Western Palearctic birding

Index of articles about birding news that are of interest to the Western Palearctic birding community. This includes mainly ‘mega rarities’ found in Northwest African and potential vagrants to the WP from adjacent areas. For birding news and national rarities see under each country.

Wahlberg’s Eagle / Aigle de Wahlberg (Hieraaetus wahlbergi), El Haouaria, northern Tunisia, 23 April 2018 (Mohamed El Golli).

First Wahlberg’s Eagle for Tunisia and 3rd for the Western Palearctic

An adult Wahlberg’s Eagle photographed in spring 2018 at El Haouaria, northern Tunisia. This is the first record for the country and third for the Western Palearctic. Un Aigle de Wahlberg adulte photographié en avril 2018 à El Haouaria dans le nord de la Tunisie. Il s’agit de la première observation pour le pays et …

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African Silverbills / Capucin bec-d’argent (Euodice cantans), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 15 Dec. 2018 (photo by KL).

African Silverbills at Tamanrasset, southern Algeria

The African Silverbill (Euodice cantans) is distributed mainly across the Sahel region, East Africa and in the south and south-west of the Arabian Peninsula. There are also some isolated populations on both sides of the Sahel. In the Western Palearctic, the species breeds only in southern Algeria but its status is poorly known. For example, …

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Horus Swift / Martinet horus (Apus horus), Doué river, northern Senegal, 12 Feb. 2018 (Frédéric Bacuez).

Horus Swift in north Senegal: a potential vagrant to Western Palearctic

As in the case of the Kordofan Lark, this blog-post deals also with another potential vagrant to the Western Palearctic region: the Horus Swift (Apus horus). In January 2018, Frédéric Bacuez and Bram Piot discovered about 18 Horus Swifts at the Doué river, located in northernmost Senegal. The identification, however, was not easy at the …

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Blue-naped Mousebird / Coliou huppé (Urocolius macrourus), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 29 July 2018 (photo via Abdelkader Beq).

First record of Blue-naped Mousebird for Algeria

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) photographed in the Tamanrasset region is the first record for Algeria. Première observation du Coliou huppé en Algérie (en français voir au dessous de la vidéo). The Blue-naped Mousebird was photographed and filmed at a village in the Tin-Zaouten district, located in the south of Tamanghasset province on 29 July 2018 …

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Moineaux dorés (Passer luteus), Tamanrasset, sud d’Algérie, 28 juillet 2018 (Abdelkader Beq)

Big flock of Sudan Golden Sparrow at Tamanrasset, Algeria

A big flock of Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus) was photographed a few days ago in the Tamanrasset region, southern Algeria (Soufyane Bekkouche). A Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) was also photographed in the same area. The birds were photographed at a village in the Tin-Zaouten district, located in the south of Tamanghasset province. The village …

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Tawny Eagle / Aigle ravisseur (Aquila rapax), northern-east Algeria, 17 July 2018 (Mourad Harzallah).

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) in north-east Algeria

This large eagle was photographed this week in north-east Algeria by Mourad Harzallah (a very good naturalist and a local ecotourism guide). The photographer said the eagle was much bigger than the Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata), and some of the photos below also attest this. Several people in a FB group suggested that it’s a …

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The Algerian Nuthatch twitch: easier than you think

The Algerian Nuthatch (Sitta ledanti) is a dream species for every Western Palearctic birder, especially so since the 1990s with the start of what they call in Algeria the “Black Decade”. However, although the security situation in the whole country has improved greatly since many years now, many WP birders still hesitating to visit Algeria …

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Kordofan Lark / Alouette du Kordofan (Mirafra cordofanica), Richard Toll, northern Senegal, 01/03/2018 (Jan Heip)

Identification of Kordofan Lark: a potential vagrant to Western Palearctic

Kordofan Lark (Mirafra cordofanica). The name sounds familiar to Western Palearctic birders because until recently the species was included in the WP list. However, Crochet & Haas (2013) suggested that the species should be deleted. Here is a (slightly edited) quote from this article: The distribution of Kordofan Lark as shown in Snow & Perrins …

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Wahlberg's Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi), Cap Blanc peninsula, Mauritania, 23 Sep. 2014 (Hans Verdaat).

Second Wahlberg’s Eagle for the Western Palearctic

Wahlberg’s Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi) is an African raptor distributed south of the Sahara. It’s known as an intra-African migrant, but movements north of the range are very rare. Indeed, the first Western Palearctic record was obtained only on 3 May 2013: a bird photographed by Ahmed Waheed on the west coast of Gulf of Suez, …

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Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax), northern Senegal, 26 Jan. 2014 (Frédéric Bacuez/Ornithondar).

Tawny Eagle in Morocco: status and vagrancy from sub-Saharan Africa

The Tawny Eagle in Morocco is very rare and endangered to say the least. There are no known breeding pairs since more than two decades. And even sightings of single birds are becoming increasingly rare. The former breeding range of Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) in Morocco was much larger, however the known breeding areas in …

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