موريتانيا | Mauritanie | Mauritania


1,030,700 km² (11th largest country in Africa)



Significant Afrotropical and Palaearctic elements in the avifauna
Approximately 540 recorded species

Kordofan Lark (Johannes Heip)
Dunn’s Lark (Tim Wacher)
Black Wheatear (Tomasz Kaliszewski)

Birds best found in Mauritania but occurring more widely (BT)
Kordofan Lark

Birds best found in two territories of the ABC region but occurring in more (B2)
Dunn’s Lark

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Moroccan Cormorant
Pallid Heron | Mauritanian Heron
North African Buzzard | Atlas Long-legged Buzzard
Barbary Falcon
Desert Grey Shrike
Glossy-backed Drongo
Singing Bush Lark
Saharan Scrub Warbler
Saharan Olivaceous Warbler
African Reed Warbler
African Scrub Robin
Black-faced Quailfinch

Other taxa of interest (see also under Birding Sites), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Common Ostrich (camelus)
Barbary Partridge (spatzi)
Red-necked Nightjar
European Nightjar
Egyptian Nightjar
Golden Nightjar
Plain Nightjar
Plain Swift
Little Swift
Houbara Bustard
Nubian Bustard
Spotted Sandgrouse
Crowned Sandgrouse
Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (targius)
Rock Dove (gymnocycla)
Speckled Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
African Collared Dove
Laughing Dove
Namaqua Dove
Eurasian Stone-curlew (saharae)
Black-headed Lapwing
Cream-colored Courser
Scissor-tailed Kite
Egyptian Vulture
Griffon Vulture
Golden Eagle
Western Barn Owl (alba)
Little Owl (saharae)
Pharaoh Eagle-Owl
Blue-naped Mousebird
Eurasian Hoopoe
Northern Red-billed Hornbill
African Grey Hornbill
Abyssinian Roller
White-throated Bee-eater
African Green Bee-eater
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
Northern Carmine Bee-eater
Vieillot’s Barbet
Yellow-breasted Barbet
Little Grey Woodpecker
African Grey Woodpecker
Lanner Falcon (erlangeri)
Senegal Parrot
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Grey-backed Fiscal
Pied Crow
Brown-necked Raven
Sennar Penduline Tit
Greater Hoopoe-Lark
Thick-billed Lark
Desert Lark
Bar-tailed Lark
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark
Thekla’s Lark
Crested Lark (ESS balsaci)
Maghreb Lark
Temminck’s Lark
Greater Short-toed Lark
Mediterranean Short-toed Lark
Common Bulbul
Pale Crag Martin (presaharica)
Northern Crombec
Zitting Cisticola
Cricket Warbler
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
African Desert Warbler
Spectacled Warbler
Fulvous Babbler
Greater Blue-eared Starling
Chestnut-bellied Starling
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Black Scrub Robin
Anteater Chat
Black Wheatear
White-crowned Wheatear
Pygmy Sunbird
Beautiful Sunbird
Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow
Sahel Bush Sparrow
Northern Grey-headed Sparrow
House Sparrow
Desert Sparrow
Sudan Golden Sparrow
White-billed Buffalo Weaver
Speckle-fronted Weaver
Little Weaver
Vitelline Masked Weaver
Black-headed Weaver
Red-billed Quelea
Yellow-crowned Bishop
Northern Red Bishop
African Silverbill
Orange-cheeked Waxbill
Black-rumped Waxbill
Cut-throat Finch
Green-winged Pytilia
Red-billed Firefinch
Village Indigobird
Pin-tailed Whydah
Sahel Paradise Whydah
Trumpeter Finch
White-rumped Seedeater
House Bunting
Golden-breasted Bunting

Golden Nightjar (Nik Borrow)
Chestnut-bellied Starling (Paul van Giersbergen)

