Three Sudan Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus) were seen on 12 January 2013 near Aousserd by Thomas Pettersson and Krister Mild. The birds were in a dense tree with 50 Desert Sparrows (Passer simplex) at a well on the track to barrage Boulariah where the oued is still flooded some 17 km south-west of Aousserd, Oued Dahab region. This Western Palearctic mega rarity is the second Moroccan record for the species.
Thomas kindly shared with us the photos (1-3) taken by his colleague Krister. He also provided the following description and GPS coordinates:
Included are photos of the female Sudan Golden Sparrow, 17 km SW of Awserd (GPS: N 22.45718°, W 14.47373°) on 12 January 2013.
This (adult) female is identified by yellowish underparts and sides of head, pale-tipped median and greater coverts, creating two narrow whitish wing-bars, and pale buffish edges to the secondaries, creating a pale panel along the closed wing. In direct comparison with Desert Sparrow it is somewhat smaller. We didn’t manage to get any photos of the adult male, since it was hiding inside the tree most of the time”.
It should be noted that the first Moroccan record of the Sudan Golden Sparrow was recorded along the Aousserd road, exactly at some 86 Km northwest of the town of Aousserd. It involved a group of 2 males and 5 females/juveniles and was found by Pieter Vantieghem and his colleagues on 21 April 2009 (photo 4).
Many thanks for this great rarity!