As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

First colony of Red-billed Tropicbirds found on the Canary Islands

Announcing the news on the Facebook page Lanzarote Pelagics posted the following information;

In 2014 and 2015 two Red-billed Tropicbirds were present on Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, but there was no proof of breeding. In 2016 Tony Mulet located two birds, in the same place that they had been observed in both 2014 and 2015, and recorded that they were regularly attending the cliffs there.

Later, local ornithologist Marcelo Cabrera noted the same birds. In May, on a visit to this site to try to confirm breeding of the species, it was confirmed that breeding was occurring and that at least 20 individuals including eight pairs were present. Elsewhere in the Canary Islands Red-billed Tropicbirds breed in single pairs.

Later in the year Daniel López Velasco corroborated this information, and suspects the presence of another population in another location on Fuerteventura, but he has not yet been able to confirm this.

Without a doubt, the species is set to grow by the Canary Islands, but the location of the colony will be withheld due to sensitivities.

As the name suggests, the Red-billed Tropicbird is a species of tropical waters, ranging from the eastern Pacific through to the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Gulf and the north-west Indian Ocean. Historically within the Western Palearctic, breeding has been known only from Cape Verde, with this and the Galapagos populations being the species' key global populations.

The first confirmed breeding record for Europe came from the Azores in 1993, whilst, with ever increasing numbers being seen in the Canary Islands (most likely involving post-breeding birds from the Cape Verde population), it was only a matter of time before breeding was confirmed on the archipelago.


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