Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) is considered an accidental visitor in Morocco. But based on recent observations, the species should be regarded as a migrant and wintering visitor in Morocco. For example, 4 birds were counted at Jbel Moussa in spring 2017 and 6 birds in spring 2016 (including 3 birds photographed together on 7 May). A short note summarizing our observations during the last few years is being prepared.
Cinereous Vulture in sub-Saharan Africa
Based on the available information, Cinereous Vultures crossing the Strait of Gibraltar appear to stay mainly in Morocco (and Northwest Africa in general) and rarely cross the Sahara. However, some birds do reach sub-Saharan Africa and to this date at least five records are known, they are listed chronologically below:
- A bird ringed in Spain in November 1994 and found dead in the Sikasso region, Mali, on 19 January 1995 (in Meyburg et al. 2016).
- A bird ringed in Spain recovered in Senegal in January 2005 (in Meyburg et al. 2016).
- An immature bird photographed between Touba and Louga, Sénégal, on 23 February 2005 (Vroege 2013, 2014).
- An immature bird photographed at Nianing, 10 km south of Mbour, Sénégal, on 13 January 2007 (Talamelli 2007a, 2007b). This was incorrectly assumed to be the first record for Senegal.
- An immature bird photographed near Tiom village, north of Kaffrine, Senegal, on 23 February 2013 (Majorel et al. 2013). This was incorrectly assumed to be the second record for Senegal.
First record for Mauritania:
On 9 December 2017, the Dutch birding group Banc d’Arguin Reizen recorded a first-winter Cinereous Vulture at Iouik (Iwik) which is located in the Banc d’Arguin National Park, north-western Mauritania. The bird was wearing a yellow colour ring, so most likely from Spain. The bird was photographed with two other scavengers, a Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) and a Brown-necked Raven (Corvus ruficollis). This is the first known record of this Palearctic vulture in Mauritania.
(The difference in size between the three birds is reminiscent a bit – excuse the small size of the raven – of the photo of the three Gyps vultures (White-backed, Rüppell’s and Griffon) we saw in northern Morocco in May 2014. See: White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus): a new species for Morocco and North Africa).
Majorel, L., Puch, L. & LPO-Isère, 2013. Second observation of Cinereous (Black) Vulture for Senegal. Senegal Wildlife, published 27 Feb 2013.
Meyburg, B.U., Christie, D.A., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. 2016. Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/53002 on 20 August 2016).
Talamelli, A. 2007a. First record of Eurasian Black Vulture Aegypius monachus for Senegal. Bull. African Bird Club 14(2): 203-204.
Talamelli, A. 2007b. Cinereous Vulture seen in Senegal. Vulture News (57): 75.
Vroege, J.A. 2013. Europese roofvogels waargenomen in Gambia, Senegal en het zuiden van Mauretanië in februari-maart 2005. De Takkeling 21(1): 83-87.
Vroege, J.A. 2014. Immature Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus in Senegal in February 2005. Bull. African Bird Club 21(2): 223–224.
The vulture was ringed by Javier de la Puente and his SEO/BirdLife team as a chick at the colony of Valle del Lozoya, Sierra de Guadarrama, Rascafría (Madrid), Spain on 13 July 2017. Javier kindly shared with us the photos of the vulture when it was ringed (photo 2).
Thanks for the quick answer!