Author: O.A

Bands & satellite tracking

MAFRC finds a dead Montagu’s Harrier in the area…

The AMFCR has found a dead Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus) in the area of Fkih Ben Salah. The Raptor previously equipped with a GPS tracker by the Centre for Biological Studies of Chizé in France was most likely killed by poachers.


The alert was launched on 23 August when Alexandre Villers of the Center for Biological Studies of Chizé in France asked his Moroccan colleagues if they could find a Montagu’s Harrier previously equipped with a GPS tracker.

The story of this Montagu’s Harrier had begun a few days before.

We nicknamed Greedy because it was greed that made him caugh in our trap -he took speed a young non-breeder male who would land on a pole equipped with a trap and a vole-. He was mating with a female, Oriana, also captured this year on June 19 and marked red red blue yellow. The birds were not known -it was not birds already banded- and reared 4 chicks until fledge for a laying of 4 eggs -which is rather not bad given the conditions tells Alexandre Villers in his exchange with the MAFRC.

A Journey well gone:

After releasing Greedy, Alexandre’s team could continue to follow his migration. The Raptor left Deux-Sèvres on 15 August for its wintering quarters in sub-Saharan Africa. It has travelled 410 km in 8 hours during this day ” as mentioned in Magornitho’s article .

Arrived in Morocco the bird eventually stopped in the area of Fkih Ben Salah – region of Beni Mellal-Khénifra -. Following the call by Alexandre on Twitter, the MAFRC responded to the request of his colleagues by moving to the indicated place:

The probable track of a poacher’s shot:

Unfortunately, the Raptor was found dead, lying in an agricultural field. It seems that the bird has landed in this field, and died after convulsing in a rather violent manner. Karim did an autopsy but the body was already well auto-lysed, so no obvious evidence could be found. However, most likely he received one or more hunting leads in the organs, he then flew some distance before coming to die in this field as a result of these injuries. Note that the bird had no fractures.

I do not like to tap on hunters when there is no evidence, however it looks like the work of a poacher who opened fire on this bird that passed upon him. Turtle Dove frequently hunted in the area of Fkih Ben Salah. Otherwise a poisoning, but with regard to the quasi-not scavengers regime of the Motagu’s Harrier, i believe this is an unlikely option says Karim Rousselon.

Threatened mainly by poaching, poisoning and trafficking of species, raptors in Morocco will soon benefit from the establishment of a dedicated national strategy being developed by the Office of the High Commission for Water and Forestry (HCEFLCD) with the assistance of its national and international partners.


In Morocco the Harrier nests – not very commonlly and very locally – in the Atlantic coast between Tangiers and Essaouira, as well as on the Mediterranean coast – mouth of the Moulouya for example -. In addition, the species during its migration – especially from March to May and from August to October – is fairly common in all regions of the country.

Article 12 of the order of the Ministry of Agriculture No. 582-62 of 3 November 1962 on permanent regulation of hunting, article 2 of the Order of the High Commission for Water and forests, opening closing and special rules for hunting during the 2017-2018 season, as well as the Law 29-05 on the protection of species of wild flora and fauna and the control of their trade, clearly forbid any hunting of nocturnal or diurnal raptors under penalty of legal action.


Moussem Flight Hunting - Falconry

Moussem Moulay Abdellah 2018: TABIYAZT in the spotlight

El Jadida: from 3d to 10th August the Moussem of Moulay Abdellah Agbey has put in the spotlight the cultural heritage Doukkali. Among the activities put forward: the falconry of the Kwassems more known as TABIYAZT.

The secular Moussem Moulay Abdellah Amghar, which took place under the high patronage of SM King Mohammed VI from the 3rd to the10th August 2018, has still been a perfect opportunity to highlight the Jdidi cultural heritages.

