Southern Morocco 7-14 december 2000


Troels Eske Ortvad (, Sebastian Klein and Kasper Thorup, Denmark


7.12: Copenhagen - Agadir - Oued Massa - Agadir.

8.12: Agadir - Boumalne (Tagdilt Track).

9.12: Boumalne - Cafe Yasmina (Erg Chebbi).

10.12: Cafe Yasmina - Ouarzazate.

11.12: Ouarzazate - Oukaimeden - Agadir.

12.12 Agadir - Oued Massa - Oued Sous - Agadir.

13.12: Agadir- Kap Rhir - Tamri - Agadir.

14.12 Agadir - Copenhagen.


Arrived in Agadir at noon. Hired a class-b car at the terminal for 3200 dirhams (including 3 drivers) for seven days (fully insured) by a local Moroccan bureau. The vehicle performed well all 2000+ km. Drove immediately to Oued Massa to tick the coast stuff (Bald Ibis, Marbled Teal, Plain Martin, Black-headed Bush Shrike) which proved relatively easy.

At first light of the second day (8.12) we headed east to Tagdilt Track. In the Sous Valley Dartford and Tristams Warblers and two rather tame Lanner Falcons were pleasant surprises. While passing through the hills between Tizi-n-Bachkoum and the road to Marrakech a glimpse of a passerine with a striking wing-pattern made the car come to a full stop. We soon appreciated that the wing belonged to a brilliant Thick-billed Lark. Arrived at Boumalne by sundown and booked in at Hotel Chems (160 dirhams/3 persons) which served fine Moroccan dishes.

In the crisp morning air of the third day (9.12) the Tagdilt Track was a great experience with its broad selection of steppe-desert species, notably Temminck's Lark and Red-rumped Wheatear. We hoped for Crowned Sandgrouse and was rewarded with two individuals flying in high, late in the morning, declaring their arrival by the characteristic cackling calls (with a whistle note mixed in!). By noon we were back on the tarmac on an easterly course towards the land of the Desert Sparrows. Passed Erfoud in the afternoon and drove (almost) straight to Cafe Yasmina, where we enjoyed great views of the local House Sparrows , but no simplex’. These were, however, found at the nearest cafe in good numbers (c. 50). Stayed at Cafe Yasmina (130 dirhams/3 persons) which serves solid Moroccan dishes.

Early morning of the forth day (10.12) we birded around Yasmina, and had Tristams and Spectacled Warblers. Later in the morning we were at Auberge Kasbah Dakaoua searching for Fulvous Chatterer and Desert Warbler. Despite some two hours of walking up and down the wadi we failed to detect any Desert Warblers but found a gang of Chatterers around some palm trees. By the way, the hotel boss chased us away when we asked permission to visit the hotel gardens. Warbler-stops at the wadis on the way to Erfoud produced little more than Dartfords and Tristams. On the way to Ouarzazate, where we spent the night at Hotel Royal (125 D/3 persons), the most significant sighting was two male Mourning Wheatears (together) by the road somewhere between Skoura and El-Kelaa M´gouna (forgotten the exact location).

The fifth day (11.12) we went on a rather lengthy drive around the Atlas Mountains which to some extent proved a waste of carbon dioxide emission. No snow had fallen in the mountain yet, and Red-billed Chough was the only high-altitude species around at the Oukaimeden ski resort. We were later told that when there is no snow, most alpine species only frequent the resort area in the morning; we were there in the afternoon. On the way down the mountain we found the green-coloured woodpeckers next to the road. Were rather surprised to find that the male displays red feathers distally in the moustachial (malar) stripe.

The sixth (12.12) day we were back on the coast. Began by revisiting the Oued Massa. In the morning Pallid and Little Swifts were feeding low above the valley. The Bush Shrikes were present by both the two lower bridges crossing the river, a Ferruginous Duck lay amongst the Pochards and 2 Ruddy Shelducks passed overhead. Later in the day, at Oued Sous, we added a number of species to the tour-list including 3 Bonelli´s Eagles and 20 first-winter Mediterranean Gulls.

