Red-billed Firefinch sites in Algeria

By | 21 April 2017

The Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala) was introduced at Tamanrasset in about 1940, and also present at El-Goléa since at least 1972 (Isenmann & Moali 2000).

Currently the species still present at the known sites cited above:

  • Tamanrasset: the species still present in the town and easily seen. Observed there as recently as last February (photo 1).
  • El-Goléa: the species seem present also at this site. Abdelwahab Chedad observed a group of 7-10 birds in January 2016 at Hassi el-Gara near El-Goléa wetland (photo 2). However, there is no indication on whether the species is abundant as is the case at Djanet for example.

The species has also spread (naturally or introduced) to the following regions:

  • Djanet: very abundant and easily seen at Djanet itself (Bilal Gueroui, who found there a Sudan Golden Sparrow last January, said that the species is observed regularly; and Khaled Ayyach added that it’s present in big numbers). The species present also in the nearby villages (e.g. Efri). Isenmann & Moali (2000) explicitly wrote that “the species has never been recorded at Djanet…”, so apparently the species has spread to that region during the last 17 years.
  • In Salah: Belbachir (2000) wrote “… introduced recently to In-Salah, where we observed it from 29 September to 6 October 1997″. Farid Belbachir said the species is still present at this town and added in the comments section that it was introduced there around the 1990s.
  • Hassi Moumene: a gas field located some 60 Km north of In Salah town. Rob Minshull observed a pair copulating at this site earlier this month, and added that it’s likely to breed in a reed bed within the camp base (see Rob’s full comment below).

Is the Red-billed Firefinch really introduced at Tamanghasset?

Because the species present just to the south in Mali (Adrar Tigharghar) and Niger (Aïr Mountains), one may think why the species in considered ‘introduced’ in Tamanghasset? The information about the species introduction to Tamanghasset is attributed to Heim de Balsac & Mayaud (1962). Having no access to this reference, I asked this question to some Algerian colleagues, and Farid Belbachir (University of Béjaïa, Algeria & Zoological Society of London, UK) kindly gave this answer:

“It appears that the species was introduced at Tamanrasset by a former garrison leader named Florimond. The inhabitants of Tamanrasset attribute the name ‘ferrima’ to the Red-billed Firefinch, a name which could be a deformation of ‘Florimond'”.

References:

Belbachir, F. (2000). Première observation d’une colonie de Capucin bec-d’argent Euodice cantans, dans le Sahara Central algérien. Alauda 68: 149–151.

Heim de Balsac, H. & Mayaud, N. (1962). Les oiseaux du Nord-Ouest de l’Afrique. Lechevalier, Paris.

Isenmann, P. & Moali, A. (2000). Oiseaux d’Algérie / Birds of Algeria. SEOF, Paris.

Acknowledgements / Remerciements:

Many thanks to Farid Belbachir, Khaled Ayyach, Samir Amarouche, Abdelwahab Awaf Chedad and Bilal Gueroui for providing the information and the photographs. Thanks also to Ali Mehadji for his interest in the discussion.

Red-billed Firefinches / Amarantes du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Tamanghasset, Algeria, February 2017 (Samir Amarouche)

Red-billed Firefinches / Amarantes du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Tamanghasset, Algeria, February 2017 (Samir Amarouche).

Red-billed Firefinch / Amarante du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Hassi el-Gara near El-Goléa wetland, Ghardaïa Province, Algeria, January 2016 (Abdelwahab Chedad).

Red-billed Firefinch / Amarante du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Hassi el-Gara near El-Goléa wetland, Ghardaïa Province, Algeria, January 2016 (Abdelwahab Chedad).

Red-billed Firefinch / Amarante du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Djanet, Algeria, 29 Oct. 2016 (Khaled Ayyach)

Red-billed Firefinch / Amarante du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Djanet, Algeria, 29 Oct. 2016 (Khaled Ayyach).

4 thoughts on “Red-billed Firefinch sites in Algeria

  1. Rob Minshull

    Observed a pair at Hassi Moumene earlier this month. The site is a remote location; a gas field operated by In Salah Gas. I believe approx 60km from In Salah town.
    The pair were observed copulating and are likely to breed in a reed bed within the camp base. Not seen at this location before.

    Reply
    1. MaghrebOrnitho Post author

      Thanks Rob for the comment. It shows that the species is expanding at this region as well (like the case at Djanat).

      Reply
  2. Farid Belbachir

    Firefinches have been introduced at I-n Salah through individuals captured in Tamanrasset . I personally know the person who had introduced the species there circa 1990s. Best wishes.

    Reply
    1. MaghrebOrnitho Post author

      Thanks again Si Belbachir!

      The species appears to expand north as the recent observation of Rob Minshull suggest.

      Reply

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