South-Morocco March 2005, including Egyptian Nightjar spot

Published by Jord Prangsma (Jordprangsma AT

Participants: Bram Kuijper, Bram Koese, Jord prangsma


From the 12th - 25th of March 2005 we visited several parts of the Sous-Valley in Morocco by bike, and visited the Tagdilt track area by car. There are many birding reports about these areas, therefore only the highlights are described.

Oued Massa

The mouth of the Oued Massa is certainly worth visiting. We had the best views of Black-crowned Thjagra here, though once you have heard and remembered it’s song, you will find it easily elsewhere in Morocco. Furthermore we saw a lot of Glossy Ibis here, 1 Great Spotted Cuckoo, several Laughing Doves, 1 Orphean Warbler and some Spanish Sparrows. On the more inland hills you pass when coming from the N1 main road we saw quite a few Cream-coloured Coursers.

The inland between Oued massa and Taroudant

From the Oued massa we cycled to Barrage Youssef Ben and than followed several piste tracks to Es-Sebt ( the roads indicated on our Michelin map did not seem to exist) From Es-Sebt the route to Taroudant is over much better roads but a large part is through boring plantations.

The barrage itself is not very interesting birding, we found one Great Cormorant. The ‘mountain pass’ north of the barrage offered however quite good birding, giving good views of Desert Lark, Trumpeter Finch, Moussier’s Redstart and two far off individuals of an unknown Aquila (possibly Golden Eagle). In the plains behind the pass we found high numbers of Tawny Pipit and unusual numbers of children trying to get a grasp on anything loose on our bikes. From Es-Sebt to Taroudant we saw Desert Wheatear, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Ortolan Bunting and Black-shouldered Kite

The area bewteen Taroudant and Alououz.

To avoid having to cycle the N10 main road we tried to cycle as close to the Sous wadi as possible. Large parts of the area are filled with plantations and therefore not very interesting though they are full of songbirds (including the ultramarinus subspecies of the Blue Tit). The interesting part came as we slept in the Sous wadi the night of the 16th. The wadi here, is a very wide plane, up to 1 km or more, filled with boulders. As we just finished cooking dinner, we heard this weird sound we soon found out to be an Egyptian Nightjar! We saw and heard at least two but there are probably more. We entered the spot from the sad village Igoudar (the 'famous' Dark Chanting Goshawk area), but the easiest way to reach this place is by following the P1706 road south of the Sous and enter the wadi at the Ouarzazate 223 sign. Apart from the Egyptian Nightjars we found here: Barbary Falcon, Bar-tailed Lark, Hoopoe Lark and further ‘upstream’ Long-legged Buzzard and Black-shouldered Kite.

The Atlas from Aoulouz in the direction of Askaoun.

Our somewhat naive intention was to cycle over the Atlas via the Tizi-n-Melloul. It became clear to us soon that for that we should have made more preparations. After the beginning of the barrage (not on our map so perhaps it is quite new) there were no shops anymore to by food or water and also the road wasn’t that straight forward as it looked on the map.

Blue Rock Trush, the subpersonata sub-species of the White Wagtail, Black-crowned Tsjagra, Ruddy Shelduck.

The Tagdilt track 21-23 March

Tour by car from Taroudant to the Tagdilt tracks near Boumalne Dades. Many good trip reports about this area can be found on the internet or see for instance the ‘Finding birds in Southern Morocco’ by Dave Gosney. We slept for two consecutive days on the plains and saw Long-legged Buzzard, Lanner, Cream-coloured Courser, White-bellied Sandgrouse, Temminck’s Horned Lark, Calandra Lark, Desert Lark, Bar-tailed Lark, Hoopoe lark. We shortly visited the beautiful Gorges du Dades where Crag Martin was quite common.

The mouth of the Oued Sous 24 March

Good spot if you have a couple of hours left before leaving Agadir airport. During our trip, the most interesting spot for waders, gulls and terns. We had our only sightings of Collared Prattincole, Red Knot, Little Stint, Ruff, Slender-billed Gull, Common Gull and Caspian Tern here. As said, Red-necked Nightjar was present along the track down the palace-wall. This species is difficult to observe, as the palace guard kickes you out soon after sunset at 7.00 p.m. Our intention was to walk to the mouth
Sous along the wadi out from Inegzane. Never try this again! We ended up with huge amounts of curious kids behind us in a -what seems to be- a dry and boring area. Hint: pick a taxi let it drop you at the Royal palace.

If you have any questions on where we have been birding, cycling in Morocco or anything else, try to reach us. Google should do it.

