Pied Crow (Corvus albus) at Tajura near Tripoli, western Libya

Two Pied Crows (Corvus albus) were seen roosting on palm trees at Tajura (32°53’37.39 N, 13°23’13.33 E), some 20 Km east of Tripoli (western Libya) on 7 June 2013. On 17 June they were seen again and photographed. According to the Libyan Society for Birds, the species have been recorded in eastern Libya only a few times before but this is the first record for western Libya.

The Libyan Society for Birds wishes to thank Khaled Etayeb, Essam Bourass, Ali Berbash and Wagih Bashimam for their help.

Updates:

Essam Bourass observed again 2 Pied Crows at the same place two weeks ago (i.e. around the end of August 2013). He was not sure if they were adults or not as he haven’t binoculars at the moment of the observation. So at least 2 individuals stayed in this area for nearly 3 months (7 June – end of August). It’s worth checking their breeding status in this area, if not possible this year it should be considered next year.

The Pied Crow is a very rare bird north of the Sahara desert, and there are only a few records in North Africa:

  • A bird collected at Jalo oasis, Al Wahat, north-east Libya, on 24 April 1931 (in Batty 2010).
  • One record in the extreme south of Algeria in 1961, and another at In Azaoua in December 1964. Plus it has been reported from the Algeria part of the Adrar Ifoghas close to Mali (Isenmann & Moali 2000).
  • Three birds discovered at Chtoukan between Boujdour and Dakhla, Western Sahara, Morocco, in December 2009. The pair had successfully bred and raised a young in spring/summer 2010 (Batty 2010).

Records from elsewhere in the Western Palearctic region are believed to relate either to escapes from captivity, or are suspected to have arrived by ship (see Batty 2010).

Since these records, the species has been observed several times in different parts of Morocco: e.g. at the Strait of Gibraltar in the north, at Mhamid in eastern Sahara, at Tarfaya and Khnifiss Lagoon on the Atlantic coast,…etc. See all Moroccan observations at MaghrebOrnitho.

References:

Batty, C. 2010. Pied Crows in Western Sahara, Morocco. Dutch Birding 32: 329.

Isenmann, P. & Moali, A. 2000. Oiseaux d’Algérie / Birds of Algeria. SEOF, Paris.

Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Tajura, western Libya.
Pied Crow (Corvus albus) at Tajura, near Tripoli, western Libya. (Photo: Libyan Society for Birds).