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First White-rumped Seedeater for Algeria and W. Palearctic

White-rumped Seedeater observed at Tamanrasset, southern Algeria. This is the first record for the country and the Western Palearctic.

En décembre 2019, un groupe d’ornithologues de terrain algérien a découvert le Serin à croupion blanc à Tamanrasset (les noms cités ci-dessous). Plus important encore, l’équipe a observé un adulte nourrissant un jeune (une preuve de la reproduction). Il s’agit de la première observation de l’espèce dans l’Algérie et le Paléarctique occidental. Un article devrait être publié prochainement dans une revue.

White-rumped Seedeater / Serin à croupion blanc (Crithagra leucopygia), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
White-rumped Seedeater (Crithagra leucopygia), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).

In late December 2019, a group of Algerian birders organized a birding and naturalist trip to the Great South of the country. The goal was to observe and photograph the special birds and wildlife in the Tamanrasset area. The group was composed by Mourad Harzallah, Aimene Boulaouad, Khaled Ayyach, Mohamed Missoum and Walid Soukkou. They are all from the northern part of the country (thus ‘the Great South’ as they call it in the north).

Upon arrival, they easily secured some of the target species such as African Silverbill (Euodice cantans) and Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala). They also photographed some not so easy species such as Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (Pterocles lichtensteinii).

On 25 December, they found a group of White-rumped Seedeaters (Crithagra leucopygia). This is without a doubt a ‘mega’, as these kind of rarities are known in the birding circles. Even more important, the team observed an adult actively feeding a young bird. This is the first record of the species for Algeria and the Western Palearctic region (WP).

The White-rumped Seedeater is a member of the family Fringillidae (the true finches) that is endemic to a narrow zone in the Sahel and Sudanian Savanna stretching from West Africa eastward to Ethiopia and Eritrea.

With Jacobin Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) and Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus), the White-rumped Seedeater is the third addition to the Algerian avifauna during 2019.

White-rumped Seedeater feeding young, Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).
White-rumped Seedeater feeding young, Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 25 Dec 2019 (Mourad Harzallah).

Additions to the Western Palearctic list

Some species that are distributed south of Sahara are more likely to occur inside the limits of WP than others (the first category includes nomadic species for example). Over the years, interested WP birders discussed a small group of species as future potential additions to the WP list. 

Some of these species have already been recorded in the WP region in the past few years, such as Golden Nightjar (Caprimulgus eximius) and Wahlberg’s Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi). Some still haven’t been recorded yet, such as Kordofan Lark (Mirafra cordofanica) and Singing Bush Lark (Mirafra cantillans). With the addition of the White-rumped Seedeater, what to expect next?

Recent sightings of Afro-tropical birds in Tamanrasset region:

Many thanks to Mourad Harzallah for the details and the photographs.

3 thoughts on “First White-rumped Seedeater for Algeria and W. Palearctic”

  1. Karim Haddad & Larbi Afoutni

    Receiving questions from some friends about this bird, we promised to answer on this blog.

    All observations in all corners of the world are always interesting for amateurs, enthusiasts and especially researchers or specialists present or future of the world of ornithology.

    The recently observed species, White-rumped Seedeater (Crithagra leucopygia) not far from Tamanrasset is present with certainty in all bird shops or pet stores of the city of Tamanrasset and they are more than 4 shops that we (Karim Haddad and Larbi Afoutni) had visited in October 2019.

    So the appearance of this species in the wild not far from the city at 90 percent may be drops by the gendarmes when they find the birds in control stations or special drops by bird lovers who want to see them in nature or individuals escaped from the cages when the cages are cleaned by the breeders…

    The fact that it is a species that sells in large numbers of individuals in shops for breeding in cages, the risk of its adaptation in the region is very high if it is found in nature since the climate and the the environment is very favorable for them.

    Apart from this species, there are others that may be we will see them in the wild soon such as Yellow-fronted canary (Crithaga mozambica), parrots and others which are selling in shops…

    As an example in the capital Algiers and elsewhere already in nature the Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) and in the region of BBA, there is White-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucotis) which is reproducing; or in the region of Batna recently found in nature Gray Parrot (Psittacus erithacus).

    We think all birds of cages can be found in nature very easily if the environments will be favorable and especially in the south of the country.

    If we find a Black stork (Ciconia nigra) in Tamanrasset it is sure that it is not a bird escaped from the cage.
    The authorities must pay attention to this disaster which is the artificial appearance of African species in the country.

    Karim Haddad & Larbi Afoutni

  2. I’m from Klaten, Central Java, Indonesia
    This C. Leucopygius has been bred in our area. The name in here is EdelSanger, I thing the name pick from Netherland. Some breeder have crossed this bird with C. atrogularis. The results obtained singing faster, beautiful, and long birds. Because of its beautiful singing, there is a singing contest for this bird

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