500,000 people responded to the Moussem call. This is how the Kwassems were able to show off their talents and know-how. Through several shows using falcons trained by their care the “Byaza” have demonstrated a particular human-animal relationship. Like every year, the enthusiasm was at the rendezvous showing a obvious interest of the public in the face of a heritage sometimes unknown but always appreciated.

conservation Conservation

Conservation by Falconry

Thanks to the know-how acquired by the practice of falconry, it is possible to increase the chances of success of the activities of conservation and rehabilitation of raptors.

Falconry can be beneficial for education and the training of birds for rehabilitation puposes. The knowledge of the falconers-concerning the birds they possess – ecology and reproduction in captivity – have unrivaled value in terms for an active participation in projects for reintroduction of endangered species.

In another register, falconry also makes it possible to solve problems related to invasive avian species without having to go through poisoning or extermination. Whether in airports, industrial sites or even urban spaces, it is possible to effaroucher groups of birds and to remove them definitively by using a falconer who use a raptor to shase away other undesirable birds.

مهرجان الصقور Flight Hunting - Falconry

TABIYAZT: The Moroccan Falconry

Falconry, Al Bayzara, Tabiyazt, al Sayd B-Ettaïr al Horr, Assaqqara, or falcon hunting is the art of capturing live preys with raptors specially trained for this purpose.

The practice of TABIYAZT has appeared in Morocco with the advent of the Arabs in the Maghreb, since the 12th century. This mode of hunting was, then, widespread, both in the royal community and among nomadic and semi-nomadic communities.

Historical texts attest to the interest that the Sultans of Morocco – since the Almohad (13th century) to the modern Alawi (since the seventeenth century)- granted to the art of TABIYAZT and the role played by the Falcon in the diplomatic exchanges of Morocco with the other Eastern and Western sovereigns.

It is quite difficult to specify a date regarding the beginning of the practice of the art of falconry in Morocco. Nevertheless, the practice of TABIYAZT appeared in our country with the advent of the Arabs in the Maghreb, in particular, from the 12th century onwards. This mode of hunting then spread, both among the ruling elite and among nomadic and semi-nomadic communities. The historical texts attest to the interest that the Sultans of Morocco, from the time Almohad at the time Alawi, granted to the art of TABIYAZT and the role played by the Falcon in the diplomatic exchanges of Morocco with the other sovereigns of the East and the West . The Dahirs of the nineteenth century testify to the importance attributed to this activity by the Alawi sultans who have continually encouraged the Kouassem families of Doukkala, known for a long time by their passion for falconry, and who have managed to Keep this tradition alive until today.

Attracted by the exploits of this bird in the pursuit and capture of prey, the man first used it for hunting purposes before making his use an art and a fascinating leisure sport that has its ethics and rules, demanding patience and perseverance To capture the Falcon, maintain it, affaiter it, and make it hunt.

Falconry has traditionally been practised by the Kwassems tribe in the Doukkala region for a very long time. It is exercised in the open areas adjacent to their homes. The kind of Falcon most used is the pilgrim called “Bahri” and “Nandagiri”, it is captured in the regions of the cities Essaouira and Safi with a traditional method: a net is stretched around three stakes and on which one places a pigeon serving as bait. Attracted by the agitation of the pigeon, the hawk hovers around him, then he attacks him. At that time the Falcon is hung in the net and then captured by the falconer. This one proceeds, then, to its affaitage and its initiation to the hunt of the game, which can last several weeks. The kind of game hunted and the most widespread in Morocco is of type Curlew garish called locally korzit -Burhinus oedicnemus-.

The practice of this art has succeeded in bringing together a large number of passionate followers in several regions of the world federated notably by the international Association of falconry, of which Morocco is an active member.

