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 the other North African subspecies, F. c. africana and F. c. spodiogenys, are discussed, the main ones being that males invariably possess a prominent white patch on the central nape, a hint of a white post-ocular supercilium, a more yellowish tinge both above and below, stronger yellow fringes to the tertials and wing-coverts, and a less clean blue-grey head. Reasons for not recognising the subspecies F. c. koenigi are reconfirmed. There is some variation in size and in saturation of male plumage within the range of africana, making separation of koenigi untenable.
The following subspecies of Chaffinch in North Africa should be recognised, listed chronologically:
- Fringilla coelebs spodiogenys Bonaparte, 1841. Type locality: Tunisia near Tunis and Sfax.
- Fringilla coelebs africana Levaillant, 1850. Type locality: Algeria.
- Fringilla coelebs harterti Svensson 2015. Type locality: near Al Marj, north Cyrenaica, Libya.
Given that africana is more closely related to coelebs than to spodiogenys, it would be interesting to know the position of harterti within a revised genetic tree”.
Svensson, L. 2015. A new North African subspecies of Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Bull. B.O.C. 135: 69–76.
Update (Dec 2017): the PDF is published online. The same for article about the split of the Subalpine Warbler species complex by the same author.