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Second report of the Egyptian Ornithological Rarities Committee – 2011
Egyptian Ornithological Rarities Committee: Frédéric Jiguet (chairman), Mindy Baha el Din, Sherif
Baha el Din, Richard Bonser, Pierre-André Crochet, Andrew Grieve, Richard Hoath, Tomas
Haraldsson, Ahmed Riad & Mary Megalli (secretary)
Citation: Jiguet, F., Baha el Din, M., Baha el Din, S., Bonser, R., Crochet, P.-A., Grieve, A., Hoath, R.,
Haraldsson, T., Riad, A., Megalli, M. 2012. Second report of the Egyptian Ornithological Rarities
The Egyptian Ornithological Rarities Committee (EORC) was launched in January 2010, to become the
adjudicator of rare bird records for Egypt and to maintain the species list of birds recorded in Egypt.
In 2011, the EORC was composed, as in 2010, of 9 voting members plus a non-voting secretary.
Voting members were: Mindy Baha El Din, Sherif Baha El Din, Richard Bonser, Pierre-André Crochet,
Andrew Grieve, Tomas Haraldsson, Richard Hoath, Frédéric Jiguet and Ahmed Riad. Mary Megalli
acted as the committee secretary. In 2012, two members – Tomas Haraldsson and Ahmed Riad -
tendered their resignation from the committee due to other ongoing commitments; we thank them
for their involvement in the EORC. Three new members have recently been integrated into the EORC
to complete the committee: Andre Corso (Italy), Manuel Schweizer (Switzerland) and Web Abdo
(Egypt). Detailed information on the committee composition is available on the EORC website.
Furthermore, after two years of dedicated services as a secretary, Mary Megalli becomes an external
advisor to the committee, while the former chairman, Frédéric Jiguet, will now undertake the role of
secretary, as a non-voting member. EORC members have elected Sherif Baha el Din as the new
chairman. For 2012, the EORC is therefore composed of 9 voting members, plus a non-voting
secretary. In 2013, one member will be renewed. Interested candidates for this position are invited
to send an email to the secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 1st December 2012.
Any observer reporting a rare bird in Egypt (e.g. species on the EORC list or not listed in the updated
(email@example.com) to help maintain the official national avifaunal list.
As stated in its first report (Jiguet et al. 2011), the EORC decided to use the checklist of the Birds of
Egypt, as published in 1989 by Steve Goodman and Peter Meininger (excluding the hypothetical
species) as a starting point to its work. Any addition to, or deletion from, this list will be evaluated
and adjudicated by the EORC, as well as any record of species with less than 10 Egyptian records (a
formal list of such species is available on the EORC website) and any change in category (e.g. B to A or
D/E to C). The EORC follow the taxonomic recommendations released by the AERC TAC (Crochet et
al. 2010, 2011) to define the new checklist of the birds of Egypt.
A dedicated website has been launched, with kind sponsorship from the French Rarities Committee,
at www.chn-france.com/eorc/. It is hosted by the new French RC website, and gives free access to
the committee’s role and composition. The site will also host EORC reports and updates of the
checklist of the Birds of Egypt. A list of species which are considered by the EORC, as well as a rarity
form proposed for record submission, can also be found of the committee’s website.
The EORC is happy to receive detailed records of any species or subspecies not yet listed on the
updated checklist, or listed within the EORC rarities, and recent reports of species not reported by
Goodman & Meininger as having been recorded after 1950.
In 2011, 26 records were considered. 19 of these have been accepted, 3 considered as not proven
and 4 are still pending. The proportion of accepted records in 2011 was therefore 72%, compared to
The updated checklist of the Birds of Egypt now includes 452 species: 435 in category A (including 7
observed only in the Halaib Triangle), 11 in category B and 6 in category C. We report below details of
the accepted and not proven records. In this section, figures that follow the species’ name represent:
number of previous records and associated number of individuals, followed by the number of
records/individuals accepted by the EORC since the last report.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL Anas discors (0/0) (1/1)
- Lake Burullus (31°30N, 30°50E), 1 drake, shot, sold on market at Port Said, early March 1990 (G.
