Breeding of Glossy Ibis and Spoonbill in Smir marshes | Moroccan Birds

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Breeding of Glossy Ibis and Spoonbill in Smir marshes

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus - Ibis falcinelle) has finally returned to breed in northern Morocco after it has deserted the region for nearly a century. 

An important breeding colony of Glossy Ibis was discovered in the multi-specific heronry installed in dune vegetation near to Smir marshes (northern Morocco) by one of usRachid El Khamlichi on 1st May 2011. Several nests with chicks were observed and photographed on 1st and then on 7 May when we joined him. The breeding of the Glossy Ibis has been suspected in Smir marshes during the last five years but has never been confirmed. Displaying individuals were also seen in Oued Massa by Imad Cherkaoui and Abdelhak Elbanak on 24 April 2011.

I think that this is another case of the benefits from the conservation done by our neighbours in the northern shore of the Strait of Gibraltar, thanks for your work in Doñana* and elsewhere in the Iberian Peninsula (another case was mentioned earlier about the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)

Rachid has also observed some nests of Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) in the main marsh; this is the first time that the species breed inside Smir marshes. Until now the species has only bred in the heronry by the main road.

*Santero S., Máñez M., Green A. & Figuerola J. 2010. Formation and growth of a heronry in a managed wetland in Doñana, southwest Spain. Bird Study 57: 515-524.


Update 1: This observation has been published in Alauda :


Update 2: During the season of 2012, most likely there wasn't any breeding of Glossy Ibis in the colony, and there were only 4 occupied nests of Spoonbills. Very sad.

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Glossy Ibis nest with chicks at Smir heronry
Glossy Ibis nest with chicks at Smir heronry, 1 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi).
Glossy Ibis ringed as a nestling at Camargue (France) at Smir colony
Glossy Ibis ringed as a nestling at Camargue (France) in June 2008 and photographed at Smir heronry on 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)
Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egret at Smir heronry
Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egret at Smir heronry, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)
Glossy Ibis chick at Smir colony
 Glossy Ibis chick at Smir colony, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)


Spoonbill chicks at Smir heronry, 1 and 7 May 2011.


full grown chicks of Eurasian Spoonbill at Smir heronry
Nearly full grown chicks of Eurasian Spoonbill at Smir heronry, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)
Big chicks of Eurasian Spoonbill at Smir heronry
Big chicks of Eurasian Spoonbill at Smir heronry, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi) 
Chick of Eurasian Spoonbill, Smir colony
Chick of Eurasian Spoonbill, Smir colony, 1 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) at nest, Smir colony
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) at nest, Smir colony, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)


Moroccan Birds



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