“Rich in these centuries-old traditions and its many variations, what is really Falconry?
Essentially it is a dramatization, and a personalized form of ornithology. This implies a type of proxy hunting, where the human identifies with the raptor and consents to a role of secondary importance. This identification is so absolute that sometimes the falconer is literally incarnated in the bird. He then enters the inflexible world of nature, where death is common, and every minute of life, an accomplishment. And in this world, what seems familiar to us suddenly takes on a new meaning. Man is metamorphosed, he acquires a fraction of the hawk’s qualities and feels the excitement of his fiery flight. Falconry allows us to take part in a complete ritual, consisting of a beginning, a purpose and a definite goal suddenly accessible. She offers us a real collaboration that requires a sense of responsibility, creativity, and a taste for risk. Could this be a way to escape the confusion and stagnation inherent in modern life? because Falconry raises the spirit, broadens our horizons and instills in us a certain philosophy. How else can we explain this fascination exerted on us by a bird, which is after all a heap of feathers and a few pounds of flesh?
What, then, is falconry, if not a form of love, a form of forgotten love.
An old poem summarizes this thought well: “There comes a time when the bird on your fist is ready to fly, as it moves away, it seems closer to you but rises higher and higher. Where are you then? you who have weak eyes and heavy foot, dominate your limitations and fly! fly under his wing … “
Definition by Jacek Strek
electrocution Electrocution

Plaidoyer for concrete measures against raptor electrocutions in Morocco

Faced with the proliferation of cases and black areas where large birds of prey are electrocuted daily by the pylons of medium tensions, the AMFCR sounds the alarm by imploring the authorities concerned to act quickly to contain the bleeding.

In the space of two weeks, 9 rare eagles were found dead from electrocution in Guelmim province, which is known to be home to a large number of raptors in winter. A bird protection association sounds the alarm.

An Iberian imperial eagle electrocuted, discovered on October 22nd. Photo / Moroccan Birds / Ali Irizi

“We must do something, and quickly!” Says Mohamed Amezian, ornithologist and member of the association GREPOM (Research Group for the Protection of Birds in Morocco). It reacts to the electrocution of 9 rare eagles in the space of two weeks in the province of Guelmim, in the south-west of Morocco. Three Iberian imperial eagles, five Bonelli eagles and one golden eagle were found electrocuted in this region on 22 October and 7 November 2015, one of the Iberian eagles being followed by satellite transmitter.

Guelmim, refuge area for rare eagles in winter

According to the association, the number of electrocuted birds could be even higher. “These eagles were found in a small section of the power line. We do not know what is happening elsewhere in the province. In addition, carcasses are often quickly eliminated by scavengers, “says Amezian.

This phenomenon is all the more worrying because we are entering the winter season, a period of affluence of eagles in the region, according to the NGO. The area is rich in food, according to the official, the Iberian eagles coming from Spain, as well as the Bonelli eagles of the south of Morocco tend to migrate towards Guelmim and its region. “The immature eagles are even more concerned. In their early years, they often disperse, “says Rachid El Khamlichi ornithologist and member of the association GREPOM. “There may have been other eagle deaths in recent days,” he says. “It’s serious ! This situation is dangerous for raptors of Morocco, “warns the ornithologist.

Authorities must react

“The problem of electrocution in one of the main areas of concentration in winter may threaten the Moroccan population of Bonelli’s eagles in the future, if these dangerous electricity pylons are not neutralized,” warned Mr. Amezian, noting that the electrocution of eagles in the region would be accompanied by a power cut. According to him, the intervention of the authorities “will be beneficial not only for the birds, but also for the inhabitants and the ONEE which will save the recurring maintenance costs”, following the power cuts caused by the electrocution of the birds.

Joined by us, ONEE’s provincial directorate in Guelmim recognizes the electrocution of eagles that has become common in the region. “But this happens at the high-voltage pylons. They are managed by the Ministry of Transport, “says director Ahmed Essakali. However, we tried unsuccessfully to contact the provincial branch of the Ministry of Transport in Guelmim.

The Spanish, ready to transmit their know-how

While waiting for the reaction of the authorities, the militants for the protection of the birds of Morocco seek help with their Spanish counterparts. They recently participated in a seminar on transboundary protection of raptors in the Mediterranean, jointly organized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Andalusia Junta in Malaga.

