Working for birds in Africa


Wed, 02/06/2013 - 13:36 -- abc_admin

The following largely unconfirmed records have appeared in recent Bulletins of the African Bird Club and are for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

The second Pied Crow Corvus albus for the country was photographed at Tajura, near Tripoli, on 7 June and was still present on 17 June; the first was collected in April 1931.

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

A Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor was photographed off the coast of Libya on 18 July 2011 and a Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus was also observed at sea the next day.

Tripolitania (North West Libya) including the coastal plain and Jebel Nafusa

Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis was found to be a common breeder at Taurgha, Tripolitania, on 27–28 April 2010. A flock of 15 Tree Sparrows Passer montanus was observed at Al Khums on 26 April and up to 12 Red Avadavats Amandava amandava near Lake Bu Tesira on 30 April–6 May; these species probably also breed in the country.

Records from July - November 2005 include the following. Off the coast at Janzour, 13 km west of Tripoli, a marked eastwards passage of Cory's (Scopoli’s) Shearwaters Calonectris (diomedea) diomedea occurred from c.25 September till 22 October, when it ceased abruptly. Regular counts of 20-50 were made during this period, with a maximum count of 83 birds visible at one time. A dark-morph Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus flew eastwards past Janzour, Tripolitania, on 17 August.

Single European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were observed at Janzour, on 8 and 23 September. Also there was an Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae on 29 August. A group of five Ring-necked Parakeets Psittacula krameri was seen flying towards Tripoli on 9 September representing the first record for Tripolitania. A late European Roller Coracias garrulus was at Janzour on 15-16 October. A migrating flock of c.10 Red-rumped Swallows H. daurica was observed flying westwards 400 m out to sea at Janzour on 13 October.

During a visit to Libya from 1 to 29 April 2005 the following notable records were logged. In Tripolitania, a flock of 12 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus flew over Gharyan at dusk on 2nd. A strong northerly passage of harriers Circus spp. was observed north of the Gebel Nafusa both at the start and the end of the month, with Montagu’s Harrier C. pygargus seeming to predominate. During a trip offshore from Bukamash to Farwa Island on 28th, seven Common Cranes Grus grus were seen wading in the sandy shallows at the western end of the island, close to the Tunisian border. A Wryneck Jynx torquilla was at Abugrin on 20th.

In April 1988, ABC received a report of Sooty Falcon Falco concolor, and Little Owl Athene noctua east of Tripoli. In July 1994, Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis was seen at Wadi Ka'am.

Cyrenaica (North East Libya) including the coastal plain and Jebel Akhdar

Two nests of Little Bitterns Ixobrychus minutus, one with four eggs and the other with egg shell fragments, were found near Lake Bu Tesira, Benghazi, on 30 April and 1 May 2010; this is a new breeding species for Libya. Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola was also discovered to be a local breeder: at least eight pairs and a nest with one egg were found at Al Marj, Cyrenaica, on 10 May.

Records from May 2008 include the following. Two occupied nests of Eurasian Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus at Cyrene apparently constitute the first breeding records for the country, whilst at least four pairs of Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola at old Al Marj are the second breeding record for Libya. Species not mentioned on the ABC Checklist for the country and thus apparently firsts for Libya are a Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus observed at Benghazi Lake on 30th, two calling Egyptian Nightjars Caprimulgus aegyptius on 24th and an Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola at old Al Marj on 27th.

During a waterbird census held in January 2006, c.20,000 gulls were counted at the Benghazi refuse dump, on 28th, among which were 2,500 Caspian Gulls Larus (cachinnans) cachinnans. Records from July to November 2005 include a first-summer Audouin’s Gull Larus audouinii photographed in flight at Benghazi harbour on 4 July which is the first record of the species in Cyrenaica. A total of 6,047 Lesser Crested Terns Sterna bengalensis was counted during a census in eastern Libya in the first week of August 2006, with 3,102 adults and 1,950 young on Gizeret Ghara and 42 adults and 18 young on Gizeret Al Elba.

During a visit in April 2005 to Cyrenaica, a pair of Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus was seen in Wadi al-Khuff on 26th, along with Crag Martin Hirundo rupestris, Blue Tit Parus caeruleus of the subspecies cyrenaica and Common Raven Corvus corax. Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs africana was abundant alongside smaller numbers of European Serin Serinus serinus and Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina at the ancient site of Cyrene on 22nd-24th. A European Goldfinch C. carduelis was at Qasr Libya on 22nd.

A survey of the Libyan coast in July 1994 found two breeding colonies of 40 and 1,700 pairs of Lesser Crested Terns Sterna bengalensis respectively. The colonies at Geziret al Elba and Geziret Garah are the only known sites in the Mediterranean. This was the first survey since 1937.

In addition, an expedition in July 1994 discovered four new breeding species for the country: BIack-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus and Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola at Ayn Zayanah; Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus with 15 Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii at Geziret al Elba. Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans was seen at 4 sites in eastern Libya.

Fezzan (desert areas of southern and central Libya)

On 28 March 2009, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, probably a male, flew over Wadi Ash Shati, Fezzan, and on 30 March an immature female was observed there; these are apparently the first records of this species for this region.

Records from July to November 2005 include an adult and an immature Barbary Falcon F. pelegrinoides observed hunting over allotments on the outskirts of Sabha, Fezzan, on 25 October. Rock Martins Hirundo fuligula were observed collecting mud at Sabha and Germa in Wadi al Hayat (formerly known as Wadi Ajal) in late October. A first-winter Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius at Sabha on 26 October was the third record for the Fezzan. A distant thrush photographed on a rocky outcrop in Wadi al Hayat, Fezzan, on 30 October was almost certainly the same species. On 27 October, a Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis of the race elegans was observed at 25°43'N in Wadi Matkhandush, which separates the Ubari and Murzuq 'sand seas' in the south-west of the country. A little further north, the species was found to be common in allotments on the edge of Sabha. During 25-29 October, small flocks of ‘Italian’ Sparrows Passer hispaniolensis x domesticus were observed at Sabha and Germa in Wadi al Hayat; they were identical, except for noticeably yellow-white bills, to those observed 600 km further north in Tripolitania. A single Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri was seen going to roost at Sabha on 29 October; this is the first record in the Fezzan.

In April 2005 in the south-west of the Fezzan, a Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus was seen at Mavo Lake on 14th. Laughing Doves Streptopelia senegalensis were common in Ghat, Germa and at Ubari lakes on 10-16th. A Tristram’s Warbler Sylvia deserticola was around the camel trough in the Akakus on 11th. A Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator was observed in Ghat on 12th and a Masked Shrike L. nubicus in Wadi Mathkendoosh next day. Seven Fulvous Babblers Turdoides fulva frequented the grounds of Germa Hotel on 14th. Desert Sparrows Passer simplex were nesting at Ghat campsite on 10th and were present in Akakus and at the Ubari lakes. Spanish Sparrows P. hispaniolensis were nesting at Germa camp on 14th and were present at Umm al Maa and Mandala lakes.


Interesting observations during a visit in April 1998 included a pair of displaying Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos in suitable breeding habitat (the species is not known to breed in Libya) and the first confirmation in the country of breeding Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata and Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra. It also appears likely that Barn Owl Tyto alba and Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina breed in Libya, although these species still require confirmation.

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