Short Communication

Alarming decline and range reduction of the highly threatened Great Bustard Otis tarda in Morocco

Published in: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Volume 87, issue 3, 2016 , pages: 277–280
DOI: 10.2989/00306525.2016.1209591
Author(s): Juan Carlos AlonsoDepartment of Evolutionary Ecology, Spain, Carlos PalacínDepartment of Evolutionary Ecology, Spain, Alejandro OnrubiaFundación MIGRES, Spain, Rachid AboulouafaeSPCDRN/DREFLCD du Rif, Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification (HCEFLCD), Morocco, Mohamed AmezianGREPOM Unité régionale Tanger-Tétouan, Morocco, Abdelaziz El Idrissi EssougratiGREPOM Unité régionale de Rabat, Morocco, Rachid El KhamlichiGREPOM Unité régionale Tanger-Tétouan, Morocco, Mohamed NoamanService de la Conservation de la Flore et de la Faune Sauvage, Morocco

Abstract

A Great Bustard Otis tarda survey carried out in spring 2015 in Morocco confirmed the decline of this highly endangered population. Bustards were only seen at two of the seven leks occupied ten years ago. The total number of birds counted was 40-44, which represents a 40% decline over the last decade. The sex-ratio was still strongly female-biased (1 male: 3 females), but less than in previous surveys, which suggests that trophy hunting has not been the major mortality cause in recent times. The productivity was 0.29-0.33 juveniles per female, the highest ever recorded in this population, suggesting that breeding success doesn’t represent the main problem for the survival of this population. Based on the recent development of the power line network at some areas, the main threat today is probably collision with power lines. Reducing this mortality cause should be considered a high conservation priority.

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