The corpse of this breeding plumaged drake was found on a market at Port Said on 11 March 1990,
together with two pairs of Garganey Anas querquedula
. According to the merchant, these birds had
been shot the previous week at Lake Burullus. This record has already been published by the
observers, with a colour photograph of the corpse (Nikolaus & van Westrienen 1991). It constitutes
the first record of a Nearctic species in Egypt.
PECTORAL SANDPIPER Calidris melanotos (0/0) (1/1)
- Lake Zagam (30°15N, 30°20E), Wadi el Natrum, 1 ind., 14 May 1990 (F. Schepers, O. Pineau,R.
This bird was observed down to 50 meters by experienced observers visiting Egypt with the Egyptian
Wetland Project 1990. The Pectoral Sandpiper breeds in Arctic Siberia and North America, while birds
recorded in eastern Africa and the Middle East probably originate from the Palearctic (Schepers et al.
1991). This record has already been published by the observers (Schepers et al.
1991). It constitutes
the first record of the species for Egypt.
FRANKLIN’S GULL Larus pipixcan (0/0) (1/1)
- Crocodile Island, Luxor, 1 adult, 12 March 2011 (M. Dennis).
This record constitutes the first record of this Nearctic gull in Egypt, and is well documented with
numerous photographs (see http://www.birdinginegypt.com/gallery.php?picture=99). This is only
the second Nearctic species recorded in Egypt, following a drake Blue-winged Teal shot in 1990 (also
documented in this report). There are several records of Franklin’s Gull away from the Atlantic coast
in Europe and Africa, where it is recorded annually. Additional records in the Middle East include two
http://www.israbirding.com/irdc/IRDC_DB/), Kazakhstan in July 2010 and Kuwait in June 2012.
ARMENIAN GULL Larus armenicus (0/0) (1/-)
- wetlands of the Mediterranean coast, 442 ind., December 1989 and January 1990 (P. Meininger,
While the species was not reported in Egypt by Goodman and Meininger (1989), a later publication
(Meininger and Sørensen 1994) provides evidence of the winter presence of large numbers of this
species at least along the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. A winter survey of Egyptian wetlands
reported a minimum of 442 individuals. This is the basis for the addition of the Armenian Gull to the
checklist of Egyptian birds. The species is now proven to be regular in winter in northern Egypt and
will not be further considered by the EORC.
MOURNING COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decipiens (0/0) (1/2)
Abu Simbel, 2 ind., 28 December 2010 to 11May 2012 (K. de Rouck, D. Colin et al.).
This species is common and widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and breeds close to Egypt in the Nile
valley in Sudan. The discovery of two individuals, including a singing male, in the village of Abu Simbel
constitutes the first record of this species for Egypt and the Western Palearctic. The original
observers have already published the record with photographs of both birds (de Rouck 2011).
http://www.netfugl.dk/pictures.php?id=listpictures&species_id=1111. The colour of the iris and eye-
ring of these birds raises questions as to the subspecific identity of these birds, and their potential
origin, though it appears current knowledge on geographical variation in bare part coloration is quite
poor (de Rouck & Colin 2012). Two birds were still reported at the same site in May 2012 (G. Joynt,
pers com.). Identification of these birds were straightforward but origin was more open to
discussion. However, this record fits in a well-established pattern of Sudanese species occurring in
southern Egypt (especially Abu Simbel), and the EORC could not find any evidence of recent
importation of live birds from sub-Saharan Africa. The EORC has therefore placed this species in
ORIENTAL TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia orientalis (0/0) (1/1)
- Nefertari hotel, Abu Simbel, 1 ind., 20 October 1990 (S.C. Madge).
