Iberian Chiffchaff on Fuerteventura

Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus ibericus (or P. brehmii  as it is called, too) is mainly found on the Iberian peninsula in Spain and Portugal but migrates to the south in fall. This chiffchaff is brighter, greener on the rump, and yellower below than Phylloscopus collybita. This species is a long-distance migrant, occurring every year on the way back from it´s wintering grounds in western Africa as far north as Germany. Right now a bird has been located in Zarrendorf near Stralsund in the north-eastern corner in Germany. This is in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Other vagrants has been found in other parts of Germany in the recent weeks, too.

It was a pleasure for me to see a Iberian Chiffchaff in low scrub on the sandy plain on top of the isthmus of Jandia in the southern corner of Fuerteventura/ Canary Islands.  First I thought, I photographed Phylloscopus canariensis, the Canary Islands Chiffchaff. But this is a non-migratory species occurring on the major Canary Islands to the west of Fuerteventura. As can be read in a very good abstract under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberian_Chiffchaff the nominate western subspecies. Phylloscopus canariensis canariensis occurs on El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, and Gran Canaria. This species is smaller than Common Chiffchaff, and has shorter, rounder wings. It is olive-brown above and has a buff breast and flanks. The eastern subspecies Phylloscopus canariensis exsul of Lanzarote and possibly Fuerteventura is paler above and less rufous below than its western relative  and had a harsher call. There are hints, that it might have been a distinct species, but it became extinct in 1986 at latest, probably much earlier. The reasons for its extinction are unclear, but it appears always to have been scarce and localised, occurring only in the Haria Valley of Lanzarote.

Other successful shootings you can see under: http://www.bird-lens.com/zencardshop/.

1 comment

  1. Die neue Webseite kannte ich nicht, ist aber sehr interessant zu lesen und sieht richtig chic aus. Ich bin mir fast sicher, im letzten Jahr im Mai auf Fuerte (ebenfalls Jandia) auch Phylloscopus gesehen zu haben. Dazu tolle Impressionen von Saxicola und Schmutzgeier (Abstieg Pico de la Zarza) . Pflanzenmäßig ist dort (oben) natürlich auch ‘ne Menge los..

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