Common Buttonquail has been observed again in Algeria after an absence of more than 30 years.
The species, which is more commonly referred to by European birders using its colloquial name of Andalusian Hemipode, was widely believed to be extirpated in Algeria and thus the findings are a major boost for the future conservation of this rare and endangered Western Palearctic species.
Two birds, one of which was unfortunately shot, were observed by hunters near the city of Aïn Beïda, in the country's north-east, on 30 November. The hunters were targeting Common Quail, legal quarry in Algeria, and shot one of the birds by mistake, having not realised it was something different at the time – the shooter involved is said to be regretful, having not realised the great rarity of the species.
The significance of this discovery cannot be underestimated. Not only is it the first sighting anywhere in Algeria for nearly four decades, but this is the first ever observation at an inland locality – all previous occurrences were documented along the country's Mediterranean coast.