Kingdom of Morocco

Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita ©Adam Riley Website
Birding Morocco

Morocco is situated in the northwest corner of Africa, between c 21° and 36° N, and is basically an African country with a large Mediterranean region. Except for the extreme south that is part of the Sahara, rains fall mainly during the cool season (October – April) and the summers are hot and dry; drought prevails in the Saharan region throughout the year. Friendly people, great scenery and bird specialities; Morocco is one of the favourite destination for birders in search of endangered or rare species such as Bald Ibis, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Tawny Eagle, Eleonora’s Falcon, and African Marsh Owl, as well as other species such as Dupont’s Lark, Moussier’s Redstart, Desert Warbler, Black-crowned Tchagra, and Desert Sparrow.

The Country divides into a number of geo-physical regions, and this influences the birds that are found there.

Mountains, 5 ranges are aligned along a NE – SW axis, and these include the Rif along the Mediterranean coast (2456m, Jbel Tidighine); the Central Plateau (1627m, Jbel Mtouzgane); the Middle Atlas (3340m, Jbel Bou-Naceur); the High Atlas (4167m, Jbel Toubkal) and the Anti-Atlas (3304m, Jbel Siroua). Despite high human and animal pressure, forests of broad-leaved and coniferous trees are still widespread.

Atlantic Morocco includes rich agricultural plains and more barren and dry plateaux. Most of the original forest has been turned into matorral- or shrub-type vegetation after intensive cutting and grazing, but some has been well preserved (eg ‘Forêt de la Mamora’ with Cork Oak in the Rharb) however, large tracts of eucalyptus have been planted. The Souss valley, with its unique Argan woodland, lies between the High and Anti-Atlas.

Eastern Morocco, except for the area adjacent to the Mediterranean coast, is dry with especially hot summers and cold winters; the High Plateaux rise to over 1000m and are covered with a steppe type vegetation dominated by Artemisia herba-alba and Stipa tenacissima.

Saharan Morocco lies to the south of the High and Anti-Atlas. In the Eastern part, palm oases stretch along the rivers (Oueds) but the region is mainly large stony regs (pebble desert) covered with Hammada scoparia; acacias thickets grow along the wadi bottoms. The drought is attenuated in a 15-200 km wide strip along the Atlantic coast, which receives moisture from the ocean; the coast is mainly rocky.

The Birds454 species have been recorded in Morocco and 209 regularly breed there. Most (c85%) breed north of the Atlas Mountains, because of the moister climate and more diversified habitat, so only about 35% breed in the Saharan region.

Every year, millions of West European migrants go to and pass through Morocco, mainly from late July to early November in the autumn, and from March to May in the spring. Most, especially passerines, migrate by night or over-fly too high to be seen during the day; others, like waders and gulls, often stop at wetlands to refuel, and provide unforgettable sights. The Straits of Gibraltar is famous for concentrating soaring birds, especially storks and raptors.

120 species are regular winter visitors, including 34 that are at the southern limit of their wintering range. 115 other species have been recorded as accidental visitors, either from Europe and Asia (e.g. Great Knot and Pectoral Sandpiper); from Tropical Africa (e.g. Brown Booby and Lesser Flamingo); or from Northern America (e.g. Blue-winged Teal and Laughing Gull).

Birding hotspots

Several wetlands spread along the Atlantic coast that are rightly famous for their migrant and wintering waders and gulls. These include Merja Zerga, Lac de Sidi Bou-Rhaba, Sidi-Moussa-Oualidia lagoons, and the Souss and Massa estuaries along the North coast, Khnifiss lagoon and Dakhla and Cintra Bays along the Saharan coast. The islets off Essaouira shelter a colony of Eleonora`s Falcons. The Mediterranean coast includes two major wetlands: Sebkha Bou-Areg and the Moulouya estuary.

