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.

Videos of the communal roost of Egyptian Vultures,  Morocco / Dortoir de Vautours percnoptères:


Importance des reboisements en pins pour les oiseaux forestiers nicheurs: cas du Pigeon ramier

Hanane, S. (2013). Importance des reboisements en pins pour les oiseaux forestiers nicheurs: Cas du Pigeon ramier dans une plantation de pin d’Alep au Moyen Atlas central (Maroc). Forêt méditerranéenne 34(3): 209–214.

The importance of reforestation with pine for birds nesting in woodlands – Case of the Woodpigeon in an Aleppo pine plantation in the Central Middle Atlas area (Morocco).

Résumé :

Le Maroc s’est employé à intensifier et étendre les plantations à but de production de bois ; une nécessité vitale pour l’économie nationale. Le Plan directeur des reboisements (PDR) a prévu donc le reboisement de près de 500 000 ha en dix ans. Conciliant production et naturalité, la plantation de pin d’Alep (Pinus halepensis) de Tighboula, joue un important rôle environnemental au Moyen Atlas central, en prodiguant des sites favorables pour la nidification d’un oiseau gibier, le pigeon ramier (Columba palumbus). Les paramètres de reproduction récoltés [densité des nids: 3,4 ± 0,20 nids/ha, densité des couples: 21 ± 1 couples/5 ha, taille de ponte: 2,09 ± 0,31 œufs/nid et succès de reproduction: 61,7%] affichent des valeurs assez grandes, témoignant de la qualité de ce milieu artificiel forestier. L’initiation d’autres études sur d’autres périmètres de reboisement en pins est primordiale pour évaluer leur importance à une échelle spatiale beaucoup plus grande.

Related articles:

Effects of human disturbance on nest placement of the Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus): A case study from the Middle Atlas, Morocco.

Columba palumbus

Pigeon ramier (Columba palumbus)

Effects of human disturbance on nest placement of the Woodpigeon in Morocco

Hanane, S. 2014. Effects of human disturbance on nest placement of the woodpigeon (Columba palumbus): a case study from the Middle Atlas, Morocco. Integrative Zoology 9: 349–359.  doi: 10.1111/1749-4877.12078


The Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) is a common and widespread bird in Morocco (North Africa). I examined, over two years (2010 and 2011), the breeding density and nest placement of this game species in relation to nest-site habitat and degree of human disturbance. The study area was in the Middle Atlas Tighboula mountain forest, Morocco, in a disturbed and an undisturbed site. Using data collected in the two study sites, I aimed to identify the factors influencing the placement of nests within Holm oak trees (Quercus rotundifolia) and their densities. I found that habitat structures, influenced by grazing disturbance, have affected nesting density and location of nests of this species. Woodpigeons place their nests in a higher position (3.42 ± 0.19 m) when disturbance intensity is high and lower (1.68 ± 0.1 m) when it is low and showed higher nesting density in less disturbed zone (3.1 ± 0.4 nests/ha) than in high disturbed one (1.4 ± 0.2 nests/ha). Grazing disturbance could pose a threat to population persistence at a broader scale and could potentially contribute to reduce the abundance of this species by altering the composition and the structure of the forest nesting habitat. Further multi-scale studies are needed to assess the effects of different levels of grazing disturbance on Woodpigeon nest density and placement and to enhance our knowledge on breeding behaviour of this game species under variable environments.

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) on nest

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus. (Photo by flickr member gynti_46, licence CC-by-nc-sa)

Black-necked Grebe: an expanding species in the Middle Atlas wetlands, Morocco

Cherkaoui, I., Bouajaja, A., Elbanak, A., Lahrouz, S. & Hanane 2014. The Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis): an expanding species in the Middle Atlas wetlands, MoroccoWetlands Ecology and Management 22: 93-98. doi: 10.1007/s11273-013-9321-7
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The present study investigates the population trends of Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (Podicipedidae: Podicidae) over 5 years (2009–2013) in three Middle Atlas wetlands (Aguelmam Afennourir, Dayet Aoua and Dayet Ifrah). Using generalized linear models with a Poisson distribution, we demonstrated that the number of Black-necked Grebe breeding pairs has varied significantly and positively over the 5 years and between the three study wetlands. The annual population growth rate of the three colonies was 0.48 (±0.01). This positive trend is consistent with the current Least Concern conservation status of the IUCN Red List. Further more detailed studies are, however, needed to improve our understanding on the mechanisms driving the population increase in this part of North Africa. This remains a prerequisite for proper population conservation and management.

Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (Alan Vernon, flickr)