Friday, March 14, 2014

Black-crowned Tchagra song, Morocco (part 2)

For part 1 of this blog on the Tchagra, see here. Last week I was lucky enough to capture a pair of Black-crowned Tchagras  (Tchagra senegalus) duetting in Morocco. The male is uttering the musical, flutey whistles followed by the rapid, higher-pitched buzzy rattles (highlighted in red). The female immediately joins in with rapidly descending rattling/churring, followed by slower, discontinuous, nasal churring (highlighted in green).
Track in the Oued Massa flood plain, Morocco, 9 March 2014

Duetting song uttered from a pair in a Tamarisk in the flood plain of the Oued Massa

Further north in the Zaer cork region near Rabat, I recorded a more distant male initially singing bouts of perched song phrases before taking to its aerial display flight. In the recording below, you can hear a non-vocal signal between 0.8 and 2.6 seconds as it takes flight. This is known as 'wing-fripping'.
17 Km north of Sidi Betache, Morocco, 7 March 2014

Song phrases uttered from a male in flight -listen carefully between 0.8 and 2.6 secs for 'wing-fripping'.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black-crowned Tchagra song, Morocco (part1)

Since my first trips to Morocco in 2007 and 2011 (High Atlas and the south-eastern desert area), I've wanted to return and do a trip down the west coast. This time I went from Larache in the north down to the Oued Massa south of Agadir. My main targets were African Marsh Owl (Asio capensis), Double-spurred Francolin (Pternistis bicalcaratus), Plain Martin (Riparia paludicola) and Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegalus) - all seen. 

In particular I wanted to get some sound recordings of the melancholic, lilting, Tchagra song - one of the most beautiful bird sounds in North Africa. Most days were quite windy and most of the day at the Oued Massa was too windy for recording. Luckily I found a Tchagra singing right beside a track in a sheltered area and I used the car door as extra shelter - like a giant misshaped parabola! 

The Black-crowned Tchagra appears to have several song types. The first one I recorded below in the Sidi Betache area is a longer and faster type. Presumably this is from an advertising male. Later I will post a snippet of this bird in aerial display flight,
17 Km north of Sidi Betache, Morocco, 7 March 2014

The second type I recorded from the Oued Massa was shorter and slower and is from a paired bird. This song possibly may have more to do with male-female communication as its mate was observed close by. Later I will post a recording of a duet when the female joined it in the same tree.
Track in the Oued Massa flood plain, Morocco, 9 March 2014