Mountains shelter a rich avifauna; this can be seen best on the Plateau des Lacs in the Middle Atlas (Crested Coot, Levaillant’s Woodpecker, etc.) and at Oukaimeden in the High Atlas (Atlas Shore Lark, Alpine Accentor, Rock Sparrow, & Crimson-winged Finch).

Many desert-living species, including larks, wheatears and sandgrouses, are widespread in desert Morocco; others are more restricted in range, and birding hotspots include the temporary lake of Merzouga near Erfoud (waders and ducks in the desert!) bordered by the only large Moroccan sand dunes, the so-called Erg Chebbi (Desert Warbler, Brown-necked Raven, Desert Sparrow et al); and the Barrage Mansour-Eddahbi near Ouarzazate.

The Souss valley is famous for Dark Chanting Goshawk and Tawny Eagle, and the Straits of Gibraltar for the impressive raptor migration.

There are, of course, hundreds of other sites worth exploring for Ruddy Shelduck, Marbled Teal, Black-winged Kite, Booted and Bonelli’s Eagles, Lanner and Barbary Falcons, Double-spurred Francolin, Purple Gallinule, Houbara and Great Bustards, Cream-coloured Courser, Desert Eagle Owl, Plain Swift, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Scrub and Tristram’s Warblers, Fulvous Babbler or Black-crowned Tchagra… so, when you visit, explore for yourselves.

NB September 2019 A number of birders have had telescopes confiscated by customs officials (as far as we know just three cases, one in each year 2017, 2018 and 2019. In all cases these were returned when the birder left the country. There is no ban on bringing long lenses into the country. As there are so few we assume these were some sort of misunderstanding.

  • Patrick Bergier


Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 454

    (As at September 2018)
  • Bald Ibis [Waldrapp] Geronticus eremita was assumed to be a breeding endemic until other nest sites were found in the middle east.
  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • Birds of Morocco

    | By Ignacio Yúfera | Lunwerg Editores | 2015 | Hardback | 264 pages, 331 colour photos | ISBN: 9788416489084 Buy this book from
  • Birdwatching Guide to Morocco

    | By Peter Combridge & Alan Snook | Arlequin Press | 1997 | Paperback | 64 pages, 16 col plates, b/w illus, 17 b/w maps | ISBN: 9781900159654 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in Morocco: Coast and Mountains

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2011 | DVD | Region 2 | Runtime 60 minutes | ISBN: 9781907316357 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in Morocco: Coast and Mountains

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2011 | Paperback | 36 pages, b/w maps | ISBN: 9781907316340 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in Morocco: The Deserts

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2009 | DVD | Runtime: 62 min | ISBN: 9781907316036 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in Morocco: The Deserts

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2009 | Softcover Booklet | 32 pages, b/w maps | ISBN: 9781907316029 Buy this book from
  • Prion Birdwatcher's Guide to Morocco

    | By Patrick Bergier & Fedora Bergier | Prion | 2003 | Paperback | 172 pages, 54 Maps, Line Illustrations | ISBN: 9781871104097 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Morocco

    | By Michael Thévenot, Rae Vernon & Patrick Bergier | BOU | 2003 | Hardback | 594 pages, 32 colour photos | ISBN: 9780907446255 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds in Morocco

    | By Patrick Bergier & Fédora Bergier | Pelagic Publishing | 2017 | Paperback | 166 pages, b/w illustrations, b/w maps | ISBN: 9781784271442 Buy this book from
  • African Bird Club

    With friendly people, great scenery, a good tourist infrastructure and excellent birding, Morocco is one of the favourite destinations for birders in North Africa and perhaps the best location to search for a number of rare and endangered species
  • GOMAC - Groupe d'Ornithologie du Maroc

    Facebook Page
    Le groupe d'ornithologie du Maroc (GOMAC) est une association scientifique marocaine à but non lucratif, créée en 1989
  • Moroccan Rare Birds Committee

    Index of recent reports of the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee (MRBC).
  • Save Moroccan Wetlands

