Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-888-721-3555
Focus On Nature Tour
in June 2009
List compiled by Armas Hill,
leader of the tour.
PHOTO AT RIGHT: BULWER'S PETREL,
this species was seen during our Jun '09 tour,
early in the morning at about dawn, on land at a nesting site.
Spanish bird names follow English names
in the first line.
Scientific names in the second line.
Birds found during the tour on the following
(t): a globally threatened or
(nt): near-threatened species
(cd): conservation dependent species
(Ee): endangered in Europe
(Ev): vulnerable in Europe
(Er): rare in Europe
(Ed): has declined in Europe
(El): localized in Europe
All of above designations by Birdlife
(i): an introduced species
A LIST OF MAMMALS & OTHER WILDLIFE FOLLOWS THAT OF THE BIRDS.
Birding & Nature Tours in Spain & the Canary Islands
Plain Swift (Vencejo Unicolor)
______ TE (a Macaronesian endemic breeder)
- Barbary Partridge (Perdiz
(Ee) ______ LZ
Alectoris barbara koenigi
- Ruddy Shelduck ______ FV
- Cory's Shearwater
(Pardela Cenicienta) (Ev) ______
Calonectris diomedea borealis
The Cory's Shearwater is the most abundant
shearwater of the Canary Islands. It is migratory, arriving in February, and
leaving October/November. Seen at sea or from coasts.
During our June 2009 tour, we saw many from the ferry, late in the day, between the islands
of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
- Bulwer's Petrel
(Petrel de Bulwer) (Ev)
Bulweria b. bulwerii
Among other places in the Canary Islands,
the Bulwer's Petrel breeds at the far north end of the island of Lanzarote, and on islets
in that area offshore. The breeding season
is from May thru August/September. Birds by the colonies can be difficult to
detect as they generally do not concentrate there before darkness.
our June '09 tour, we saw one in flight, over land, at about dawn.
- Western Cattle Egret
The Eastern Cattle Egret, Bubulcus coromandus,
occurs in southern and eastern Asia,
- Northern Gannet
(El) ______ TE
Sula bassena) (monotypic)
- Barbary Falcon (Halcon de berberia) (Er) ______ TE
Falco p. pelegrinoides
The Barbary Falcon is the rarest bird of
prey in the Canaries, with only about a few pairs. It inhabits coastal
cliffs, where it feeds on Rock Doves. It occurs (or has occurred) on Tenerife,
La Gomera, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, and its adjacent islets.
birds flying so quickly by the cliffs, above the sea, has been a thrill for
us during all of our FONT tours in the Canaries!
- Eleonora's Falcon
(Falcon de Eleonora)
Falco eleonorae (monotypic)
- Common Kestrel (Cernicalo vulgar)
(Ed) ______ LZ,TE
Falco tinnunculus canariensis (in western Canary Is., endemic)
Falco tinnunculus dacotiae (in eastern Canary Is. inc.
- Osprey (Aguila
Pescadora) (Er) ______
Pandion h. haliaetus
- Egyptian Vulture
(Alimoche) (Ee) ______
Neophron p. percnopterus
The Egyptian Vulture, or "Alimoche"
has declined considerably in the Canaries in recent years, during which time
it has disappeared from La Gomera, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria. The decrease
of the population may be attributed to the general reduction of livestock
(and therefore dead livestock), and an increased use of pesticides.
species can be found on Fuerteventura, where we saw it during our June '09
tour, and on Lanzarote, and the islets of
Alegranza and Montana Clara. Outside the breeding season, the birds leave
the Canaries for Africa.
- Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Accipiter nisus granti (in Canary Islands, an endemic
The Eurasian Sparrowhawk is a scarce inhabitant
of the Canaries, in laurel forests and pine woods of Tenerife, La Palma, La
Gomera, and El Hierro.