This dove is the Asian counterpart of the European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
in the eastern
Palearctic. The western race, meena
, breeds just into the Western Palearctic region. The eastern
nominate race, orientalis
, has resident southern populations, but most other birds migrate south to
winter in Pakistan, India, south-east Asia, and southern Japan. The species is a regular winter vagrant
to the Arabian Gulf states and Oman, and has occurred as a vagrant in Israel (November 2002,
October 2003; see http://www.israbirding.com/irdc/IRDC_DB/) and Kuwait. A detailed report of this
first record for Egypt has been published by the observer (Madge 1992a) and found to be acceptable
as the first for Egypt by the EORC (category A). The EORC did not validate a sub-specific identification
BRUCE’S GREEN PIGEON Treron waalia (0/0) (1/1)
- Kornish Al Nile, Luxor, 1 ind., 3 January 2011 (S.R. van der Veen).
One was photographed in a tree on the shore of the Nile, where the cruise ship of the observer was
docked. Photographed early in the morning, the bird was later identified from photographs and
proved to be the first record of this African pigeon for Egypt and the Western Palearctic. The species
breeds in a large belt across eastern Africa, from Sudan to Uganda and Kenya in eastern Africa, but
also in southern Saudi Arabia and in Oman where it is at least partly a summer migrant (Hollom et al.
1988, Porter & Aspinall 2010). The plumage and bare parts of the individual observed in Egypt
showed no visible damage, and there is currently no known bird trade between Egypt and Sudan
because of bird flu constraints. Furthermore, Sudan received large rainfalls in 2010, so that a
northwards dispersal of Columbidae could have been favored. As a consequence, this bird was
considered by the EORC as of wild origin and admitted onto category A. It therefore constitutes the
first record of Bruce’s Green Pigeon for Egypt and the Western Palearctic. The observer already
published a report of this record (van der Veen 2011) and pictures can be found online at
ORIENTAL SKYLARK Alauda gulgula (0/0) (1/2)
- Sharm el Sheikh, 3 km north of Naama Bay resorts, Sinai, 2 ind., 14 October 1990 (S.C. Madge).
This constitutes the first record of this species for Egypt, with two individuals observed together in
agricultural fields north of Naama Bay. Although rare in the Middle East, this Asian lark winters in
small numbers in Israel and the Arabian Peninsula, where it remains rare. A detailed report of this
record has been published by the observer (Madge 1992b) and found to be acceptable as the first
ASIAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT Anthus rubescens japonicus (0/0) (2/2)
- Naama Bay sewage works, Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai, 1 ind., 11-13 January 2009, photographed (S.
- Naama Bay sewage works, Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai, 1 ind., 30 December 2010 - 3 January 2011,
photographed (J. & V. Mazenauer, W. Wind).
These are the first two records of the species for Egypt. They both concern the Asian subspecies
, which breeds across most of eastern temperate Asia and winters mainly from Pakistan to
south-east Asia, with small numbers recorded annually in the Arabian Gulf states. In 2009, the
observation concerned up to three individuals, but only one has been documented with photographs
(see http://www.netfugl.dk/pictures.php?id=showpicture&picture_id=25204&language=uk) and the
EORC received no description of the other two individuals. Therefore only one individual has been
accepted here. The EORC welcomes any further detail from the observers for the other birds in 2009.
CITRINE WAGTAIL Motacilla citreola (0/0) (2/3)
- Hilton Sharm Dreams Hotel, Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai, 1 first-winter, 24 September 2007 (Anonymous).
- sewage pools, Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai, 2 ind., 24 October 2010, photographed (N. Scatassi, M.
Biasioli, M. Gagliardone, A. Corso et al.).
The first record for Egypt has been accepted on the basis of a photograph of a first-winter individual
published on a flickr webpage (http://www.flickr.com/photos/shearwater2002/24243
88837/in/set-72157604620911655/). The second record originally reported four birds (2 or 3 at small
sewage pools and 2 at the airport), but only two individuals can be validated in the absence of formal
descriptions because of photographic evidence. If the observers have further evidence or
descriptions of the other two individuals, the EORC will happily consider further documentation.