    Campaigning for the conservation of wetlands and their wildlife in Morocco

Abbreviations Key

  • BR Arganeraie

    InformationSatellite View
    The Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve covers over 2 560 000 hectares of terrain, of which some is inhabited and therefore it incorporates urban areas, forest areas and agricultural lands.
  • BR Oasis Du Sud

    InformationSatellite View
    The Oasis Du Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve spans over a region of seven million hectares and is vital in the battle against desertification.
  • IBA

    InformationSatellite View
    The Massa lagoon, situated an hours drive south of Agadir, is normally counted as Morocco's best bird reserve. In the lagoon, which is to large extent a river that ends in wide lake before it is sealed off from the sea by sand banks, you will find numerous rare birds…
  • IBAs

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Mauritius supports one of the densest concentrations of threatened bird species in the world. All seven endemic land bird species are threatened. Three other species are shared only with La R
  • NP Tazekka

    InformationSatellite View
    he Tazekka National Park is one of them. Created in 1950 with only 580 hectares of land, it was hoped that the park would help to protect the many natural resources that could be found at Jbel Tazekka in the Middle Atlas mountain range. The park has certainly proved to be a successful venture and today it covers an area of approximately 12,800 hectares of land. The interesting variety of altitudes and resulting flora is home to a variety of wildlife and the national park has become a haven for bird watchers.
  • National Parks and Reserves of Morocco

    InformationSatellite View
    Overview and hotlinks
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Berber Treasures Morocco

    Tour Operator
    The birds of Morocco are a rich blend of indigenous and migratory birds. You can enjoy birding in Morocco any time of the year with one of our Berber Treasures Morocco tours of Morocco...
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    The Kingdom of Morocco (“Morocco” hereafter) is an underappreciated jewel for bird watching and a Morocco birding tour should feature high on your wish list of birding tours.
  • Birding The Strait

    Tour Operator
    Are you a tour operator or a private group looking for an expert team of bird guides for Spain and Morocco? Contact us to design a tailor-made trip for you.
  • Birding Toursa Morocco

    Tour Operator Phone / WhatsApp : +212 642 399 431Birding Tours MoroccoMerzouga centreMerzouga, 52202MoroccoBirding Tours Morocco - Made by Gomarnadhomeabout usbird watching toursdesert birding merzougaplaces to visitphoto gallerycontact usBirding Tours Morocco - Phone / WhatsApp : +212 642 399 431 birdingtoursmorocco@gmail.comOUR LOCATION:Phone: / WhatsApp+212 642 399 431Email:birdingtoursmorocco@gmail.comCONTACT DETAILS:We offer a variety of birding experiences.RESERVATION:Flag Counter Birding Tours Morocco & experiencesThere's a wealth of things to do and see in Morocco, and if you would like to get the most out of your birds watching tell us about your interests, what and where you'd like to go and we'll be able to suggest a tour tailored to suit you and your pocket.Otman elhourchemt, who has created birdingtourmorocco, was born in a small Berber town called " Merzouga", in south eastern Morocco. Raised in the Erg Chebbi of the Sahara Desert, he lead a nomadic life with camels,He has serval years of experience in birdingwatching distinations all over Morocco birdingtourmorocco;is based in the sahara desert of morocco.after many years of working for other company,Atman Oulhourchmti created the company in 2016 so as to offer his own tours and activities
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [02 February] - Mohamed Bargache

    PDF Report
    Mohamed met me bang on time at my Agadir hotel (Appart Hotel Taradirt – not one of the best in the area, but very cheap at Euro 174 for six nights including a sparse breakfast!). We headed straight for the estuary of the Oued Souss which is only 10 minutes from the centre of Agadir. A nice start to the day, with an Osprey and a large flock of Flamingos, one Spoonbill and a passing Alpine Swift…
  • 2014 [03 March] - Mohamed Bargache

