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Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) at Oued Bou-Regreg, Morocco

A Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) photographed by resident birder Pedro Fernandes on 8 April at a small marshy area located between Salé and Oued Bou Regreg (map at eBird).  Here is Pedro’s email:

This Sunday I found a female Wood Duck not far from Salé. The bird was not ringed and as far as I could see had the wings in good condition (i.e. no clippings), but it was partially hiding in the vegetation and never showed the wings fully (but see in one of the pictures where the right wing seems to have the primaries in good condition).

The bird was first detected preening on the vegetation. When I approached, it took to swimming with the other ducks (Mallards and Ferruginous Ducks, all preferred to swim instead of flying), getting some distance from me and disappearing into the vegetation.

I am unsure of the status of this species in Morocco, and wonder whether it can be a true vagrant pushed here by the ongoing westerly winds or an escape from a collection (have no idea what the situation on collections is here).

As far as I know, the species has never been recorded in Morocco, either as a vagrant or as an escape. If it’s a genuine vagrant, then it’s indeed the first record for Morocco and the Maghreb region. In the Western Palearctic, I think it’s accepted in ‘category A’ only in the Azores (Portugal), Iceland and the Canary Islands (thanks to Eduardo García del Rey for the comment below). Elsewhere, they are considered non-native (mostly escaped from duck collections). Please comment if you see wrong information.

Rare native ducks at Rabat

Other interesting sightings include three Marbled Ducks (Marmaronetta angustirostris) at the Bouregreg marshes, on the Rabat side of the river (up to six have been reported recently) and six displaying Ferruginous Ducks (Aythya nyroca) at the same location (map at eBird).

More surprising was the presence of a White-headed Duck at a ‘lake’ near Takkadoum, Rabat. This small daya also held at least thirteen Ferruginous Ducks, one Purple Gallinule and at least one singing Little Bittern (map at eBird).

Thanks Pedro!

See this link for some recent rarities and other interesting observations (March and April).

Wood Duck / Canard carolin (Aix sponsa) with Mallard, near Oued Bou Regreg, Salé, Atlantic coast of Morocco, 8 April 2018 (Pedro Fernandes).
Wood Duck / Canard carolin (Aix sponsa), near Oued Bou Regreg, Salé, Atlantic coast of Morocco, 8 April 2018 (Pedro Fernandes).

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