Sand Cats resting in bird nests built in tall acacia trees

Sand cats found resting in Brown-necked Raven nests. This original and previously undocumented behaviour was discovered in western Sahara, southern Morocco. During a naturalist trip in the Dakhla-Aousserd region in autumn 2018, Jean-Michel Bompar and his colleagues found three sand cats (Felis margarita) resting in the nests of Brown-necked Ravens (Corvus ruficollis). The nests were… Read More »

Moltoni’s Warbler in Morocco, Terek Sandpiper in Tunisia and other rarities

Moltoni’s Warbler, Franklin’s Gull, Lesser Flamingo and African Dunn’s Lark in Morocco, plus Terek Sandpiper in Tunisia. Moltoni’s Warbler (Sylvia subalpina) A bird was captured and ringed at Merzouga Ringing Station, Morocco, on 18 April 2019 (Marc Illa and his co-workers). Only four records have been accepted by the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee, so this… Read More »

Birding Algeria: African Silverbill, Red-billed Firefinch, Algerian Nuthatch

In March 2019, three birders – Peter Stronach, Bob Swann and Sam Viles – visited northern Algeria and the region of Tamanrraset in the south. The aim was to see the three most wanted species from the Western Palearctic birders’ perspective. Below is a summary of the main visited sites and key species. The full… Read More »

Ancient DNA confirms Slender-billed Curlew is a valid species

The mitochondrial genome of the presumably extinct Slender-billed Curlew is sequenced for the first time. This confirmed that the species is genetically distinct from the related curlews. The last sightings of Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) were at Merja Zerga Lagoon, Morocco, in 1995. Subsequent sightings of the species, including the single bird observed in Hungary… Read More »

Presumed hybrid Collared X Pied Flycatcher at Merzouga, Morocco

A presumed hybrid Collared X Pied Flycatcher ringed yesterday at Merzouga Ringing Station by Marc Illa, Ivan Maggini, Armando Aispuro and Georg Gruber. The bird was caught and ringed by experienced ornithologists who known what they are doing. Despite this, they added the adjective ‘presumed’, because they know that the identification of hybrid Ficedula flycatchers… Read More »

Dunn’s Lark at Merzouga and other rare birds

Some rare birds observed recently in different regions of Morocco: Isabelline Shrike, Lesser Flamingo, African Dunn’s Lark, Golden Nightjar and Sudan Golden Sparrow. African Dunn’s Lark (Eremalauda dunni) Dunn’s Larks were discovered near Merzouga in 2010 and stayed there until 2012. After an absence of nearly 7 years, the species reappeared in the area again.… Read More »

Andalusian Buttonquail in Morocco is declining

The last Andalusian Buttonquail population is declining and its suitable habitats are shrinking according to a study published recently in Global Ecology and Conservation journal. The Common Buttonquail (Turnix sylvaticus) is widely distributed in Africa and South Asia and is currently categorised as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN Red List. However, the nominate subspecies –… Read More »