Friday, 11 January 2019

Fuerteventura Endemics

Here's a few notes on some of the endemic forms (subspecies and species) that I encountered on Fuerteventura. Would welcome any comments on taxonomic updates etc.  

 'Canary Island Houbara Bustard' C.u. fuertaventurae. Present on the eastern Canary Islands and differs from nominate (which occurs across North Africa) in more heavily vermiculated upperparts
 Canary Island Stonechat - Endemic species confined to Fuerteventura 
  'Canary Island Egyptian Vulture' N.p.majorensis According to Clarke 2006 this subspecies differs from nominate in the rufous on the head, tail, coverts and breast which appears to be shown well in this individual
 'Canary Island Common Buzzard' B.b. insularum. To my eye a very distinctive Buzzard with light brown colouration and less contrast than nominate. Forsman (2016) doesn't make much fuss of either Egyptian Vulture or Common Buzzard on the Canary Islands. 
 'Canary Islands Great Grey Shrike', L.e. koenigi. According to Shirihai and Svensson (2018) this insular race is rather small and dark with a contrasting white throat. This form differs from Iberian Grey Shrike in less distinct (often lacking) supercilium and grey (not pink) underparts. Similar to Desert Grey Shrike (L.e. algeriensis/elegans) but smaller with shorter wings and tail. 
'North African Raven' C.c.tingitanus. According to Shirihai and Svensson (2018) this is the smallest race of Raven within the WP, with the tail shorter than the primaries, with a deep well arched culmen. The strong nasal bristles help to separate from Brown-necked Raven in North Africa. 

Other Canary Island endemic forms that I saw but didn't photograph include Canary Island Kestrel F.t. canariensis , Eastern Canaries African Blue Tit C.u. degener and Canary Island Linnet C.c. herterti and other Macaronesian endemic forms seen include Plain Swift, Berthelot's Pipit, and Atlantic Yellow-legged Gull. I didn't see Canary Island Robin, Goldcrest, Chaffinch or Chiffchaff on Fuerteventura so presumably they don't occur there? 

Tony Clarke, Birds of the Atlantic Islands, 2006, HELM
Hadoram Shirihai & Lars Svensson, Handbook of Western Palearctic Birds, Vol 2, 2018, HELM
Dick Forsman, Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and Middle East, 2016. BLOOMSBURY

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