Western Palearctic birding

Index of articles about birding news that are of interest to the Western Palearctic birding community. This includes mainly ‘mega rarities’ found in Northwest African and potential vagrants to the WP from adjacent areas. For birding news and national rarities see under each country.

White-throated Bee-eater / Guêpier à gorge blanche (Merops albicollis), Dakhla bay, 10 March 2017 (Phil Abbott).

First White-throated Bee-eater for the Western Palearctic

A White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) was observed at ‘Gleb Jdiane’, Oued Dahab, on 5 and 6 December 2013 by Noëlle and Hervé Jacob (see below a short video). This would be the first record for Morocco if accepted by the MRBC. There was no previous observation of White-throated Bee-eater in the Western Palearctic, so this …

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Moroccan Marsh Owl (Asio capensis tingitanus), Merja Zerga (António Gonçalves).

Marsh Owl in Morocco: why it’s endangered and how to save it

Marsh Owl is declining and very endangered is Morocco. This piece tries to address one of the main problems causing its decline, and your help is much appreciated. Marsh Owl (Asio capensis) is a typical owl restricted to Africa and its biggest island. Three subspecies are recognised: 1) the nominate subspecies which has the largest …

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Dunn’s Lark / Alouette de Dunn (Eremalauda dunni), near Merzouga, eastern Sahara, Morocco, 7 June 2012 (Paul French).

African Dunn’s Lark at Merzouga, Morocco

African Dunn’s Lark (Eremalauda dunni) was discovered at Merzouga in April 2010. In 2011, many birders failed to see the larks, and thus believed the species has disappeared from Merzouga. The purpose of this blog-post is to show that Dunn’s Larks were present also in 2011. The second aim is to compile future sightings in …

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Andalusian Buttonquail (Turnix sylvaticus sylvaticus), south of Sidi Abed, September 2007 (Benoît Maire)

Andalusian Buttonquail in Morocco and the Western Palearctic

The Andalusian Buttonquail (Turnix sylvaticus sylvaticus) became almost extinct throughout its Mediterranean range except in Morocco where there have been more or less regular observations until 1988. Since that date, however, the species went undetected until 2000. Since the beginning of the new millennium, new sightings (including the first-ever photograph of a living wild bird …

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Cape Gull (Larus dominicanus vetula), Khnifiss Lagoon, Morocco (Lars Andersen)

Status of Kelp Gull in Morocco and the Western Palearctic

Cape Gull – the African subspecies of the widespread Kelp Gull – does not breed at Khnifiss Lagoon, Morocco, as reported earlier by Bergier et al. (2009). A thorough analysis by Olof Jönsson of the available photographs showed that the large, dark-backed gulls breeding at Khnifiss are, in fact, Great Black-backed Gulls. This is the …

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Cricket Warbler / Prinia à front écailleux (Spiloptila clamans) with nest materials at Oued Jenna, Aousserd, 3 February 2010 (Fabian Schneider).

Cricket Warbler breeding at Aousserd, southern Morocco

The Cricket Warbler or Cricket Longtail (Spiloptila clamans) is a small bird native to the Sahel region where its breeding area is restricted to a narrow band stretching from southern Mauritania and northern Senegal eastwards to Sudan and Eritrea. The species has recently been discovered in Oued Jenna some 40 Km before the village of …

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