Category Archives: Bird Taxonomy

Articles about bird taxonomy, new and potential species splits, new taxa and related subjects.

DNA confirms Slender-billed Curlew is a valid species

The mitochondrial genome of the presumably extinct Slender-billed Curlew is sequenced for the first time. This confirmed that the species is genetically distinct from the related curlews. The last sightings of Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) were at Merja Zerga Lagoon, Morocco, in 1995. Subsequent sightings of the species, including the single bird observed in Hungary… Read More »

North African Buzzard is not a Long-legged but an allospecies of Common Buzzard

The Atlas Long-legged Buzzard is more closely related to Common Buzzard than to Long-legged Buzzard according to a new study. The taxon cirtensis should be treated therefore as an allospecies of the Common Buzzard superspecies. Background The Old World buzzards of the genus Buteo are relatively a young radiation and poorly differentiated genetically. However, they… Read More »

Atlas and Balearic crossbills are the most divergent of all West Palearctic crossbills

North African and Balearic crossbills are the most genetically divergent among all Common Crossbill subspecies in the Western Palearctic according to a new study. This divergence is even greater than between the Common and Parrot crossbills. Parmi toutes les sous-espèces du Bec-croisé des sapins (Loxia curvirostra) dans le Paléarctique occidental, le Bec-croisé du Maghreb (ssp.… Read More »

Taxonomic status of ‘long-billed’ Crested Larks at Aousserd?

To which taxa belong the ‘crested larks’ observed in the Aousserd region and in the adjacent northern Mauritania? First, which species: Maghreb Lark or Crested Lark sensu stricto? And also, which subspecies exactly? À quels taxons appartiennent les «cochevis huppées» observées dans la région d’Aousserd et dans le nord de la Mauritanie ? D’abord, quelle espèce :… Read More »

West African Crested Tern is split from Royal Tern

The Royal Tern is split into two species by the ‘IOC World Bird List’ in January 2020. The split is based on research published in 2017 and reported in this blog (see below) at the time. The original title of the blog when first published was “African Royal Tern should be split from the American… Read More »

Taxonomy and breeding range extension of Golden Nightjar

Golden Nightjar (Caprimulgus eximius) is an apparently sedentary sub-Saharan species with a breeding range extending from Senegal and Mauritania to Sudan. Although genetic studies of nightjars and related Caprimulgiformes have been published previously, none has included Golden Nightjar. In this study published in the Ostrich journal (Lawrie et al. 2017), mitochondrial and nuclear DNA of… Read More »

African Reed Warbler in Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula

Two new taxa of reed warbler in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula Two studies published in 2016 ‘added’ two taxa of the Eurasian/African Reed Warbler complex to the avifauna of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The first taxon from Morocco and Spain is either a subspecies – of the Eurasian or the African… Read More »

A new Common Chaffinch subspecies in North Africa

A new subspecies of Common Chaffinch endemic to north-east Libya was named by Lars Svensson in a recent paper. Below are the summary and the main conclusion taken from the paper: “A new subspecies of Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs in North Africa is described. It is restricted to northern Cyrenaica in north-east Libya. Differences from… Read More »

Taxonomic status of the Barbary Falcon

Below is a discussion about the identification of an interesting falcon observed in Morocco, and an update about the taxonomic status of the Barbary Falcon. Barbary Falcon with some Peregrine characteristics This falcon was photographed on the cliffs where the Barbary Falcons are known to breed near Rissani, Morocco, in mid-April 2015 by David Walsh.… Read More »

Horned Lark taxonomy: possible split into six species

A recent study suggested splitting the Horned Lark into six different species: one in the Nearctic and five in the Palearctic including the Moroccan endemic taxon (atlas). The Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) is a widely distributed passerine across North America and Eurasia, with two isolated populations in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Colombia in… Read More »