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ELM TWO Environment & Planning



Status of birds in Fuerteventura and Lobos, Eastern Canary Islands

This list, the order of which follows Tony Clarke’s ‘Birds of the Atlantic Islands’ (Helm Field Guides), draws on personal observations during many visits of between 1 week and 4 months since 1979, holiday reports submitted to me from various visitors over the last 30 years, published books and papers, and sightings reported in UK birding magazines. The more frequent free-flying introduced birds are included. For information on where to watch birds on the island, see Clarke and Collins (1996) A Birdwatchers' Guide to The Canary Islands

The status of most migrant birds is quite hard to define because they occur only when weather conditions are exactly right to bring them to the island. Some species can be quite numerous at times, but hardly seen at all in other seasons. A further problem is that most records are from visiting birdwatchers from northern Europe, not residents, so the exact status can be hard to determine.

The list includes 293 species, of which 8 are certainly introduced and either have established feral populations or simply have freeflying populations based at bird parks. This is not an official list of the birds of the island, and includes a number of species that have been reported but not necessarily confirmed.

I will update the list form time to time, and would be happy to receive comments and notes by email at .

Where I consider there is some remaining doubt about validity of a sighting, I have referred to the occurrence as ‘reported’.

The List

* species I have personally seen on the island

Last updated: 17/05/2009

Little Grebe - now rare, but in the 1950’s there was a thriving colony at Las Penitas, with over 30 birds in 1957.

Black-necked Grebe - a few records

Bulwers Petrel - Rarely seen, but has nested on Lobos and may do so on Fuerteventura

Fea’s Petrel - a few records

*Cory’s Shearwater - An estimated 3-4,000 pairs on Fuerteventura and probably another 1,000 on Lobos. Very numerous offshore during most of the year (but not mid-winter)

Sooty Shearwater - a few records

Balearic Shearwater - a few autumn records

Manx Shearwater - a few records

Little (Macaronesian) Sheawater - rarely sighted but has nested

European Storm Petrel - rarely seen but a few pairs nest on Lobos. Breeding not yet confirmed on Fuerteventura

Leach’s Petrel - a few records

Red-billed Tropicbird - a few records, all in recent years

*Gannet - common offshore during winter months

Cormorant - a few records

Bittern - a few winter records

Little Bittern - rare migrant

*Night Heron - scarce migrant

Squacco Heron - rare migrant

*Cattle Egret - previously rare, but has now colonised and probably resident in small numbers.

*Little Egret - present all year, can be quite numerous in winter and on passage. A few now nest on Lanzarote, but not proved to do so as yet in Fuerteventura.

Great White Egret - a few records

*Grey Heron - present all year round in small numbers

Purple Heron - very scarce passage migrant

*White Stork - rare in winter and occasional on passage

Glossy Ibis - a few records

*Hadada Ibis - free flying birds in Jandia

*Sacred Ibis - a small feral colony in Jandia

*Spoonbill - scarce on passage and sometimes winters. Recent colour-ringed birds wintering are from a breeding colony in France

Greater Flamingo - a few records

Greylag Goose - just one record

*Ruddy Shelduck - I was lucky enough to find the first for the Canary Islands at the lagoon at Catalina Garcia, Fuerteventura in 1994. Since then it has become the commonest waterfowl on the island

*Wigeon - Uncommon winter visitor

American Wigeon - a few records, four wintered in early1991

Gadwall - a few records

*Teal - the commonest winter duck

Green-winged Teal - a single record

Mallard - rare winter visitor

*Pintail - rare winter visitor

*Garganey - very scarce winter visitor/passage migrant

Blue-winged Teal - a few records

*Shoveler - very scarce winter visitor

*Marbled Duck - After a long period of absence from the Canary Islands, this duck reappeared in Fuerteventura in the early 90’s, and a few birds were resident on the island throughout that decade. Appears now to have died out again.

