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A Report from

South Morocco, 7-13 July,

Olivier Fontaine

Participants : Olivier FONTAINE, SÚbastien CARON

Parcours :
~1st day : Missour>Ksabi>Errachidia>Erfoud>Erg Chebbi>Rissani>Alnif>Tinerhir
~2nd day : Tinerhir>Boumalne>Ouarzazate>Marrakech
~3rd day : Marrakech>Essaouira
~4th day : Essouira>Agadir
~5th day : Agadir>Souss-Massa>Taroudant>Ouka´meden
~6th day : Ouka´meden>Marrakech
~7th day : Marrakech>Beni-Mellal>Midelt>Missour

This one week-trip was quite exhausting as we drove 2300 kms. Also, the aim was not to see a maximum of species but the southern ź specialities ╗. At this time of the year, the conditions are not very enjoyable, because of the heat and also the birds diversity. Unlikely, we didn't have any other suitabilities. Finally, as we didn't have any scopes (left in France), we couldn't search completely some sites, especially the Souss-Massa.

Here are the species observed in taxonomic order :

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Several individuals in Souss-Massa, including chicks.

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
About thirty birds at Essaouira and at Cap Rhir.

Great Cormorant(Phalacrocorax carbo maroccanus)
A few exemplaries at Essaouira and Souss-Massa.

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Common in the openfields, oueds and close to the cities.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
One bird on Essaouira beach, in the middle of the windsurfers ! Some others at Tamri and Sous-Massa.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Only seen atá Souss-Massa.

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
One contact at Souss-Massa

White Stork(Ciconia ciconia)
Very common, especially next the cities.

White Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
5 birds at oued Tamri.

Bald Ibis(Geronticus eremita)
Very nice observation of 73 birds at the same site as before and another flying bird at Souss-Massa.

Greater Flamingo(Phoenicopterus ruber)
Nearly a hundred at Souss-Massa.

Ruddy Shelduck(Tadorna ferruginea)
Halk a dozen on the same site.

Marbled Teal(Marmaronetta angustirostris)
4 birds still at Souss-Massa.

Black Kite(Milvus migrans)
Several birds everywhere.

Long-legged Buzzard(Buteo rufinus)
Idem as before.

Booted Eagle(Hieraaetus pennatus)
One sighting at Ouka´meden, clear form.

Short-toed Eagle(Circaetus gallicus)
2 contacts (one close to Marrakech and a young one at Ouka´meden)

Common Kestrel(Falco tinnunculus)
Very common everywhere.

Eleonora's Falcon(Falco eleonorae)
Not less than 40 individuals on Essaouira bridge and some others in the port.

Peregrine Falcon(Falco peregrinus)
One immature, roosting on Souss-Massa Beach.

Lanner(Falco biarmicus)
One bird on the electric poles, after Missour.

Barbary Partridge(Alectoris barbara)
One contact at Essaouira and a few groups on the way to Tizi-n-Test.

Common Quail(Coturnix coturnix)
Some singing birds at Ouka´meden, a couple well observed.

Common Moorhen(Gallinula chloropus)
Several birds at Souss-Massa.

Eurasian Coot(Fulica atra)
Numerous on the same site.

European Oystercatcher(Haematopus ostralegus)
One at oued Tamri and 4 others at Souss-Massa.

Stone-curlew(Burhinus oedicnemus)
One sighting before Essaouira.

Little Ringed Plover(Charadrius dubius)
Several individuals at Souss-Massa.

Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
2 birds on the same site.

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
About ten at Souss-Massa.

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
A single bird at Souss-Massa.

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Very common on the coast.

Lesser Black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)
Several birds at Essaouira.

Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
2 individuals at Tamri and 2 others at Souss-Massa.

Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)
Numerous at Souss-Massa.

Crowned Sandgrouse (Pterocles coronatus)
2 squashed birds on the road between Rissani and Alnif.

Wood Pigeon (Columba palombus)
Several sightings, especially in the Atlas mountains.

Rock Dove (Columba livia)

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common, near the urbanized areas.

Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Very common. Impressive concentration after Taroudant, in the fruit trees plantations.

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis)
Several iexemplaries in the palm trees plantations.

Great spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)
Very nice observation of a juvenile at Souss-Massa.

Little Swift (Apus affinis)
Several birds in the town center of Marrakech.

Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)

Common Swift (Apus apus)

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater(Merops superciliosus)
2 individuals at Achbarou.

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
A few groups between Ouarzazate and Marrakech, in the fruit trees plantations.