The seventh day (13.12) we went up the coast to try to see some seabirds at Kap Rhir and more Bald Ibises at Tamri. Easterly winds and haze was not exactly ideal conditions for seabird watching, so we quickly moved on to Tamri where six Bald Ibises were feeding on the sandy hillside. On the way back to Agadir we stoped to check Laridae´s at Amesnaz. It proved to be a wise choice when an adult Lesser Crested-Tern were found standing on the beach amongst Sandwich Terns.

Below the species account (c. 160 species):

Little Grebe

Oued Massa: Common

Tachybaptus ruficollis

Black-necked Grebe

Oued Massa: 12.12 2

Podiceps nigricollis

Cory's Shearwater

Kap Rhir: 13.12 1

Calonectris diomedea

Balearic Shearwater

Kap Rhir: 13.12 15

Puffinus mauretanicus

Northern Gannet


Morus bassanus

Great Cormorant


Phalacrocorax carbo

Squacco Heron

Oued Massa: 12.12 2 1 km east of eastern reserve entrance gate

Ardeola ralloides

Cattle Egret


Bubulcus ibis

Little Egret

Noted at the coast estuaries

Egretta garzetta

Grey Heron

Noted at the coast estuaries

Ardea cinerea

White Stork

Sous Valley: 8/12 1

Oued Sous: 12.12 20

Ciconia ciconia

Glossy Ibis

Oued Massa: 7/12 25, 12/12 10

Oued Sous: 12/12 5

Plegadis falcinellus

Bald Ibis

Oued Massa area: 7/12 180 (night roost), 12.12 2 in flight

Tamri: 13/12 2 ad. + 4 juv. feeding near the last dirt road uphill before (2 km south of) the river mouth

Geronticus eremita

Eurasian Spoonbill

Oued Sous: 12.12 20

Platalea leucorodia

Greater Flamingo

Oued Massa: 7.12 10, 12.12 10

Oued Sous: 12.12 200

Phoenicopterus ruber

Ruddy Shelduck

Oued Massa: 12.12 2

Tadorna ferruginea

Eurasian Wigeon

Oued Massa: a few noted

Anas penelope


Oued Massa: 12.12 20

Anas strepera

Common Teal

Oued Massa: noted

Anas crecca


Oued Massa: noted

Anas platyrhynchos

Northern Pintail

Oued Massa: noted

Anas acuta


Oued Massa: 7.12 1

Anas querquedula

Northern Shoveler

Oued Massa: noted

Anas clypeata

Marbled Teal

Oued Massa: 7.12 and 12.12 c. 300

Marmaronetta angustirostris

Common Pochard

Oued Massa: noted

Aythya ferina

Ferruginous Pochard

Oued Massa:12.12 1 female with Pochards

Aythya nyroca

Tufted Duck

Oued Massa: 7.12 3

Aythya fuligula

Common Scoter

Kap Rhir: 13.12 1

Melanitta nigra

Black-winged Kite

Oued Massa area: 7.12 2, 12.12 1

Elanus caeruleus

Western Marsh-Harrier

Oued Massa: 12.12 3 juv.

Circus aeruginosus

Northern Goshawk

Oukaimeden: 11.12 1 5 km before

Accipiter gentilis

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Sous Valley: 8.12 2

Accipiter nisus

Long-legged Buzzard

Tagdilt Track: 9.12 3, 10.12 1

North of Tizi-n-Tichka: 11.12 1

Oued Massa: 12.12 1

Buteo rufinus

Golden Eagle

Taznakht - Ouarzazate: 8.12 1 juv.

Aquila chrysaetos

Bonelli's Eagle

Oued Sous: 12.12 3 ad. 3 km up stream

Hieraaetus fasciatus


Oued Massa: 7.12 5, 12.12 3

Oued Sous: 12.12 2

Pandion haliaetus

Common Kestrel


Falco tinnunculus

Lanner Falcon

Southern Sous Valley road: 8.12 2 ad. sitting on telephone poles

Falco biarmicus

Peregrine Falcon

Oukaimeden:11.12 1

Falco peregrinus

Barbary Falcon

Oued Massa: 7.12 1 ad., 12.12 1 ad.

Tamri: 13.12 1 ad.