- Common Buzzard (Ratonero Comun) ______ FV,TE
Buteo buteo insularum (in Canary Islands, an endemic
The Common Buzzard is the second most common
raptor on the Canaries (after the Kestrel). It is a year-round resident. Its
population in the islands probably does not exceed 400 pairs. Found on all
islands except Lanzarote.
- Houbara Bustard
(Hubara) (nt) (Ee) ______
Chamydotis undulata fuertaventurae (an endemic
subspecies on a single island in the Canaries; the other subspecies in North
The MacQueen's Bustard of southern Asia was formerly considered
conspecific with the Houbara Bustard.
It is an endemic, distinctive subspecies of the Houbara
Bustard that we've seen during our tours in the
The bird occurs on dry, eastern Canarian islands, in arid desert
and stony plain habitats. Its population is estimated at about 240 birds on
Fuerteventura and a few more than that on Lanzarote. During recent years, on both islands,
is numbers have declined. It was recorded, in the past, on Gran Canaria.
Birds in the Canary Islands are slightly smaller than those of the North
African race (C. u. undulata), with upperparts much darker and dark areas of
the wings blacker.
Throughout its entire range, the species has declined over the years.
It was as early as 1402 that Houbara Bustards were
known to be on Fuerteventura. At that time, it is said that the island was
not as arid as it is today. Therefore it's possible that bustard-habitat on
Fuerteventura (although limited on the island) may have increased since that
time, about 600 years ago.
The preferred habitats of the Houbara Bustard
on Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are arid gravelly plains and areas with low
sand dunes where shrubby vegetation can provide cover and food.
Throughout its known history on Fuerteventura, the shy Houbara
Bustard has suffered under various pressures.
It was written in 1905 that during a single season over a hundred bustard
eggs were purchased (representing at least 35 nests).
In 1963, the most-eminent ornithologist of the Canaries, Mr. D. A.
Bannerman, considered the bird to be nearly extinct on the islands.
Recently, there have been some positive factors: the decrease in human rural
population and an improved protection of both the bird and its areas of
Male Houbara Bustards defend display areas on
territories usually about 500 to 1,000 meters apart. Both sexes tend to be
solitary in the breeding season, meeting only to mate. In the Canaries, eggs
are laid from January (rarely December) to April. The fledgling period is
about 35 days. The young are said to stay with adult females until at least
Males are probably polygamous, taking no part in the rearing of the
young. Males, however, do have a dramatic display behavior, that's quite the
sight for those lucky to observe it.
- Eurasian Stone Curlew
(Alcaravan) (Ev) ______
Burhinus oedicnemus insularum
Two subspecies of the Eurasian Stone Curlew occur in the Canary Islands.
During our June '09 tour, we saw B. o. insularum which occurs on the
eastern Canary Islands of Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, and adjacent islets.
The bird is found mainly on dry open terrain. It tends to be most active,
and vocal, at dusk and after dark.
- Eurasian Oystercatcher
- Black-winged Stilt (Giguenuela)
- Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo
Patinegro) (Ed) ______
- Cream-colored Courser
(Ev) ______ FV
Cursorius cursor bannermani (this subspecies of the Canary Islands now
said to be merged into the widespread Cursorius c.
The Cream-colored Courser occurs mostly in Africa, but there is a population
in the Canary Islands. The species occurs in dry habitats across northern
Africa, from Morocco east, and beyond, further east, in Arabia and northwest
Birds in eastern and southern Africa have been said to be this same
species, but now that population is considered as another species called
In the Canaries, the Cream-colored Courser occurs on Fuerteventura and
Lanzarote in desert and semi-desert areas. It is relatively common only on
Fuerteventura in the proper habitat, where during our June '09 tour we saw 2
adults with their 2 nearly-grown young.
- Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota patiamarilla)
Larus michahellis atlantis
(subspecies in Canary Islands)
The Yellow-legged Gull is a very common and obvious bird in the Canaries. As
with many species of gulls, there's been a dramatic population increase in
recent years. It occurs on all Canarian islands, and generally nests on
coastal cliffs and islets.
