Four Richard’s Pipits and an Olive-backed Pipit in Morocco

By MaghrebOrnitho | 17 December 2018

At least four Richard’s Pipits (Anthus richardi) at Dayet Dar Bouazza, and an Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) at an urban park in Rabat. While both Asian pipit species are rare in Morocco, the former is much more regular and even winters in small numbers at some sites, the latter is much rarer.

Richard’s Pipit

On 15 December, Benoît Maire observed and photographed at least four Richard’s Pipits at Dayet Dar Bouazza, a highly threatened wetland located near Casablanca. Almost a year ago, exactly on 20 December 2017, Benoît photographed three Richard’s Pipits at the same site.

Benoît added that Dar Bouazza is probably a wintering site for the species as it has been observed there three times in winter (including those cited here). 

Eight birds were present on 10 Feb. 2019 confirm that Dayet Dar Bouazza is a wintering site for this species.

Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi), Dayet Dar Bouazza, Morocco, 15 Dec. 2018 (Benoît Maire).
Richard’s Pipit (Anthus richardi), Dayet Dar Bouazza, Morocco, 15 Dec. 2018 (Benoît Maire).

Olive-backed Pipit

One bird heard and briefly seen at Rabat by Pedro Fernandes. This would be the 8th record for Morocco if accepted by the MRBC. Here is Pedro’s description:

“On 3 December 2018, while going for a walk with my family at the Bois Omar Ibn el-Khattab (Fôret Moulay Abdellah) in Rabat, I heard and very briefly saw an Olive-backed Pipit. Sadly there are no pictures or recordings, as I was not out to see birds.

The bird was first detected near the entrance facing the Nigerian embassy, calling its soft metallic, down-turning call. The bird must have been on the tree tops and called a few times. Some 5-10 minutes later, further ahead I heard the >pssiü< call again (and a few >pss< >pss< in between) and briefly saw a small pipit (roughly the size of a Meadow Pipit) flying over me. It stopped calling and I lost it behind a pine tree. I think it might have stayed for the night as it was close to sunset.

Last winter at the same location I saw one Olive-backed Pipit in November and two in early March (on the following day of having found the latter birds, I have recorded one of them)”. 

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