Falco pelegrinoides

Barbary Partridge

Oued Massa: 12.12 8

South of Kap Rhir: 13.12 3

Alectoris barbara

Common Moorhen

Oued Massa: Common

Oued Sous: Common

Gallinula chloropus

Common Coot

Oued Massa: Common

Fulica atra

Common Crane

Agadir: 8.12 flock heard at night passing the hotel

Grus grus

Eurasian Oystercatcher

Oued Sous: 12.12 10

Haematopus ostralegus

Black-winged Stilt

Oued Massa: 7.12 2, 12.12 5

Oued Sous: 12.12 100

Himantopus himantopus

Little Ringed Plover

Oued Sous: 12.12 15

Charadrius dubius

Common Ringed Plover

Oued Sous: 12.12 15

Charadrius hiaticula

Kentish Plover

Amesnaz north of Agadir: 13.12 10

Charadrius alexandrinus

Eurasian Golden-Plover

Oued Sous: 12.12 5

Pluvialis apricaria

Grey Plover

Oued Sous: 12.12 10

Pluvialis squatarola

Northern Lapwing

Oued Massa: noted

Oued Sous: noted

Vanellus vanellus

Red Knot

Oued Sous: 12.12 25

Calidris canutus


Amesnaz north of Agadir: 13.12 10

Calidris alba

Little Stint

Oued Massa: 7.12 10

Oued Sous: 12.12 20

Calidris minuta


Oued Massa: 7.12 20, 12.12 20

Oued Sous: 12.12 20

Calidris alpina


Oued Sous: 12.12 1

Philomachus pugnax

Common Snipe

Oued Massa: 7.12 3, 12.12 3

Oued Sous: 12.12 1

Gallinago gallinago

Black-tailed Godwit

Oued Massa: 7.12 25, 12.12 10

Oued Sous: 12.12 5

Limosa limosa

Bar-tailed Godwit

Oued Massa: 7.12 5

Oued Sous: 12.12 5

Limosa lapponica


Oued Massa: 7.12 5

Numenius phaeopus

Eurasian Curlew

Oued Massa: 7.12 5

Numenius arquata

Common Redshank

Oued Massa: noted

Oued Sous: noted

Tringa totanus

Common Greenshank

Oued Massa: noted

Oued Sous: noted

Tringa nebularia

Green Sandpiper

Oued Massa: noted

Oued Sous: noted

Sous Valley: noted

Tringa ochropus

Common Sandpiper

Oued Massa: noted

Oued Sous: noted

Tringa hypoleucos

Parasitic Skua

Kap Rhir: 13.12 3

Amesnaz: 13.12 2

Stercorarius parasiticus

Great Skua

Kap Rhir: 13.12 1

Catharacta skua

Mediterranean Gull

Oued Sous: 12.12 20 first-winters

Tamri: 13.12 1 first-winter

Larus melanocephalus

Common Black-headed Gull

Oued Massa: 7.12 5, 12.12 5

Oued Sous: 12.12 200

Larus ridibundus

Audouin's Gull

Oued Massa: 7.12 200, 12.12 25

Oued Sous: 12.12 50

Amesnaz: 13.12 100

Kap Rhir: 13.12 20

Tamri: 13.12 400

Larus audouinii

Lesser Black-backed Gull


Larus fuscus

Herring Gull

Larus argentatus

Western Herring Gull

Oued Massa: 12.12 1

Larus argentatus argentateus

Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull

Small numbers by the coast

Larus cachinnans michahellis

Gull-billed Tern

Oued Sous: 12.12 1

Sterna nilotica

Lesser Crested-Tern

Amesnaz, between Kap Rhir and Agadir: 13.12 1 ad. at the beach with Sandwich Terns

Sterna bengalensis

Sandwich Tern

Common by the coast

Sterna sandvicensis

Crowned Sandgrouse

Tagdilt Track: 9.12 2 flew in from northwest to land 3-500 m south of the junction between the "old" and the "new" (following Gosney 1996) track

Pterocles coronatus

Black-bellied Sandgrouse

Tagdilt Track: 9.12 50 feeding 3-500 m south of the junction between the "old" and the "new" (following Gosney 1996) track

