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Rare birds in Morocco: 26th report of the MRBC

The 26th report of the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee (MRBC) was published earlier this month.

African Dunn's Lark (Eremalauda dunni) at Merzouga, south-east Morocco, 17 April 2019 (J. Muddeman)
African Dunn’s Lark (Eremalauda dunni) at Merzouga, south-east Morocco, 17 April 2019 (J. Muddeman).

In 2020, the MRBC processed 62 records of which 55 were accepted. As to be expected in a year affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, there were actually only eight records from 2020, with the majority from 2019 (47 observations) and a few others from the previous years.

Among the accepted records are the first Moroccan observations of Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) and Eastern Subalpine Warbler (Curruca cantillans). Two hybrid birds are accepted for the first time also: a Cinnamon Teal x Northern Shoveler (Spatula cyanoptera x S. clypeata) and a Grey x Purple Heron (Ardea cinerea x A. purpurea).

Other noteworthy observations include:

– The 2nd Moroccan record of African Crake (Crex egregia), a bird unfortunately found dead in 2019.

– Three Siberian Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita tristis), two ringed at Merzouga in April 2019, and one photographed at Dar Bouazza, near Casablanca in December of the same year.

– The 5th Moroccan record of Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe melanoleuca), also captured and ringed at Merzouga.

– Several records of Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) at their usual sites in the south of the country, but one at Anza beach near Agadir in 2020.

– The Dunn’s Larks (Eremalauda dunni) that reappeared at Merzouga in spring 2019 after several years of absence from the region. The ‘IOC World Bird List’ split the Arabian Lark (Eremalauda eremodites) from the African Dunn’s Lark in 2021 (Checklist v. 11.2).

Full report (PDF):

Bergier, P., Maire, B., Laïdi, K., Ennoury, A., Rihane, A., Franchimont, J. & CHM. 2021. Les oiseaux rares au Maroc. Rapport de la Commission d’Homologation Marocaine numéro 26 (2020). Go-South Bulletin 18 : 63-88.

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