Morocco hosts a great diversity of breeding birds and is located on the East atlantic flyway of birds migrating from Europe to tropical Africa. It offers several major wintering sites for migratory Palaearctic water birds, which congregate in large numbers in coastal wetlands from August-September to March-April: 300 000-400 000 palearctic water birds overwinter in Morocco. The main sites are the Merja Zerga lagoon near Larache in the North (ducks, shorebirds, flamingoes) and the Sidi Moussa – Oualidia lagoons (shorebirds) located between El Jadida and Safi, 100 km south of Casablanca.
An epidemiological survey of the influenza virus in wild birds has been conducted in Morocco in February 2006 in the Loukkos marshes (mainly ducks), near Larache, and in December 2006 in the brackish lagoons located near Oualidia (mainly shorebirds), in the framework of the Technical Cooperation Programmes (TCP) of FAO.
Avian influenza is monitored since late 2005 in wild birds and poultry to prevent the risk of introduction of HPAI H5N1 in Morocco.
Two epidemiological survey of the influenza virus in wild birds has been conducted in Morocco in the framework of the Technical Cooperation Programmes (TCP) of FAO (Surveillance and prevention of HPAI, FAO TCP ). Objectives were to evaluate the Avian Influenza prevalence, in particular highly pathogenic strains, among wild bird populations, including both migratory and resident bird species; and to provide technical support to the national surveillance programme through capacity building of national counterparts on sampling techniques.