Pterocles orientalis

Rock Pigeon

Atlas Mountain north of Tizi-n-Tichka: 11.12 20

Columba livia

Common Wood-Pigeon

Oued Sous: 12.12 5

Columba palumbus

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Common, widespread

Streptopelia decaocto

Laughing Dove

Small numbers by the coast

Streptopelia senegalensis

Little Owl

Boumalne: 8.12 2 on telephone wires at dusk

Athene noctua

Pallid Swift

Oued Massa: 12.12 30+ feeding low in the morning. Only few noted later in the day

Apus pallidus

Little Swift

Oued Massa: 12.12 10+ feeding low above the river in the morning, non seen later in the day. Non seen from the hotel in downtown Agadir

Apus affinis

Common Kingfisher

Oued Massa: 7.12 1

Alcedo atthis

Eurasian Hoopoe

West of Taroudannt: 8.12 1

- also noted elsewhere

Upupa epops

Eurasian Wryneck

Oued Massa: 12.12 1-2

Jynx torquilla

Levaillant's Woodpecker

Oukaimeden: 11.12 2-3 in old deciduous trees in the canyon just below the last village before the ski resort

Picus vaillantii

Bar-tailed Desert Lark

West of Taznakht: 8.12 10

Auberge Dakaoua, Erfoud: 10.12: 5

Ammomanes cincturus

Desert Lark

Noted from Taznakht and eastward, where common.

Ammomanes deserti

Greater Hoopoe-Lark

Common in the dry desert

Alaemon alaudipes

Thick-billed Lark

In hills between Tizi-n-Bachkoum and road to Marrakech in stony habitat where dirt road signposted "Hamam" runs south: 8.12 1

Ramphocoris clotbey

Greater Short-toed Lark

Oued Massa: 12.12 1

Calandrella brachydactyla

Lesser Short-toed Lark

Tagdilt Track: 9.12 200

- also noted elsewhere

Calandrella rufescens

Crested Lark


Galerida cristata

Thekla Lark


Galerida theklae

Eurasian Skylark

Sous Valley: 8.12 1

Tagdilt Track: 9.12 10

Alauda arvensis

Temminck's Lark

Tagdilt Track: 9.12 50

Eremophila bilopha

Plain Martin

Oued Massa: 7.12 10, 12.12 10

Riparia paludicola

Sand Martin

Oued Massa: 12.12 1

Riparia riparia

Eurasian Crag-Martin

Oued Massa: 7.12 100, 12.12 100

Tizi-n-Tichka: 11.12 100 down the southern side

- also noted elsewhere

Hirundo rupestris

Barn Swallow

Common by the coast

Hirundo rustica

Red-rumped Swallow

Oued Massa: 12.12 1

Hirundo daurica

Northern House-Martin

Oued Massa: 7.12 5, 12.12 5

Delichon urbica

Meadow Pipit

Common in habitat

Anthus pratensis

Iberian Yellow Wagtail

West of Taroudannt: 8.12 200

- also noted elsewhere

Motacilla flava iberiae

Grey Wagtail

Taliouine: 8.12 2

Oued Sous: 12.12 2

Motacilla cinerea

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

European White Wagtail:

Common, widespread

Motacilla alba alba

Moroccan White Wagtail:

Taliouine: 8.12 1

Oued Massa: 12.12 1

Motacilla alba subpersonata

Garden Bulbul

Common, widespread

Pycnonotus barbatus

Winter Wren

Atlas Mountains: common

Troglodytes troglodytes

European Robin


Erithacus rubecula

Black Redstart

Common, widespread

Phoenicurus ochruros

Moussier's Redstart

Common, especially by the coast

Phoenicurus moussieri

Common Stonechat

Common, widespread

Saxicola torquata

Desert Wheatear

Auberge Kasbah Dakaoua, Erfoud: 10.12 2 in the wadi

West of Jorf: 10.12 1

Oenanthe deserti

Red-rumped Wheatear

Tagdilt Track: 9.12 15

Oenanthe moesta

Mourning Wheatear

Skoura - El-Kelaa M´gouna: 10.12 2 males by the road

Oenanthe lugens

White-tailed Wheatear

Noted from Taznakht and eastward where common

Oenanthe leucopyga

Black Wheatear

Common in the mountains at low and medium altitude. One noted by the coast at Tamri

