Frances's Sparrowhawk Accipiter francesiae, Comoros
from ABC Bulletin 26.1
A Mascarene Martin Phedina borbonica observed on Mount Karthala, Grande Comore, at 2,000 m on 14 October 2018, appears to be the first for the archipelago (cf. Louette, M. 2004. Oiseaux. In Louette, M., Meirte, D. & Jocqué, R. eds. La faune terrestre de l’archipel des Comores). A Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus was photographed near Moya, Anjouan, on 10 October (Fig. 10); apparently the species has not been observed with certainty since 1958. Curiously, the bird had no trace of the buff undertail-coverts typical of the regional subspecies pyrrhorrhoa (MM).
The following records are from Louette 2004: an incredibly large number of 455 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis was seen on Dziani Boundouni Lake, Mohéli (1993); 80 pairs of Masked Booby Sula dactylatra were at Chaco island, Mohéli (1997); Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti is now almost annual on Mayotte; Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae is now regularly observed on Mayotte; Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei on Anjouan is new for the archipelago (1995); Mohéli Scops Owl Otus moheliensis was a newly discovered species on Mohéli (1995); Mascarene Martin Phedina borbonica was observed twice on Mayotte (1997 and 1998).
The following records are for 1997 from the Bulletin of the African Bird Club. An expedition to Anjouan from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK in August and September 1995 produced a number of interesting records including a new species for the Comoros: Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus (one at Hombo on 14 August). A male Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei was calling in the early hours of 20 and 24 August near Lake Dzialandze. A grebe showing features of Madagascar Grebe Tachybaptus pelzelnii was seen in the company of Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis on Lake Dzialandze between 20 and 28 August; the former species is sedentary and confined to Madagascar but it readily hybridizes with the more migratory Little Grebe T. ruficollis. At sea, several observations of Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor were made: a female off Domoni on 31 August, 12 at the same place on 3 September, and a pair off Bimbini and another in Mutsamudu Bay on 4 September.
Three individuals of the locally rare Frances's Sparrowhawk Accipiter francesiae were seen: an adult and immature male in Oitmutsamudu valley on 26 August and an adult male near Col de Patsi on 3 September. A flock of 20+ Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii were on Gallowa beach on 7 September. The records of a single Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata that flew over Mutsamudu on 2 September and of five Sanderlings Calidris alba on Gallowa beach on 7 September appear to be the first records for the island. An adult Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus in breeding dress was also on Gallowa beach on 7 September. Over 80 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus were seen at sea off Domini, a further 30 off Mutsamudu on 3 September and 30+ off Bimbini the next day; although the presence of noddies around the islands had been established, these appear to be the first definite records (sightings of the species at sea on 9 November 1995 were reported in ABC Bulletin 3(1) p 60). In total, 18 Anjouan Scops Owls Otus capnodes were heard calling, of which one was seen, at the following localities: primary forest around Lake Dzialandze (up to six between 20 and 23 August), Houngouni (two on 25 August), Oimutsamudu valley (four on 26 August) and Col de Patsi (six, date unclear). It was estimated that another 30 individuals may still occur on the island. A flock of 20 African Black Swifts Apus barbatus was seen at Col de Patsi on 27 August where one bird was also trapped; the species was also recorded from Domoni (several on 31 August and 3 September) and Sima (six on 4 September).
The following records are for 1995 from the Bulletin of the African Bird Club. A visit to the islands in November produced a number of interesting records including two Wilson's Storm-petrels Oceanites oceanicus between Mohéli and Grand Comore on 9 November (only the second record), several Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae on Moroni, Grand Comore, Mohéli and at Lac Dzialandze on 13 and 14 November, a Little Stint Calidris minuta on Mayotte on 15 November (fifth record), 500+ Bridled Terns Sterna anaethetus were seen between Mohéli and Grand Comore on 9 November and c20 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus on the same crossing may be the first definite records for the islands. Two Anjouan Scops Owls Otus capnodes of different colour phases were observed at night on 12 November above Lac Dzialandze. Several other individuals were heard calling at the same site. A pair of Grand Comoro Drongo Dicrurus fuscipennis were observed feeding two small young in a nest at 930 m at Kourani on 11 November. A Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica at Fomboni, Mohéli on 8 November appears to be the fifth record for Comoros.