Record breeding season for Northern Bald Ibis in Morocco

By | 9 January 2015

The Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) in the Souss-Massa National Park and Tamri cliffs has experienced another good breeding season in 2014. Every breeding parameter (breeding pairs, fledged chicks, chick survival, and productivity) has slightly increased in comparison with the breeding season of 2013 and with the previous seasons.

During 2014, a record number of 115 breeding pairs were recorded, which have produced 192 chicks (productivity = 1,6 chick/pair). The number of pairs which they didn’t lay any egg is 124 (see table below). The size of the population in the Souss-Massa region is 512 Bald Ibises at the end of the breeding season of 2014.

It should be noted that despite an annual productivity of over 100 chicks, the size of the population has not experienced a significant increase, and this is mainly because of the post-nuptial dispersion affecting a part of the population. This is confirmed by the observations of flocks of Bald Ibis outside of the territory of the Souss-Massa NP and Tamri, in particular at Imessouane and Sidi Kaouki, north of Tamri. It therefore becomes necessary to monitor the dispersal movements, through ringing and satellite telemetry in order to localise the different sites used by these birds. Also, I think that these dispersing birds will soon establish new breeding colonies away from the known sites.

The full report:

Oubrou, W. & El Bekkay, M. 2014. Rapport sur la reproduction de l’Ibis chauve dans la région de Souss-Massa, Saison 2014. Parc National de Souss-Massa, HCEFLCD. 7pp

Update (2015 season):

Another successful breeding season in 2015:

The 2015 breeding season confirmed the growth of the Moroccan population observed during the last few years.  The number of breeding pairs reached 116 (60 pairs at the Souss-Massa National Park and 56 at Tamri cliffs). These have produced 205 fledglings (a productivity of 1,7 chicks per breeding pair). The population size of the Moroccan population is 580 Bald Ibises at the end of the breeding season.

In summary, similar to the previous breeding season, all breeding parameters have increased or improved in 2015 (breeding pairs by 1, fledglings by 13 and consequently breeding success improved from 1,6 to 1,7), and the population size increased by 68 birds in comparison with 2014.

Read the full report:

Oubrou, W. & El Bekkay, M. 2015. Rapport sur la saison de reproduction de l’Ibis chauve Geronticus eremita dans la région de Souss-Massa – 2015. Parc National de Souss-Massa, HCEFLCD. 8pp

Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), Moroccan Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis riggenbachi) and Great Cormorant (P. carbo maroccanus) share the same area at Tamri cliffs (Rachid El Khamlichi, January 2015).

Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), Moroccan Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis riggenbachi) and Great Cormorant (P. carbo maroccanus) share the same area at Tamri cliffs (Rachid El Khamlichi, January 2015).

Breeding parameters of the Northern Bald Ibis in 2014 at different sites in the Souss-Massa National Park (A, F and E) and Tamri cliffs.

Breeding parameters of the Northern Bald Ibis in 2014 at different sites in the Souss-Massa National Park (A, F and E) and Tamri cliffs.

Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) at Tamri cliff, January 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi)

Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) at Tamri cliff, January 2015 (Rachid El Khamlichi)

4 thoughts on “Record breeding season for Northern Bald Ibis in Morocco

  1. Patrick Gerber

    I am very interested in the continued efforts save the Northern Bald Ibis from extinction. I am a docent at the Milwaukee county Zoo, (Milwaukee , Wisconsin – USA) and volunteer mainly in our aviary where we currently have four Northern Bald Ibis on display. I understand we are going to expand that number from other captive colonies in the near future. It has been very difficult to get any up to date information regarding the census of the current known colonies or other information regarding the condition of this species in the wild. We promote conservation efforts whenever and wherever we can so information regarding that would also be helpful.

    Reply
    1. MaghrebOrnitho Post author

      Thanks Patrick for your interest and your comment. I am glad that you have found here some useful information about the only viable wild population of the species (as you know, the other wild population in Syria is tiny and what’s happening now in the region makes life very difficult for both people and birds).

      The Moroccan population is doing well and gradually increases over the years. Now birds form this population are dispersing to others areas along the coast (they even reach as far north as Larache, some 640 Km north-east from the breeding areas), and if the population continues to grow (which is likely) these dispersing birds may colonise new areas in the future.

      The Wikipedia article about the species cites that there are “850 Northern Bald Ibises in European zoos and 250 in captivity in Japan and North America”. (By the way, all of these birds are from the western population and originated from Morocco). So I think it won’t be difficult for your zoo to obtain new birds from the others zoos where the species is kept. If you need further information about the wild population don’t hesitate to ask.

      Reply
  2. Patrick Gerber

    Thank you once again. What is the most recent census number you have for Ibis considered wild birds? Also, do you have any information regarding the reintroduction programs in Spain and Austria and how I may contact them?

    Reply
    1. MaghrebOrnitho Post author

      You are welcome. ALL breeding birds in Morocco are wild. The size of the Moroccan population is 580 Northern Bald Ibises at the end of the 2015 breeding season (see the update above for details about 2015. Data for 2016 is not yet available; I will publish here a summary when I receive the final report).

      Concerning the situation in Andalusia, Spain where the reintroduction project is doing well: in 2016 there were 84 free-ranging birds which formed 15 breeding pairs. See: http://www.zoobotanicojerez.com/index.php?id=2473

      See also this paper:
      López, J. M., Quevedo, M. A., Sánchez, I., Rodríguez, B., Gimeno, D. & Aguilera, E. 2015. Crónica de la reintroducción del Ibis eremita en Andalucía. Quercus (349): 14–23.

      I don’t know much about the situation in Austria, but you can see the project website for information and contact details: http://waldrapp.eu/index.php/en/project/project-info

      Reply

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