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The Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita in Morocco since 1900: Analysis of ecological requirements

  • ANDRE SCHENKER (a1), FABIAN CAHENZLI (a2), KARL G. GUTBROD (a3), MICHEL THEVENOT (a4) and ANDREAS ERHARDT (a5)...

Summary

The Northern Bald Ibis (NBI) Geronticus eremita, is an ‘Endangered’ bird species of which only very few wild breeding colonies have survived along the Atlantic coast of south-west Morocco. This paper analyses ecological conditions of the 72 breeding sites of the NBI that have been known since 1900 in Morocco. Characterisation of breeding sites is based on physical criteria (elevation above sea level, geomorphology, mean annual precipitation and types of landscape) as well as land use, vegetation cover, infrastructure and types of settlement within three perimeters (0–1 km, > 1–5 km and > 5–10(20) km) using Google Earth satellite images. Statistical analyses of the number of breeding pairs, fledglings and rainfall during different quarters of the year from 1994 to 2016 in the two remaining breeding sites in Souss-Massa National Park and Tamri showed expected patterns as well as unexpected differences between the two localities. Based on our findings and indications in the literature, we suggest general and specific recommendations for potential future translocation projects of the NBI. Based on the analysis of the 28 breeding colonies existing after 1977, two elements emerge as the most important prerequisites: a low level of disturbances at the breeding sites and adequate feeding areas at a reasonable distance of 5–15 km.

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*Author for correspondence; email: andre.schenker@gmx.ch

References

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