Bird Taxonomy

Index of articles about bird taxonomy, new and potential species splits, and related subjects. The focus is on North African birds.

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe melanoleuca) captured and ringed at Merzouga, south-east Morocco, 8 March 2020 (Marc Illa).

First Eastern Black-eared Wheatear for Morocco after its recent split

An Eastern Black-eared Wheatear captured and ringed at Merzouga becoming the first modern record of the species for Morocco (only 4 previous ones in the 1950s). The species was only recently separated from the Western Black-eared Wheatear. The split The ‘IOC Checklist‘ split the Western (Oenanthe hispanica) and Eastern Black-eared Wheatears (Oenanthe melanoleuca) as two …

First Eastern Black-eared Wheatear for Morocco after its recent split Read More »

Western Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia iberiae) photographed in Morocco by Phil Gower.

Split of Western and Eastern Subalpine Warblers confirmed

A new study confirmed that the ‘Subalpine Warbler’ complex is indeed three species. In addition to Moltoni’s Warbler, the study recommended that Western and Eastern Subalpine Warblers should be recognised as different species as well. The ‘IOC World Bird List’ accepted the split as proposed by the study. (Research about the “taxonomy of the Subalpine …

Split of Western and Eastern Subalpine Warblers confirmed Read More »

Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris), Merja Zerga, Morocco, winter 1995 (Chris Gomersall)

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 …

DNA confirms Slender-billed Curlew is a valid species Read More »

North African Buzzard / Buse du Maghreb (Buteo buteo cirtensis), Tinejdad, Morocco (Mustapha Houssaini‎)

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 …

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Atlas Crossbill / Bec-croisé du Maghreb (Loxia curvirostra poliogyna), north-east Algeria (Mourad Harzallah‎).

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. …

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‘Long-billed’ Crested Lark, probably belonging to the senegallensis group of Galerida cristata, Aousserd, western Sahara, 21 Jan. 2018 (Lars Petersson).

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 : …

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

(c) The female Golden Nightjar sampled in this study, Oued Jenaa, Aousserd, 20 April 2016. (d) Vascularised brood patch indicating local breeding.

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 …

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Acrocephalus (baeticatus) ambiguus, photographed in Morocco in March 2011 (Benoît Maire)

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 …

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Three subspecies of Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) in North Africa: F. c. africana, F. c. spodiogenys and F. c. harterti ssp. nov.

A new Common Chaffinch subspecies in North Africa

A new subspecies of Common Chaffinch endemic to north-east Libya was described 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 …

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