Premières données sur la reproduction de la Mouette rieuse (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) dans le centre-ouest du Maroc

Radi, M., Aourir, M., Qninba, A., El Mouden, H. & Znari, M. 2017. Premières données sur la reproduction de la Mouette rieuse Chroicocephalus ridibundus dans le centre-ouest du Maroc. Alauda 85: 131-138.

First breeding data on the Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus in Central West Morocco.

This study presents the first data on a breeding colony of the Black-headed Gull on islets of the Al Massira reservoir in central west Morocco from 2002 to 2008. Laying phenology, nesting site selection, clutch size, egg size and breeding success were investigated. These data provide new information at the southwestern limit of the species’ breeding area (32° N).

Mouette rieuse (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), Lac Telamine, Gdyel (Oran), Algérie
Mouette rieuse (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), Lac Telamine, Gdyel (Oran), Algérie, 20/06/2016 (Ali Mehadji)

Huitièmes Journées Internationales “Oiseaux D’eau Et Zones Humides”

L’Ecole Supérieure de Technologie de Khénifra (ESTK), de l’Université Moulay Ismail, organise la 8ième session des Journées Internationales sur les Oiseaux d’Eau et les Zones Humides du 19 au 20 mai 2017 à Khénifra (Maroc), et ce en partenariat avec l’Institut Scientifique de Rabat ; le Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc (GREPOM/BirdLife Maroc), le Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte contre la Désertification (HCEFLCD). Ces journées ont pour objet d’offrir aux institutions investies dans la connaissance ou la gestion des zones humides nord-africaines une occasion adéquate pour échanger leur savoir et savoir-faire. Lesquels échanges ont amplement contribué à stimuler la recherche et à améliorer les approches en gestion durable des zones humides nord-africaines.

La huitième édition, ces journées visent de contribuer à la mise au point sur la recherche en relation avec les effets des changements climatiques sur les zones humides nord-africaines ; mais elles offrent aussi l’occasion pour renforcer un programme ambitieux de recherche et de formation en environnement lancé par l’ESTK relevant de  l’Université de Moulay Ismail Meknès ; lequel programme s’individualise au Maroc comme initiative pilote d’intégration de la gestion des milieux naturels à la formation universitaire.

Thèmes des journées

  • Impact des changements climatiques sur les zones humides ;
  • Ecologie et Biologie de la flore et de la faune des zones humides ;
  • Fonctionnement, services écosystémiques des zones humides ;
  • Gestion intégrée des ressources en eau et conservation des zones humides.


  • Les communications doivent être inédites et concises.
  • Les langues de communication sont le français, l’anglais et l’arabe.
  • Chaque communication durera 15 minutes (exposé : 10 mn, discussion : 5 mn
  • Les dimensions des posters ne doivent pas dépasser 0,90 m /1,2 m.

Actes des Journées

Les communications (8 pages A4 au maximum, déposées lors de l’inscription aux journées) seront publiées dans un volume spécial d’un périodique ; elles devront respecter le modèle de présentation qui sera proposé dans la deuxième circulaire. Des résumés de posters pourront également être inclus dans les Actes.

Frais d’inscription

Les frais d’inscription des participants sont de 600,00 Dhs (professionnels) et de 300 Dhs pour étudiants ; ils incluent l’accès au programme, les actes du congrès, les déjeuners et les pauses-cafés.

Personne de contact: Pr. Abba El Hassan (email dans le bulletin ci-dessus)

Bulletin de participation (à retourner avant le 10 mars 2017).

8th Session of the International Conference on Waterbirds and Wetlands

The Higher School of Technology of Khénifra, University Moulay Ismail, is organizing the eighth session of the International Days on Water Birds and Wetlands from May 19 to 20, 2017 in Khénifra, in partnership with the Institute Scientist of Rabat; The Research Group for the Protection of Birds in Morocco, the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification and the Scientific Institute of Rabat. The purpose of these days is to offer institutions invested in the knowledge or management of North African wetlands an appropriate opportunity to exchange their knowledge and know-how. These exchanges have contributed significantly to stimulate research and improve approaches to the sustainable management of North African wetlands.

The eighth edition aims to contribute to the development of research related to the effects of climate change on North African wetlands; But they also provide an opportunity to strengthen an ambitious program of environmental research and training launched by ESTK under the University of Moulay Ismail Meknes; Which is being integrated into Morocco as a pilot initiative to integrate the management of natural environments into university training.

Themes of the conference

  • Impact of climate change on wetlands;
  • Ecology and Biology of Wetland Flora and Fauna;
  • Operation, ecosystem services of wetlands;
  • Integrated Water Resources Management and Wetland Conservation.

