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.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Confirmed breeding of Golden Nightjar in Western Sahara

Back in May 2015 a Golden Nightjar was hit by a car and killed along the now-famous road between Dakhla and Aousserd, then representing the first record of this species in Western Sahara. It showed indications of being a breeding bird, thus the idea sparked that there may be a remote and small population in Western Sahara. Whether the bird was a regular or just a phenomenon induced by favorable weather or feeding conditions was unknown at the time. The discovery of this truly stunning nightjar obviously excited birders, for it suddenly seemed possible to connect with this species while picking up other local goodies, such as Cricket Warbler and African Dunn's Lark.
Then, for three years running from 2016-18, Golden Nightjar was found at Oued Jenna, a wadi interspersed with some high-standing trees some 20 km north-west of Aousserd. The species was both heard and seen here by a number of visiting birders, making it a real possibility to connect with in Western Sahara. However, the status of the species remained unclear: while there were indications of breeding, it couldn't be proven as eggs or juveniles were never observed. In the meantime, the first confirmed breeding record of Golden Nightjar for the Western Palearctic came in April 2018, when a nest with a single egg was found in northern Mauritania.

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