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-species heronry installed in dune vegetation near Smir marshes (northern Morocco) by one of us, Rachid 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.
We 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 bred (or attempted to bred as it was difficult to see the result) inside Smir marshes. Until now the species has only bred in the heronry by the main road.
Updates: see the PDF of the published paper in Alauda:
Amezian, M., El Khamlichi, R. & Elbanak, A. 2012. Breeding of Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus in the mixed heronry adjacent to Smir marshes, northern Morocco. Alauda 80: 33-38.
|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)