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Untitled Document
  Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe breeding on Corvo, Azores?
 
 

A suspected breeding pair of wheatears was observed on a pasture in the Caldeira on Corvo at the end of May 2006. This was probably the first record of Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe on Corvo (and the Azores) - the most westerly breeding occurrence in the Palaearctic.

The female flew into a hole in a stone wall. After approx. one minute the bird left the hole, while the male remained in the area. A check brought to light nesting material deep in the hole. Two further male wheatears were in the area, one of which began shortly to sing. The bird had very probably bred in the crater in 2006.

The observations imply at least a breeding attempt. Apart from an historic breeding occurrence in the same location, which is evaluated in the relevant literature as hardly credible, there is no previous record of the species breeding on the Azores.

Further studies, above all to clarify if the birds belong to the leucorhoa subspecies, are planned for spring/summer 2007. A detailed description will be published in the next issue of Limicola.

Jens Hering, Germany (text and photos).

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