South Morocco with Birding Breaks 5 - 15 april 2009
tour leader: Arnoud B. van den Berg
Report by John van der Woude at www.jvanderw.nl

 

Part 1. Birding sites
Part 2.
Bird photos (this page)
Part 3. Species list


Below, photos are shown of several of the special bird species of this succesful trip. For all photos the copyright remains at the photographer mentioned. Where no photographer has been mentioned, the pictures are ours (Nollie and me). The photos appear roughly in chronological order. Some of Arnoud's photos date from earlier trips in this region, and then the date has been mentioned.

For the scientific bird names, see the Species list. For a view of the habitats where the birds have been seen (plus an introduction to this report), see Birding sites. From the scientific bird names it is clear whether a northwest African specialty is a species or a subspecies. However, below this is often indicated too.

Because this was a trip of a tour company, and for bird protection reasons, I mostly omit the exact locations of special and/or rare bird species.



Atlas Chaffinch (subspecies africana of our Chaffinch) and House Sparrow (subspecies tingitanus). 
Both were common.


House Bunting in Marrakech. Split from the eastern form. 
Often heard and seen at hotels and other buildings.


Moussier's Redstart near Oukaimeden (photo
Arnoud B. van den Berg 26-3-2007). The first one we saw was a real treat of course, but it remained a gem even after many more of them later on.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk, subspecies punicus, near
Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).
Accidentally seen perched during our first search for Levaillant's Woodpecker.


Atlas Horned Lark near
Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg 26-3-2009).

African Crimson-winged Finch at Oukaimeden ski area.


African Crimson-winged Finch at Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
Crimson-winged Finch has been split into a western and an eastern species.


Rock Bunting at Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Seebohm's Wheatear at Oukaimeden (photo Henk Laarhoven). 
Has been split from Northern Wheatear, for obvious reasons.


Seebohm's Wheatear at Oukaimeden (photo Silvia Laarhoven).


Lammergeier at Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).
Had not been seen for some years, hence 'rediscovered' by our group (that is, by Silvia).



Mistle Thrush, subspecies
reisleri, near Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).

Firecrest below Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Levaillant's Woodpecker near Oukaimeden (photo Silvia Laarhoven). It took some time to find it, as usual with woodpeckers, but then we got splendid views. This was one of a group of three.


Levaillant's Woodpecker near Oukaimeden (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Crowned Sandgrouse West of Boumalne (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Thick-billed Lark West of Boumalne (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
Discovered while trying to find back the above Crowned Sandgrouse which had been spotted from the bus.


Thick-billed Lark West of Boumalne (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 


Red-rumped Wheatear East of Boumalne (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
Regularly seen, but it often does not catch the eye. In total, we had nine wheatear species on this trip.


Western Mourning Wheatear was seen East of Boumalne (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg 31-3-2006). One of the highlights of the trip, as it is a difficult and scarce species, in pure stone desert habitat.


Desert Lark East of Boumalne (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg 28-3-2009). Not often noticed.


Tristram's Warbler in the Todhra gorge (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). The trouble to find this scarce species was well compensated by good views. Moreover, the Todhra gorge is spectacular.


Tristram's Warbler in the Todhra gorge (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Maghreb Scrub Warbler East of Goulmina (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg 29-3-2009). 
We saw a whole family, hopping through the bushes.


Desert Grey Shrike (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg)

Cream-coloured Courser near Merzouga. We encountered several groups. 


Desert Sparrow near Merzouga (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg 30-3-2009).
Seen only once, a pair. See note at Birding sites.


Greater Hoopoe-Lark near Merzouga, just before starting his display flight.


Greater Hoopoe-Lark near Merzouga (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
Seen on several sites, starting with a few in the stone desert, and many more in the sand desert.


Greater Hoopoe-Lark near Merzouga, in the last part of the display flight (photo Henk Laarhoven). 
See The Sound Approach to Birding for a whole series of photos taken during one display flight.


Long-billed Crested Lark near Merzouga
(photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).

African Desert Warbler near Merzouga (photo Silvia Laarhoven). 
The only one of the trip, so it must have very special habitat requirements.


African Desert Warbler near Merzouga (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Spotted Sandgrouse near Merzouga.


Spotted Sandgrouse male near Merzouga (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Spotted Sandgrouse pair near Merzouga. Just sat on the 'road'. 


Houbara Bustard near Merzouga (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). The only one of the trip, and we were very lucky to see it. The eastern form is now called Macqueen's Bustard, so the former Houbara Bustard had been split into two species.
This photo has also been published in Dutch Birding 2009, nr. 3.

Pharaoh Eagle-Owl near Merzouga (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). Adult with two nestlings.


Fulvous Babbler near Ouarzazate (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
Only during our second visit to the reservoir did we get it into view.


Lilith's Owl near Ouarzazate (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg 3 April 2009).

Red-throated Pipit near Ouarzazate (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
One of the last ones of this migration season. Ten days earlier many more had ben seen at this spot.


Western Olivaceous Warbler near Ouarzazate (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
Heard at many sites, from the start of the trip already.


Pallid Swift at Ouarzazate (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg 1 April 2009)

Spanish Sparrow in former House Martin nest near Tazenakht (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Temminck's Lark with young near Tazenakht (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Temminck's Lark near Tazenakht
(photo Silvia Laarhoven).

Temminck's Lark near Tazenakht. Also seen in the stone desert of Boumalne.


Maghreb Tawny Owl on streetlamp in Taroudannt (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
Discovered by chance during a stroll after dinner. Arnoud's first photo ever of this subspecies.

Also published in Dutch Birding 2009, nr. 3.



Moroccan Wagtail (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg)

Northern Bald Ibis near Agadir (photo Henk Laarhoven). 
The rarest species of the trip, and a famous one too.


Northern Bald Ibis near Agadir (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Northern Bald Ibis near Agadir (photo Henk Laarhoven). 
This population is the last wild one. The population in Turkey has been reintroduced.


Ashy-headed Wagtail near Agadir.


Ashy-headed Wagtail near Agadir (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). Displaying, although it is/was not known to breed in Morocco. Surprises like this make Morocco a 'hot corner' of the Western Palearctic.


European Stonechat near Agadir (photo Henk Laarhoven). 
A variable species, with, in this instance, a striking white underside.


Brown-throated Martin near Agadir (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). 
The only occurrence in the Western Palearctic!


Zitting Cisticola near Agadir (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg).


Maghreb Magpie near Agadir. 
This really is a separate species: blue near the eye, a smaller white surface, a strongly graduated tail, short wings. The short wings make the flight very different from our Magpie.


Barbary Partidge near Agadir (photo Arnoud B. van den Berg). One of the two of the whole trip.


Lesser Crested Tern near Agadir (photo Silvia Laarhoven). The day before, our group (that is, Jelle) had discovered it already between c. 1000 Gull-billed Terns. Possibly two birds were involved.

 See also:   Part 1. Birding sites   Part 3. Species list