Oenanthe leucura

Blue Rock-Thrush

Oued Massa: 7.12 1 by the coast 4 km north of

Monticola solitarius

Ring Ouzel

Oukaimeden: 11.12 1

Turdus torquatus

Eurasian Blackbird

Common, widespread

Turdus merula

Song Thrush

A few noted in the Atlas Mountains and Sous Valley

Turdus philomelos

Cetti's Warbler

Oued Massa: Common by the river. Often heard singing, one individual seen.

Cettia cetti

Zitting Cisticola

Oued Massa: Common

Tamri: 13.12 1

Cisticola juncidis

Eurasian Reed-Warbler

Oued Massa: 7.12 1, 12.12 1

Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Dartford Warbler

Sous Valley: 8.12 1 at southern road

Auberge Kasbah Dakaoua, Erfoud: 10.12 3

Wadi south of Erfoud (site 8 in Gosney 1996): 10.12 1

Sylvia undata

Tristram's Warbler

Sous Valley: 8.12 1 by southern road

Cafe Yasmina: 10.12 5

Auberge Kasbah Dakaoua, Erfoud: 10.12 5 in the wadi

- also noted elsewhere

Sylvia deserticola

Spectacled Warbler

Cafe Yasmina: 10.12 5

Sylvia conspicillata

Sardinian Warbler

Common, widespread

Sylvia melanocephala



Sylvia atricapilla

Common Chiffchaff

Common, widespread

Phylloscopus collybita

Pied Flycatcher

Taliouine: 8.12 1

Ficedula hypoleuca

Fulvous Chatterer

Auberge Kasbah Dakaoua, Erfoud: 10.12 10 around palm trees in the wadi

Turdoides fulvus

Coal Tit

Common in the Atlas Mountains

Parus ater

Blue Tit

Common in the Atlas Mountains

Parus caeruleus

Great Tit

Noted in the Atlas Mountains

Parus major

Black-headed Bush Shrike

Oued Massa: 2-4 by both the bridged crossing the river indicated on the Gosney (1996) map

Tchagra senegala

Great Grey Shrike

Common, widespread

Lanius excubitor

Eurasian Jay

Oukaimeden: 11.12 1 in the woody valley north of

Garrulus glandarius

Black-billed Magpie

Lower Sous Valley: 8.12 100

Agadir - Oued Massa: 12.12 30

Pica pica

Red-billed Chough

Oukaimeden: 11.12 20

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Brown-necked Raven

South of Erfoud: Common

Corvus ruficollis

Common Raven

Oukaimeden: 11.12 2

Agadir - Tamri: 13.12 5

Corvus corax

Spotless Starling

Common, widespread

Sturnus unicolor

House Sparrow

Common, widespread

Passer domesticus

Spanish Sparrow

Oued Massa: 12.12 10

Passer hispaniolensis

Desert Sparrow

Cafe Yasmina, and the cafe just south of: 9.12 50, 10.12 40

Passer simplex

Rock Sparrow

Tizi-n-Tichka pass: 11.12 8

Petronia petronia


Fringilla coelebs

Common Chaffinch:

Common, at least in the mountains

Fringilla coelebs coelebs

North-west African Chaffinch:

Common in the dry lower altitudes, not noted at higher altitudes

Fringilla coelebs africana

European Serin


Serinus serinus

European Greenfinch


Carduelis chloris

European Goldfinch


Carduelis carduelis

Eurasian Linnet


Carduelis cannabina

Trumpeter Finch

Taliouine: 8.12 15

Taznakht - Ouarzazate: 8.12 40

Cafe Yasmina: 10.12 10

South of Erfoud: 11.12 10

Rhodopechys githaginea

Cirl Bunting

Lower Sous Valley: 8.12 3

Emberiza cirlus

Rock Bunting

Taznakht - Ouarzazate: 8.12 1

Common in Atlas

Emberiza cia

House Bunting


Emberiza striolata

Corn Bunting

Cafe Yasmina: 9.12 1

Miliaria calandra