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WP-Birds to see in Algeria

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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 16:24   #1
Diedert
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WP-Birds to see in Algeria

Dear forum users,

First of all, I didn't really know where to put this, so I'm just going to post it here. There was no Algeria subforum in the Patches-thread.

Say, if someone were to go to Algeria, what birds (except for the obvious Algerian Nuthatch) would you have to see? Are there any other potential splits I might not be aware of? I heard something about an ssp concerning Jackdaw, anyone maybe have some more details on that one? All info is welcome!

Mind you, I am fully aware of the technical details (no bins allowed) and situation (not so safe.) etc., but I am still intrigued by the species one would be able to see that would be potential WP-diamonds.

Cheers, Diedert
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 19:03   #2
Steve Lister
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Isn't there a firefinch that as far as the WP goes is only tickable in Algeria?

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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 20:41   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Lister View Post
Isn't there a firefinch that as far as the WP goes is only tickable in Algeria?

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Red-billed Firefinch - Introduced?
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 20:54   #4
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That's really it. Algerian Nuthatch and Red-billed Firefinch are the only ones you can't get elsewhere. Except maybe if you visit the south and search for African Silverbill which had a breeding colony somewhere in the south several decades ago (and might still have, but nobody has visited I believe). I've also seen reports of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse from the southern border and wouldn't be surprised if there was much more to be discovered, but I don't think many people feel comfortable to go.

However there are quite many interesting subspecies, especially of forest birds, such as tits, finches, treecreeper, etc. that are rarely observed or even photographed, where observations or pics could be of great interest to the birding community

Last edited by Maffong : Thursday 8th March 2018 at 14:59.
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 20:55   #5
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It wouldn't surprise me if there are some small populations of things like Marsh Owl still hiding away in the country.

I'm not sure that there are any splits per se, everything should be in either Tunisia or Morocco too. Other than that, while the southern tip of the country is not officially WP, I wouldn't be surprised if things like Nubian Bustard or Golden Nightjar made the occasional appearance.
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 13:49   #6
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African Silverbill too...
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 14:13   #7
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Like others, I think souther parts of Algeria have potential for interesting species associated with tropical Africa, either as rare visitors or maybe also regular visitors or undiscovered local breeders.
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 14:27   #8
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Thanks for all the replies so far.
Does African Firefinch live in the same habitat and/or place as Algerian Nuthatch, e.g. Kalybia?
The far south for species like Nubian Bustard or Golden Nightjar seems not like a bright idea to say the least. GN is still tickable in Morocco/Western Sahara. Nubian Bustard might be a nice one, but to go to that dangerous area while you could also visit a less dangerous spot and not even WP, you'd better risk your life elsewhere.
The mystery surrounding Algeria is whats so attractive. As said, there are not many/almost zero pictures from ssp's in the country and thay might be quite interesting. For real species, there are probably only three that can only be seen in Algeria for WP and one for the world.

Who knows, if it ever gets safer.
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 14:54   #9
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At least on the Netfugl ranking, the only reports of Red-billed (African?) Firefinch are from the city of Djanet in the far south-east of the country. Algeria has some amazing potential for new WP species, especially areas such as the Ahagger NP, but at the moment the security situation in the wider Sahelien region is far too tenuous to be considered a reasonably safe destination for birding.

http://www.netfugl.dk/ranking.php?id...species_id=790
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Old Saturday 10th March 2018, 13:28   #10
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Check Peter Kaestner's ebird list. That's about all I would risk in Algeria. I remember Atlas Pied Flycatcher, which, together with the nuthatch, would be good enough for me.
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Old Saturday 10th March 2018, 14:03   #11
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Given the abundance of Red-billed Firefinch throughout the rest of Africa, anybody seriously thinking about trying to see these in Algeria, purely to get them within an arbitrary line delineating the WP, really should visit their psychiatrist on the way.

Even for the Nuthatch, which certainly tempts me, security is far from certain, at some stage you should think is it worth it.
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Old Saturday 10th March 2018, 16:41   #12
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I've always wondered about the vagrant-trap potential of some of the oasis towns in southern Algeria. The combination of nighttime lights, water, and some cover smack in the middle of the Sahara is sure to attract migrants and vagrants (maybe even a few Afrotropical migrants?), but of course logistics, safety etc would have to be taken into consideration
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Old Saturday 10th March 2018, 17:05   #13
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On the contrary according to the Uk Foreign Office the whole of Algeria is the safest it has been in decades.

Check out the 'sea of green'....

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/algeria
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Old Saturday 10th March 2018, 18:53   #14
Jos Stratford
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Originally Posted by Chris Bell View Post
On the contrary according to the Uk Foreign Office the whole of Algeria is the safest it has been in decades.

Check out the 'sea of green'....

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/algeria
!! The 'sea of green' does not imply it is safe, green means see travel advice before travelling.

And the text that goes with the sea of green is

"Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Algeria, including kidnappings. Terrorist attacks have focussed on the Algerian state, but attacks could be indiscriminate and include foreigners. There’s also a risk that lone actors could target foreigners. You should be vigilant at all times and take additional security precautions, especially in: towns and cities; the southern, Libyan and Tunisian border areas; rural and mountainous areas in the north; and the Sahara."