GREY HYPOCOLIUS Hypocolius ampelinus (2/2) (1/1)
- Wadi Gemal, 1 ind., 2 March 2009, photographed (J. Sykes et al.).
The Grey Hypocolius is the sole representative of its genus and family, breeding in dry semi-deserts
of Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and western India, wintering down to the Arabian Peninsula,
mainly in Saudi Arabia. A few winter vagrants reached Israel. Goodman & Meininger (1989)
considered the specimen of a female collected on 22 December 1938 in Wadi Shallal, south of Gebel
Elba, as the only verifiable record for Egypt. The EORC previously validated another record from
March 2009, in Sinai (Jiguet et al. 2011) Therefore this observation constitutes the third confirmed
WINTER WREN Troglodytes troglodytes (0/0) (1/1)
- Gebel Afsar sewage, north-east of Cairo, 1 ind., 5 January 1990 (S.M. Lister, M.C. Hall).
This species is a very common breeding species in Europe, with a high dispersive ability despite its
short, round wings. It is locally a resident breeder in Lybia and northern Israel, and has been reported
as a winter visitor to Eilat in southern Israel. Two observers, highly familiar with the species, have
published a detailed report of this record (Lister and Hall 1992), allowing acceptance as the first
BLACK SCRUB ROBIN Cercotrichas podobe (4/4) (1/1)
- Fantasia Resort, Marsa Alam, Wadi Gemal, 1 ind., 5 to 11 December 2010, photographed (A., P. &
This is the fifth confirmed record of this species in Egypt. The last three records have been obtained
in gardens of tourist resorts near Marsa Alam. There are two subspecies of Black Scrub Robin:
breeding across the Sahel, from southern Mauretania to Sudan, and melanoptera
(with stronger orange colour on inner primary webs) on the Arabian Peninsula. Both are sedentary
with some winter/spring dispersal. The record accepted in this report was not attributed to
RED-TAILED WHEATEAR Oenanthe chrysopygia (0/0) (1/1)
- Wadi Aidieb, Gebel Elba, 22°13'40”N 36°24’21”E, 1 male, 1 December 2010, photographed (S. Baha
Red-tailed Wheatear breeds in mountainous areas of south-west and central Asia. Its breeding range
extends from Armenia and Azerbaijan eastwards through Iran to Afghanistan, southern Tajikistan and
western Pakistan. It winters in the Arabian Peninsula, Eritrea, Kuwait, southern parts of Iraq and Iran,
Pakistan and north-west India. With dark lores, brownish ear coverts and rufous bases to the outer
tail feathers, the bird observed in Gebel Elba could be confidently separated from first-winter Kurdish
Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna
. This is the first record of this species for Egypt, of a wintering
DUSKY WARBLER Phylloscopus fuscatus (0/0) (1/1)
- Nama Bay, Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai, 1 ind., 12 October 1988 (M. Baha el Din)
The Dusky Warbler is an eastern Palearctic species which winters in the Indian subcontinent and in
south-east Asia, occurring as a vagrant in Western Europe, but also in Israel (e.g. 30 October 1996, 18
October 1997, 6 December 1997) and Kuwait. This record has already been published by the
observer (Baha el Din 1996) and constitutes the first record of the species in Egypt.
STEPPE GREY SHRIKE Lanius meridionalis pallidirostris (0/0) (1/1)
- Fantasia Resort, Marsa Alam, 1 first-winter, 5 to 11 December 2010 (A., P. & G. Bujanowicz).
