Houbara Bustard in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. Photography by Javi Elorriaga, Birding The Strait.

Beyond the Strait: Canarian endemics birding trip 2017!

In English, Field Notes by Yeray Seminario

In Birding The Strait we feel an special attraction for the landscapes and wildlife of the Canarian Archipielago. Indeed, this is one of our preferred destinations when not birding in Tarifa.

In early April we have been pleased to design and guide a tailor made birding trip combining Tenerife (3 days) and Fuerteventura (4 days) with an evident target: observing and photographing  the local endemics and specialities. We have beautifully meet all our targets, including some bonus in the form of 5 striking Red-billed Tropicbirds off Fuerteventura!

This is a selection of our best shots:

Houbara Bustard (ssp. fuerteventurae) in the astonishing planes of Tindaya , Fuerteventura.

The Blue Chaffinch (Fringilla teydea) is now considered a full species and has been splitted from the Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch (F. polatzeki). These are, no doubt, among the most striking Canarian endemics.

The dark brown chest is the most distinctive character in the Canarian endemic subspecies of the Greatter spotted woodpecker (ssp. Canariensis)

The taxonomic rank of the Canarian falcons is under debate and many individuals should be considered intergrades between Barbary and Peregrine. The male in the picture, photographed in Fuerteventura, showed all the correct characters of a Barbary Falcon.

The Fuerteventura Stonechat shows a marked preference for the rocky slopes of the “Barrancos” and, amazingly, is not present in the neighbouring Lanzarote.

Photographing Common Ravens is often tricky, except when you meet the inquisitive canariensis subspecies.

Even if not endemic, the Trumpeter Finch is always a joy for the observers and photographers.

At times elusive, a displaying pair of Laurel Pigeons in Tenerife was a real highlight in the trip.

Adult “Fuerteventura” Buzzard showing obvious resemblance to the Atlas Long-legged Buzzards in Morocco and notably different to average individuals of the insulaum subespecies in Tenerife. Indeed, Buzzards of the local population in Fuerteventura have often been misidentified as Long-legged.

In perfect timing with this tour, the April 2017 issue of British Birds published a paper on the identification of the Buzzards in the Canary Islands on which we have contributed as co-aouthors and photographers.

Rodríguez, G., Ramírez, J. & Elorriaga, J. 2017. Phenotypic characteristics of Common Buzzards on Fuerteventura. British Birds Vol.110: 222-232.

For more information on our tailor made trips to the Canary Islands and beyond please check our website and drop us an email!