2 November 2018 – Sparrow migration through the Strait of Gibraltar

Un phénomène peu connu : la migration des Moineaux de l’Europe vers le Maroc à travers le Détroit de Gibraltar. Durant les derniers jours d’octobre, Alejandro Onrubia et ses collègues ont compté plus de 16.000 Moineaux domestiques (Passer domesticus) et quelques centaines de Moineaux espagnols (Passer hispaniolensis) traversant le Détroit vers le Maroc (Alejandro Onrubia, Facebook).

A little known phenomenon: the migration of Sparrows from Europe to Morocco through the Strait of Gibraltar. During the last days of October, Alejandro Onrubia and his colleagues counted more than 16,000 House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and a few hundred Spanish Sparrows (Passer hispaniolensis) crossing the Strait to Morocco (Alejandro Onrubia, Facebook).

Ces passages ne sont que rarement rapportés. Dans la Checklist des Oiseaux du Maroc (Thévenot et al. 2003), nous écrivions :

These passages are rarely reported. In the Checklist of the Birds of Morocco (Thévenot et al. 2003), we wrote:

‘Winter arrivals of domesticus poorly known. Movements across the Straits first reported by Steinfatt (1933), then much later by Bernis (1954), and then remained unnoticed until Telleria (1981) reported large numbers passing from mid Sep to mid Nov, eg 23,000+ counted in autumn 1977. Subsequently, Estrada Devesa (1985) reported a small autumn passage, mid Oct to early Dec 1984, which peaked in Nov (max count of 40 on 20 Nov) further east along the Mediterranean coast on the Peñon Velez de la Gomera, just east of Al-Hoceima. The return movements in spring not reported. Further south, there are few records. Large flocks on Essaouira islands, 26 Oct 1939 (Meinertzhagen 1940), and a large southward movement (c 3000 birds) at dusk at Sidi Moussa, 12 Sep 1972 (Pienkowski 1975), were both considered to involve domesticus rather than tingitanus’

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