There are 64 common or regular species of
birds in the Azores. Many of these - 20 species - are non migratory
breeding birds that remain on the islands all year round. Of these
at least 4 were introduced by man. There are 7 species that
breed every year but mostly migrate away from the Azores during
the rest of the year. There are also a few species (7), which are
very rare breeders or maybe not breeding every year. Most of these
are still found commonly on the islands. The rest of the common species
(30) are migratory birds that either pass the Azores during their
migration, or species that spend the winter on the islands.
For four of these species the Azores population
is very important on a global scale; large populations of Cory´s
Shearwater Calonectris diomedea borealis and Roseate Tern
Sterna dougallii, the endemic and very local Azores Bullfinch
Pyrrhula murina, and the summer breeding form of Madeiran Storm-petrel - Monteiro´s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma monteiroi, also endemic to the Azores.
The breeding bird fauna of the
Azores is still rather poorly known, and there have been very few
quantitative censuses carried out.
There are a few species excluded from the list,
which now and then, on purpose or by accident, have been introduced
to the local fauna. These are Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus,
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix, Common Pheasant Phasianus
colchicus, and Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri.
Of these the Rose-ringed Parakeet is the only one present today
with a few birds occupying a territory in central Ponta Delgada.
The following texts for the 64 species are based
on published material (see Bibliography)
and a number of reports from different observers, mainly collected
from 2005 onwards.
Pages can also be viewed in Portuguese thanks to kind help with translations from
Gerbrand AM. Michielsen and
Raquel Pombo Martins.
Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope, Piadeira-comum
There are very few flocks of ducks in the Azores, and you normally only see just one or a few birds in the lakes. One of the more common species is the Eurasian Wigeon, sometimes seen in small flocks, and it can be found in lakes all over the archipelago. They seem to winter here, arriving mostly in late October or November and departing in early spring.
Eurasian Wigeons seem to outnumber the American Wigeon with at least three to one. Autumn an early winter birds are in young or eclipse plumages where detailed studies on head colour, as well as great coverts and under-wing colours should be checked to separate them from American Wigeons.
In the period 2001-2005 there were on the average at least 13 birds per year reported.