Morocco is a great crossing point for migrant birds and is only 8 miles from Spain - across the Strait of Gibraltar. If you time your visit just right you can experience the spectacle of hundreds of migrating raptors spiraling up high to use the thermals to cross the water. But this is a country of contrasts – with the high Atlas Mountains and Africa’s highest ski resort, down to the deserts and coastline.
Not too far from Agadir is the only wild population of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis. The birds nest on protected cliffs, but spread out to feed on neighbouring grasslands. Other target species include Levaillant’s Woodpecker, Moussier’s Redstart and Tristram’s Warbler.
Organising a tour is relatively easy. You can drive yourself without trouble – although in the south it is a good idea to have off-road capability to reach the desert birds. There are guides that can be hired in advance, and many companies offer tours here.
For many people, a trip to the coast is a big attraction. Heading south from the city of Tangier the marshes are easily reached and well worthwhile. There are few places in Africa that can compete with the wetlands at Merga Zerga – and the sight of 200 Greenshanks and maybe 2000 Avocets has to be seen to be believed! Sadly the critically endangered Slender-billed Curlew has not been seen here for many years, and perhaps nobody will ever see one again anywhere. The term “last chance to see” really was true for those who saw this iconic bird in the 1990s. Contributed by Keith Betton/African Bird Club.
Pleasant weather makes birding here an all year long event. March is a particularly active month as migrants pass through and utilize river valleys and wetlands flowing from the Atlas mountains.