On 16 January 2011, I joined a team from the “Institut Scientifique de
” to participate in the annual midwinter count of waterbirds in the Tahaddart estuary (south of Tangier). Rabat
While surveying the area and counting birds present on the field west of the radio station, I noticed a dead bird by the road (that was before meeting the Rabat team).
Initially, the observation didn’t surprise me because I though I was looking at a dead juvenile Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, keeping in mind that Porphyrio is of tropical origin and breeding year-round (although this is generally not the case in our region). Even so, I didn’t resist taking some quick pictures, which I didn’t regret later on.
At home, I found out that the pictures didn’t much exactly those of juveniles Purple Swamphen, but there wasn’t any real alternative for me. The possibility of Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni didn’t cross my mind at all. Fortunately, I asked about the age of “this juvenile Purple Swamphen” in birdforum.net, and then some members kindly identified the bird as a juvenile Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni.
So, this is the 7th record for
and the 1st one for Tangier peninsula. The first 5 Moroccan records were compiled by Thévenot et al. 2003 (The Birds of Morocco, BOU Checklist 20) and all were observed between Marja Zerga and Morocco Massa estuary and the 6th was observed in in November 2008 by Diego Jerez Abad et al. Melilla
Beside the unfortunate Allen’s Gallinule, the birding/counting was good with lots of ducks, wading birds and wonderful flocks of Cranes Grus grus.
|Allen’s Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni) foud dead at Tahaddart estuary, 16 January 2011, the 7th record for Morocco (photo: Mohamed Amezian).|