Working for birds in Africa

First record of Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis for the Cape Verde Islands, with a brief review of African and Macaronesian records


Première mention du Bécasseau rousset Calidris subruficollis pour le Cap-Vert, avec un bref aperçu des données de l’Afrique et de la Macaronésie. L’observation d’un Bécasseau rousset Calidris subruficollis à São Vicente, Cap-Vert, le 12 avril 2018, constitue la première mention pour le pays. Un aperçu est fourni des données de cette espèce occasionnelle en Macaronésie et en Afrique. La majorité des observations en Macaronésie ont été faites en septembre et octobre, tandis que celles du continent africain se situent principalement en novembre–avril. Il n’y a pas eu de changements constants dans le nombre annuel des observations entre 2000 et 2017, bien qu’il y ait eu des pics en 2010 et 2011. La pénurie de données au printemps semble indiquer que la survie de l’hivernage en Afrique est basse

On the morning of 12 April 2018, PFD & PG visited the sewage works near Mindelo, the largest town on São Vicente, in the Cape Verde Islands. Shortly after arriving, PFD observed a wader in flight that he tentatively identified as a Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis on the basis of its overall buff coloration and similarity to a Ruff C. pugnax (also present at the site on the same day) in general size and shape. Around 30 minutes later we relocated the bird, confirmed the initial identification (by virtue of the characteristically scalloped, buff-coloured upperparts, short bill and white underwing with a dark carpal mark) and photographed it on the ground and in flight (Figs. 1–3). The bird was loosely associating with Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres, Common Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and Sanderlings Calidris alba. It was seen feeding on the sewage settling beds and on a dividing bank that had recently been mown of vegetation. It was also seen roosting in the company of Common Ringed Plovers on a gravel-covered bank between sewage tanks. Perhaps surprisingly, given the many Nearctic shorebirds already recorded in Cape Verde, and the large number of Buff-breasted Sandpipers seen elsewhere in Macaronesia, this constitutes the first record for the country (Garcia-del-Rey 2016).

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