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Agadir and the Sous Plain - BirdForum Opus

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Africa, Morocco

Overview

This popular coastal resort forms an ideal base from which to explore several excellent birding areas in southern Morocco. Agadir is a modern and busy city but lies within easy reach of good seawatching to the north at Cape Rhir.

Birds

Notable Species

A very productive estuary to the south at Oued Sous, and inland the plain of the Sous has Dark Chanting Goshawk and Black-winged Kite among many other North African specialities. The plain is situated between the High and Anti-Atlas and the foothills of these ranges provide excellent birding habitats. Tizi-n-Test is a rugged pass in the High Atlas to the north of the plain worth a visit for Lammergeier.

Agadir itself has Little Swift, Moussier's Redstart, Common Bulbul and House Bunting with gulls and sometimes terns seen in the harbour. Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls occur according to season, Audouin's is regular and Great Black-backed, Glaucous and Little have been seen along this stretch of coast. The cliffs between the city and Cap Rhir, 40km north on the P8, has colonies of Plain Swift, only recently discovered here and long thought to be endemic to the Atlantic islands. The cape itself produces gulls, terns and skuas during passage periods, Cory's and other shearwaters, petrels etc offshore and Moussier's Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush and Raven. Rarities recorded here include Madeira and Bulwer's Petrels and Black-browed Albatross.

Just to the south of Agadir the Sous enters the sea at Oued Sous and has produced a large area of mud and sand which is an important stopover point for large numbers of northern waders. Most of the regular species can be seen here and in addition there are egrets, Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbill and White Stork as well as Black-winged Stilt and Avocet. A variety of terns is often present and can include Caspian, West African Crested and Lesser Crested and all three marsh terns. Ruddy Shelduck often turn up in winter and sometimes also Northern Bald Ibis, Brown-throated Sand Martin is resident. To reach the estuary take the main road south-east out of Agadir and between the airport and the town of Inezgane there is a road off to the right which leads south to a track along the northern side of the wadi.

The P32 road runs inland from Agadir across the Plain of the Sous to Ouarzazate a land of orchards, cultivation and remnants of argana forest, a unique habitat characteristic of the area but now much reduced. Dark Chanting Goshawk, although rare, occurs in this plain and particularly around the town of Taroudannt, the historic capital of the region.

Other raptors found here include Black-winged Kite and Tawny Eagle and there are also Stone Curlew, Little Owl and Red-necked Nightjar. Passerines such as Moussier's Redstart, Rufous Bush Robin, Black-headed Tchagra and Fulvous Babbler can be found and the North African race of Magpie is common in orchards and olive groves. The town of Taroudannt supports Spotless Starling and Pallid and White-rumped Swifts.

For Tizi-n-Test head east out of Taroudannt and turn north just past Oulad Berehil on the S501. At over 2000m this pass is often blocked by snow in midwinter but a summer visit should not be missed, usually producing a good range of raptors in the foothills at the edge of the plain and around the pass itself. Lammergeier, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Booted, Bonelli's, Golden and Short-toed Eagles and Long-legged Buzzard are possible as well as Kestrel, Peregrine, Barbary Falcon and Lanner. Barbary Partridge and Tristram's Warbler can be seen in scrub in the foothills and Thekla Lark and Red-billed Chough in the higher areas.

Checklist

Birds you can see here include:

Cory's Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Great Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Northern Bald Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Common Teal, Mallard, Marbled Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Black-winged Kite, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Tawny Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Lanner Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Barbary Falcon, Barbary Partridge, Common Quail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Stone-curlew, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Skua, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, West African Crested Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Red-necked Nightjar, Plain Swift, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, White-rumped Swift, Little Swift, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Brown-throated Sand Martin, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Tree Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Bulbul, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Common Nightingale, Moussier's Redstart, Western Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Zitting Cisticola, Western Olivaceous Warbler, Tristram's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Fulvous Babbler, Black-headed Tchagra, Great Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, North African Magpie, Red-billed Chough, Northern Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, House Bunting, Corn Bunting

Site Information

Access and Facilities

Agadir has an airport and is easily reached from most European capitals, accommodation is plentiful and varied, from campsites to luxury hotels. A car is essential to cover this large area and they can be hired in Agadir. Taroudannt also has hotels ranging from budget to luxury and forms a good base for exploring the inland part of the plain, the Atlas foothills and Tizi-n-Test.

Contact Details

To do

External Links

Agadir on Googlemaps

Content and images originally posted by Steve

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