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Bird Atlas of Mauritania (1 Viewer)

Richard Klim

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African Bird Club, 2016...
This is to inform you that the first version of the Bird Atlas of Mauritania is online at http://atlasornmau.org/ and is freely accessible. It is a follow-up to Isenmann et al 2010*, of which I am a co-author, and which has no bird distribution maps. I have prepared it using some 65,000 bird records from 78 sources. For each of over 500 species it indicates the half-degree squares where the species has been observed in the country as well as where there is evidence of breeding, and of wintering of Holarctic migrants.

Further development of the Atlas will be announced in due course.

Peter Browne: pbrowne AT primus.ca
Ref: Isenmann, Benmergui, Browne, Diam Ba, Hamallah Diagana, Diawara & El Abidine ould Sidaty 2010. Oiseaux de Mauritanie. Birds of Mauritania. SEOF.

(With thanks to Phil Hyde for reporting to BB.)

 
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Richard Klim

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A quick check of the atlas reveals the following Afrotropical species recorded in Mauritania north of 19˚N (the 'definitive southern boundary of the Palaearctic' proposed by Roselaar 2006), but not on the WP list (sensu BWP):
  • African Spoonbill Platalea alba
  • Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus
  • Grasshopper Buzzard Butastur rufipennis
  • Plain Nightjar Caprimulgus inornatus
  • Vieillot's Barbet Lybius vieilloti
  • Little Grey Woodpecker Dendropicos elachus
  • Chestnut-bellied Starling Lamprotornis pulcher
  • Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea
[On a trip to Mauritania with Rich Bonser in Dec 2006, we encountered a flock of Chestnut-bellied Starlings at Yeghref, Adrar (~20˚15'N).]

PS. Isenmann 2006 (Birds of the Banc d'Arguin) additionally lists a record of Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis: slightly south of Nouamghar, Inchiri, Oct 1998 (species not mapped in the atlas).
 
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Acanthis

Well-known member
Richard, do these represent range expansions or merely unrecorded species in a poorly covered area?
If it's the latter is there evidence of any sub-Saharan species expanding northwards?

Edit: Oh I see. 2 degrees further south than the BWP boundary. Makes all the difference apparently. Cool trip report. What an adventure!
 
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Richard Klim

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Richard, do these represent range expansions or merely unrecorded species in a poorly covered area?
If it's the latter is there evidence of any sub-Saharan species expanding northwards?
With the possible exception of Chestnut-bellied Starling, they seem to be isolated records – so instances of vagrancy rather than evidence of northward range expansions.

So a 2˚southward extension of the WP in mainland Mauritania wouldn't deliver a tickfest for WP listers...
 
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Acanthis

Well-known member
No.

What interests me is not so much how thoroughly effective a barrier the Sahara ( & Arabian) desert is in keeping the two ecozones separate and distinct, but where that barrier has leaks or passageways through, naturally or as a result of human activity, and which species are breaching it.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
So the WP list should actually have an additional 8+ species on it?

Except that it can't, simply because there is no rarity committee for Mauritania to confirm/vet these records? At what point can the official body be set up and by whom? ... ;)
 

Richard Klim

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So the WP list should actually have an additional 8+ species on it?
Only if Roselaar's (2006) boundaries were to be adopted by AERC, DB etc. And 10 years after proposal, there's been no sign of any support for such a revision...
 

GMK

Well-known member
No.

What interests me is not so much how thoroughly effective a barrier the ... Arabian ... desert is in keeping the two ecozones separate and distinct, but where that barrier has leaks or passageways through, naturally or as a result of human activity, and which species are breaching it.



The Arabian desert ISN’T a barrier/dividing line between two major faunal regions. And even Cramp (BWP) did not claim that it was! By drawing an entirely arbitrary straight line west from the southern border of Kuwait to the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, which actually runs through that desert, not along its northernmost periphery, Cramp and colleagues only sought to exclude from their handbook a bunch of birds that they considered so poorly studied that if included would somehow lower the quality of BWP.

Think about it. I don’t believe anyone would claim that the Arabian desert was not a rather homogenous landscape for birds. Therefore drawing a line across it, rather than at its northern or southern limits, is obviously nonsense as a biogeographical statement. I said ‘was’, because the desert is changing, at least locally, through human impacts (surprise, surprise), e.g. waste-water treatment plants and irrigated agriculture, but such developments have largely only permitted already very widespread Palearctic taxa to spread south (partially answering your question).