- Rock Pigeon (Paloma Livia)
Columba l. canariensis (in Canary Is., an
Not all the Rock Doves in the Canaries are feral pigeons. A number of them
are "wild" birds, an endemic subspecies. In total, there are 14
subspecies throughout the bird's wild range, which is in western Europe, the
Macaronesian islands of the Atlantic, parts of Africa, and parts of Asia.
In the Canaries, native Rock Doves breed on coastal cliffs and the walls of
- Eurasian Collared Dove
(Tortola Turca) ______ FV,LZ
Streptopelia d. decaocto
The Eurasian Collared Dove is a recent arrival (apparently on its own) in
the Canaries. The bird has, during recent decades, made a westward spread
across Europe from the east.
- African Collared Dove ______
- European Turtle Dove (Tortola Comun) (Ed) ______ FV,LZ,TE
Streptopelia t. turtur
European Turtle Doves in the Canaries are breeders, present only in the
summer. They spend the winter in Africa, after departing the Canaries during
October and November. When present, the species occurs throughout the
Pigeon (Paloma Turque) (nt) (Ev) ______ TE
Columba bolli (monotypic)
has also been called Dark-tailed Laurel Pigeon. It is endemic to
the western Canary Islands: Tenerife, Gomera, and La Palma.
The Bolle's Pigeon, like the Laurel Pigeon (below) also in the Canaries (and the
Long-toed Pigeon of the Madeira Islands), is an interesting endemism.
pigeon, and the other two, are restricted to laurel forests, and considered
relics of the Tertiary Period (that is the beginning of the Cenozoic Era,
which is the beginning of the Age of Mammals, following the Mesozoic Era,
the Age of Reptiles).
The Bolle's Pigeon is in the laurel forests of Tenerife, La Gomera, and La Palma.
There is also a small population on El Hierro, but nesting has not yet been
confirmed there. Formerly, the bird was on Gran Canaria, but it disappeared
on that island as the laurel forest did.
The population of the species has recently been estimated as approximately
1,700 individuals. However, in actuality, the true population size is not
really well known. There was a study of the numbers in the early 1980s, when
it was thought that 350 to 400 birds existed on Tenerife (mostly in the
Anaga Mountains), and that 550 to 600 birds were on La Gomera, and 250 to
300 on La Palma. The sum of those estimates, by island, is somewhat less
than the supposed 1,700. That figure came about, at least partly, from a
recent survey determining that 1,000 individuals are in the Garrajonay
National Park on La Gomera.
The range of the Bolle's Pigeon on the islands, and the population, have been reduced
substantially since the 19th Century - for example, on Tenerife, to about 35
to 40 per cent of the original range. The species is now considered globally
The Bolle's Pigeon, as would be expected, is frugivorous, eating fruits of
laurel forest trees. The breeding season is long. Occupied nests have been
found in nearly every month of the year. The clutch is invariably one egg
- Laurel Pigeon (Paloma
Rabiche) (t3) (Ev) ______ TE
Columba junoniae (monotypic)
has been called White-tailed Laurel Pigeon. It is endemic to the
western Canary Islands: Tenerife, Gomera, and La Palma.
As is the Bolle's Pigeon, the Laurel Pigeon is a relic of the Tertiary
Period, that is endemic to the Canary Islands (Tenerife, La Gomera, and la
Palma), and restricted to laurel forests.
It is slightly more rare than the Bolle's Pigeon (although both are
considered globally threatened by Birdlife International).
The Laurel Pigeon most typically occurs in areas of mature laurel forest
with rocky gorges, steep slopes, and large escarpments.
The population has been estimated as ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 birds. Most
of these (1,000 to 1,200) are on La Palma, with 120 to 160 in central La
Gomera, and 80 to 120 on Tenerife. Some of these figures, however, may need
revision, particularly relating to Tenerife, where the species was not
recorded until the beginning of the 1970s. (Was it overlooked there?)
seen both the Laurel Pigeon and the Bolle's Pigeon during FONT tours on
There was a substantial reduction of laurel forest in the Canary Islands
during the last 500 years. The population of the Laurel Pigeon, after a
major decline, appears, however, to have been stable during the period from
1970 to 1990. It must be stated, though, that there's insufficient
quantitative data to confirm this.
The nest of this species is on the ground (on the negative side, enabling
predation by rats and cats). The nests, on the positive side, are usually
either on ledges or crevices (sometimes quite hard to reach), or beneath
trunks or stones in the interior of the forest.
The diet, in addition to fruit, includes buds and flower shoots of the
laurel forest trees.
A certain threat to the species, in addition to habitat destruction, over
the years, has been hunting.
- Barn Owl (Lechuza Comun) (Ed)
Tyto a. gracilirostris
In the eastern Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, and islets), a dark
subspecies of the Barn Owl occurs, T. a.
gracilirostris, which is endemic to those islands. That
bird may be a species separate from the Barn Owl.
- Common Swift (Vencejo
Comun) ______ LZ
Apus a. apus
- Pallid Swift (Vencejo Palido)
Apus pallidus brehmorum (subspecies
in Spain and Canary Is.)
The Pallid Swift has not been well known on the Canaries. Some breed in
lower zones throughout the islands. Apparently, Pallid Swifts leave the
islands after breeding.
The subspecies in the Canaries also occurs in southwestern Europe and the
Apus unicolor (monotypic)
The Plain, or Unicolored, Swift is a species that's endemic (as a nester) to
the Canary and Madeira Islands. Flocks of these "andorinas", as
they're locally called, are a common sight on the islands. They nest on
cliffs and buildings.
Most leave the islands after breeding. (They have been found in winter along
the coast of Morocco.)
Some stay throughout the year in the
Upupa e. epops
Great Spotted Woodpecker
(Pico Picapinos) ______
(a subspecies endemic to the Canary Islands,
occurring on Tenerife)
Lesser Short-toed Lark
(Terrera Marismena) (Ev)
Calandrella rufescens polatzeki (subspecies
in Canary Is., endemic)
The Lesser Short-toed Lark is common only on the dry islands of
Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, where the subspecies is endemic.
On Tenerife, however, there appears to be two subspecies: the aforementioned
in dry habitat, and C. r. rufescens in
moist habitat. On that island
(Tenerife), the two subspecies do not occur together - one northerly (where
humid), and one southerly (where dry).
Barn Swallow (Golondrina Comun) ______ LZ
Hirundo r. rustica
The Swallow (as its known in Europe) is a common migrant (in season) in the
(Bisbita Caminero) ______ FV,LZ,TE
(a Macaronesian endemic)
Anthus b. berthelotii
The Berthelot's Pipit, a Macaronesian endemic, is common in open habitats,
from sea level to high altitudes. It is on all of the Canary Islands, and it
is the only resident pipit.
Grey Wagtail (Lavandera
Motacilla cinerea canariensis (in Canary Is., an
The Grey Wagtail on the Canary Islands is an endemic subspecies to the
islands: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, and La Palma. It is found where
there's fresh water. It favors ravines.
Canary Islands Bush Chat
Canaria) (nt) (Ev) ______ FV
Saxicola d. dacotiae
(Another endemic subspecies of Canarian islets, A. d. murielae, is now
Saxicola dacotiae has also
been called the Fuerteventura Chat or Canarian Chat. It is
endemic to the Canary Islands.
The Canary Islands Bush Chat is endemic to just one island, Fuerteventura,
where it occurs mostly in just one part of the island, the northern portion.
It is usually in areas of ravines and rocky slopes.
The other subspecies, currently extinct, was on the islets of Alegranza and
European Robin (Petirrojo) ______ TE
Erithacus rubecula superbus (in Canary Is., an
The endemic subspecies of the European Robin is on the Canarian islands of
Tenerife and Gran Canaria.
The European Robin on the Canaries lives mainly in woodlands, including pine
groves, and in cultivated areas.
(Mirlo Comun) ______ TE
Turdus m. merula
Turdus merula cabrerae (in the Canary Is., a
The subspecies of the Common Blackbird, T. m. cabrerae, is endemic to the
Madeira and Canary Islands. In the Canaries, it occurs on the western and
central islands in wooded and cultivated areas.
(Curruca Capirotada) ______ TE
Sylvia atricapilla obscura (in Canary Is., an
The endemic subspecies of the Eurasian Blackcap in the Canaries is in scrub,
brambles, and cultivated areas. It is found on Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La
Gomera, El Hierro, and La Palma, throughout the year.
(Curruca Cabecinegra) ______ LZ
Sylvia melanocephala leucogastra (in Canary Is., an
endemic subspecies; 1 of 2 subspecies there)
The endemic subspecies of the Sardinian Warbler on the Canaries is found in
scrub, brambles, and cultivated areas (as is the Blackcap), and in various
dry habitats (as is the Spectacled Warbler). It is distributed on all of the
Sylvia conspicillata orbitalis (in Canary Is., a
Macaronesian endemic subspecies)
The subspecies of the Spectacled Warbler on the Canary Islands also occurs
on the more-southerly Cape Verde Islands. In the Canaries, on all islands,
it is generally in dry zones with low vegetation.
Canary Islands Chiffchaff
Phylloscopus c. canariensis (the other Canarian subspecies extinct
since the beginning of the 20th Century)
The Canary Islands Chiffchaff, endemic to the Canary Islands, was
considered conspecific with the Common Chiffchaff.
The subspecies of the Canary Islands Chiffchaff, P. c. canariensis, occurs
on Tenerife and other islands from Gran Canaria westward.
Another subspecies, P. c. exsul, was recorded on the eastern Canary Island,
Lanzarote, in the Valle de Haria, but apparently it has been extinct since
the early 1900s.
The subspecies that still exists of the Canarian endemic is common on the
western islands, where it is widely distributed in various habitats.
As noted above, it was formerly considered conspecific with (that is, it was a subspecies of) the
Common Chiffchaff of Europe, Phylloscopus collybita. That bird occurs in the
Canary Islands as a migrant and a winter
"Canary Islands Goldcrest"
(Reyezuelo Tenerife) ______
TE (subspecies endemic to the western Canary Is.)
Regulus (regulus) teneriffae
The "Canary Islands Goldcrest" has also been called the
"Tenerife Kinglet" or "Canarian Kinglet".
The "Canary Islands Goldcrest" is now (again) considered a
subspecies of the Goldcrest (the smallest European bird).
forests on Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro.
African Blue Tit
(Herrerillo Comun) ______ TE
Cyanistes ultramarinus teneriffae (formerly Parus ultramarinus teneriffae)
(in the central Canary Is. inc. Tenerife,
this is a subspecies endemic to that area)
The range of the African Blue Tit, split from the European
Blue Tit, is only in northwest Africa and the Canary Islands.
The African Blue Tit has differentiated into the most races (or subspecies) of any
Canarian bird: 4.
C. u. teneriffe is on Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and La Gomera.
C. u. ombriosus is only on El Hierro.
C. u. palmensis is only on La Palma.
C. u. degener is on the dry, eastern islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
On each of these island, these birds occupy a variety of habitats.
Southern Grey Shrike
(Alcaudon Real) (Ed) ______
Lanius meridionalis koenigi (in Canary Is., an
The Southern Grey Shrike was formerly conspecific with the Great Grey
Shrike, as it's called in the Old World.