“Among the concerns, we talked about the electrocution of birds. This is a real problem for large raptors, which are often endangered species, “explains El Khamlichi. And to add: “With the accumulated experience in the field of electrocution of birds, our colleagues in Andalusia, both those of the Ministry of Environment Junta and those researchers EBD-CSIC [an institute of public research, editor’s note], are willing to collaborate with Morocco in terms of knowledge transfer in the field of protection of dangerous power lines “.

Link to the article:
Ristel Tchounand

Workshops and events

MAFRC involved in the development of a national raptor…

The MAFRC participated from 19 to 20 April 2017 in an international workshop for the elaboration of a national strategy for the conservation of birds of prey in Morocco.

 Rabat was held from April 19-20, 2017, as a preliminary workshop for the development of the National Raptor Conservation Strategy. Coordinated by HCEFLCD and IUCN-Med, this workshop was organized as part of the project “Developing and Implementing Species Action Plans in Mediterranean Countries: Improving Management Capacity for Conservation of the Mediterranean Sea”. threatened species in the Maghreb.

The event brought together various profiles related to the theme of raptors: national and local authorities, IUCN Commission Members and members of local nature conservation associations (experts from the Specialist Group of Experts). IUCN, GREPOM / Birdlife Morocco, the Ornithology Group of Morocco (GOMAC) and the Association of Friends of Raptors (ASARA)), as well as international experts-representatives of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species belonging to the Wildlife (CMS) – and experts on the conservation and reintroduction of raptors from the Regional Ministry of the Environment of Andalusia (Spain).

The main threats to birds of prey in Morocco were mentioned and prioritized (electrocution, poisoning, etc …), allowing participants to establish a roadmap for the development of the first version of a strategy. of raptors in Morocco, aligned with the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Africa and Eurasia and its Multi-Species Action Plan for the Conservation of African-Eurasian Vultures .

Workshops and events

AMFCR Attends Second National Workshop on Raptor Conservation

In Rabat, the HCEFLCD and IUCN-Med organized a training workshop on 14 and 15 May 2018 on the identification and mitigation of the impact of electricity infrastructure on birdlife. On the sidelines of the event, an agreement was signed between the HCEFLCD and the European Foundation for Conservation and Falconry (EFFC). The AMFCR, within the framework of this convention, will play the role of relay between the 2 signatories

Since 2015, the Office of the High Commissioner for Water and Forests and Combating Desertification (HCEFLCD), in collaboration with the IUCN Center for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) and other partners in the region, have been developing knowledge transfer activities related to the conservation of endangered raptors between technicians and managers from both shores of the Mediterranean. In this context, and following the roadmap agreed in previous seminars, the HCEFLCD and IUCN-Med organized a training workshop on 14-15 May in Rabat on the identification and mitigation of the impact of electric infrastructures on the avifauna.

The main objective of this workshop – which follows the workshop organized on April 19 and 20, 2017 – is to promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge and experience gained about the identification, adaptation and correction of dangerous power lines for birds. The workshop brought together 34 participants including representatives and staff of HCEFLCD, ONEE, members of NGOs involved in the conservation of birds of Morocco and in the energy sector (ENDESA).

The workshop is part of an initiative promoted by the IUCN Center for Mediterranean Cooperation to reduce the threat of death of raptors by electrocution or collision with energy infrastructure in North Africa , in collaboration with governments and electricity companies, and with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment, the Regional Government of Andalusia and the Mava Foundation.

During the workshop, the participants recognized the importance of the problem in Morocco, the role of each actor and the need for collaboration and multisectoral work to advance in the implementation of solutions and a strategic plan in Morocco. National level. The discussions of the working groups show that, at the Moroccan level, there is the will to move in this direction.