Pochard - rare winter visitor

*Ring-necked Duck - a few records

Ferruginous Duck - a few records

*Tufted Duck - very scarce winter visitor

Scaup - a few records

*Lesser Scaup - a few records

Honey Buzzard - a single record

Swallow-tailed Kite - a single record

Black Kite - rare passage migrant

Red Kite - a few records

*Egyptian Vulture - until recently a common resident, with numbers now recovering due to feeding programme

Short-toed Eagle - a few records

*Marsh Harrier - rare winter visitor/passage migrant

*Hen Harrier - very scarce winter visitor

*Montagu’s Harrier - very scarce passage migrant

*Sparrowhawk - very scarce - status uncertain

*Buzzard - now a common resident

Long-legged Buzzard - a few records

Booted Eagle - very scarce passage migrant

*Osprey - a scarce resident in the early 80’s, but no longer breeds and now a scarce visitor from Lanzarote

Lesser Kestrel - a few records

*Kestrel - common resident

Red-footed Falcon - a few records

Merlin - one record

*Hobby - rare passage migrant

Eleonora’s Falcon - rare visitor, but possibly nested in the past

Lanner - a few reports

*Peregrine Falcon - rare winter visitor

*Barbary Falcon - scarce resident

*Barbary Partridge - rather scarce resident

*Quail - very scarce resident

Helmeted Guineafowl - recent report of introduced free-ranging birds

Water Rail - one record

*Spotted Crake - scarce passage migrant

Little Crake - rare passage migrant

Baillon’s Crake - rare passage migrant

Corncrake - a few records

*Moorhen - resident at permanent water

Allen’s Gallinule - one record

*Coot - resident at permanent water

Crested Coot - several apparent records

Common Crane - one record of three birds wintering

*Crowned Crane - flee-flying birds in Jandia

*Houbara Bustard - fairly common resident in suitable habitat

*Oystercatcher - rare winter visitor

Canary Islands Black Oystercatcher - extinct

*Black-winged Stilt - scarce migrant until 1990’s, now a local resident at permanent water

Avocet - rare migrant

*Stone Curlew - common but secretive resident

*Cream-coloured Courser - fairly common resident in suitable habitat

*Collared Pratincole - very scarce spring migrant

*Little Ringed Plover - resident at permanent waterbodies and breeds in wet barrancos

