Ardea
Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union

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Amezian M., Cortes J., Thompson I., Bensusan K., Perez C., Louah A. & El Agbani M.A. & Qninba A. (2010) Complete moult of an undescribed resident taxon of the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus / baeticatus complex in the Smir marshes, Northern Morocco. ARDEA 98 (2): 225-234
A complete moult north of the Sahara has never been reported conclusively in the Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus complex. During a ringing program carried out in the Smir marshes (northern Morocco) 140 adults and 292 juvenile Reed Warblers were examined during four autumns in the period 20042008. Of these birds, 8.9% of juveniles were either in active moult (n = 17) or had completed moult (n = 9) and 48.6% of adults were either in active moult (n = 32) or completely moulted (n = 22). At least some of the moulting birds were of local origin (i.e. Smir breeding population), since 14 males and one female were captured in autumn and later recaptured in spring showing signs of breeding activity, or captured in spring and recaptured moulting in autumn. Also, one juvenile captured in May was recaptured in November while moulting. Capture history of some moulting birds indicate that they over-winter locally and others most likely winter somewhere else in Morocco (i.e. north of the Sahara). Therefore, we report the discovery of a (partly) sedentary population of an as yet undescribed taxon of Reed Warblers in Smir marshes, Morocco. The relationship of these to the Eurasian A. scirpaceus and African A. baeticatus Reed Warblers remains to be investigated.


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