Svensson, L. 2015. A new North African subspecies of Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 135: 69–76.
In this recent taxonomic paper, Lars Svensson described a new subspecies of Common Chaffinch from north Cyrenaica, Libya: Fringilla coelebs harterti subsp. nov. Until now, the birds breeding in this region were generally included in Fringilla coelebs africana.
A new subspecies of Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs in North Africa is described. It is restricted to northern Cyrenaica in north-east Libya. Differences from the other North African subspecies, F. c. africana and F. c. spodiogenys, are discussed, the main ones being that males invariably possess a prominent white patch on the central nape, a hint of a white post-ocular supercilium, a more yellowish tinge both above and below, stronger yellow fringes to the tertials and wing-coverts, and a less clean blue-grey head. Reasons for not recognising the subspecies F. c. koenigi are reconfirmed. There is some variation in size and in saturation of male plumage within the range of africana, making separation of koenigi untenable.
Etayeb, K. S., Berbash, A., Bashimam, W., Bouzainen, M., Galidana, A., Saied, M., Yahia, J. & Bourass, E. (2015). Results of the eighth winter waterbird census in Libya in January 2012.Biodiversity Journal 6(1): 253–262. PDF
After sporadic observations and reports on Libyan birds during the last century, a regular census of wintering birds at Libyan coastal wetlands started in January 2005. Results of each winter census till 2011 have been published. The survey of 2012 was carried out by the authors of the present paper. The general aim was to continue the census of wintering waterbirds in Libya, despite the difficulties that faced the team after the War of Liberation, and the fact that certain areas, very important for birds, have been declared military areas. A total of 29,314 individuals belonging to 69 waterbird species was counted. Comparatively, the number of sites covered in 2012 was less than that in previous years of the survey. The majority of individuals counted belong to seven gull species. This survey also observed a total of 56 individuals of Aythya nyroca Guldenstadt, 1770, a Near Threatened species, as well as, for the first time, a single individual of Canada Goose Branta canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758) in eastern Libya.
Essghaier, M. F. A., Taboni, I. M. & Etayeb, K. S. (2015). The diversity of wild animals at Fezzan Province (Libya). Biodiversity Journal 6(1): 245–252. PDF
Fezzan province (Libya) is a segment of true Sahara, is characterized by diverse habitats that are utilized as shelters and feeding ground for many desert wildlife species. Oases with water table near the surface are the most prominent feature in the Libyan desert. The diversity in habitats resulted in diversity in wildlife, as well as the plant cover (trees and bushes) is the most effective factor for the existence and the abundance of wild animals, in particular bird species. This study observed many species of reptiles, birds and mammals. In the study is also reported the rock hyrax Procavia capensis Pallas, 1766 (Hyracoidea Procaviidae) a rare and endemic species at the area.
RAC/SPA-UNEP/MAP, 2014. Monitoring Mediterranean Lesser Crested Terns Thalasseus bengalensis emigratus. By Baccetti N. and Zenatello M. (Ed.), RAC.SPA, Tunis. 26p + Appendices. PDF
The Mediterranean Lesser Crested Terns, Thalasseus bengalensis emigratus, is a Mediterranean endemic seabird, potentially vulnerable to many sources of threat. In 2012, within the framework of the MedMPAnet Project, a study was conducted on this species in Libya, especially in Garah, a potential future MPA where the largest fraction of the seabird global population is concentrated.
Actions and methods are described to monitor the breeding population of the Mediterranean Lesser Crested Tern, which is currently confined to Libya. The aim is providing a tool which will allow a coherent and safe approach to a population of extremely high conservation value, which is potentially vulnerable to many sources of threat, not least monitoring itself.
Assessing changes in population size, distribution and breeding success is crucial for conservation. We attempted to gather recent experiences carried out under the RAC-SPA umbrella to produce a document available for further sharing, that may ensure a correct continuation of activities in the next future. The monitoring guide of the Mediterranean Lesser Crested Tern population is now available on-line at the RAC-SPA website.
Etayeb, K. S., Bourass, E. M., Bashimam, W., Wattier, R. & Brochet, A.-L. 2014. Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris breeding in Tripoli (Libya). In: Feltrup-Azafzaf, C., Dain, M., Brochet, A.L., Defos du Rau, P., Mondain-Monval, J.Y. & Azafzaf, H. (eds.). Bulletin of the network “Mediterranean Waterbirds”, No. 2. AAO, ONCFS, Tour du Valat. pp: 43-44. PDF
“On 6 June 2012, we visited Mallaha (32° 53′ 58 N latitude and 13° 17′ 15 E longitude), as part of our ordinary field work of bird counts in wetlands in and around Tripoli. We recorded the breeding of Little Tern Sterna albifrons (26 nests, 3 live and 3 dead nestlings) and Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus (18 nests). During that, we suddenly found two dead ducklings (Pic. 1). A sample was sent to France (University of Burgundy) for genetic analyses to determine the species. The PCR analysis confirmed that the duckling belongs to Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris. This is the first record of breeding of this species in Libya (Etayeb et al. 2014)…..
