Today, 25 May 2014, we saw a White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) near Tétouan, northern Morocco. The bird was with the 3 Rüppell's Vultures and 38 Griffon Vultures that we saw yesterday and also today at the same site.
This is the first record for Morocco and North Africa for this species, and it is only the 4th or 5th record for the Western Palearctic. There were 3 records from southern Spain between 2008 and 2011. There was also an earlier record (October 2006) from southern Portugal but it was classed in Category D at the time, but probably may be reviewed in light of the subsequent records from Spain and Morocco (thanks to Javier Elloriaga, Dominic Mitchell, Richard Klim and other birders for their comments). The White-backed Vulture breeds in sub-Saharan Africa and classified as Endangered by IUCN (Red List 2012).
Vautour africain (Gyps africanus): une nouvelle espèce pour le Maroc et l'Afrique du Nord. L'espèce se reproduit en Afrique sub-saharienne et classé En danger (EN) par l'UICN (Liste Rouge 2012).
Rachid El Khamlichi, Mohammed Karim El Haoua & Mohamed Amezian
photos by Rachid.
Update 26 May: We went back to the site at lunchtime but we haven’t found a single vulture neither at the carcass nor in the surrounding area. Most likely they have moved to the direction of Jbel Moussa after we left the area yesterday at about 16:00. Good luck for the birders around the Strait of Gibraltar.
In summary, this May was a vultures' mouth by excellence: 10 Rüppell's Vultures and one White-backed Vulture in 4 days (10, 11, 24 and 25 May. see this link: http://moroccanbirds.blogspot.com/2014_05_01_archive.html
|White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) and Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus).|
Three Gyps vultures together at Tétouan, Morocco: White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus), Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) and Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus).