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New to Algeria: African Crake, Red-tailed Shrike and Little Bunting

Three species new to Algeria were discovered in autumn 2020: Red-tailed Shrike, Little Bunting and African Crake.

The Red-tailed Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides) was discovered and photographed at Skikda on 9 October by Youcef Karrit.

This is also the first record for the whole Northwest Africa. Other closely related species are also very rare in the region. Of these, only the Isabelline Shrike (Lanius isabellinus) was observed in Morocco (two records including the long-staying bird at Tamri estuary between late December 2018 and mid-March 2019).

Thanks to Aissa Djamel Filali who sent me the photos (and asked me to publish them here) the day after it was photographed. Sorry that I never did it in time.

Red-tailed Shrike / Pie-grièche du Turkestan (Lanius phoenicuroides), Skikda, northern Algeria, 9 Oct. 2020 (Youcef Karrit)
Red-tailed Shrike / Pie-grièche du Turkestan (Lanius phoenicuroides), Skikda, northern Algeria, 9 Oct. 2020 (Youcef Karrit)
Red-tailed Shrike / Pie-grièche du Turkestan (Lanius phoenicuroides), Skikda, northern Algeria, 9 Oct. 2020 (Youcef Karrit)
Red-tailed Shrike / Pie-grièche du Turkestan (Lanius phoenicuroides), Skikda, northern Algeria, 9 Oct. 2020 (Youcef Karrit)

The Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla) was photographed at Touggourt, Wilaya of Ouargla on 2 November by Nedjla Adamou.

Little bunting / Bruant nain (Emberiza pusilla), Touggourt, Wilaya of Ouargla, Algeria, 2 Nov. 2020 (Nedjla Adamou)
Little bunting / Bruant nain (Emberiza pusilla), Touggourt, Wilaya of Ouargla, Algeria, 2 Nov. 2020 (Nedjla Adamou)

The African crake (Crecopsis egregia) was found exhausted at Kerzaz, Wilaya of Béchar at the end of November.

This sub-Saharan species is still mega-rarity in the Western Palearctic. In fact, there are only just over a dozen records, the majority of which were observed in the Canary Islands. In Morocco, there are two records:

  • A bird discovered at an irrigation basin of a farm near Dakhla on 11 December 2009 and stayed there about a week.
  • A bird found dead at Sebkhat Skaymate located about 60 Km north-west of Dakhla on 13 February 2019 (see this report).
African Crake / Râle des prés (Crecopsis egregia), Kerzaz, Wilaya of Béchar, Western Algeria, Novembre 2020 (Mabrouk A.)
African Crake / Râle des prés (Crecopsis egregia), Kerzaz, Wilaya of Béchar, Western Algeria, Novembre 2020 (Mabrouk A.)

Thanks to Abdelwahab Chedad and Karim Haddad for reporting the second and third species respectively.

2 thoughts on “New to Algeria: African Crake, Red-tailed Shrike and Little Bunting”

  1. Bellissime e interessanti osservazioni, complimenti agli scopritori. Spero di poter presto venire a visitare l’Algeria per fare tanto birdwatching.

    Marco Sozzi
    Milano, Italia

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