*Ringed Plover - common winter visitor and passage migrant on coasts

Killdeer - one record

*Kentish Plover - fairly common resident on coast and waterbodies

Lesser Sand Plover - one report

*Dotterel - rare winter visitor

American Golden Plover - a few records

Pacific Golden Plover - one report

*Golden Plover - rare winter visitor

*Grey Plover - fairly common winter visitor on coast

*Lapwing - rare winter visitor

*Knot - very scarce passage migrant

*Sanderling - common winter visitor/passage migrant on coast

Semi-palmated Sandpiper - one record

*Little Stint - very scarce passage migrant

Temminck’s Stint - rare passage migrant

Least Sandpiper - one report

White-rumped Sandpiper - two records

Pectoral Sandpiper - a few records

*Curlew Sandpiper - scarce migrant

*Dunlin - rather scarce migrant/winter visitor

*Ruff - scarce migrant/winter visitor

Jack Snipe - a few records

*Common Snipe - scarce winter visitor and passage migrant

Woodcock - a few winter records

*Black-tailed Godwit - very scarce winter visitor/passage migrant

*Bar-tailed Godwit - scarce winter visitor/passage migrant

*Whimbrel - common winter visitor/passage migrant on coast

Slender-billed Curlew - one report

*Curlew - scarce winter visitor on coast

*Spotted Redshank - scarce winter visitor/passage migrant

*Redshank - scarce winter visitor/passage migrant

Marsh Sandpiper - a few records

*Greenshank - regular winter visitor and passage migrant

Lesser Yellowlegs - one record

*Green Sandpiper - regular winter visitor and passage migrant

*Wood Sandpiper - scarce migrant

*Common Sandpiper - fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant

Spotted Sandpiper - a few records

*Turnstone - common winter visitor and migrant on coast

*Pomarine Skua - rare passage migrant

Arctic Skua - rare passage migrant

Long-tailed Skua a few records

Great Skua - rare passage migrant

Mediterranean Gull - a few records

*Black-headed Gull - very scarce winter visitor, numbers variable

Slender-billed Gull - has once nested but normally a rare visitor

Audouin’s Gull - a few records

Ring-billed Gull - a few records

Common Gull - rare winter visitor

*Lesser Black-backed Gull - very scarce, mainly in winter

*Yellow-legged Gull - very common resident

Glaucous Gull - a few winter records

Greater Black-backed Gull - rare winter visitor

*Kittiwake - rare winter visitor

*Gull-billed Tern - irregular and very scarce passage migrant

Caspian Tern - one record

*Sandwich Tern - fairly common winter visitor/passage migrant

Roseate Tern - a few records

*Common Tern - has nested, but mainly a scarce winter visitor/passage migrant

Arctic Tern - rare migrant

Sooty Tern - a few records

Little Tern - rare migrant

Whiskered Tern - irregular and very scarce passage migrant

*Black Tern - irregular and very scarce passage migrant

Razorbill - a few old records

Puffin - rare winter visitor

*Black-bellied Sandgrouse - fairly common resident in suitable habitat

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse - a few records

*Rock Dove - fairly pure birds are common on coastal cliffs etc but birds inland are more often Feral Pigeons

Woodpigeon - rare winter visitor

*Collared Dove - now an abundant resident, but entirely absent until 1990s.

*Turtle Dove - fairly common but local summer visitor and passage migrant. Some perhaps winter in south.

