North African Ostrich eggs unearthed at Bir Anzarane, southern Morocco

By MaghrebOrnitho | 28 June 2019

Three intact eggs of the North African Ostrich found near Bir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region.

In mid-May 2019, ‘Nature Initiative’ member Mohammed Fathi found three intact ostrich eggs at Taguerzimt near Bir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region. The unbroken eggs were buried in the soil and still in good condition. Mohammed was on a routine inspection tour in the area when he found the eggs.

According to the Association Nature Initiative, this is the first time they found unbroken ostrich eggs with this quality.

The North African Ostrich was still abundant in Oued Dahab region in the 1940s and 1950s (e.g. see the undated photo below taken during the Spanish colonial era). However, the numbers quickly dwindled before the species went extinct. Last breeding records were in the 1960s, and a pair may have bred there as late as early 1970s (in Thévenot et al. 2003 – Birds of Morocco).

We should recall that the Moroccan Forestry Administration, in partnership with the locals including Nature Initiative, brought a number of North African Ostriches to the Safia Acclimatization Reserve. This was the first phase of the planned reintroduction of the species into its former habitats.

North African Ostrich eggs found near Bir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region, southern Morocco
North African Ostrich eggs found near Bir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region.
Des œufs d’Autruche d’Afrique du Nord découverts près de Bir Anzarane, dans la région d’Oued Dahab (Mohammed Fathi / Association ‘Nature Initiative’).
Red-necked Ostriches in the Western Sahara, southern Morocco, during the Spanish colonial era before the extinction of the species in the region // Autruches à cou rouge dans le Sahara occidental, sud du Maroc, pendant l’époque coloniale espagnole avant l'extinction de l’espèce de la région (Association ‘Nature Initiative’).
North African Ostriches in the Western Sahara, southern Morocco, during the Spanish colonial era before the extinction of the species in the region.
Autruches d’Afrique du Nord (ou à cou rouge) dans le Sahara occidental au sud du Maroc, pendant l’époque coloniale espagnole avant l’extinction de l’espèce de la région (Association ‘Nature Initiative’).

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