Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus has finally returned to breed in northern Morocco after it has deserted this area for nearly a century. Recently, Rachid El Khamlichi recorded the breeding of Glossy Ibis in the mixed heronry installed in dune vegetation adjacent to Smir marshes (northern Morocco). Several nests with chicks were observed and photographed on 1st and 7 May 2011. 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 (see for instance 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) 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.
Update 1: This observation has been published in Alauda :
Amezian M., ElKhamlichi R. & Elbanak A. 2012. Breeding of Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus in the mixed heronry adjacent to Smir marshes, northern Morocco. Alauda 80: 33-38.
Update 2: During the breeding 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.
|Glossy Ibis nest with chicks at Smir heronry, 1 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi).|
|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, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)|
|Glossy Ibis chick at Smir colony, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)|
Spoonbill chicks at Smir heronry, 1 and 7 May 2011.
Nearly full grown chicks of Eurasian Spoonbill at Smir heronry, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)
|Big chicks of Eurasian Spoonbill at Smir heronry, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)|
Chick of Eurasian Spoonbill, Smir colony, 1 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)
|Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) at nest, Smir colony, 7 May 2011. (Rachid El Khamlichi)|