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First Hume’s Leaf Warbler for Morocco and Northwest Africa

A Hume’s Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei) was heard on 11 and 12 February at “Fôret Moulay Abdellah”, an urban park located inside Morocco’s capital Rabat by resident birder Pedro Fernandes.

This would be the first record of this Asian vagrant for Morocco. I am on the road and without references, but I am sure it’s the first also for Northwest Africa.

Here is Pedro’s email:

“Yesterday [11/02/2018] at the Bois Omar ibn el-Khattab (Fôret Moulay Abdellah/Fôret d’Agdal), I heard a warbler that sounded like an odd Yellow-browed Warbler. It called for 5-10 seconds and went silent after that. The sound came from the walled section of the Parc Agdal des Eaux et Fôrets so I could not see it.

Today [12/02/2018], I returned to the same place and after some wait the bird called, again from inside the walls of the Parc Agdal des Eaux et Fôrets (somewhere close to here: 33.995568, -6.840008). Even though the bird was not very close by, I managed to record a few calls and confirm it was not a Yellow-browed Warbler. Here are some of the calls, kindly edited for clarity by Magnus Robb”.

Hume’s Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus humei), Taibai Shan, Central China (Ron Knight, via Wikimedia Commons).

Other interesting observations

– A Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) associating with a flock of Northern Shoveler  (S. clypeata) at Dayet Takkadoum (Rabat) on 10 Feb. 2019 (Mohammed Hilmi & Pedro Fernandes). With over 30 records, this species is one of the most frequently observed North American duck in Morocco.

– The Egyptian Nightjar arrived really early at the breeding grounds this season. Local bird guide Lahcen Ouacha photographed a bird near Merzouga on 4 Feb. 2019.

– Each winter confirms that Dayet Dar Bouazza is a wintering ground for Richard’s Pipits (Anthus richardi). Three birds were observed there in December 2017 and four birds a year later, and on 10 Feb. 2019, eight birds were present at the site.

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