Roller (Coracius garrulus)
A young one in a pine tree between Taddert and Marrakech.

Common Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
2 sightings. One in the DadŔs Valley and one other near Taroudant.

Levaillant's green Woodpecker (Picus vaillantii)
Unexpected contact of a single bird, feeding on the ground, close to the chair-lift , at Ouka´meden.

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Very common.

Thekla Lark (Galerida theklae)
Common in the Middle-Atlas and locally .

Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)
Some individuals on the edge of the roads, in cultivated lands.

Atlas Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris atlas)
Numerous birds in the grass-land, at Ouka´meden.

Temminck's Horned Lark (Eremophila bilopha)
Several exemplaries on the way to Midelt.

Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti)
Quite common, in arid zones.

Bar-tailed Desert Lark (Ammomanes cincturus)
A few individuals at the Chebbi Erg and in dry lands.

Brown-throated Sand Martin (Riparia paludicola)
About ten at Souss-Massa.

Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Several, south of Taddert.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Daily observed.

House Martin(Delichon urbica)

Grey Wagtail(Motacilla cinerea)
One contact at Ouka´meden.

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)
A few birds close to the oueds and cultivated lands.

Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
A few singers in the campsite of Tinerhir.

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Several sightings in the High Atlas.

Moussier's Redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri)
Several birds on the way to Ouka´meden and Tizi-n-Test.

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Locally common, especially in the Middle Atlas. Seebohmi subspecies.

Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
Numerous observations.

Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)
Several individuals of the melanoleuca subspecie at Ouka´meden.

Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)
Quite common in the Middle Atlas.

Red-rumped Wheatear (Oenanthe moesta)
A few birds between Missour and Midelt.

White-crowned Wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga)
2 individuals on the way to Ouarzazate.

Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
Several birds on the way to Ouka´meden.

Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Very common.

Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
One bird at Ouka´meden

Fan-tailed Warbler(Cisticola juncidis)
Heard or seen almostdaily.

Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Only one sighting at Souss-Massa.

Tristam's Warbler (Sylvia deserticola)
Very quick observation on the way to Tizi-n-Test.

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Numerous birds in the Middle Atlas.

Great Tit(Parus major)
A few contacts in the Middle Atlas.

Fulvous Warbler (Turdoides fulvous)
Half a dozen in the acacias between Rissani and Alnif.

Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)
Widespread, except in the high areas.

Black-headed Bush-Shrike(Tchagra senegala)
Superb observation of a singing bird at Souss-Massa.

Southern Great grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis)
Common in the copses.

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Several sightings in the copses.

Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Locally common.

Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
2 contacts close to Tizi-n-Test.

Eurasian Magpie(Pica pica)
At least 30 birds near Agadir.

Yellow-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus)
Present atá Ouka´meden.

Red-billed Chough(Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Common in the Atlas.

Brown-necked Raven(Corvus ruficollis)
On individual at Chebbi Erg.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Very common.

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
Only a few between Missour and Midelt.

Rock sparrow (Petronia petronia)
An impressive concentration at Ouka´meden, at least 100 birds close the chair-lift.

Desert Sparrow (Passer simplex)
CafÚ Yasmina ! at Chebbi erg, at least 10 birds.

Eurasian Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Common in the Atlas.

European Serin (Serinus serinus)

European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

European Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Great groups at Ouka´meden.

Rock Bunting(Emberiza cia)
One bird near Rich and one other at Ouka´meden.

House Bunting (Emberiza striolata)
Very common in the cities.


Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
Barbary Ground Squirrel (Atlantoxerus getulus)
Brown Hare (Lepus capensis)


Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Mauritanian Toad (Bufo mauritanicus)
North african Green Frog (Rana saharica)
Spanish Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa)
Changeable Agama (Trapelus mutabilis)
Spiny-tailed Agamid (Uromastyx acanthinurus)
North African Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta pater)


Finally, we observed a bit more than 100 different birds which is not huge but we didn't aim to get some species we had already seen in our working area (Larks, Warblers or Raptors essentially). Also, the time was limited and we lost some to reach the sites. Concerning the Lammergeier, it seems that the French Alpine Club Refuge Owner has seen one a few days before we arrived.

Well, the next trip should give us some more fun and ticks !

Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation
Province de Boulemane - B.P. 47
33250 Missour
GSM : +212 (0)71938901
TÚl. : +212 (0)55 585 752 - Fax : 212 (0)55 585 206 (professionnal)á (personnal)


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