The Middle Atlas is the northernmost of the three Atlas Mountains chains, stretching over 350 km in the northwest of Morocco 1. We crossed the range on our way from Fez to Zeida, stopping in the mountain village Azrou, in the heart of the Middle Atlas mountains. Primarily adjusted for mild temperatures – which we largely failed to witness on this trip – we were quite astonished to find a North African winter wonderland of the finest sort: vast, beautiful, wild landscape, covered in snow. If we hadn’t come to find some birds, I bet we would have gotten stuck in this fascinating place for a longer time.
In the Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica) forest “Cèdre Gouraud”, we were looking for Levaillant’s Woodpecker (Picus vaillantii), a recently split species, closely related to European Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) and endemic to the Maghreb countries Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia 2.
A nice bonus on this route was a stop at a local troop of around 30 Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus) – photos to come soon.