Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (Pterocles lichtensteinii) is a rare and range-restricted breeding species in Morocco. It’s so localised and discrete that it’s included in the list of species to be submitted to the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee (to better know its current distribution). There are however some sites where the species can be observed. One of the best known sites is located along Oued Tissint, especially some 8-10 km south-east of the village of Tissint (for example at this location: 29.8530425, -7.2648361). Here we will include some observations of the species in Morocco (this blog-post will be updated with new sightings):
A pair of Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse was photographed in the Middle Draa at some 12 Km north-east of Lake Iriqui (Iriki) on 7 May 2013 by Mohamed Mediani (photo 1). Here are the GPS coordinates of the site: 29.8997917, -6.4209783.
– A Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse was photographed on 8 March 2014, at Oued Tissint along the road Tata-Foum Zguid by Jorrit Vlot, Mark de Vries and their friends (photo 2). The exact spot is at Km 56, about 6 Km south-east of the village of Tissint.
– Andrew Makin commented below that a group of birders consisting of himself, Phil Rhodes, Simon Warford and Tony Disley observed 9 Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse drinking from river at Oued Tissint in the evening of 25 April 2016 at approximately 20:30. The following morning at 08:20, they observed 250+ Spotted (Pterocles senegallus) and 50+ Crowned Sandgrouse (Pterocles coronatus) drinking in same area.
Tissint means salt in Tamazight/Berber language. Oued Tissint and the eponymous village are named so because of the salty water of the wadi. Oued Tissint is also sometimes called “Oued el-Maleh”, this is simply the Arabic translation of the original Berber name. The latter name should be avoided when describing this site, because there are many sites known as ‘Oued el-Maleh’ in Morocco as well as in Algeria and Tunisia.
Between Foum Zguid and Iriqui:
Brahim Bakass and four members of GOMAC photographed 8 Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouses (two families of five and three) between Iriqui and Foum Zguid in the evening of 17 August 2013 (photos 3 & 4). The birds were observed in front of a table mountain known as ‘Medouar lkbir’ located some 20 Km south of Foum Zguid. Thanks Brahim for the information and photographs!