In North America, the Great Grey Shrike has been called Northern
The Southern Grey Shrike ranges in
Spain, Africa, Arabia, India, and elsewhere in south-central Asia. (In the
last of these areas, it is referred to as the "Steppe
Northern Raven (Cuervo) ______
Corvus corax tingitanus (a rare subspecies in the Canary Is.)
The subspecies of the Northern Raven in the Canaries also occurs in northern
Africa. The bird is scarce to uncommon in the Canaries, having declined in
Common Starling ______ TE
Sturnus v. vulgaris
Spanish Sparrow (Gorrion moruno) ______ FV,LZ,TE
Passer h. hispaniolensis
The Spanish Sparrow is a relatively recent immigrant (on its own) to the
Canaries, having spread from the eastern islands west to El Hierro during
the last two centuries. It is found in cities, towns, gardens, and
(Pinzon vulgar) ______ TE
Fringilla coelebs canariensis (formerly F. c.
tintillon) (in Canary Is.,
an endemic subspecies)
There are 3 distinctive subspecies of the
Common Chaffinch in the Canaries:
F. c. canariensis on Tenerife, La Gomera, and Gran Canaria,
F. c. palmae on La Palma, and
F. c. ombriosa on El Hierro.
Each is found in woodland habitats.
Blue Chaffinch (Pinzon
azul) (cd) (Ev) ______ TE
Fringilla t. teydea (1 of 2 subspecies in the Canary Islands)
Fringilla teydea has also been called Teydefinch.
It is endemic to the Canary Islands.
The Blue Chaffinch is one of the most attractive of the Canarian endemic
birds. There are two subspecies: F. t. teydea on Tenerife, and F. t.
polatzeki on Gran Canaria. The latter is scarce and localized.
The bird is associated with forests of Canary Pine, where it feeds on pine
kernels, laburnum and broom seeds, as well as beetle larvae, which it
extracts from pine bark.
European Greenfinch (Verderon comun) ______
Carduelis chloris auratilyuentris
The subspecies of the European Greenfinch
in the Canaries is also that of southern Europe and northern Africa. The
species is said to have colonized in the Canaries recently.
Common Linnet (Pardillo comun) ______
Carduelis cannabina harterti (an
endemic subspecies in the Canary Is.)
There are two endemic subspecies of the Common
Linnet in the Canaries:
A. c. harterti on Fuerteventura (where we saw it during our June '09 tour) and
A. c. meadewaldoi on the other islands to the west.
(Canario) ______ TE
has been called Island Canary.
The Atlantic Canary is endemic to the Macaronesian
islands of the eastern Atlantic, in the Canaries, Madeira, and the Azores.
In the Canaries, it is most frequent in areas of cultivated fields, pine
groves, and forest edges in the central and western islands.
(Camachuelo trompetero) (Er)
Bucanetes githagineus amantum (subspecies endemic to Canary Is.)
The Canarian subspecies of the Trumpeter Finch,
B. g. amamtum, inhabits deserts and stony places on all islands except La
Palma and El Hierro.
(On the latter island, however, it has been recorded
recently, but nesting there has not been confirmed.)
Islands Mammals & Other Wildlife
during the FONT Birding & Nature Tour
Found during the tour on the following islands:
(i) introduced species in the Canaries
1. Algerian Hedgehog (i) ______ LZ
algirus (formerly Atelerix algirus)
2. European Rabbit ______ LZ,TE
(the single member of its genus)
3. Western House Mouse (i) ______ TE
4. Black Rat (i) ______ TE
5. Canary Shrew ______ LZ
(this species endemic to the
eastern Canary Islands, where it is found only in lava fields
areas of Lanzarote, where it was seen during our June '09 tour, and on
Fuerteventura, and the small islets
of Lobos and Mt Clara)
6. Wild Goat (i) ______ LZ
(was split from the Domestic Goat, Capra hircus,
7. Dromedary (i) ______ LZ
8. Monarch Butterfly ______ FV,LZ
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