Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (Pterocles lichtensteinii) is a rare and range-restricted breeding species in Morocco. In fact, it’s so localised and discrete that it’s included in the list of species to be submitted to the Moroccan Rare Birds Committee (in order to help gather more data about its distribution).
There are however some sites where the species can be observed. The best known sites is probably along Oued Tissint, in addition to a few other sites in the region of Middle Draa valley.
Here are some sightings of the species in Morocco (this blog-post will be updated with new sightings).
A beautiful male bird was photographed at this site along the road Tata-Foum Zguid by Jorrit Vlot, Mark de Vries and their friends (photo below). The exact spot is at Km 56, about 6 Km south-east of the village of Tissint.
Andrew Makin and his birding colleagues observed 9 Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse drinking from the river in the evening of 25 April 2016. The following morning at 08:20, they observed 250+ Spotted (Pterocles senegallus) and 50+ Crowned Sandgrouse (Pterocles coronatus) drinking in the same area (See Andrew’s full comment below).
Tissint means salt in Tamazight/Berber language. Oued Tissint and the eponymous village are named so because of the salty water of the wadi. Oued Tissint is also sometimes called “Oued el-Maleh”, this is simply the Arabic translation of the original Berber name. The latter name should be avoided when describing this site, because there are many sites known as ‘Oued el-Maleh’ in Morocco as well as in Algeria and Tunisia.
My colleague Mohamed Mediani photographed a pair in the Middle Draa at some 12 Km north-east of Lake Iriqui (Iriki) on 7 May 2013 (photo below). GPS coordinates of the site: 29.8997917, -6.4209783.
Between Foum Zguid and Iriqui
Brahim Bakass and four GOMAC members observed 8 Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (two families of five and three birds respectively) between Iriqui and Foum Zguid in the evening of 17 August 2013 (photos below). The birds were observed in front of a table mountain known as ‘Medouar Lkbir’ located some 20 Km south of Foum Zguid. Thanks Brahim for the information and photographs!