Participation form (to be returned by March 10, 2017).

Huitièmes Journées Internationales "Oiseaux d'Eau et Zones Humides", Khénifra (Maroc), du 19 au 20 mai 2017.
Huitièmes Journées Internationales “Oiseaux d’Eau et Zones Humides”, Khénifra (Maroc), du 19 au 20 mai 2017.

Assessing the extinction risk of the great bustard Otis tarda in Africa

Palacín, C., Martín, B., Onrubia, A. & Alonso, J. C. 2016. Assessing the extinction risk of the great bustard Otis tarda in Africa. Endang Species Res 30: 73–82. doi: 10.3354/esr00726 (Open Access)


We studied the dynamics and trend of the last extant population of great bustards Otis tarda in Africa. Moroccan great bustards are the southernmost population of this species, and thus show the characteristics of a peripheral population: small size, isolation and low gene flow. Available counts indicate a severe population decline (62% in the last 15 yr), as well as a contraction of the species’ distribution. We used a population viability analysis (PVA) to evaluate the quasi-extinction risk and to identify the most important threats. The estimated geometric growth rate of the more realistic of a set of possible scenarios was 0.87 (95% CI: 0.85, 0.89). This implies a 13% annual decline over 50 yr. However, projections derived from these results should be interpreted with caution, because models have a great deal of uncertainty and vital rates from Iberian populations may be different from those of the Moroccan population. PVA showed the negative consequence of human-induced mortality. According to the model that best fits our census data and if present threats remain in the coming years, this peripheral population could go extinct in ca. 20 yr. Agricultural intensification, infrastructure developments and new power lines in rural areas where the species occurs are causing habitat destruction and fragmentation and increasing artificial mortality. Urgent conservation measures, especially to reduce human-induced mortality, are needed to save African great bustards from extinction. We suggest that these findings can be generalized to other peripheral great bustard populations living in highly humanized landscapes.

Great Bustard (Otis tarda): a vulnerable species
Great Bustard (Otis tarda): a vulnerable species (Andrej Chudý, via Wikipedia Commons)

Significant population of Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) found in Morocco

Amezian, M. & El Khamlichi, R. 2016. Significant population of Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus found in Morocco. Ostrich 87: 73–76.


The Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus population in Morocco has undergone a marked decline since the 1980s to the point of nearing local extinction in the twenty-first century. A field study of some possible sites for Egyptian Vultures was carried out over six days during June 2014 in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco. We counted a total of 48 Egyptian Vultures at three different localities: two occupied breeding sites and one communal roost that hosted 40 vultures of different ages. A (probable) singe adult bird at the breeding site was located and a previously occupied site was also visited. A preliminary survey amongst local people indicated that threats faced by this species are predator poisoning in some areas, and the use of vulture parts for traditional medicine. Given that the species is considered globally Endangered and populations continue to decline in many areas, the discovered population reported here, although relatively small, is of national and regional (North-west Africa) importance. We expect this new situation will revive the hopes for studying and conserving this and other vulture species in Morocco and North-west Africa in general.

More details / Plus de détails:

The plight of the Egyptian Vulture and hopes for the future.

Traduit aussi en français: Les vautours au Maghreb: une situation critique et espoirs pour l’avenir.

Communal roost of Egyptian Vultures / Dortoir de Vautours percnoptères:

Adult Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Middle Atlas, Morocco
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Middle Atlas, Morocco.

Breeding ecology of Turtle Doves (Streptopelia turtur) on intensively cultivated farmland

Hanane, S. (2016). Effects of location, orchard type, laying period and nest position on the reproductive performance of Turtle Doves (Streptopelia turtur) on intensively cultivated farmland. Avian Research 7: 4.  doi: 10.1186/s40657-016-0039-0 (Open Access)


Until recently little was known about factors affecting reproductive parameters of the Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) on intensively cultivated farmland in the Mediterranean area. In this study, the reproductive parameters of this game species were evaluated in relation to location, orchard type, laying period and nest position in central Morocco.

A total of 317 nests were found and analyzed across five breeding seasons (2004–2008) in the Haouz and Tadla regions, over two major agro-ecosystems made up of olive and orange orchards. Nest position, laying period, clutch size and the number of chicks hatched and fledged per nest were determined on 120 study plots. I used Generalized Linear Models (GLMs) with a Poisson distribution and a log link function, including the logarithm of the number of eggs in each clutch as an offset to model the number of chicks hatched and fledged per nest.

