Spring is here!
Ready for some nice sunny birding days?
Are you up for a birding trip?
For this spring, our birding destination is Morocco. In our opinion, this country is a birding paradise. Not only offers many new bird species, but also it is very close to Europe. That means that we can get direct connections there. So, travelling there is relatively simple and cheap.
Morocco has a great diversity of ecosystems that allow us to observe many birds, several of which are endemic or very hard to see elsewhere. The main habitats in the country that should be on everyone’s visiting list are the Moroccan Sahara, the High Atlas and Middle Atlas Mountains, the Atlantic ocean’s coast, and the Oueds (valleys and streambeds).
Let’s share with you three favourite places for us in Morocco.
Firstly, the Desert of Erg Chebbi, around Merzouga. It is one of the richest and, probably, one of the best birding hotspots in the Western Palearctic. You can observe many desertic bird species you can’t easily see elsewhere. Some of the top most-wanted birds in this desert are Egyptian Nightjar, African Desert Warbler, Desert Sparrow, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Crowned Sandgrouse and Pharaoh Eagle-Owl.
If you visit Morocco, this should be a top priority! But, we highly recommend that you wire a local bird guide for both trip's success and safety. Searching for these species by ourselves is very demanding, time-consuming and can get you in trouble of getting lost in the desert.
Then another must-visiting place is Oukaimeden, in the High Atlas Mountains. There is a ski resort there, which makes the place, merely 80 kilometres away from Marrakesh, very accessible. Exploring this area will likely offer you some endemic species, such as Levaillant's Woodpecker, Moussier's Redstart, Tristam’s Warbler, and others like Red-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Chough, Crimson-winged Finch, or the Black-throated (Seebohm’s) Wheatear. We will just leave you this advice: bear in mind the fossil sellers, as they can be somehow persistent and even annoying, jeopardising your birding experience there.
In the alternative, or better as a complementary birding stop, consider the Middle Atlas, having as reference the surrounding areas of Ifrane. You may spot a few of the previously mentioned species there, particularly Levaillant's Woodpecker and Moussier's Redstart, and get good chances for the Atlas Flycatcher. Also, you can more easily see the Barbary Macaques in this region. Just keep an open mind regarding the business around those poor animals.
Finally, the coastal area south of Agadir, namely the two famous river months there, Oued Sous and Oued Massa. Oued is an Arabic term for a valley, gully, stream, or riverbed. In these places, you can encounter wetlands, dunes, rivers and agricultural fields, making it a perfect combination for many species. The Black-crowned Tchagra, the Northern Bald Ibis, the Marbled Teal, the Plain Martin, and the Maghreb Magpie are some of the most popular birds.
There are many other places worth a visit in Morocco. You can explore the semi-desertic areas around Ouarzazate, the plateaus around Zaida, the coastline around Agadir or the lagoons on the Northeast coast between Kenitra and Tangier. Remember this, many of these places can be visited while travelling between the main areas mentioned above.
If you are considering visiting Morocco, remember that you can use platforms such as eBird, Cloud Birders, or Birdingplaces to get prepared. Also, feel free to reach out. We have been birding in the country and would be happy to help you out with your planning.