Morocco: Mar 01—16, 2018

Culture and North African Endemics in the Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert

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Departs: Marrakech
Tour Limit: 10
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (1.3 MB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

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Machiel Valkenburg

Machiel Valkenburg was born in 1982 in a southern province in the Netherlands where, encoura...


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Santiago Villa

Santiago Villa has operated his own birding tour company, Spainbirds Nature Tours, since 199...


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Bald Ibis

Waldrapp (Northern Bald Ibis)— Photo: Santiago Villa

Birding the Atlas Mountains and their coastal wetlands, and inland all the way to the dunes of the Sahara Desert; spectacular scenery, ancient picturesque cities, excellent food, kasbahs, souks, and friendly Moroccan hosts at amazing palm-lined oases.

Our target birds include a long list of localized birds including the bizarre Waldrapp (Northern Bald Ibis), Long-legged Buzzard, Barbary Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Cream-colored Courser, Crowned Sandgrouse, Spotted Sandgrouse, Egyptian Nightjar, Thick-billed Lark, Temminck’s Lark, Atlas Horned Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Brown-necked Raven, Desert Sparrow, “Seebohm’s” Northern Wheatear, Maghreb Wheatear, White-crowned Wheatear, Red-rumped Wheatear, Western Scrub Warbler, Tristram’s Warbler, African Desert Warbler, Trumpeter Finch, African Crimson-winged Finch, Fulvous Chatterer, Barbary Partridge, Levaillant’s Woodpecker, Moussier’s Redstart, Common Bulbul, House Bunting, and Pharaoh Eagle-Owl.

We will start our exploration of this North African country along the Atlantic coast at Agadir. Nearby, Souss Massa National Park still hosts the endangered Waldrapp. The wetlands of Oued Souss will be scoured for Marbled Teal; Audouin’s, Slender-billed, and Mediterranean gulls; and Squacco and Purple herons, as well as dozens of other marsh dwellers.

Egyptian Nightjar

Egyptian Nightjar— Photo: Santiago Villa

Outside of Marrakech we will wind our way into the High Atlas at Oukaimeden, a ski resort that hosts a wonderful array of birds in the spring and summer. Here we will search for African Crimson-winged Finch, “Seebohm’s” Northern Wheatear, and the elegant Moussier’s Redstart.

Our desert birding will take us first to the stony desert of the Tagdilt Track where we will pursue Thick-billed Lark and Greater Hoopoe-Lark among the rocks. Cream-colored Courser, Red-rumped Wheatear, and more larks lurk among the rocks. Dades Gorge is the realm of Bonelli’s Eagles and Atlas Long-legged Buzzards, and we will look for them on our way to the edge of the Sahara. A full day exploring the Erg Chebbi dunes by 4×4 will be the highlight of the trip for those wanting to see the famous dunes of the Sahara. In this desolate landscape are myriad birds: Lanner Falcons, Spotted and Crowned sandgrouse, African Desert Warbler, Desert Sparrow, Pharaoh Eagle-Owl, Egyptian Nightjar, and Brown-necked Raven.

Good accommodations and wonderful foods (tagines and famous couscous); travel by comfortable small bus or van; walking along trails and roads with some rough trails; elevations up to 8,000 feet; cool to cold in the High Atlas Mountains (one day), pleasantly warm to hot in the deserts.