Pied Crow at Mhamid, Morocco (2015-2020)

A Pied Crow was photographed at Oulad Driss palm grove – located some 7 km east of Mhamid, in eastern Sahara, on 1st November 2015 (Thomas S. Lahlafi). Brahim Bakass, who reported the news, said he will try to see the bird next day but without success (Brahim is a birder and bird guide who visits the region often for work as well as for private reasons).

On 29 February 2016, Brahim finally found the Pied Crow at the town of Mhamid. Also, he was informed by his contacts in the region, that the bird has been regularly seen around the town. So this Pied Crow had stayed in the Mhamid region at least 4 months.

Update 1:

A Pied Crow photographed at Hotel Kasbah, Mhamid, on 1 November 2016 by Christian Cederroth (photo below).

It’s exactly one year since the bird has been reported here (most likely the same bird). Also, taking into account the previous breeding event at Chtoukan, north of Dakhla in 2010, another breeding event at Mhamid would be wonderful.

Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco (Christian Cederroth / AviFauna Naturresor)
Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco, 1 Nov. 2016 (Christian Cederroth / AviFauna Naturresor).

Update 2: the Pied Crow still at Mhamid in 2017

– The Pied Crow is still present at Mhamid on 22 January 2017, it was seen at the abattoir of the souk this time (photo below). Thanks Brahim Bakass!

– The ‘Big Year WP’ team also saw the bird on 8 February.

– Next day, the bird was also observed at the abattoir by a group of birders from Switzerland (thanks Mario Camici for the comment).

– On 23 February, Robert Swann found the bird at a slightly different place nearby.

Several WP birders who visited Dakhla to see the White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) discovered there in late February 2017 also visited Mhamid to see the Pied Crow.

Pied Crow (Corvus albus - Corbeau pie), Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco, 22 Jan. 2017 (Brahim Bakass)
Pied Crow / Corbeau pie (Corvus albus), Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco, 22 Jan. 2017 (Brahim Bakass).

Update 3: the Pied Crow still present in 2018

– Brahim Bakass photographed the bird again on the last day of 2017 at the same place: near the market (Souk) just to the west of Hotel Kasbah (photo below). Thanks again!

– The bird still present on 25 February 2018. Martin Suanjak from Austria wrote in email: “We saw it at the western end of the town, where the road ends and the dirt tracks into the desert start”.

Pied Crow / Corbeau pie (Corvus albus), Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco, 31 Dec. 2017 (Brahim Bakass).
Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco, 31 Dec. 2017 (Brahim Bakass).

Update 4: still present in the region in 2019

The Pied Crow is still in the general area of Mhamid. But instead of Oulad Driss (where it was first reported in November 2015) or the town of Mhamid, the bird moved a bit further west this time.

Brahim Bakass reported that “two weeks ago, it was seen in Erg Chegaga (a large sand dunes system located some 45-50 km west of Mhamid). And on 25 May 2019, a friend photographed it at Miht Essallah, a small palm grove with a spring located some 6 km north of Chegaga”. When asked if there is any breeding evidence, Brahim said no – there is just a single bird roaming around.

In November, the bird returned to its favourite site in Mhamid: the weekly market place (Souk).

Update 5: still present in 2020

The bird still present in the region. Brahim Bakass shared the folowing with the photo below :

“The Pied Crow is still in the Mhamid region. I saw it during three days in a row, between 3 and 5 March 2020 at Erg Chegaga. He comes in the morning with Brown-necked Ravens (Corvus ruficollis) to feed on Common Sandfish (Scincus scincus) in the dunes and also on food remains at the camps. The rest of the day and night it is in the Tamarisk area a few km to the north”.

Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Erg Chegaga, Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco, March 2020 (Brahim Bakass).
Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Erg Chegaga, Mhamid, eastern Sahara, Morocco, March 2020 (Brahim Bakass).

2 thoughts on “Pied Crow at Mhamid, Morocco (2015-2020)”

    1. Thanks Christian for both the observation and the comment. I understand what you mean, there is a proverbe that says “A coincidence might be better than a thousand of appointments”, and this happens very often also in birding as in this case.

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