    PDF Report
    Agadir airport via Massa and Tiznit to Guelmin and then to Fort Bou-Jerif. 4 hours, about 230 km. Mohamed Bargache from Massa and Frederick & Jean-Claud from Tiznit. Birds after Guelmin Oen des 3 and Oen moe 1male. At F B-J river shore But ruf 1 , Fal tin 1, Ath noc (Little owl) 2+1+2, Pyc bar (bulbul) 5 and Gal cri 5 & Gal the 1 larks….
  • 2014 [11 November] - Martin Pitt

    PDF Report
    ...East of Jorf – only listed ascomment to Dave Gosney’s guide.The areas of Erfoud 29km and 35kmare too commercialised anddisturbed; however about 37km toErfoud there is a pull off with a welland a rocky outcrop to the south ofthe road by a wadi crossing. In ourfirst 10 minutes we had foundTrumpeter Finch, Desert Lark andHoopoe Lark and there is probablymore to find here. We saw a Lannerfalcon in the area on our trip back atthe end of the week....
  • 2014 [11 November] - Thomas Barker

    ...I collected the car from airport around 8.30 and after paperwork etc. was leaving around 9.00 and I decided my first stop would be Oukaimeden. A few stops on the way to the top provided views of European Kestrel, Raven and a large flock of Serin plus some Greenfinches. At each stop someone appeared trying to sell me fossils etc. They were friendly but very persistent. Driving up to the top there was in the distance a huge mixed flock of at least 250 Alpine Chough and Chough. At the top there was a small reservoir. Around here there were Moroccan Wagtails, Serins and Linnets. There were also a lot of Chough on the turf feeding. There was no snow apart from at the top of the distant peaks – this didn’t bode well for finding the target – Crimson Winged Finch. On the grassy plains were several Seebohms Wheatears...
  • 2015 [02 February] - Jochim Bertands

    PDF Report
    Between the 31st of January and the 16th of February 2015, five Belgian birders tried to score as many lifers as possible in Morocco and Western Sahara. From Charleroi we flew to Casablanca and hired a car. We drove southwards to Western Sahara with some stops in Oualidia, Essaouira, Tamri, Cap Rhir, Oued Massa, Guelmin, Tan-Tan and Khniffis Lagoon.
  • 2015 [03 March] - Peter Stronach - Morocco & Western Sahara

    PDF Report
  • 2015 [05 May] - Ben Macdonald

    PDF Report
    This was the most intense of all my expeditions so far – an overwhelming, frenetic, stressful, vibrant and rewarding trip to one of the most remarkable countries in the Western Palearctic. As in 2010, the richness of experience was cultural as well as ornithological, with a tide of amazing encounters sustaining a manic trip that took me from the Atlantic Coast to the Sahara, High Atlas and almost everywhere in between.
  • 2015 [05 May] - Jelmer Poelstra - Morocco and Western Sahara

    PDF Report
    This report describes a 17­-day birding trip to Morocco and Western Sahara, from April 18th to May 4th, 2015.
  • 2015 [06 June] - Peter Lansdown

    PDF Report
  • 2015 [09 September] - Jesse Fagan

    Another good trip and a very productive one for birds! One of our best totals yet, with scarcely a logistical hiccup, and pretty fine weather throughout. We saw 210 bird taxa, which included a few interesting subspecies (and potential splits), tried our fill of tagine, and witnessed spectacular sunsets and guys charming cobras.
  • 2015 [10 October] - Martin Pitt - Marrakech & High Atlas

    PDF Report
    This was another trip that was focused as a holiday for my wife and me, but the natural worldis an important ingredient rather than being solely a birding trip. We had previously been toMorocco on four earlier occasions and this was to some extent unfinished business as wewere flooded out from returning to Marrakech in November 2014, due the exceptional floodingin and around Ouarzazate.
  • 2016 [02 February] - Mark Beevers & Markus Lilje

