Trip report: Morocco (March 2015) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Ken Behrens and Cameron Cox. This was a set-departure tour..

Morocco is study in both beauty and contrasts. The landscape is beautiful, often stunningly so, and ever varied. Contrast can be seen in both the landscape and in elements of Moroccan culture. There are snow-crowned High Atlas Mountains, with flocks of swirling Alpine Choughs, and the reddish dunes of the Sahara Desert, where the haunting song of Hoopoe Lark pierces the air. In the people, there is tremendous contrast between wealth and poverty, and between traditional and modern culture. One man in designer jeans and a starched oxford shirt might walk with another wearing what amounts to a long, brown sack with armholes and a hood. A mud hut that is hundreds of years old may have a satellite dish protruding from it.

The beauty and the contrasts are what make every moment in Morocco interesting, even when not looking at birds. But Morocco has some spectacular birds! It is home to the endangered Northern Bald Ibis and highly localized Crimson-winged Finch. Levaillant’s Woodpecker and Moussier’s Redstart will make your eyes pop. And the display song of the Greater Hoopoe-Lark is one of the most unique sounds to be found in the avian world. While the overall number of birds found in Morocco is small in comparison to destinations like Kenya and the New World tropics, the quality of the avian experiences found in Morocco, along with the beautiful and ever-changing landscapes, and the culture and food, make this feel like a very rich tour. Morocco is much closer to North America than other destinations in Africa. Most Europeans and North Americans can reach the country with one or two flights. Finally, this short tour should be attractive to people with limited vacation time. For those who have the time for a longer trip, it can be combined with our short Spain tour, which immediately follows the Morocco tour.

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