Migration of rare vultures near Jbel Moussa, spring 2018

By MaghrebOrnitho | 5 August 2018

At the Strait of Gibraltar, some birds are still migrating northward as late as August or even September in some extreme cases (see one of these under the Rüppell’s Vulture text here). However, the northward migration, for all intents and purposes, is over by the end of July (see for example, Garcia & Bensusan 2006).

So, let’s look back at the main rare raptors observed this spring at or near Jbel Moussa. When you look at the results, they appear ‘meagre’ in comparison with spring 2016 and spring 2017 (when, for example, a Steppe Eagle and a White-backed Vulture were observed – 1st and 2nd for Morocco respectively, plus regular rarities). This relative scarcity has nothing to do with the birds (not because there were less birds). The reason is that the monitoring was much less regular this year because the main observer was occupied by his new job as a manager of the Jbel Moussa Lodge (as you can see below, nearly all the birds were observed from the lodge).

Only two “rare vultures” species were observed during this spring (although they are still considered as rarities in Morocco, in reality both are more regular at the Strait):

Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli):

Nine birds. Of these, five were observed flying over the Jbel Moussa Lodge (JML). The other four birds were seen resting.

  • 2 May: one bird flying over the JML, photo 1. (R. El Khamlichi, Cécile Estival and Ahmed El Khamlichi).
  • 13 May: one bird perched on the cliffs of Jbel Moussa, next to several Griffon Vultures. (D. Jerez Abad, R. Ramírez Espinar & R. El Khamlichi). (Read: Barbary macaques and vultures at Jbel Moussa).
  • 21 May: three birds flying together with a hundred of Griffon Vultures at JML, photos 2 & 3. (R. El Khamlichi).
  • 22 May: one bird flying together with a dozen of Griffon Vultures at JML, photo 4. (R. El Khamlichi).
  • 30 May: three birds resting at about 1 Km to the east from the JML, photo 5. (R. El Khamlichi).

Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus):

Only one bird, observed from the Jbel Moussa Lodge on 2 May, photo 6. (R. El Khamlichi, Cécile Estival and Ahmed El Khamlichi).

Reference:

Garcia, E.F.J. & Bensusan, K.J. 2006. Northbound migrant raptors in June and July at the Strait of Gibraltar. British Birds 99: 569–575.

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco, 2 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, 2 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco, 21 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, 21 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco, 21 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, 21 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco, 22 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, 22 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Three Rüppell's Vultures (Gyps rueppelli) resting with Griffon Vultures to the east of Jbel Moussa Lodge, Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco, 30 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Three Rüppell’s (Gyps rueppelli) resting with Griffon Vultures, 1 Km to the east of Jbel Moussa Lodge, Strait of Gibraltar, 30 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, Morocco, 2 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus), east of Tanger-Med Port, Strait of Gibraltar, 2 May 2018 (R. El Khamlichi).

2 thoughts on “Migration of rare vultures near Jbel Moussa, spring 2018

  1. George Eade

    Congratulations and appreciation to Rachid El Khamlichi for his observations and other contributions to raptor conservation. Salut!

    Reply

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