    PDF Report
  • 2016 [03 March] - Chris Durdin

    PDF Report
    Our main destination this morning was the nesting cliffs of bald ibises at Tamri, where a black-eared wheatear was perching out in the open as we arrived. There we met three people from GREPOM/BirdLife Morocco, led by Mohamed Dakki, GREPOM’s President. Also with the welcoming group was Oubrou Widade of Souss-Massa National Park, and she gave a succinct introduction to the conservation challenges for bald ibises, which is managed as a partnership between GREPOM and the National Park. Numbers tell a success story: when the project started in 1994, there were 225 birds and 60 pairs. Now there are 500 birds and 116 pairs, and last year breeding success was high... We also learnt that GREPOM’s funding for wardens has dried up, so our holiday’s donation of £800 is quite a lifeline, funding pay and expenses for two wardens for two months...
  • 2016 [03 March] - Honeyguides

    PDF Report
    This holiday, as for every Honeyguide holiday, also puts something into conservation in our host country by way of a contribution to the wildlife that we enjoyed. The conservation contribution of £40 per person was supplemented by Gift Aid and we were able to give £800 to GREPOM/BirdLife Morocco – Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc...
  • 2016 [06 June] - Peter Lansdown

    PDF Report
  • 2017 [02 February] - Bob Swann

    PDF Report
    ...Woke to find it was raining! After breakfast headed east up the Sous valley. En route lots of roadside Collared Dove, Magpie, Spotless Starling, Blackbird, White Wagtail, Common Bulbul, with a few Crested Lark, Song Thrush, Chaffinch and Serin. Many Barn Swallow and a Common Swift moving north...
  • 2017 [02 February] - Mark Beevers & Clayton Burne

    PDF Report
    ...Heading down towards the estuary mouth, we kept picking up good species – a flock of over 50 Spanish Sparrow, Eurasian Wryneck, Common Kingfisher, Bluethroat, European Stonechat, a number of Moussier’s Redstart, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet and a Corn Bunting. Common Quail and Water Rail remained heard only as is the norm...
  • 2017 [02 February] – Simon Tonkin & Niki Williamson – Tarifa & Morocco

    PDF Report
    Among the ever-arriving hirundines, huge groups of black kites were crossing the sea in towering columns of fifty or more birds at a time and arriving low all around us. It was a thrilling sight and we counted over a thousand birds overall during the morning.
  • 2017 [05 May] - Chris Keyhoe

    PDF Report
  • 2017 [10 October] - Graeme Wright - Western Sahara and Morocco

    PDF Report
    ...This was a little challenging as often this is a two week trip. However we got all our key targets except Dunns’s Lark and Golden Nightjar...
  • 2017 [11 November] - Manfred Bögershausen

    PDF Report
    ...We drive southwards, having a break in the region of Asni, where we find the first sought-after bird (Levaillant's Green Woodpecker), before we continue to the hotel „Bergerie“ near Ouirgane. During the whole trip we have single accomodations at various hotels, some of them rather spacious and in stunning settings...
  • 2018 [02 February] - Stefan Cherrug - Western Sahara and Morocco

    PDF Report
    Our primary goals were to visit Western Sahara to se Royal Tern, Sudan Golden Sparrow, Cricket Warbler, Golden Nightjar, African Dunn’s Lark and, for a few of us, Thick-billed Lark. Also to see Double-Spurred Francolin in the Sidi Yahia area ENE Casablanca for one in the group, to see African Crimson-winged Finch in Oukaimeden for some of us and to try for the mauritanicasubspecies of Tawny Owl in the Ourika valley nearbyand finally, for some of us, to see Brown-throated Martin at Oued Massa. One of us (SC) also tried to take notice of and photograph reptiles, mammals, butterflies, dragonflies and plants except all birds...
  • 2018 [03 March] - Mark Beevers

    PDF Report
    Our first stop was at Ait Ourir, where we sometimes find Western (Eurasian) Jackdaws, here at the southern end of their range. This wasn’t to be the case this year, but we did find 40 Cattle Egrets on the river, along with a female Common Stonechat. Our first stop on our ascent to Oukaiimeden produced a lovely pair of Moussier’s Redstart,along with a mixed flock of Crag and House Martinsand a pair of Cirl Buntings...
  • 2018 [04 April] - Paul Dufour - Morocco & Western Sahara

