African Dunn’s Lark at Merzouga

By MaghrebOrnitho | 17 November 2011

In 2011, many birders searched the African Dunn’s Lark (Eremalauda dunni dunni) near Merzouga but they didn’t find any. Moreover, some of these birders believed that nobody have found the Dunn’s Larks (as Dave Gosney reported in his website for instance). Also, some birders are asking about this now in order to prepare for their birding trips in 2012. The short answer is that “Dunn’s Lark still there and you should found them”, good luck!

Dunn’s Lark observations in 2010:

The African Dunn’s Lark was discovered between Rissani and Merzouga in April 2010 (Albegger et al. 2010) and the breeding was confirmed in May of the same year by Martin Barry, Benoît Maire and Alain Mathurin. Albegger et al. (2010) reported:

In spring 2010, during a birding trip to Morocco, Ernst Albegger and Sandra Götsch together with Helmut Kräuter and Josef Ringert, all Austrian birders, spent some days in the Tafilalt. In search of African Desert Warbler (Sylvia deserti) we visited one of the classic sites named by Dave Gosney at GPS point 31.2415 N, 4.0834 W, situated about 9.5 km west of Auberge Yasmina on 14th April. At noon we parked the car about 600 m to the East of this spot (some 200 m to the North of the signpost ‘Auberge Yasmina at 9km’). In this area the stony desert is sparsely vegetated with small grassy bushes and desert plants looking very similar to the countryside in Western Sahara, where African Dunn’s Lark occurs. Soon after leaving the car, we heard a scratchy warbling song with short whistling phrases. Within seconds we located a medium-sized, singing lark on the ground at close range.

Many other birders have seen the species there during this spring.

Dunn’s Lark observations in 2011:

Andrew Watson recorded the Dunn’s Lark near Douar Derkaoua located on the road R702 between Erfoud and Merzouga on 9 April 2011 (2 photos and map at

Hans Matheve and his friends recorded a single bird on 16 April 2011. He wrote in his trip report: “Closer to the main road (31.2288,-4.1279) we were able to get great views for all of some African Desert Warblers and a Dunn’s Lark was a very unexpected bonus bird! Previous years there have been some documented breeding records, so it seems they are still around…”

So, Dunn’s Larks were seen near Merzouga in 2011, if you have seen the species there this year, please comment below or send us an email to add the information.


The species seen near Merzouga in 2012 as well:

One bird photographed by Maarten Schurmans and Erwin Collaerts on 2 May 2012 (2 photos and map at

One bird photographed along the track to Café Yasmina near Merzouga by Paul French, Janne and Hanna Aalto on 7 June 2012 (photo below).


Albegger, E., Götsch, S., Aymí, R. & Ribes, E. 2010. First record of African Dunn’s Lark (Eremalauda dunni dunni) for the Tafilalt, Morocco. Go-South Bull. 7: 121-126. PDF

Dunn’s Lark / Alouette de Dunn (Eremalauda dunni), near Merzouga, eastern Sahara, Morocco, 7 June 2012 (Paul French).

Dunn’s Lark / Alouette de Dunn (Eremalauda dunni), near Merzouga, Morocco, 7 June 2012 (Paul French).

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