Jacques Franchimont.

On 7 June 2015, Jacques photographed several nests of Cattle Egrets (maybe 6) that were built on lateral branches of a White Stork nest (see photos). Jacques described this perfect situation: ‘this entire little world lives in perfect harmony and all juveniles of both species grow normally”. Here is Jacques’s full description:
Une étonnante association reproductive : plusieurs nids de Garde-bœufs (peut-être bien 6) ont été construits sur les branches latérales dépassant d'un nid de Cigogne blanche ! Tout ce petit monde vit en parfaite harmonie et tous les jeunes des deux espèces grandissent normalement ! Auberge Amros (environs d'Azrou) - 07-06-15.

White Stork nests are known to host nests of small birds such as Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Common and Spotless Starlings and Tree and House Sparrows. But White Stork nest hosting Cattle Egrets and both species breed successfully has probably not been previously recorded. (No books with me to check this; and Internet connection is so slow where I am now, so any comments on this are welcome).

Adult White Stork with its 2 juveniles with several juveniles of Cattle Egrets, near Azrou, Middle Atlas (Jacques Franchimont)
Adult White Stork with several juveniles of Cattle Egrets, near Azrou, Middle Atlas (Jacques Franchimont)

Merci à  Jacques Franchimont du GOMAC!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

4 Rüppell's Vultures at Fnideq near Jbel Moussa

4 Rüppell's Vultures (Gyps rueppelli) observed less than 2 hours ago west of Fnidek (near Jbel Moussa) on the Strait of Gibraltar. I received a phone call from Rachid El Khamlichi who told me that he had only binoculars but his camera was not with him. Luckily he had a small compact camera which was well used to take this picture. Rachid told me that there is a chance they may cross the Strait today.

The Rüppell's Vultures (1 was flying and 3 were perched on the ground with Griffon Vultures), were seen near a presumed carcass (not found despite searching because the landscape was difficult and also the vegetation was dense). 

Now, it's Rüppell's Vultures for this spring (click to see the others). 


The group did not cross the Strait but stayed at Jbel Moussa because this same Rüppell's Vultures with Griffon Vultures were seen at Jbel Moussa where they spent the night on 11 May.

One of the Rüppell's Vultures photographed by a 'compact camera', 10 June 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi).

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

House Bunting at Jbel Moussa, is Spain next?

The House Bunting (Emberiza sahari) colonised Tangier many years ago and now is abundant in many parts of this big city. It colonised Tétouan since at least 2010. Now it moved to the countryside. Yesterday, Rachid El Khamlichi took a quick photo of one individual at Jbel Moussa on the Strait of Gibraltar and he said that the breeding is very likely. Affaire à suivre!

In Spain, there are only 2 accepted records (Dies et al. 2011), but they labelled them (at least the last one) as of uncertain origin (Origen dudoso). Jbel Moussa is right in front of Tarifa! A matter worth watching for those birding north of the Strait.

Reference (PDF):

Dies, J.I., Lorenzo, J.A., Gutiérrez, R., Garcia, E., Gorospe, G., Martí-Aledo, J., Gutiérrez, P., Vidal, C., Sales, S. & López Velasco, D. 2011. Observaciones de Aves Raras en España, 2009. Ardeola 58: 441–480.

House Bunting (Emberiza sahari), Jbel Moussa, 02 June 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rüppell's Vulture at Jbel Moussa

A Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) with about 50 Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) today (2 June) at midday at Jbel Moussa. The group will probably attempt to cross the Strait of Gibraltar now. This is the fourth individual for the season.

The first bird was seen on 5 May, the second bird photographed on 14 May, and the third bird captured by camera trap and also photographed in flight on 23 May.

El cuarto Buitre moteado (Gyps rueppelli) de la temporada observado ahora mismo en Jbel Moussa junto con unos 50 Buitres leonados (Gyps fulvus) posiblemente cruzaran el estrecho este mediodía.
Rachid El Khamlichi 

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), Jbel Moussa, 2 June 2015 (R. El Khamlichi)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Jbel Moussa: vultures and Barbary macaques (photos)

Jbel Moussa is known as a good point for observing bird migration crossing the Strait of Gibraltar between Africa and Europe. But it's also known for its colony of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). These photos captured yesterday by Rachid El Khamlichi show Barbary macaques with their newborn babies, and vultures resting (and flying) at Jbel Moussa (see after the macaques). Enjoy!

Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus): mother watching out and its baby.
Barbary macaques: parents with babies on the back feeding on the steep rocks of Jbel Moussa.
Barbary macaques feeding and the newborn baby learning!
Baby Barbary macaque on the back of its parent.
Barbary macaque enjoying wild fruits. Disfrutando de los frutos salvajes.

Griffon Vultures' life at Jbel Moussa:

About 3 weeks ago (8 May), we shared with you where these migrating vultures are drinking and bathing using camera trap. Then on 23 May, we showed where they are feeding. Now, where they rest and what they do in their short stopover at Jbel Moussa.

Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvues) resting at Jbel Moussa
La convivenciaCoexistence between the vultures and the local cows at Jbel Moussa. 
Griffon Vultures flying, Jbel Moussa
Griffon Vulture flying in front of the cliff wall at Jbel Moussa.
Griffon Vulture landing.

Egyptian Vultures:

Subadult Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus).
Immature Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) with a Griffon.

Local birds:

Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegalus) is very common here. And there is a little surprise of a local bird not seen here since decades.

Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) busy collecting food for the young.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Vautours fauves (Gyps fulvus) après la traversée du désert

Ces deux photos prisent par Pierre-Marie Lecat de 3 Vautours fauves (Gyps fulvues) à M’Hamid après la traversée du désert. Elles montrent une partie importante de leurs migrations qui est l'arrivée dans des paysages plus humides de l’Afrique du Nord après avoir traversés le désert du Sahara. 

Vautours fauves (Gyps fulvues) dans un paysage à Tamarix, près de M'Hamid el Ghizlane, Maroc (Pierre-Marie Lecat).
Vautour fauve (Gyps fulvues) en repos sur un arbre de Tamarix, près de M'Hamid el Ghizlane, Maroc (Pierre-Marie Lecat).

La photo ci-dessous prise par l’homme du désert Redouane Tahri à Bechar en Algérie montre aussi un individu en repos lors de la migration printanière.

Vautour fauve (Gyps fulvues)Wilaya de Béchar, Algérie (Redouane Tahri).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spectacle: Rüppell's and Griffon Vultures captured by camera trap

Jbel Moussa and Rachid El Khamlichi continue to surprise us. 

A Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) with a group of Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) captured by camera trap at a carcass of a wild boar (Sus scrofa) at Jbel Moussa, northern Morocco today (23 May). There were at lest 200 Griffon Vultures. Rachid also photographed the group of vultures and the Rüppell's Vulture in flight by his ‘ordinary camera’ (photos 2 and 3). This is the third Rüppell's Vulture for this season.

Two weeks ago, the camera trap captured Griffon Vultures drinking and bathing (including a French-ringed individual) near a water source at Jbel Moussa.

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) and Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) captured by camera trap at a carcass, Jbel Moussa, 23 May 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi). NOTE the logo of the camera trap!
Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) at a carcass, Jbel Moussa, Morocco, 23 May 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi).
Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii), Jbel Moussa, 23 May 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi).