Working for birds in Africa

Introduction

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 22:04 -- abc_admin
Lagoa_do_Fogo_Azores

Lagoa do Fogo, São Miguel, Azores

Image Credit: 
Augusto Faustino

Lying some 1,500 km west of both Europe and Africa, one might ask why the African Bird Club considers the Azores as part of its territory. The simple answer and the only one which I can find so far is that ABC decided at its inception to follow the geographic area of the African bird red data book region which includes the Azores.

The archipelago of nine islands in the north Atlantic is well-known for its seabird colonies and holds large populations of Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea, Little Shearwater Puffinis assimilis, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro and Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii.

There are few landbirds but perhaps the best known is Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula (pyrrhula) murina, considered by some authorities as a species in its own right but also by others and recorded on the ABC checklist as a subspecies of Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula. Whatever the status of this bird, it is found only in a small geographic area in the laurel forests of the mountains in east São Miguel.

The islands are also well known for migrants and a long list of waders, gulls, herons as well as the occasional passerine of nearctic origin are found each year. These species attract a few western Palearctic listers to the islands in order to extend their life or regional lists.

The purpose of this document is to provide a summary of the Azores and its birds for birdwatchers interested in the islands and potentially planning a visit. The information has been put together from a number of sources and it is intended to add new information as it becomes available. As such, readers are welcome to submit contributions by e-mail to info@africanbirdclub.org. You should note that the names of birds used in this document are those of the African Bird Club checklist.

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