Rock Bunting is a common but beautiful bird found in many towns in Morocco.This passerine bird lives in northwestern Africa, southern Europe, east and central Asia and the Himalayas.It’s rare in Western Europe.It is partially migratory with northern populations wintering further south, mainly within the breeding range of the resident southern populations.
The species inhabits semi-arid, sparsely vegetated areas at lower and middle altitudes. It prefers sunny hill sides with rocky outcrops and scattered bushes or trees. Locally it also occurs in quarries, vineyards and other terrains with an alternation of bare soil or rocks and sparsely vegetated areas.
The breeding male has chestnut upperparts, unmarked deep buff underparts, and a pale grey head marked with black stripes.The female rock bunting is a washed-out version of the male, with paler underparts, a grey-brown back and a less contrasted head. The juvenile is similar to the female, but with a streaked head.
The breeding season starts in March and ends usually in August.This bird breeds in open dry rocky mountainous areas.The nest is placed on the ground and built by the female.The nest is protected by vegetation or at the base of a rock.The clutch, usually three to five eggs, is incubated by the female. The chicks are fed by both parents. They leave the nest after 9–13 days and become independent three weeks later.
The species feeds mostly on a wide variety of small invertebrates during the breeding season, although outside the breeding season its diet consists mainly of seeds of herbs or other plants.
There are four races differing mainly in the plumage shades.The Moroccan Rock Bunting belongs to the African variety Emberiza cia cia.
I took the pictures that you can see above and on top of the post in Skoura, a little town located between Ouarzazate and Kalaat M’Gouna.The bird was quite tame and i could approach enough to take these nice shots.
Next post i will talk about the northafrican subespecies of Common Chaffinch !!
See you soon my friends !!!