The only serious commentators on the subject of where to draw the lines of the Palearctic in Arabia, Martins & Hirschfeld (firstly) and Roselaar (secondly), concluded that it was far more sensible and biogeographically correct to consider ALL of Arabia as being part of the WP, albeit noting the presence of significant ‘enclaves’ of Afrotropical influence in the lowlands of western Yemen and Dhofar (far eastern Yemen and adjacent Oman), where, in season, the wadis resound to the calls of Didric Cuckoos and Grey-headed Kingfishers, among others.

The only folk of who don’t seem to have picked up on this are apparently the fanatical WP listers. I would have thought they’d have wanted to add another playground for their games; after Shetland in September and the Azores in October, you might think they’d jump at the chance to spend a week or two on Masirah Island in November, but apparently not?

With the sad state of Yemen at present, these guys (no girls I don’t think) might well have missed the boat to get really big lists of birds in the true WP.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
The only folk of who don’t seem to have picked up on this are apparently the fanatical WP listers. I would have thought they’d have wanted to add another playground for their games; after Shetland in September and the Azores in October, you might think they’d jump at the chance to spend a week or two on Masirah Island in November, but apparently not?

This is the same attitude that proposals to expand the ABA area have run up against. People who have been birding for decades don't want the region expanded, because they don't want folks who took a trip to Hawaii to suddenly bypass them in the lists after years of hanging out in the Aleutians looking for vagrants. Especially if...gasp...some of those additional birds are non-native.
 

Acanthis

Well-known member
Wow! Talk about stepping on a landmine!
Calm down Guys (pun intended ;) )

Not a fanatical lister - 778 species in forty years birding speaks for itself.
Couldn't give a sh*t about any arbitrary human-drawn line on a map.
REALLY, REALLY don't care for politics or the eejits involved!!

Merely interested in where the "lines" blur near the "boundaries" whether due to human action or more 'purely' natural changes.
Taking a long view in millennial terms the Sahara has been both greener and drier apparently, leaving relict Mediterranean or Afrotropical avifauna stranded on the various desert Massifs in the ebb and flow of past climate changes.*
Then there's things like the Riyadh river and all the irrigation circles you can see even from a casual glance at Google map views over Arabia and Egypt for example. As you say Guy a whole load of Palearctic species have extended down into Arabia as a result of irrigation schemes, probably temporarily as surely the aquifers will eventually run dry.
It's these dynamic processes and effects (good or bad) that I find fascinating.


(*Now a reference as the guys on this forum are most insistent about such things. I've been reading "The Bird Faunas of Africa and its Islands" by R.E. Moreau - a very good read I highly recommend)
 
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MJB

Well-known member

l_raty

laurent raty
Markus,
My Swedish isn't good enough to grasp what the explanation says about Socotra. Google Translate gives "where the tropical island of Socotra implemented", which isn't at all clear as to the meaning intended!
MJB
föra = to lead, direct, steer, bring from one point to another. förs is present passive. Thus, something like: "the southern Afro-tropical region, where the tropical island of Socotra is placed." ?
 

MJB

Well-known member
föra = to lead, direct, steer, bring from one point to another. förs is present passive. Thus, something like: "the southern Afro-tropical region, where the tropical island of Socotra is placed." ?

Thank you Laurent - does it mean Socotra is included or excluded? The line on their map is rather crude and lies north of Socotra and the associated archipelago...:eek!:
MJB
 

l_raty

laurent raty
Thank you Laurent - does it mean Socotra is included or excluded? The line on their map is rather crude and lies north of Socotra and the associated archipelago...:eek!:
MJB
Excluded, if I understand it correctly. It is deemed Afro-tropical.
 

BirdingRob

Brit abroad
I have just come across this thread while searching for info on Mauritania which is of serious interest to me at the moment.

However as someone who has worked and birded in both Saudi Arabia and Dhofar, Oman for the last 5 years I must support Acanthis in his insertion of the Sahara-Sindh deserts being the natural border for the WP. I see hardly anything in the birding in most of Saudi Arabia (away from Tabuk and Sakaka in the north) and all of Oman which resembles the WP. It is also worth remembering that this is not just a birding issue, it is an issue of all fauna and flora. I support the WWF with their boundaries which takes into account all nature.

I attach their map as reference

And yes I have spent a week on Misarah island in November :) I found a blue and white flycatcher, two wire tailed swallows and a white throated kingfisher.
 

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