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Status of White-rumped Seedeater in southern Algeria

The White-rumped Seedeater was recorded in southern Algeria for the first two years ago by a group of Algerian naturalists.

Karim Haddad visited the region again with his colleague Larbi Afoutni less than a month after their previous trip (when they recorded Blue-naped Mousebirds and Black Scrub Robins in the Wilaya of In Guezzam). In this blog-post, Karim tells us more about the White-rumped Seedeater after more elements came to light.

White-rumped Seedeater / Serin à croupion blanc (Crithagra leucopygia), Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 31 Jan. 2021 (Karim Haddad).

During an ornithological exploration in the south of the country as far south as Tin Zaouatine during the period between 26 January and 03 February 2022, we recorded the second observation in the wild of the White-rumped Seedeater in Algeria. The species was observed in downtown Tamarasset on 31 January 2022.

On the day of the observation, I recorded a song of White-rumped Seedeater. Bram Piot confirmed the identity of the bird, and said:

“The song you recorded is that of White-rumped Seedeater, based on the continuous rapid warbling canary-like song, alternating low (2-4 kHz) and high (6-8 kHz) pitched strophes, and pure short whistles with more raspy, slurred tones. The sonogram shows a pattern that is very much in line with the songs I recorded in Senegal of this species (at least 4 individuals).”

Sonograms of the White-rumped Seedeaters recorded at Tamanrasset, Algeria by Karim Haddad (below), and at Saint Louis, Senegal by Bram Piot (above).

In addition, during our visits in March 2020 and this trip, we found five long-existing animal stores in the town of Tamanrasset who sell this and other species. During a single visit to these stores, we had counted more than 400 individuals (males, females, and juveniles) for sale. The price of an individual, which depends on the sex, age, and condition of the bird, varies between 1200 DZD (6 Euros) and 10000 DZD (50 Euros).

White-rumped Seedeaters for sale in the centre of Tamanrasset, southern Algeria, 30 January 2022 (Karim Haddad).

After research and discussions with the birds’ buyers and sellers, who told us that several individuals had escaped from the cages, we can say boldly that this species can be considered as an escapee and not an accidental migrant or visitor to the area.

We believe that the fate of the White-rumped Seedeater in Algeria would be the same as that of the Red-billed Firefinch; over time, it will sedentarize in the region (if the bird trade went unchecked, of course). A paper about these observations is in preparation.

I would like to thank Bram Piot for confirming the identity of the bird’s song.

Karim Haddad
EcoCirta Environmental Associationµ
Mobile phone (WatsApp,..): +213657016272

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