Two Northern Bald Ibises (Geronticus eremita) were photographed yesterday at Larache, northern Morocco by Moroccan birder Imad Yassine. The birds were not ringed, so they are either from the Moroccan populations or from the introduced population in southern Spain. The Moroccan breeding colonies located at Tamri and Souss-Massa National Park are situated at about 640 Km to the south-west of Larache, while the reintroduced Spanish population is located near Barbate (Cádiz, Andalusia) at about 120 Km to the north.
It should be noted that Bald Ibises from the Spanish reintroduced population were already observed in Morocco on two occasions. One observed in the Middle Atlas in 2006 by Lahcen Chillasse, and another observed at Merja Bergha in May 2007 by Todor ‘Teo’ Todorov. Both these birds were ringed thus it was easy to know their Spanish origin.
The only way to know if the birds observed at Larache were from Spain is to check if all birds introduced in Andalusia are ringed, otherwise it’s difficult to know.
For more information about the Moroccan wild population and the Spanish reintroduced population see these references:
- 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.
- 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
English summary of the latter report: Record breeding season for Northern Bald Ibis in 2014.
José Manuel López Vázquez, the coordinator of the Reintroduction Program of the Bald Ibis in Andalusia, confirmed that all birds from that program are ringed with metal and PVC rings. This confirm that the birds seen at Larache are from the Moroccan breeding population.
Thanks to Imad Yassine for this excellent observation. Imad publishes his photographs in his facebook page: ‘Oiseaux du Maroc‘ at this link: https://www.facebook.com/oiseauxma