Working for birds in Africa

First record of Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica for Algeria

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Première mention du Bruant rustique Emberiza rustica pour l’Algérie. Le 2 novembre 2013, un Bruant rustique Emberiza rustica a été photographié à Annaba, Algérie. Ceci constitue la première donnée pour le pays et seulement la deuxième pour l’Afrique, après un spécimen collecté à Bahig, au sud-ouest d’Alexandrie, Égypte, le 20 octobre 1971. L’espèce niche de la Scandinavie jusqu’à la Russie du nord-est et hiverne principalement à l’est de la Chine et au Japon ; elle est occasionnelle en Europe occidentale et au Moyen Orient, principalement en automne.

In the morning of 2 November 2013, we observed a bunting Emberiza sp. perched in a tall cypress Cupressus sp. in the Christian cemetery at Annaba, Algeria, a 6.2 ha area of mixed vegetation just 2 km from the Mediterranean and the largest green area in the city centre (36°54.68’N 07°45.40’E). We initially thought it was a female Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus, a regular winter visitor to Algeria (Isenmann & Moali 2000), and took some ‘record shots’, the best of which is reproduced here (Fig. 1). The bird had a conspicuously peaked, dark crown with a pale central stripe, a broad pale supercilium, brownish ear-coverts with a dark border, especially at the rear, where there was also a small whitish spot, a broad pale submoustachial stripe and darkish malar stripe. The upperparts were mainly brownish with a wingbar formed by white tips to the median coverts. The white underparts had reddish-brown streaking on the breast (forming a roughly V-shaped patch) and flanks. The bill was pale and sharply pointed with a dark culmen; the legs were reddish pink. We watched the bird for c.15 minutes and after consulting Svensson et al. (2010), we concluded that it was a Rustic Bunting E. rustica. Reed Bunting lacks the peaked crown, has a duller supercilium, no distinct white spot on the rear ear-coverts, an inconspicuous wingbar and less white underparts. The bird was seen only that day; we subsequently searched for it, but did not relocate it

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