Clutch-size was not affected by location, orchard type, laying period or nest position. The number of chicks hatched per nest differed between orchard types; they were greater in olive orchards (1.33 ± 0.06) than in orange ones (1.03 ± 0.08), whereas the number of chicks fledged per nest consistently differed with laying period and orchard type, which were higher in the early laying period (1.22 ± 0.07) than in the late period (0.93 ± 0.08) and higher in olive orchards (1.22 ± 0.06) than in orange orchards (0.90 ± 0.06). Neither location nor nest position were related to variation in the fledging success of the Turtle Dove.

Olive orchards and the early laying period confer better nesting conditions than orange orchards and the late laying period. Although nest position could be different in each orchard type, it did not affect the breeding success of the Turtle Dove, suggesting that factors other than tree characteristics are influential. Further studies are needed to improve our understanding of the effects of anthropogenic disturbance, especially agricultural activities and hunting, on the productivity of Turtle Dove nests.


Turtle Doves: nest with two eggs, newly hatched chick, and adult at nest with its chicks
a) A nest of a Turtle Dove with two eggs on an olive tree. b) A nest of Turtle Dove with a newly hatched chick on an orange tree. c) A Turtle Dove at nest with its chicks on an orange tree (Saâd Hanane)



Mode de prédation très particulier du Faucon d’Éléonore (Falco eleonorae) sur l’Archipel d’Essaouira, Maroc Atlantique

Qninba, A., Benhoussa, A., Radi, M., El Idrissi, A., Bousadik, H., Badaoui, B. & El Agbani, M. A. (2015). Mode de prédation très particulier du Faucon d’Éléonore Falco eleonorae sur l’Archipel d’Essaouira (Maroc Atlantique). Alauda 83: 149–150.

Pas de résumé pour cet article, mais voir les détails de l’article en anglais ici: “Eleonora’s Falcons imprison live birds for a later meal” (Les Faucons d’Eleonora emprisonnent des oiseaux vivants pour un repas ultérieur).

Fauvette grisette (Sylvia communis) immobilisée dans un trou étroit, île de Mogador, Maroc
Fauvette grisette (Sylvia communis) immobilisée dans un trou étroit, île de Mogador, Maroc, septembre 2014. (Abdeljebbar Qninba)

Phénologie des Ardéiformes de la zone humide Fouarat de Kénitra (Maroc)

Fareh, M., Franchimont, J., El Rhaouat, O., Belghyti, D. & El Kharrim, K. (2015). Phénologie des Ardéiformes de la zone humide Fouarat de Kénitra (Maroc). International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies 13(2): 257–267.
PDF in


Le marais de Fouarat représente l’une des zones humides de la région du Gharb. Il abrite une faune et une flore aussi importante l’une que l’autre et manifestement en perpétuels changements saisonniers. Dans le but de mettre cette zone en valeur, et de montrer son importance dans la biodiversité locale, régionale et nationale, nous avons entrepris d’étudier sa biodiversité aviaire, notamment celle de l’ordre des Ardéiformes et la phénologie des différentes espèces qui le composent, en mettant le point sur la nidification, l’hivernage et la migration pré – et postnuptiale des taxons en question.
Des notifications de présences et des recensements quasi hebdomadaires ont été réalisés durant l’année 2013, qui nous ont permis de dresser la liste de toutes les espèces d’Ardéiformes vivant dans le marais et d’avoir une idée sur les fluctuations de leurs effectifs saisonniers.
Nous avons rencontré lors de nos visites dix espèces d’Ardéiformes, à savoir : le Blongios nain (Ixobrychus minutus), le Bihoreau gris (Nycticorax nycticorax), le Héron garde-bœufs (Bubulcus ibis), le Crabier chevelu (Ardeola ralloides), l’Aigrette garzette (Egretta garzetta), la Grande Aigrette (Casmerodius albus), le Héron cendré (Ardea cinerea), le Héron pourpré (Ardea purpurea), l’Ibis falcinelle (Plegadis falcinellus) et la Spatule blanche (Platalea leucorodia).

Phenology of the Ardeiformes of Fouarat’s wetland of Kenitra (Morocco)


Fouarat’s swamp is one of the Gharb’s region wetlands. It represents a habitat for an important fauna and flora witch are clearly in perpetual seasonal changes. In order to enhance this area, and to show its importance in the local, regional and national biodiversity, we undertook to study its avian biodiversity, including that of the Ardéiformes order and its different species phenology, putting the accent on the nesting, wintering and migration pre – and post-nuptial of its taxa.
Notification of presence and almost weekly censuses were done in 2013, which allowed us to make a list of all the Ardeiformes species in the marsh and to have an idea about the seasonal fluctuations of theirs numbers.
During our visits, we met ten Ardéiformes species: Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Great White Egret (Casmerodius albus), Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) and Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia).

