13 August 2017 – New breeding sites of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis

Aourir et ses collègues viennent de décrire leur découverte de deux nouveaux sites de reproduction marocains :

‘The Northern Bald ibis Geronticus eremita, is globally listed as a critically endangered bird species. The last surviving world population that occurs in the wild is mainly confined to the southwest of Morocco. The known breeding sites are almost restricted to the Souss-Massa National Park and Tamri area on the Morocco’s Atlantic costal band south and north to Agadir city. During the 2017 reproductive season, we discovered two new breeding sites with at least three confirmed active nests incubated by adults at two distinct coastal cliffs. In addition, a flock of 11 to 15 ibises was located, at the northern coastline edges of the known breeding range in southwest Morocco. The new breeding sites of Northern Bald ibis described here suggest a current extension of the breeding range of this relict species along the Moroccan Atlantic coastline’

  • ‘On 28th March 2017, we discovered a first new breeding site… on the coastal cliffs north to Imsouane, at about 30 km north of the previously known colony of Tamri… We recorded two nests with incubating adult birds and one pair displaying copulation behaviour. These three breeding pairs, associated with several Rock doves Columba livia (4 to 6 breeding pairs), were established on a westerly sea-oriented straight Cliff at c.10-12 m a.s.l. Both nests were constructed on the small roofs with an overhanging black rock providing cover from sunshine all day long.
  • On 8th April, another nesting site… with an active nest and an apparently non-nesting pair (nest not located) were detected, among a 24-breeding pairs colony of the Moroccan Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo maroccanus and a breeding colony of Plain swift Apus unicolor, between Imsouane and Tillit, at about 32 km north of Tamri’s colony… This active nest (see photo), with an incubating adult and the other parent standing on a ledge nearby the nest, was located in a small natural hole in the limestone wall of a westerly-oriented and sun-exposed high cliff; at c.20-25m a.b.l..
  • On the same day, we observed 11 to 15 Northern Bald ibises together in a roosting site at the top of a cliff located few kilometres further north, not far away from cap Tafelney. Subsequently, we intensified nest-searching effort along the coastline section between Cap Tafelney and Tillit localities from 8th to late April 2017. However, we did not locate any active nest despite the intense prospection effort carried out in this area. On the other hand, and according to the local people that we interviewed, the species seems to have recently appeared in the area. Northern Bald Ibises has been regularly observed, foraging in an undulating and narrow coastal steppe, or roosting on costal Cliffs between Cap Tafelney and Imsouane localities since three years ago’


Aourir, M. ; Bousadik, H. ; Bekkay, M.E. ; Oubrou, W. & Znari, M. 2017. New Breeding Sites of the Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus Eremita on the Moroccan Atlantic Coast. International Journal of Avian & Wildlife Biology 2 (3): 00021.

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