The species breeds in central Asian steppes and winters mainly in the Indian subcontinent, while it is
a common winter visitor to Arabian Gulf states. Although currently still listed as a subspecies of
Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
, it is now widely recognized that it is more closely related to
Northern Grey Shrike, while the Iberian taxon meridionalis
is a monotypic species. There are
numerous vagrancy records of this taxon in Israel, mainly in October and November
(http://www.israbirding.com/irdc/IRDC_DB/). Therefore the addition of this species to the Egyptian
national list seemed overdue. This observation constitutes the first documented record of a Steppe
VILLAGE WEAVER Ploceus cucullatus (0/0) (1/1)
- El Faros Garden, Abu Simbel, 1 male, 1 May 2006, photographed (P.-A. Crochet, E. Didner, P.
This constitutes the first record of this African species in Egypt and the Western Palaearctic. The
committee considered that a wild origin was most plausible, with no sign of any damage potentially
caused by captive origin. As mentioned previously for African Mourning Dove and Bruce’s Green
Pigeon, there is no recent evidence of bird trade between Sudan and Egypt, because of former cases
of bird flu. This record fits within an emerging pattern of vagrancy for Afrotropical species along the
Records considered as Not Proven The following records have been considered as not proven by the committee. As a consequence, the
following species are not considered to have occurred in Egypt.
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus
. Quseir, 24 November 1983.
The description of the observed individual is considered too brief for acceptance as a first record for
Egypt, given the absence of any other record of the species in the Western Palearctic. There is
another Egyptian claim for this species (at Port Said on 10 March 1988); a record which is currently
Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris
. Hamata mangroves, 20 March 2004. This record was
reported by a single observer, and the bird seen in flight was not documented by photographs. Since
it would constitute the last known world record for this species, and given the identification pitfall of
small pale Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata
, the EORC was unable to consider this record due to
insufficient evidence based on the potential magnitude of the record globally.
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus
. Hamata, Red Sea, 1 first-year, 18 September 2005. Despite the
description of upperpart coloration seemingly corresponding with this species, the described size did
not fit Sooty Tern - which should be larger than Bridled Tern.
Particular thanks are due to Steve Moldovan for his continual energy in promoting the creation of
the EORC and his tenacity to dig out rarity reports, and to all observers who published their records
in the literature or sent us descriptions of the rarities they found.
Baha el Din, M. 1996. The first Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus
in Egypt. Sandgrouse 18, 69.
Goodman, S.M., Meininger, P.L., Baha el Din, S., Hobbs, J.J. and Mullié, W.C. 1989. (Ed). The Birds of
Egypt. Oxford University Press. Oxford. UK
Jiguet F., Baha el Din M., Baha el Din S., Bonser R., Crochet P.-A., Grieve A., Hoath R., Haraldsson T.,
Riad A. & Megalli M. 2011. First report of the Egyptian Ornithological Rarities Committee –
2010. Available at: www.chn-france.org/eorc/eorc.php?id_content=5
Lister S.M. and Hall M.C. 1992. Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
: a new species in Egypt. The Courser 3,
Madge, S.C. 1992a. Rufous Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis
: a new species for Egypt. The Courser
Madge, SC . 1992b. Small Skylark Alauda gulgula
in Sinai: a new species for Egypt. The Courser 3, 48-
Meininger P.L. and Sørensen U.G. 1994. Armenian Gulls in Egypt, 1989/90, with notes on the winter
distribution of the large gulls. In: Meininger P.L. & Atta G.A.M. (eds) Ornithological studies in
Egyptian wetlands 1989/90: 287-290. FORE report 94-01, WIWO report 40, Foundation for
Ornithological research in Egypt, Vlissingen.
Nikolaus, G. and van Westrienen, R. 1991. Blue-winged Teal in Egypt in March 1990. Dutch Birding
de Rouck, K. 2011. African Mourning Doves in Egypt – a new western Palearctic bird. Birding World
De Rouck, K. & Colin D. 2012. Two Mourning Collared Doves at Abu Simbel, Egypt, from December
Schepers, F., Pineau, O., Geene, R. and Abdelsamad, A.I. 1991. Pectoral Sandpiper in Egypt in May
van der Veen, S.R. 2011. Bruce’s Green Pigeon at Luxor, Egypt, in January 2011. Dutch Birding 33,
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