White-rumped Seedeater: first for Algeria and Western Palearctic

By MaghrebOrnitho | 8 January 2020

White-rumped Seedeater observed at Tamanrasset, southern Algeria. This is the first record of the species for the country and the Western Palearctic.

En décembre 2019, un groupe d’ornithologues de terrain algérien a découvert le Serin à croupion blanc à Tamanrasset (les noms cités ci-dessous). Plus important encore, l’équipe a observé un adulte nourrissant un jeune (une preuve de la reproduction). Il s’agit de la première observation de l’espèce dans l’Algérie et le Paléarctique occidental. Un article devrait être publié prochainement dans une revue scientifique.

In late December 2019, a group of Algerian birders organized a birding and naturalist trip to the Great South of the country. The goal was to observe and photograph the special birds and wildlife in the Tamanrasset area. The group was composed by Mourad Harzallah, Aimene Boulaouad, Khaled Ayyach, Mohamed Missoum and Walid Soukkou. They are all from the northern part of the country (thus ‘the Great South’ as they call it in the north).

Upon arrival, they easily secured some of the target species such as African Silverbill (Euodice cantans) and Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala). They also photographed some not so easy species such as Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (Pterocles lichtensteinii).

On 25 December, they found a group of White-rumped Seedeaters (Crithagra leucopygia). This is without a doubt a ‘mega’, as these kind of rarities are known in the birding circles. Even more important, the team observed an adult actively feeding a young bird. This is the first record of the species for Algeria and the Western Palearctic region (WP).

The White-rumped Seedeater is a member of the family Fringillidae (the true finches) that is endemic to a narrow zone in the Sahel and Sudanian Savanna stretching from West Africa eastward to Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Additions to the Western Palearctic list

Some species that are distributed south of Sahara are more likely to occur inside the limits of WP than others (the first category includes nomadic species for example). Over the years, interested WP birders discussed a small group of species as future potential additions to the WP list. 

Some of these species have already been recorded in the WP region in the past few years, such as Golden Nightjar (Caprimulgus eximius) and Wahlberg’s Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi). Some still haven’t been recorded yet, such as Kordofan lark (Mirafra cordofanica) and Singing Bush Lark (Mirafra cantillans). With the addition of the White-rumped Seedeater, what to expect next?

An article should be published soon in a scientific journal.

Bravo and big thank you to the whole team!

Recent interesting observations in the Tamanrasset region:

  • Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus): first for the country (just outside of the classic limit of the WP).
White-rumped Seedeater / Serin à croupion blanc (Crithagra leucopygia), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
White-rumped Seedeater / Serin à croupion blanc (Crithagra leucopygia), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
White-rumped Seedeater feeding young, Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
White-rumped Seedeater feeding young, Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
Red-billed Firefinch / Amarante du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
Red-billed Firefinch / Amarante du Sénégal (Lagonosticta senegala), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
African Silverbills / Capucin bec-d'argent (Euodice cantans), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, Dec 2019 (Aimene Boulaouad).
African Silverbills / Capucin bec-d’argent (Euodice cantans), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, Dec 2019 (Aimene Boulaouad).

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