Black-eared Wheatear split and new ‘melanoleuca’ record for Morocco

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe melanoleuca) captured and ringed at Merzouga, south-east Morocco, 8 March 2020 (Marc Illa).

The ‘Black-eared Wheatear’ is split into two separate species by the ‘IOC World Bird List’ based on recent genetic research. The first modern record of the Eastern Black-eared Wheatear has arrived just in time. Le Traquet oreillard est composé de deux taxons, qui sont considérés jusqu’à présent comme des sous-espèces : un taxon nominal occidental …

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Split of Western and Eastern Subalpine Warblers confirmed

Western Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia iberiae) photographed in Morocco by Phil Gower.

A new study confirmed that the ‘Subalpine Warbler’ complex is indeed composed of three different species (Moltoni’s Warbler, Western and Eastern Subalpine Warblers). The ‘IOC World Bird List’ accepted the split as proposed by the study. (Note: the main research about the “taxonomy of the Subalpine Warbler species complex” between mid-1990s and 2013 is well …

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European Cinereous Vultures wandering across Africa

Cinereous Vulture

Two satellite-tagged Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius monachus) from France and Spain have been tracked to Africa. One has reached as far south as the Niger-Nigeria border, while the other is touring northern Africa after having first spent the winter in the Sahel area. These are the first individuals GPS-tracked in their breeding areas in Europe to …

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Satellite-tagged Pallid Harrier died in southern Morocco

The carcass of Selja the Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus), Guelmim region, Morocco (Ali Irizi)

A Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus) named ‘Selja’ satellite-tracked from Finland died in southern Morocco last January. The cause of death is not electrocution as was feared initially. Selja was fitted with a satellite transmitter in central Finland in June 2018 as part of the research on Pallid Harrier carried out by Ari-Pekka Auvinen for the …

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Abundant passage of Isabelline Wheatear in eastern Morocco

Isabelline Wheatear / Traquet isabelle (Oenanthe isabellina), Merzouga, Morocco, 5 March 2020 (Marc Illa)

Until recently, the Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina) used to be a rarity in Morocco. In fact, the species was only removed from the list of species that need to be submitted to the Moroccan Rare Birds at the end of 2017. At the end of February, Marc Illa and his colleagues arrived in Morocco in …

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First record of Penduline Tit for Algeria

Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus), Jijel region, northern Algeria, 29 Nov. 2019 (Mourad Harzallah)

The first Eurasian Penduline Tits for Algeria were observed in Jijel region in autumn 2019 The Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus) has a wide breeding range stretching from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards to Central Asia. The northern population winters mainly in southern Europe and the Middle East. In Northwest Africa, the species remain relatively rare. …

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First record of Jacobin Cuckoo for North Africa

Jacobin Cuckoo / Coucou jacobin (Clamator jacobinus), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 5 Oct. 2019 (Karim Haddad).

Two Jacobin Cuckoos photographed at Tamanrasset in October 2019. This is the first record for Algeria and North Africa. Jacobin or Pied Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) is distributed in Africa south of the Sahara and in India and Sri Lanka. It’s very rare in the Western Palearctic region (WP). Members of the Association EcoCirta encountered this …

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Lanner Falcon usurping Buzzard’s nest after attacks (video)

Lanner Falcon brooding its four eggs after it had successfully driven off the original occupants of the nest, Boukra, Western Sahara, Morocco, 27 February 2019 (Kharraj et al).

After repeated attacks, the Lanner Falcons had successfully driven off the Atlas Long-legged Buzzards from their occupied nest. The usurpers went on to occupy the nest and lay their own eggs. The Atlas Long-legged Buzzard and Lanner Falcon are widely distributed throughout Morocco. Both species nest on cliffs and on trees. In the desert areas …

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Recent Moroccan rarities: Laughing Gull, Olive-backed Pipits,…

Olive-backed Pipit / Pipit à dos olive (Anthus hodgsoni), Dakhla Bay, 19 Feb 2020 (Javi Elorriaga).

Some recent Moroccan rarities include a Laughing Gull, Olive-backed Pipits and Sudan Golden Sparrow in February and Kelp Gulls in the previous month. Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) A Laughing Gull was photographed on 14 February at Essaouira fishing port by Andrzej Kośmicki and Helena Trzeciak. There are 6 previous known records of this American species …

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