Sure it is not like the 1990s, but it is only three years ago that a Westerner had his head cut off and as of 2017 IS and other assorted groups were still active in the country - if you deem this 'on the contrary' to warnings that Algeria is still not safe, then I am inclined to disagree
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Last edited by Jos Stratford : Saturday 10th March 2018 at 18:56.
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Old Sunday 11th March 2018, 21:03   #15
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I won’t argue about bins and telescopes, and other inconveniences such as travel and insurance costs or even applying and waiting for a visa (I guess most, if not all, European countries and others need a visa, not for me thought ). However, concerning safety I think national governments issuing different travel warnings are exaggerating in many cases. Is it over-protection or just applying the old idiom “better safe than sorry”? I think these travel warnings should be as close as possible to reality, because it may have negative impacts on the concerned regions/countries.

The short answer, it’s 100% safe.

From the WP lister perspective, mathematically there is only three species as you all know. But, as most of you know as well, there is great potential for finding something new (either vagrant/regular visitor or even breeding). This male Sudan Golden Sparrow photographed at Djanet in January 2017 is an example!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maffong View Post
I've also seen reports of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse from the southern border and wouldn't be surprised if there was much more to be discovered
It would be great if you share more information about this observation (a link?), I would like to see it.

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Originally Posted by Diedert View Post
Does African Firefinch live in the same habitat and/or place as Algerian Nuthatch, e.g. Kalybia?
Of course not! Algerian Nuthatch lives in the forested north in Kabylia or Kabylie (note the spelling of the first word!), while the Red-billed Firefinch is found at sites located in the centre, south and south-east. Traditionally known only at Tamanghasset and El-Goléa, but has expanded to others sites during the last years. See this blog if you want: “Expansion of Red-billed Firefinch in Algeria”.
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Originally Posted by Captain_of_Crunch View Post
At least on the Netfugl ranking, the only reports of Red-billed (African?) Firefinch are from the city of Djanet in the far south-east of the country.
Still observed at other places as well.
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Red-billed Firefinch - Introduced?
Almost certain introduced at Tamanghasset and some other places, but it probably colonised Djanet and Tassili n’Ajjer naturally. Its recent expansion to Hassi Moumene, a gas field in the middle of nowhere, is more likely natural as well (but likely from 'In Salah' where the species was introduced in the 1990s). The blog-post mentioned above was written essentially about this.
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Old Sunday 11th March 2018, 21:30   #16
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... concerning safety I think national governments issuing different travel warnings are exaggerating in many cases. Is it over-protection or just applying the old idiom “better safe than sorry”?
This I completely agree with, and unfortunately I also think the FCO's advice for example is frequently influenced by the political view of the country in concern.


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The short answer, it’s 100% safe.
This I don't agree with :) Do you really think it would be 100% safe for a lone obvious foreigner to wander around in the southern deserts of Algeria?
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Old Sunday 11th March 2018, 22:42   #17
Diedert
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Originally Posted by Acrocephalus View Post
Three species as you all know
Nuthatch, Firefinch and Silverbill? What's the status on the Silverbill, do you know?

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Originally Posted by Acrocephalus View Post
Of course not! Algerian Nuthatch lives in the forested north in Kabylia or Kabylie (note the spelling of the first word!), while the Red-billed Firefinch is found at sites located in the centre, south and south-east. Traditionally known only at Tamanghasset and El-Goléa, but has expanded to others sites during the last years. See this blog if you want: “Expansion of Red-billed Firefinch in Algeria”.
What a stupid question indeed...
Thanks for the info on the status. Most WP-listers might still count category C & D species, I do not, but luckily there is natural expansion as well.
Still observed at other places as well. Yes, I misspelled Kabylia (in Dutch we write Kabylië).

I checked Peter Kaestners ebird sightings, especially the subspecies of Eurasian Jay seemed really interesting. There is some nice birding to be done!

Last edited by Diedert : Monday 12th March 2018 at 10:58.
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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 21:49   #18
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This I completely agree with, and unfortunately I also think the FCO's advice for example is frequently influenced by the political view of the country in concern.




This I don't agree with :) Do you really think it would be 100% safe for a lone obvious foreigner to wander around in the southern deserts of Algeria?
It’s very feasible in the medium term. But for practical reasons (recent history plus the fear it engendered), one should start with small groups of 4-7 people with local guides. The latter should preferably be from the visited area, but they could be from the north of the country as well. For example, if this starts now with a few tours, within a decade we can see independent travellers roaming around the desert alone.

Quote:
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Nuthatch, Firefinch and Silverbill? What's the status on the Silverbill, do you know?

African Silverbill is the least known of the three species because there are no recent sightings (at least nothing online).

Note:

It seems that there is confusion regarding the status (introduced/native) of this species and Red-billed Firefinch in southern Algeria. There is no evidence that shows that African Silverbill is an introduced species, as some have wrongly assumed. On the other hand, the Red-billed Firefinch is known as introduced is considered as ‘not introduced’ by some (Swedish TC).
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Old Tuesday 20th March 2018, 20:55   #19
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Hi
Coming somewhat late to this discussion - Dierdert, I'm based in Oran and could possibly get you some contacts, eg in Djanet if you're interested.
I've been here since September, and I've always felt safe. Algerians are generally friendly and curious what I'm doing here, but there's no hassle or catcalling as I've experienced in other places. People here are also extremely helpful. The traffic is awful, however.
Birdwatching is definitely a novelty to many people. When I teach the term to my adult students in the first class, I always get odd looks and have been asked if I don't have normal hobbies like watching TV or shopping.
When you go south you'll need a local guide, but arranging that seems to be pretty straightforward. If you come to Algeria, what you'll need is vast quantities of patience if there's any paperwork to be done.
Cheers,
Kristina
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