Birds in Merzouga

Index of articles about birds (particularly rarities) and other wildlife observed in the region of Merzouga, Morocco.

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe melanoleuca) captured and ringed at Merzouga, south-east Morocco, 8 March 2020 (Marc Illa).

First Eastern Black-eared Wheatear for Morocco after its recent split

An Eastern Black-eared Wheatear captured and ringed at Merzouga becoming the first modern record of the species for Morocco (only 4 previous ones in the 1950s). The species was only recently separated from the Western Black-eared Wheatear. The split The ‘IOC Checklist‘ split the Western (Oenanthe hispanica) and Eastern Black-eared Wheatears (Oenanthe melanoleuca) as two …

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Isabelline Wheatear / Traquet isabelle (Oenanthe isabellina), Merzouga, Morocco, 5 March 2020 (Marc Illa)

Abundant passage of Isabelline Wheatear in eastern Morocco

Until recently, the Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina) used to be a rarity in Morocco. In fact, the species was only removed from the list of species that need to be submitted to the Moroccan Rare Birds at the end of 2017. At the end of February, Marc Illa and his colleagues arrived in Morocco in …

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African Dunn’s Lark / Alouette de Dunn (Eremalauda dunni), Merzouga, Morocco, 26 March 2019 (Jeroen De Bruijn).

Dunn’s Lark at Merzouga and other rare birds

Some rare birds observed recently in different regions of Morocco: Isabelline Shrike, Lesser Flamingo, African Dunn’s Lark, Golden Nightjar and Sudan Golden Sparrow. African Dunn’s Lark (Eremalauda dunni) Dunn’s Larks were discovered near Merzouga in 2010 and stayed there until 2012. After an absence of nearly 7 years, the species reappeared in the area again. …

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Eastern Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans albistriata), Merzouga, Morocco (Marc Illa)

First records of Eastern Subalpine Warbler for Morocco

The split of the Subalpine Warbler complex (sensu lato) into three different species (i.e. Moltoni’s, Western and Eastern Subalpine Warblers) was proposed a few years ago. However, currently the Moltoni’s Warbler (Sylvia subalpina), which is the most divergent of the three taxa, is the only widely adopted split by different taxonomic authorities. Although the full …

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Presumed ‘Cinnamon Teal x Northern Shoveler hybrid’, Merzouga Lake, Morocco, 3 March 2019 (Frieder Klöpfer and Laura Lüdtke).

Presumed ‘Cinnamon Teal x Shoveler hybrid’ at Merzouga lake, Morocco

A presumed Cinnamon Teal x Shoveler hybrid (Spatula cyanoptera x S. clypeata) photographed at Dayet Srij near Merzouga, south-eastern Morocco. The bird was found by Frieder Klöpfer and Laura Lüdtke on 3 March 2019 and reported by Marc Illa. The desert lake is full of water and birds. About 500 Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) and …

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Sand cat / chat des sables (Felis margarita margarita), Merzouga, Morocco, 23 Feb. 2019 (photo by MT).

Sand Cat sighted at Merzouga, Morocco, for the first time in more than 2 decades

The elusive sand cat (Felis margarita) sighted for the first time at Merzouga in almost three decades. The sand cat was observed and photographed on the evening of 23 February 2019 (photos below). According to the locals, the species has not been observed in the region of Merzouga since 1990s. Exactly, the last known individual …

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Egyptian Nightjar / Engoulevent du désert (Caprimulgus aegyptius), near Merzouga, 16 Feb 2014

Egyptian Nightjars arrive early to the breeding areas

We received two recent sightings of Egyptian Nightjars (Caprimulgus aegyptius) in this February from two Moroccan birding hotspots: Aousserd in Western Sahara and Merzouga in Eastern Sahara. The first bird was seen at Laglat/Derraman near Oued Jenna on 18 Feb. 2016 by Javier Elorriaga and Yeray Seminario (Birding the Strait). In addition to the single Egyptian …

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

African Dunn’s Lark at Merzouga, Morocco

African Dunn’s Lark (Eremalauda dunni) was discovered at Merzouga in April 2010. In 2011, many birders failed to see the larks, and thus believed the species has disappeared from Merzouga. The purpose of this blog-post is to show that Dunn’s Larks were present also in 2011. The second aim is to compile future sightings in …

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