*Laughing Dove - rare resident, probably recently introduced

*Monk Parakeet - a small feral breeding population in Jandia

*Ring-necked Parakeet - free-flying birds in Jandia, but not established

*Peach-faced Lovebird - free flying birds in Jandia, but not established

Great Spotted Cuckoo - rare winter visitor/passage migrant

Cuckoo - scarce migrant

*Barn Owl - very scarce resident

Scops Owl - rare migrant

Eagle Owl - one record, probably an escaped bird

Tawny Owl - one record

Long-eared Owl - rare resident

*Short-eared Owl - rare winter visitor

Nightjar - a few records

Red-necked Nightjar - one record

*Plain Swift - scarce and local resident

*Common Swift - fairly common passage migrant

*Pallid Swift - common resident

Alpine Swift - rare migrant

Little Swift - a few records

White-rumped Swift - one report

Kingfisher - a few records

*Bee-eater - scarce migrant

*Roller - rare migrant

*Hoopoe - common resident

*Wryneck - scarce migrant

Hoopoe Lark - a few records

Dupont’s Lark - one record of possible breeding pair

Calandra Lark - a few records

Short-toed Lark - rare migrant but possibly overlooked

Lesser Short-toed Lark - very common resident

*Skylark - scarce winter visitor

Plain Martin - a few reports

*Sand Martin - scarce migrant

Crag Martin - a few records

*Swallow - common passage migrant and very scarce winter visitor

*Red-rumped Swallow - very scarce migrant

*House Martin - common passage migrant

Richard’s Pipit - one record

*Tawny Pipit - scarce passage migrant and rare winter visitor

*Berthelot’s Pipit - abundant resident

*Tree Pipit - common passage migrant

*Meadow Pipit - scarce winter visitor

Red-throated Pipit - rare migrant

Rock Pipit - a few records

*Yellow Wagtail - fairly common passage migrant

*Grey Wagtail - scarce winter visitor

*White Wagtail - scarce winter visitor

Rufous Bush-chat - a few records

*Robin - scarce but regular winter visitor

Thrush Nightingale - a few reports

*Nightingale - scarce migrant

*Bluethroat - rare migrant

*Black Redstart - scarce winter visitor

*Redstart - scarce migrant

*Whinchat - fairly common migrant

*Fuerteventuran Chat - common but local resident

Stonechat - apparently a rare winter visitor

*Wheatear - fairly common migrant

Black-eared Wheatear - very scarce migrant

Desert Wheatear - a few winter records

Blue Rock Thrush - a few records

Ring Ouzel - a few winter records

Blackbird - rare, but has apparently nested in the past

*Fieldfare - rare winter visitor

*Song Thrush - scarce winter visitor

*Redwing - very scarce winter visitor

Grasshopper Warbler - a few records, probably overlooked

Savi’s Warbler - one report

Aquatic Warbler - a few records

*Sedge Warbler - very scarce migrant

*Reed Warbler - very scarce migrant

Great Reed Warbler - a few records

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - one report

Western Olivaceous Warbler - rare migrant

Icterine Warbler - one report

Melodious Warbler - very scarce migrant, perhaps mainly in autumn

Tristram’s Warbler - two records

*Spectacled Warbler - common resident

*Subalpine Warbler - scarce migrant

Menetries’ Warbler - one report

*Sardinian Warbler - common but local resident

African Desert Warbler - a few records

Orphean Warbler - a few records

Lesser Whitethroat - a few reports

Whitethroat - very scarce migrant

*Garden Warbler - scarce migrant

*Blackcap - fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant

*Yellow-browed Warbler - rare winter visitor and autumn migrant

Hume’s Yellow-browed Warbler - one report

*Bonelli’s Warbler - scarce migrant

*Wood Warbler - fairly common migrant

*Chiffchaff - common winter visitor

*Iberian Chiffchaff - rare winter visitor

*Willow Warbler - common migrant

*Spotted Flycatcher - scarce migrant, mainly in autumn

Red-breasted Flycatcher - a few records

Collared Flycatcher - one record

*Pied Flycatcher - fairly common migrant

*African Blue Tit - fairly common but local resident

Great Tit - One record

Golden Oriole - very scarce migrant

Isabelline Shrike - one report

*Southern Grey Shrike - common resident

*Woodchat Shrike - scarce migrant

Brown-necked Raven - several reports, but all probably refer to the following species

Raven - common resident

*Red-vented Bulbul - introduced and probably not fully estabished but occurs in at least some of the resorts and possibly breeds wild

*Starling - very scarce winter visitor

Spotless Starling - one report

*Spanish Sparrow - common resident

Rock Sparrow - a few records

Hawfinch - one record

Chaffinch - a few records

Brambling - a few records

*Serin - a few records

*Canary - introduced resident now common in Betancuria mountains, sometimes seen in other areas

*Greenfinch - a small resident population in the late 70s and early 80s but apparently now extinct

*Goldfinch - scarce resident

*Siskin - rare winter visitor

*Linnet - common resident

*Trumpeter Finch - common resident

Blackpoll Warbler - one record

*Ortolan Bunting - scarce passage migrant

*Cretzschmar’s Bunting - adult male seen by Howard Taffs, Dave Shirt and myself in 1980.

*Little Bunting - a few records

Reed Bunting - one record

*Corn Bunting - local resident

Key References

Bannerman, D.A. 1922 The Canary Islands: their history, natural history and
scenery. Gurney and Jackson, Edinburgh

Clarke, T. 2006 Birds of the Atlantic Islands Christopher Helm, London. ISBN-
10: 0-7136-6023-6, ISBN-13: 978-0-7136-6023-4

Clarke, T. and Collins, D. 1996 A Birdwatchers’ Guide to the Canary Islands
Prion Ltd, Huntingdon. ISBN 1 871104 068

Martín, A. et al. 1989 Las Aves Marinas de Canarias. La Garcilla 73:8-11

Moreno, J.M. 1988 Guía de las Aves de las Islas Canarias. Editorial Interinsular
Canaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. ISBN: 84-86733-05-7

Rodriguez Delgado, O. 2005 Patrimonio Natural de la Isla de Fuerteventura.
Gobierno de Canarias. ISBN: 84-7926-391-1