On 4 July 2013, members of the Libyan Society for Birds (LSB) reported a breeding of Marbled duck at Tripoli Treatment plant Lagoon (32° 83′ 55 N, 13° 16′ 09 E). They observed an adult swimming with a chick (picture below). This finding confirms the breeding of Marbled Duck in Libya as being probably regular or at least occasional. Moreover, the breeding of this species in some other sites such as Tawergha complex, Al-Hammam wetland in Houne and some dams (e.g. Wadi Ka’am dam and Wadi Al-mjenin dam) is possible”.
An adult male Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was photographed on 31 March 2010 at Sebkhet Hasila, on the Libyan coast about 90 km east of Sirte. Two previous observations of males were reported at two different sites between Ajdabiya and Benghazi, on 29 March and 1 April 2006. The observation presented here, however, is the first documented record for the country of this Palearctic migrant.
Première mention documentée du Gobemouche à demi-collier Ficedula semitorquata pour la Libye.
Un mâle adulte du Gobemouche à demi-collier Ficedula semitorquata a été photographié le 31 mars 2010 à Sebkhet Hasila, sur la côte libyenne à environ 90 km à l’est de Sirte. Deux observations précédentes de mâles ont été signalées à deux sites différents entre Ajdabiya et Benghazi, les 29 mars et 1 avril 2006. L’observation présentée ici est toutefois la première donnée documentée pour le pays de ce migrateur paléarctique.
The first evidence of breeding of Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) in Libya, North Africa, is reported. In June 2012, at Mallaha wetland, in Tripoli, Libya, two dead ducklings were found that were later genetically identified as Marbled Duck. This breeding evidence suggests that this and other duck species may breed elsewhere in Libya. Better knowledge on Libyan, and more generally on North African waterbirds is needed to document the population size and the status of these species. Such information will be important to secure the future of threatened species, such as the Marbled Duck.
Observations in 2013 (not related to the article above):
“During the breeding season of 2013, the Libyan Society for Birds (LSB) recorded the breeding of the Marbled Duck (see photo below by Essam Bourass) and Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) in the Tripoli Treatment Plant, the breeding of Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) and other birds were also suspected”.
يتم هذا الموسم دراسة تكاثر الطيور فى احواض محطة المعالجة بالهضبة وتم تسجيل تكاثر طائر البطة الرخامية Marble Duck والغواص الصغير Little Grebe وهناك احتمال لتكاثر بعض الطيور الأخرى ولازالت الدراسة جارية مع قرب انتهاء الموسم
Spanò, S., Pellegrino, I., & Borgo, E. (2013). On the systematic status of the Cyrenaic Partridge (Alectoris barbata Reichenow, 1896). Avocetta 37: 145-148.
PDF from CISO – Centro Italiano Studi Ornitologici
Some considerations on the morphological features that differentiate Alectoris barbara barbata from A. b. barbara are exposed, and are also reported the results of a genetic investigation performed on historical specimens. Results showed a considerable genetic distance (0.06), certainly enough to consider it an ESU (Evolutionary Significant Unit), but most likely a separate species.
Two Pied Crows (Corvus albus) were seen roosting on palm trees at Tajura (32°53’37.39 N, 13°23’13.33 E), some 20 Km east of Tripoli (western Libya) on 7 June 2013. On 17 June they were seen again and photographed. According to the Libyan Society for Birds, the species have been recorded in eastern Libya only a few times before but this is the first record for western Libya.
The Libyan Society for Birds wishes to thank Khaled Etayeb, Essam Bourass, Ali Berbash and Wagih Bashimam for their help.
Essam Bourass observed again 2 Pied Crows at the same place two weeks ago (i.e. around the end of August 2013). He was not sure if they were adults or not as he haven’t binoculars at the moment of the observation. So at least 2 individuals stayed in this area for nearly 3 months (7 June – end of August). It’s worth checking their breeding status in this area, if not possible this year it should be considered next year.
The Pied Crow is a very rare bird north of the Sahara desert, and there are only a few records in North Africa:
A bird collected at Jalo oasis, Al Wahat, north-east Libya, on 24 April 1931 (in Batty 2010).
One record in the extreme south of Algeria in 1961, and another at In Azaoua in December 1964. Plus it has been reported from the Algeria part of the Adrar Ifoghas close to Mali (Isenmann & Moali 2000).
Three birds discovered at Chtoukan between Boujdour and Dakhla, Western Sahara, Morocco, in December 2009. The pair had successfully bred and raised a young in spring/summer 2010 (Batty 2010).
Records from elsewhere in the Western Palearctic region are believed to relate either to escapes from captivity, or are suspected to have arrived by ship (see Batty 2010).
Since these records, the species has been observed several times in different parts of Morocco: e.g. at the Strait of Gibraltar in the north, at Mhamid in eastern Sahara, at Tarfaya and Khnifiss Lagoon along the Atlantic coast,…etc. See all Moroccan records of Pied Crow at MaghrebOrnitho.
Batty, C. 2010. Pied Crows in Western Sahara, Morocco. Dutch Birding 32: 329.
Isenmann, P. & Moali, A. 2000. Oiseaux d’Algérie / Birds of Algeria. SEOF, Paris.