At the technical level, the speakers showed the importance of taking actions to protect the avifauna in Morocco and the existence of solutions. Effective devices to reduce or neutralize the danger of power lines and associated structures already exist, to prevent birds from colliding with them or being electrocuted. Participants also appreciated the presentation of methods for the characterization of power lines, for the development of a risk map and for the prioritization of actions to be carried out.

At the level of the organization and the training experts, the commitment and the total availability for any collaboration on this subject were reiterated.

The commitment of the participants to work together to put into practice the priority actions identified during the workshop is a very important step. The Office of the High Commissioner for Water and Forests is already working on the official agreement with ONEE for the identification and correction of black spots. The role of involved NGOs and scientists in characterizing important areas for birdlife and risk areas has been recognized, as well as the need for training for this. ONEE will facilitate information on electrical infrastructures and will work on the characterization and exhaustive inventory of towers, which will help complete the identification guide for dangerous lines in preparation. This guide, once completed, will serve as a training tool and work at the company. With regard to the construction of new power lines, ONEE representatives agree with the need to take into account the impact on birdlife and count on the technical and economic capacity to do so.

The most urgent action reported was the correction of the only black spot identified so far, in Guelmin (southwestern Morocco), which will serve as a pilot experiment. All actors are committed to working to solve the problem. The ONEE regional division will be contacted and informed of the situation and the representatives of the corrective device manufacturer in the workshop are committed to facilitating and installing the necessary equipment. An urgent action plan must be developed for the implementation of this correction.

Flight Hunting - Falconry

El Jadida: Falconry Festival kicks off its fifth edition

The rural commune of Zaouïat Lekouassem, in the province of El Jadida, is hosting, from September 29 to October 1, 2017, the fifth edition of its Falconry Festival.

Falconry: Ancestral Tradition and Universal Heritage, Intergenerational Transmission” It is the theme of the fifth edition of the Lekouassem Falconry Festival that will take place in the rural commune of Zaouïat Lekouassem.

Organized under the auspices of the province of El Jadida by the Provincial Association of Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Association of Falconers Lekouassem Ouled Frej and the Regional Directorate of Culture, the event will take place September 29 October 1st.

In the rural center of Had Ouled Frej, the tribe of Lekouassem nowadays represents the last rampart which preserves ancestral tradition, having known formerly its most noble letters of nobility. Considered for some time as a simple local curiosity, falconry Lekouassem nowadays a renewed interest and recognition and has made this area a favorite place for the development of the art of the thieving and its transmission of father to son. This fifth edition offers an enticing program to introduce heritage and falconry in the village of Smâala Ouled Frej which unquestionably represents the only stronghold of falconry in Morocco. Faithful to its vocation, this Festival tries to promote the culture and the heritage of the region on a background of varied and enticing animation, with on the menu of exhibitions of falconry, shows of folklore, an exhibition of local products of the region , an exhibition of Moroccan purebred hunting dogs, the “Sloughi”, a photographic exhibition of falconry under the theme
“Falconry in the Arab world”, an exhibition of hunting tools, a competition for visual artists (young and confirmed) around the hawk, in addition to fantasia shows and traditional music animated by various folk groups and popular groups. The event will also focus on the Doukkali horse and culinary arts, which are part of the region’s rich heritage.

Falconry, “Al Bayzara”, or hawk hunting is the art of capturing live game with raptors specially trained for this purpose. The practice of this art appeared in our country with the advent of the Arabs in the Maghreb, especially from the twelfth century. This mode of hunting then spread as well in the royal circles as among nomadic and semi-nomadic communities. Historical texts attest to the interest that the sultans of the Maghreb, from the time of the Almohads (13th century), gave to this art and the role played by the hawk in the diplomatic exchanges between Morocco and the countries of the East and from the West. This original and popular tradition is based on the affaitage of the only two species of winged genius perfectly adapted to the hunting methods practiced, namely the peregrine falcons called “Bahri” and “Nebli”. Well anchored, the art of falconry, legacy of our ancestors, inspires by its nobility and authenticity a sense of pride.