The Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana wintering in West Africa, and its status as a passage migrant in Mauritania

Marco Thoma, Myles H. M. Menz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Information on the Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana wintering in West
Africa, the primary wintering area of the declining western European breeding
populations, has not previously been consolidated. Here we present a
comprehensive review of published and unpublished records of the species in
West Africa. The majority of observations come from Mauritania, where the
Ortolan Bunting is a regular passage migrant during autumn, especially along
the coast, peaking in the first ten days of October, whereas spring migration is
less marked and winter records are rare. Outside Mauritania, about 40 records
from 11 countries exist, mostly from November to March. There are none
south of 16°N before mid-November. Based on these, we consider that the
core wintering area is most likely to be in highland grasslands, especially of
the Fouta Djallon Massif in Guinea, around Mount Nimba in Guinea–Liberia,
and in the Tingi and Loma Mountains in Sierra Leone. Observations from
Nigeria, concentrated in open habitats on the Jos Plateau, indicate that the
winter quarters extend that far east. However, a few winter records from
further north may be indicative of overwintering in lowland savanna habitats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-31
JournalMalimbus
Volume36
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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