    PDF Report
    Most of the targets wereseen with some highlights: Golden Nightjar:we were a bit worried forthis species which beginsto be quiet in this periodand we missed it in the first eveningin Oued Jenna, we were luckieron the second try...Sudan Golden Sparrow: SGSactuallyonly spend winter in the Oued Jennaarea, we luckily spotted three birds in a large flock of Desert Sparrowduring our first hour of search...
  • 2018 [04 April] - Valentin Moser

    PDF Report
    The Bebbi Babbler Youth Birding team went to Morocco for 11 days (26.3.-7.4). We managed to see all possible target bird species, ending the trip with 232species. Best birds include selffound nest of Desert sparrow, resting Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Marsh owland several local scarcities (Pallid Harrier, Baillon’s and Little Crake, PaleCrag Martin). We also saw some interesting mammalsincluding Cuvier’s Gazelle and Val’s Gundi, as well as 27herp species...
  • 2019 [03 March] - David Karr

    PDF Report
    I undertook a short three-day birding trip to Morocco with the objective of trying to find thirteen supraSahelian species that were of special interest to me (all potential lifers):
  • 2019 [03 March] - Gayuin Birding Tours

    PDF Report
    So with a personal target of 24 Western Paleartic ticks off we went. A group of 6 Yorkshire Birders, we decided to use Gayuin Birding Tours who came highly recommended, (indeed they are who all the tour companies use) and we weren’t disappointed!
  • 2019 [04 April] - Stefan Schlick

    PDF Report
    Portland’s first trip to Morocco was a full success!! We enjoyed the culture, making stops in Volubilis and Marrakech, the food including the mandatory (almost) daily tajine, stayed in truly fabulous places that you would pay $250/per night in the US and saw some pretty neat birds.
  • 2022 [04 April] - Brahim Mezane

    PDF Report
    We then enjoyed breakfast on the patio – sitting under big flocks of Pallid, Common and Little Swifts that circled above, along with an impressive Booted Eagle. Then we met our local cultural guide Mustapha, who took us into the old part of the city, taking in various significant historical sites and a bit of the famous souk (market). For many of us, this was an introduction to life and history in a Moslem country...
  • 2022 [09 September] - Peg Abbott

    PDF Annotated Species List
    Highlights were seeing three species of sandgrouse including the beautiful Pin-tailed, Cream-colored Coursers with chicks, nesting Lanner Falcon, sorting out endemic and nearendemic larks, wheatears, and sparrows, watching electric-colored bee-eaters and rollers, finding Levaillant's Woodpecker, and learning so much from Peter about the wheatear taxonomy - 7 species, wow! This is a brilliant tour for those that love to frame their bird-finding with beauty...
  • 2023 [03 March] - Martin Pitt

    PDF Report
    A 10-day tour of southern Morocco recorded 188 species of birds plus four distinctive subspecies, together with 3 species of mammal, 14 species of butterfly, 10 of reptiles, and 6 of dragonflies.
  • 2023 [05 May] - Brian McCloskey

    PDF Report
    As Irish birders, we are used to short driving distances on relatively good roads. Morocco was going to be the complete opposite! Irish birder, Mark Stewart highly recommended Moroccan bird guide, Mohamed Bargache as a solid and reliable guide...
Other Links
  • Easybirder

    Hi, I’m Dave Gosney, the author of the Finding Birds in… series of books. I‘m in the process of updating the books and producing DVDs to go with them to give you an even better idea of where and how to find the best birds when you go birding abroad…
  • MaghrebOrnitho

    MaghrebOrnitho is the new home of the Moroccan Birds blog. Birds know no frontiers, therefore this blog is not only about Birds of Morocco but about the Birds of the Maghreb region as a whole.
  • North Africa Birds


Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Skip to content