Voir aussi:

Lahrouz, S., Dakki, M., Gmira, N. & Cherkaoui, I. 2013. L’importance du marais de Fouwarate (Nord-Ouest marocain) pour l’hivernage et la reproduction des Ardéidés. Bulletin de l’Institut Scientifique, Rabat, Section Sciences de la Vie 35: 165-173.

Ibis falcinelle (Plegadis falcinellus) couvant ses œufs aux marais de Fouarat, Kénitra, Maroc
Ibis falcinelle (Plegadis falcinellus) couvant ses œufs aux marais de Fouarat, Kénitra, Maroc, 07 avril 2013 (Photo: Mostafa FAREH)

Autumn-winter breeding by Cream-coloured Coursers Cursorius cursor is more common than previously reported

Amezian, M., Bergier, P. & Qninba, A. 2014. Autumn-winter breeding by Cream-coloured Coursers Cursorius cursor is more common than previously reported. Wader Study Group Bulletin 121: 177–180.


Until the end of the 20th century there were only limited numbers of autumn-winter breeding records of the Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor. Here, we compile several autumn-winter breeding observations obtained mainly by amateur birders (citizen scientists) and we show that this phenomenon is more common when local conditions (especially rainfall) are favourable. These observations are from several parts of the species’ range, as far apart as Socotra Island (Yemen), Oman, and the Canary Islands (Spain), although the majority are from the region of Oued Ad-Deheb, southern Morocco.

Adult Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor) feeding a small chick at Hadibo, Socotra Island
Adult Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor) feeding a small chick at Hadibo, Socotra Island, Yemen, on 13 January 2006 (photo: Hanne & Jens Eriksen /

Atlas Pied Flycatcher: variability of identification characters

Deux articles qui traitent l’identification de Gobemouche de l’Atlas (Ficedula speculigera) et les espèces similaires: Gobemouche noir européen (F.h. hypoleuca) et ibérique (F.h. iberiae), Gobemouche à collier (F. albicollis) et les hybrides albicollis x hypoleuca

Two articles dealing with field identification of the Atlas Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula speculigera) and similar species.

The first article is about the variability of plumage and morphology of the Atlas Pied Flycatcher and the overlapping characters with the Iberian Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula h. iberiae) and other similar species: European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula h. hypoleuca), Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) and also hybrids albicollis x hypoleuca.

Corso, A., Janni, O., Viganò, M. & Starnini, L. (2015). Atlas Pied Flycatcher: variability of identification characters. Dutch Birding 37: 141–160.
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A second article about the call identification:

Robb, M. & The Sound Approach (2015). Call identification of European Pied, Iberian Pied and Atlas Pied Flycatcher. Dutch Birding 37: 161–163.

Atlas Pied Flycatchers Ficedula speculigera (Lorenzo Starnini). Images from birds on breeding grounds in Morocco and Tunisia in May
Atlas Pied Flycatchers Ficedula speculigera (Lorenzo Starnini). Images from birds on
breeding grounds in Morocco and Tunisia in May. From figure 1 of Corso et al. Dutch Birding 37: 141–160.

Factors influencing species-richness of breeding waterbirds in Moroccan IBA and Ramsar wetlands

Cherkaoui, S. I., Hanane, S., Magri, N., El Agbani, M.-A. & Dakki, M. (2015). Factors influencing species-richness of breeding waterbirds in Moroccan IBA and Ramsar wetlands: a macroecological approach. Wetlands 35(5): 913–922.
doi: 10.1007/s13157-015-0682-y


Since 2005, Morocco has designated 28 Important Bird Areas (IBA) and Ramsar wetlands for waterbirds, yet little is known about how waterbird communities are changing over time and space, within and between sites. We assessed the relationships between species numbers of overall breeding waterbirds, as well as those of Anatidae, Rallidae and Podicipedidae, and geographical, topographical and macrohabitat factors. Species richness of overall waterbirds and Anatidae were positively correlated with: (i) extent of emergent vegetation, (ii) number of plant species present, and (iii) altitude. Species richness of Rallidae was positively correlated with: (i) latitude, and (ii) different beds of emergent vegetation, while that of Podicipedidae was exclusively correlated with altitude. These results suggest that breeding waterfowl are significantly related to habitat characteristics, most importantly vegetation structure, and altitude. Our findings give support to the idea that large mountain wetlands protected areas provide valuable habitat to breeding waterbirds in this region, by providing larger buffer zones with fewer human activities, such as hunting, urbanization and tourism disturbance. This study provides a platform from which we can advance the scientific research on Moroccan IBA and Ramsar wetlands.