Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) has finally returned to breed in northern Morocco after it has deserted the region for nearly a century. An important breeding colony of the species was discovered in the heronry installed in dune vegetation near Smir marshes (northern Morocco) by one of us, Rachid El Khamlichi, on 1st May 2011. Several nests with chicks were observed and photographed on that day and then again on 7 May when we joined him.
The breeding of the Glossy Ibis has been suspected at Smir heronry during the last five years but has never been confirmed. Displaying individuals were also seen at Oued Massa by Imad Cherkaoui and Abdelhak Elbanak on 24 April 2011.
Rachid has also observed some nests of Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) in the main marsh. This is the first time that the species has bred or attempted to bred (as it was difficult to see the result) inside the marshes. Until now the species has only bred in the heronry. See photographs (6-8) of the Spoonbill chicks at the heronry after those of the Glossy Ibis.
We think that this is another case of the benefits from the conservation done by our neighbours in the northern shore of the Strait of Gibraltar, another case was mentioned earlier about the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala).
Update (read the paper):
Amezian, M., El Khamlichi, R. & Elbanak, A. 2012. Breeding of Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus in the mixed heronry adjacent to Smir marshes, northern Morocco. Alauda 80: 33-38.
Spoonbill chicks at Smir heronry (May 2011).