Bram Koese, Bram Kuijper, and Jord Prangsma

Species Lists

Dodaars Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Jan van Gent Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
Aalscholver (morrocanus)
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (morrocanus)
Koereiger Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Kleine Zilverreiger Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Blauwe Reiger Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Purperreiger Purple Heron Ardea purpurea One passing over at Tizi-n-Bachkoum near an oasis between Tazenakht and Ouarzazate
Ooievaar White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Zwarte ibis Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Heremietibis Hermit Ibis Geronticus eremita At Tamri seen at least 30
Lepelaar White Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Flamingo Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
Casarca Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Wilde eend Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Pijlstaart Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Slobeend Northern Shoveller Anas clypeata
Wintertaling Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
Kuifeend Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Visarend Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Aquila Spec Probably a pair of Golden Eagle at a pass just North of the Barage Youssef Ben
Slangenarend Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
Dwergarend Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
Zwarte wouw Black Kite Milvus migrans
Grijze wouw Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Bruine Kiekendief Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Grauwe Kiekendief Montague's Harrier Circus pygargus
Arendbuizerd Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
Buizerd Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo
Sperwer Northern Sparrow Hawk Accipiter nisus
Torenvalk Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Slechtvalk Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus (subspec. Brookei) At a reservoir East of Aoulouz
Barbarijse valk Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides
Lannervalk Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus
Barbarijse patrijs Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara
Kwartel Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
Waterhoen Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Meerkoet Black Coot Fulica atra
Scholekster Palaearctic Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Kluut Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Steltkluut Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Griel Stone-Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
Renvogel Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor
Vorkstaartplevier Pratincole Glareola pratincola
Kleine plevier Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Bontbekplevier Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Strandplevier Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (At the Reservoir near Ouarzazate)
Zilverplevier Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Kanoet Red Knot Calidris canutus
Drieteenstrandloper Sanderling Calidris alba
Bonte strandloper Dunlin Calidris alpina
Krombekstrandloper Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Kleine strandloper Little Stint Calidris minuta
Witgat Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Oeverloper Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Tureluur Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Groenpootruiter Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Rosse grutto Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Wulp Western Curlew Numenius arquata
Kemphaan Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Jager spec Skua spec. Several seen but mostly far at sea
Kokmeeuw Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Dunbekmeeuw Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
Stormmeeuw Mew Gull Larus canus
Geelpootmeeuw Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Audouins meeuw Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii
Kleine mantelmeeuw Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Grote stern Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis
Reuzenstern Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
Zwartbuikzandhoen Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis
Witbuikzandhoen Pintailed Sandgrouse Pterocles alchata
Rotsduif Feral Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Houtduif Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
Turkse tortel Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Zomertortel Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Palmtortel Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Koekoek Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Kuifkoekoek Great Spooted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius
Steenuil Little Owl Athene noctua
Moorse nachtzwaluw Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis
Egyptische Nachtzwaluw Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius
Gierzwaluw Eurasian Swift Apus apus
Vale gierzwaluw Pallid Swift Apus pallidus
Huisgierzwaluw House Swift Apus affinis
Hop Hoopoe Upupa epops
IJsvogel River Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Bijeneter European Bee Eater Merops apiaster
Draaihals Northern Wryneck Jynx torquilla
Kuifleeuwerik Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Kortteenleeuwerik Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
Woestijnleeuwerik Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti
Rosse woestijnleeuwerik Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cincturus
Diksnavelleeuwerik Calandra Lark Ramphocoris clotbey
Temmincks Strandleeuwerik Temminck's Horned Lark Eremophila bilopha
Witbandleeuwerik Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes
Oeverzwaluw Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Rotszwaluw Red Sea Cliff Swallow Hirundo rupestris
Boerenzwaluw Swallow Hirundo rustica
Roodstuitzwaluw Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
Huiszwaluw Common House Martin Delichon urbica
Duinpieper Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
Graspieper Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Boompieper Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Witte kwikstaart Pied White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Gele kwikstaart Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Grote Gele kwikstaart Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Grauwe buulbuul Garden Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus
Nachtegaal Nighthingale Luscinia megarhynchos
Gekraagde roodstaart Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Zwarte roodstaart Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Diadeemroodstaart Moussier's Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri
Tapuit Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Woestijntapuit Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
Westelijke blonde tapuit Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
Witkruintapuit White-crowned Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga
Zwarte tapuit Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura
Roodstuittapuit Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta
Roodborsttapuit Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Blauwe rotslijster Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Merel Blackbird Turdus merula
Beflijster Ring Ousel Turdus torquatus
Zwartkop Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Orpheusgrasmus Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis
Kleine zwartkop Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
Brilgrasmus Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata
Baardgrasmus ubalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans
Graszanger Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Cetti's Zanger Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti
Tjiftjaf Chiff-chaff Phylloscopus collybitus
Koolmees Great Tit Parus major
Pimpelmees Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Roodkopklauwier Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
Klapekster Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
Zwartkruintsjagra Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala
Ekster Black-billed Magpie Pica pica
Raaf Common Raven Corvus corax
Zwarte spreeuw Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor
Huismus House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Spaanse mus Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
Vink Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Kneu Linnet Acanthis cannabina
Putter Eurasian Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Groenling Western Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Europese kanarie European Serin Serinus serinus
Woestijnvink Trumpeter Finch Rhodopechys githaginea
Ortolaan Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
Cirlgors Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus
Grauwe gors Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra
Huisgors House Bunting Emberiza striolata