Working for birds in Africa


Sat, 01/12/2013 - 23:58 -- abc_admin

On the cliffs of NW coast of Fuerteventura, there is an important colony of Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea, and it is also a breeding place of Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis (the only one known so far on this island). Some raptors breed on this area, and is possible to find also Pallid Swift Apus pallidus and Rock Dove Columba livia.

Image Credit: 
Rubén Barone Tosco

Canary Islands Chiffchaff Phylloscopus canariensis Tenerife. This species is common on Tenerife and the photo shows some of the key identification features: long bill, long tail, short wings, dark brown upperparts and pale supercilium.

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

African Blue Tit Parus caeruleus teneriffae, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Some authorities raise this to species level. The dark blue crown and grey-blue mantle mentioned below are visible in this photo.

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Country checklist and status


We are delighted that our Corporate Sponsor iGoTerra has made its country checklists, including subspecies (IOC or Clements) as well as all other species groups like mammals, butterflies etc. available through the ABC website. The only thing required is a Basic membership / registration which is free of charge. Go to Canary Islands checklists. If you are already a member of iGoTerra, you will be taken directly to the country page. In case you are not a member, you will be redirected automatically to the registration form and from there can go straight to the country page.

The Checklist of the Birds of the Canary Islands covering 355 species can be purchased at NHBS or at any local bookshop in the Canary Islands.

Endemic species

Bolle's Pigeon Columba bollii Tenerife, La Palma, Gomera, El Hierro
Laurel Pigeon Columba junoniae Tenerife, La Palma, Gomera
Canary Islands Chat Saxicola dacotiae Fuerteventura
Canary Islands Chiffchaff Phylloscopus canariensis Tenerife and western islands
Blue Chaffinch Fringilla teydea Tenerife, Gran Canaria

The status of Blue Tit Parus caeruleus is somewhat more complex. Some authorities raise the following to species level: Fuerteventura Blue Tit Parus caeruleus degener; Tenerife Blue Tit P.c.teneriffae; Hierro Blue Tit P.c.ombriosus; Palma Blue Tit P.c.palmensis. Other authorities suggest there are two species. The following is taken from ABC Bulletin Vol 11 No 1 March 2004: "analyses of molecular data from Blue Tits Parus caeruleus undertaken by W. Salzburger, J.Martens and C. Sturmbauer, suggest that it actually comprises two species: Eurasian Blue Tit P. caeruleus (Europe and Middle Asia) and African Blue Tit P. teneriffae (North Africa and Canary Islands). The latter can be distinguished from their European relatives by differences in plumage (darker blue crown, grey-blue mantle), morphology (e.g. wing / tail ratio) and call."

Near endemic species

Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii also Madeira
Island Canary Serinus canaria also Madeira and Azores
Plain Swift Apus unicolor also Madeira

The subspecies of Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae is found only on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

Threatened species

Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris Vulnerable
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni Vulnerable
Canary Islands Oystercatcher* Haematopus meadewaldoi Extinct
Laurel Pigeon Columba junoniae Vulnerable

*The islands once sheltered the Canary Islands Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi, a species probably now extinct with no confirmed sightings since 1968 despite extensive searches. Note that Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni is a rare passage migrant.

The lists of endemic, near endemic and threatened species have been compiled from a number of sources including the African Bird Club, BirdLife International, and Birds of the World Version 2.0 ® 1994-1996, Dr. Charles Sibley and Thayer Birding Software, Ltd. For further information on the Canary Islands threatened species, see BirdLife International and follow the links for Spain.

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