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THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS

Sunday 5th March - Saturday 11th March 2017

Dani Lopez-Velasco

Bourne's Purple Heron (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Bourne's Purple Heron (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country 570 kilometres off the west coast of Africa, with ten main islands and numerous islets. It is volcanic in origin and was discovered and populated by the Portuguese in the 15th century. The avian highlights include 8 endemics, following IOC taxonomy, plus several distinctive forms, which might well be split off in the future. Combine this with some highly sought after Western Palearctic seabirds plus the possibility of a few additional vagrants and it makes the Cape Verde Islands an ideal destination for an easy paced ornithological break just within the boundaries of the Western Palearctic.

Highlights this year included fantastic views of breeding Red-billed Tropicbirds, dozens of Cape Verde Shearwaters and several Cape Verde Fea´s Petrels coming to the chum on a pelagic off Sao Nicolau, as well excellent looks at endemic Cape Verde Warblers, Cape Verde Swifts and Iago Sparrows on Santiago. The rare Cape Verde Buzzard and the rarely seen Cape Verde Barn Owl showed very well, while Raso Larks obliged too. Bourne´s (Purple) Herons were seen several times, and in the rarity front the best bird was a Black Heron foud by us in Tarrafal, as well as Intermediate Egret, Roseate Tern and a brief Black-capped Petrel. The two endemic forms of Common Kestrel – Neglected and Alexander´s – proved easy to see, while more widespread birds as Black-crowned Sparrow-Larks and Cream-colored Coursers performed.

Red-billed Tropicbird (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Red-billed Tropicbird (Dani Lopez-Velasco)