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Commerce illégal des oiseaux sauvages au Maroc: photo-reportage

Ces images montrent l’ampleur du commerce illégal des oiseaux sauvages au Maroc. C’est juste un rappel à toutes les parties concernées sur ce commerce illégal et non durable. En vertu de la loi marocaine, toutes ces espèces sont protégées. Les photos ont été prises par Daniel Bergin en Mai-Juin 2013 dans différentes villes marocaines (Rabat, Marrakech, Casablanca et Fès). Bergin est un étudiant en master à l’université d’Oxford Brookes, et son travail de terrain au Maroc a été fait dans le cadre de son étude pour obtenir un diplôme de master en conservation des primates. Il nous a contacté à au début de l’année au sujet de quelques questions concernant son travail du terrain, et nous a envoyé ces images à la fin de ses travaux du terrain. Birgin a noté dans son email qu’il n’a pas noté tous les oiseaux qu’il a rencontrés, ces images ne montrent donc que la “pointe de l’iceberg” du commerce illégal des oiseaux sauvages au Maroc.

Ces photos peuvent être subdivisées en deux ou trois catégories principales:

  • Oiseaux à vendre (rapaces, Fringillidés …),
  • Les oiseaux exposés pour les touristes (les rapaces diurnes et nocturnes), et
  • Les oiseaux ou leurs parties utilisées dans la ‘médecine traditionnelle’ (les parties de rapaces comme dans la photo 8, les Huppes ou leurs parties comme dans les photos 10, 11 et 12)

Illegal trade in wild birds in Morocco: photo report

These images show the scale of the illegal wild bird trade in Morocco, one may say that we all know this, but it’s nice to remind all involved parties about this illegal and unsustainable trade. Under Moroccan law, all these species are protected. The photographs were taken by Daniel Bergin in May-June 2013 in different Moroccan cities (Rabat, Marrakech, Casablanca and Fes). Bergin is a Master’s student at the Oxford Brookes University, and his Moroccan fieldwork was done in the framework of his study to earn a master’s degree in Primate Conservation. He contacted us at Moroccan Birds earlier this year about some questions regarding his fieldwork, and sent us these images at the end of his surveys. Birgin noted in his email that he has not done a full survey of the birds he encountered, so these pictures show only the ‘tip of the Iceberg’ of the illegal wild bird trade in Morocco.

These photographs can be subdivided into two or three main categories:

  • Birds for sale (raptors, different species of finches…),
  • Birds exhibited for tourists (diurnal and nocturnal raptors), and
  • Birds or their parts used for ‘traditional medicine’ (raptor’s parts as in photo 8, Hoopoes or their parts as in photos 10, 11 and 12).

Bird market at Rabat (photos 1 & 2)

1) Black Kites (Milvus migrans), Rabat
2) Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Rabat

Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech: birds exhibited for tourists

Birds in photos 3, 4 and 5 were exhibited for tourists and used as photo props.

3) Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) and Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech. The vulture was exhibited at this place for nearly a year.
4) Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides) and Atlas Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus cirtensis), Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech
5) Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech

Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech: birds for sale

The birds in photos 6 and 7 were being sold (1000dh for the smaller individual) and also used as

6) Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus), Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech
7) Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech

Raptor carcass

Photo 8 is of a carcass of large raptor that was drying in the sun. Because the carcass is of a large bird and has an obvious rufous under-wing coverts, we think it’s probably an Atlas Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus cirtensis) or a Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata).

8) Raptor carcass drying in the sun at Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakech: Aquila pennata OR Buteo rufinus cirtensis.

Mellah spice market, Marrakesh (photos 9 & 10)

9) Caged Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Mellah spice market, Marrakesh
10) Feathers of Common Hoopoe (Upupa epops) ready to be sold for people to use them in “traditional medicine”, magic and charlatanism

Wildlife and ‘medicine’ market, Casablanca (photos 11-13)

11) Common Hoopoes and Little Owls (Athene noctua) packed with spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca)
12) Common Hoopoes packed with spur-thighed tortoises. Same animals as in picture 11
13) Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo), Casablanca

Bird market at Bab Guissa, Fes (photos 14 & 15)

There were no birds larger than pigeons at this market when visited on a Friday and Sunday morning.

14) Common Linnets (Linaria cannabina), Eurasian Siskins (Spinus spinus) and a Greenfinch (Chloris chloris), Bab Guissa, Fes.
15) General view of bird market at Bab Guissa, Fes.

Your ideas on the bird identification are very welcome. Thanks!

Update: The vulture in photo 3 originally identified as a Griffon but it’s actually a Rüppell’s Vulture, thanks to Alex Colorado Delgado pointing out the error. The same vulture was exhibited at Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech for nearly a year (see more photos and a video).

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