Coastal wetlands, arid savanna, desert

25 Important Bird Areas

Oued Initi, Adrar Plateau and Tiris Zemmour Region for desert species
Banc d’Arguin National Park (NP) and Ras Nouadhibou/Cap Blanc for waders/shorebirds including Eurasian Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, Common Redshank and Common Greenshank, as well as Slender-billed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Grey-headed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Kelp Gull, Yellow-legged Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Lesser Crested Tern, West African Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Bridled Tern, Common Tern and Black Tern, also Pallid Swift, Greater Flamingo, Reed Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant, Great Cormorant (maroccanus), Eurasian Spoonbill (ESS balsaci), Grey Heron (monicae), Little Egret, Western Reef Heron and Great White Pelican
Canary Current Shelf Break for seabirds including Common Scoter, Red Phalarope, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sabine’s Gull, Arctic Tern, Great Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, White-faced Storm Petrel, European Storm Petrel, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Band-rumped Storm Petrel, Scopoli’s Shearwater, Cory’s Shearwater, Cape Verde Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel, Northern Gannet and Brown Booby
Nouakchott Wetlands for waterbirds including Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Eurasian Teal, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Allen’s Gallinule, Baillon’s Crake, Little Grebe, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Temminck’s Stint, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Dwarf Bittern and Western Cattle Egret
Diawling NP for more waterbirds including White-faced Whistling Duck, Knob-billed Duck, Egyptian Goose, Common Shelduck, African Pygmy Goose, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Marbled Duck, African Swamphen, Black Crake, Black Crowned Crane, Black-necked Grebe, Lesser Flamingo, Senegal Thick-knee, Pied Avocet, Spur-winged Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Kittlitz’s Plover, African Jacana, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole, African Skimmer, Caspian Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Yellow-billed Stork, Black Stork, African Darter, African Sacred Ibis, Glossy Ibis, African Spoonbill, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Black Heron, Hamerkop, Pink-backed Pelican, Malachite Kingfisher and Pied Kingfisher, as well as Common Quail, Long-tailed Nightjar, Arabian Bustard, Denham’s Bustard, Marsh Owl, Piapiac, Crested Lark (senegallensis), Winding Cisticola, River Prinia, Swamp Flycatcher, African Stonechat (moptanus), Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Copper Sunbird and Orange-breasted Waxbill
Senegal River Valley for, at least formerly, Egyptian Plover, Greater Painted-snipe, Striated Heron, Black-headed Heron, Goliath Heron and Yellow-billed Egret, as well as Helmeted Guineafowl, Double-spurred Spurfowl, African Palm Swift, Western Plantain-eater, White-bellied Bustard, Savile’s Bustard, Senegal Coucal, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Mourning Collared Dove, Vinaceous Dove, Black-billed Wood Dove, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Fish Eagle, Western Barn Owl (poensis), Pearl-spotted Owlet, African Scops Owl, Northern White-faced Owl, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Green Wood Hoopoe, Black Scimitarbill, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Western Red-billed Hornbill, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Striped Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Red-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Fine-spotted Woodpecker, Red-necked Falcon, Senegal Batis, Northern Puffback, Black-crowned Tchagra, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Brubru, Yellow-billed Shrike, African Paradise Flycatcher, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark, Flappet Lark, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Brown Babbler, Long-tailed Glossy Starling, Village Weaver, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu and Yellow-fronted Canary
Lac d’Aleg for Fulvous Whistling Duck and Spur-winged Goose and, at least formerly, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck and Tufted Duck
Tagant Plateau for Stone Partridge, Greyish Eagle-Owl, Neumann’s Starling, Mocking Cliff Chat and Gosling’s Bunting

TIMING (Nov–Jan)
Best in the cool season (Oct–Feb)
Avoid the hottest time of the year (May–Sep), when Afro-Palearctic migrants are also absent

Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

Field guides
Birds of Western Africa by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2014)

African Bird Sounds Vol 2: West and Central Africa by Claude Chappuis

Atlas des Oiseaux de Mauritanie/Atlas of the Birds of Mauritania
Atlas de Répartition des Oiseaux du Mali et de Mauritanie by B Lamarche (1993)

Further reading
Oiseaux de Mauritanie/Birds of Mauritania by Paul Isenmann, Maurice Benmergui, Peter Browne, Amadou Diam Ba, Cheikh Hamallah Diagana, Yelli Diawara & Zeine El Abidine ould Sidaty (2010)
The Birds of the Banc d’Arguin by Paul Isenmann (2006)
Wader and Waterbird Census at the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, January 2000 by Ward Hagemeijer, Cor Smit, Peter de Boer, Arend van Dijk, Neil Ravenscroft, Marc van Roomen & Mick Wright (2004)
Mauritania by Tara Shine, Peter Robertson & Bruno Lamarche in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Homeward Bound: Problems Waders Face When Migrating from the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, to Their Northern Breeding Grounds in Spring by B J Ens, T Piersma, W J Wolff & L Zwarts (1990)
Liste Commentée des Oiseaux de Mauritanie by Bruno Lamarche (1988)
Wintering Waders on the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania by W Altenburg, M Engelmoer, R Mes & T Piersma (1982)
Guide des Oiseaux du Parc National du Diawling et de sa Zone Périphérique by Cheikh Hamallah Diagana & Yelli Diawara (2021)
Articles in Malimbus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Parc National du Banc d’Arguin (PNBA)
Banc d’Arguin National Park – UNESCO World Heritage List

Birding for a Lark by Robert Tovey


Nature Mauritanie – Association Mauritanienne de Conservation de la Nature is the BirdLife Partner in Mauritania

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Mauritania include –
Association Naforé pour la Protection de l’Environnement (NAFORE)
Club des Amis de la Nature et Protection de l’Environnement (CANPE)
Fonds Fiduciaire du Banc d’Arguin et de la Biodiversité Côtière et Marine/Banc d’Arguin and Coastal and Marine Biodiversity (BACoMaB) Trust Fund
Partenariat Régional pour la Conservation de la Zone Côtière et Marine (PRCM) en Afrique de l’Ouest

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