High Atlas Mountains: Oukaimeden

Some pictures of our two-day stay in Oukaïmeden, Morocco (3200 m) from 13. two 14. February 2012. The site, located near Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak of the Atlas, hosts a skiing resort and is, among birdwatchers, best known for its population of African Crimson-winged Finch (Rhodopechys sanguineus alienus), which can easily be seen here in winter. This subspecies is endemic to Northwestern Africa, was recently proposed as full species1 and is already treated as such by some authorities2.
We found plenty of this charismatic finch around the parking lots of the skiing resort. In the early morning of 14.2., around 200 ind. fed in the lower parts of the village, inbetween hundreds of Red-billed and Yellow-billed Choughs.
Other sightings included max. 20 Rock Sparrow, 2 Rock Bunting, 2 Dipper, 4 Alpine Accentor and 50-100 Shorelarks on 13.2., scattered around the whole resort in thick fog. The rather surprising finds on ca. 3000 m were a Lanner Falcon, a Long-legged Buzzard, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Snipe and one pair of Levaillant’s Woodpecker.

  1. Tobias, J.A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Pilgrim, J.D., Fishpool L.D.C & Collar N.J. (2010): Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152: 724-746
  2. van den Berg, A.B. (2011): Dutch Birding bird names: list of Western Palearctic bird species. Dutch Birding Association, Amsterdam