Monday, 26 March 2012


The latest issue of the birdwatching magazine Ardeola (vol. 58-2, December 2011) contains the Spanish Rarity Committee's findings for 2009. Only six of the 291 accepted records correspond to Extremadura (two of these dating from 2008). Most are based on photos so we can use these to illustrate said records.

Possible hybrids of Western Reef Heron x Little Egret (Egretta gularis x garzetta). Three different birds were seen in Extremadura. The identification of these birds is debatable since it's not certain whether they are in fact hybrids or melanistic Little Egrets. Up to 2009 there had been 53 records of 65 birds accepted by the rarity committee in Spain as assumed hybrids (plus 35 pure Reef Herons), five of them in Extremadura (plus two pure birds).

Brovales Reservoir, Jerez de los Caballeros (Badajoz), 10.01.08 (Emilio Costillo).

Arrocampo Reservoir, Saucedilla (Cáceres), 12 and 13.03.09 (Collin Jewitt; Steve Fletcher).

Charca de Los Gañanes, Guijo de Coria (Cáceres), 18.07.09 and the same bird again at Portaje Reservoir (Cáceres) on 07.08.09 and 12.09.09 (Sergio Mayordomo, César Clemente and Javier Mahíllo). This is possibly the same bird that was seen in 2008 in Coria and in Guijo de Coria (Ardeola, 57: 491).

Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii). Two birds seen in Extremadura, to be added to three previously accepted records (1992, 2000 and 2004). The sum for the whole of Spain is now 43 records involving 58 birds.

San Vicente de Alcántara (Badajoz). In Sierra de San Pedro, an adult with typical plumage features of the western African population on 10.01.09 (José Gordillo).

Monfragüe, Portilla del Tiétar (Cáceres). An immature bird on 24.05.08 (Alfonso López and Ángela Molina).

Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius). Los Canchales Reservoir (Badajoz), 03.11.09 (José María Salazar Alonso and M. Rial). This is the only record accepted without photographs. It is the second accepted record for Extremadura; the first was in Mirandilla (Badajoz) from 19.02.04 to 04.03.04 (F. Prieto, J. Ledo and J. M. Benítez). Up to 2009 42 records had been accepted in Spain.

The records rejected by the Committee involved no Extremadura bird. Nonetheless, we do know of other rarities seen in 2009. On 28.02.09, Manuel Pérez González saw at Portaje Reservoir the same Marabou Stork (Leptotilos crumeniferus) seen in October and November 2008 in Plasencia and Acehúche (Cáceres), respectively (photo above taken in 2008 in Acehúche by Andrés Rodríguez). Also in 2009 a possible Western Reef hybrid was seen in Portugal near the Badajoz border on 12.05.09 and on 13.07.09, Caia Reservoir (the nearest colony is in Badajoz city), and a pure Western Reef Heron on 02.10.09 flying in the direction of the Badajoz heron roost (Luis Venancio). Last but not least, an assumed Black-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra senegalus) was seen at Arroyo Guadalefra, Orellana la Vieja (Badajoz) on 14.05.09 by Stefaan Horemans (source: Rare Birds in Spain). If accepted this would be a first for Extremadura but it doesn't even seem to have been submitted.

CR-SEO (Comité de Rarezas de SEO). 2011. Observaciones de aves raras en España, 2008. Ardeola 58:441-480.