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First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique

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First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique

Abstract and Figures

Première mention du Bécasseau de Bonaparte Calidris fuscicollis pour le Mozambique. Le 22 septembre 2018 un Bécasseau de Bonaparte Calidris fuscicollis adulte en mue vers le plumage d'hiver a été photographié à Macaneta, près de Maputo, Mozambique. L'espèce, qui niche en Amérique du Nord, est accidentelle et rare sur le continent africain, avec moins de 30 données, entre septembre et mars, pour l'Afrique australe. L'observation documentée ici constitue la première pour le Mozambique.
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First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique: Allport
240 – Bull ABC Vol 27 No 2 (2020)
First record of White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
for Mozambique
Gary Allport
Première mention du Bécasseau de Bonaparte Calidris fuscicollis pour le Mozambique. Le 22
septembre 2018 un Bécasseau de Bonaparte Calidris fuscicollis adulte en mue vers le plumage d’hiver a
été photographié à Macaneta, près de Maputo, Mozambique. L’espèce, qui niche en Amérique du Nord,
est accidentelle et rare sur le continent africain, avec moins de 30 données, entre septembre et mars, pour
l’Afrique australe. L’observation documentée ici constitue la première pour le Mozambique.
On 22 September 2018 at 06.45 hrs I was
searching for waders at Macaneta near
Maputo, Mozambique. Whilst scanning
a roadside brackish pool (25°44’05.83”S
32°43’20.49”E) I noticed a bird feeding alone
that was intermediate in size and bill shape
between the Little Stints Calidris minuta and
Curlew Sandpipers C. ferruginea nearby. It had
a long, low, attenuated profile and in the poor
light it was considered to be either a Baird’s C.
bairdii or White-rumped Sandpiper C. fuscicollis.
The streaking on the flanks suggested the latter
(Fig. 1) and this was confirmed shortly afterwards
when the bird preened and revealed its pure
white rump, a feature subsequently seen well in
flight (Fig. 2). The bird was very confiding and
was observed for three hours, permitting good-
quality photographs to be taken. O. Hamerlynck
and his son Zèv joined me and confirmed the
field characters. The bird was seen again on 24
Figure 1. Adult White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis, Macaneta, Mozambique, 22 September 2018. Note
overall attenuated shape, wings longer than the tail and crossed at their tips, bill intermediate in length between Curlew
Sandpiper C. ferruginea and Little Stint C. minuta, the pectoral band of dark streaks, and fine streaks on flanks. Aged as
an adult based on abraded tertials and unmoulted breeding-plumage scapulars (Gary Allport)
Bécasseau de Bonaparte Calidris fuscicollis adulte, Macaneta, Mozambique, 22 septembre 2018. Noter la forme allongée et
élancée, le bout des ailes dépassant la queue, le bec de longueur intermédiaire entre celui du Bécasseau cocorli C. ferruginea
et du Bécasseau minute C. minuta, la bande pectorale formée de stries sombres et les flancs finement rayés. Il s’agit d’un
adulte en raison des rémiges tertiaires usées et des scapulaires du plumage nuptial non remplacées (Gary Allport)
First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique: Allport
Bull ABC Vol 27 No 2 (2020) – 241
and 25 September (J. Kinghorn https://ebird.
org/checklist/S48772596; J. R. Nicolau pers.
comm.) and 19 October (R. Geddes in litt. 2018)
but not thereafter.
Description.—Intermediate in overall body
size and bill shape between Little Stint and Curlew
Sandpiper, with longer wings, the primaries
extending beyond the tail (and wingtips crossing)
and a relatively shorter-legged appearance (Fig. 1;
video https://vimeo.com/298987347). Close-up
photographs reveal a very faint paler base to the
mandible. In flight, a narrow white wingbar and
clear U-shaped white rump were seen (Fig. 2).
Baird’s Sandpiper was discounted by the well-
defined clear white rump (Fig. 2) and streaks on
the flanks (Fig. 1). It was aged as an adult moulting
into winter plumage based on the patchy-looking
drab upperparts and abraded flight feathers.
Major references were checked (Snow 1978,
Hockey et al. 1986, Urban et al. 1986, Clancey
1996, Hockey 2005, Peacock 2016), the Southern
African Bird Atlas Project database (http://sabap2.
adu.org.za/) was interrogated, and a request for
information was posted on the main online
birding forums, but no other records were found
for Mozambique (T. Hardaker & E. Marais in
litt. 2019). This is therefore the first record for
the country.
Discussion
White-rumped Sandpiper breeds in northern
Canada and Alaska, and is a long-distance
migrant, wintering in southern South America.
It is known to make some of the longest single-
haul movements (of up to 4,000 km) among
shorebirds. Furthermore, the species is one of the
most frequent transatlantic vagrants to Europe
(van Gils et al. 2018) with annual means of 18
birds in Britain in 2000–16 (White & Kehoe
2018), but it is very rare on the African continent
(Urban et al. 1986).
The first authenticated record in Africa was
a juvenile found dead at Cape Town, South
Africa, in December 1979 (Ryan & Abernethy
1981)—the first putative record, at Swakopmund,
Namibia, on 1 January 1965 (Becker 1974), not
being supported by a description (Hockey et
al. 1986). Since then there have been a further
36 records in the region (Appendix 1), most
in September–March with apparent peaks in
September and December–January (Fig 3.). Most
records are from moderately sheltered coastal
localities, where the species has been observed
in the company of Curlew Sandpipers and Little
Stints (Hockey et al. 1986). There is a notable
majority in southern Africa (30 of 38 records),
mainly in the west and south of the subregion
(20 of 30 records in Western Cape and Namibia)
(Hockey et al. 1986, Hockey 2005, Peacock
2016; T. Hardaker in litt. 2019). There are also
regular records on Tristan da Cunha (Rand 1955,
Richardson 1984) with birds generally arriving
in mid October to November, and it has been
postulated that these have a Nearctic rather than
Afrotropical origin (Rand 1955).
The pattern of records in Africa supports the
traditional view (e.g. Hockey et al. 1986) that
small numbers of White-rumped Sandpipers, like
other Nearctic vagrant waders, arrive in North
and West Africa having crossed the Atlantic to
Europe carried by fast-moving weather systems
in the boreal autumn (with a peak in mid
September: Cramp & Simmons 1983, White
& Kehoe 2018). These birds then re-orientate
and migrate along the Palearctic–African flyway
(Rogers 1998), with some getting ‘stuck’ in this
system; some species, such as Pectoral Sandpiper
C. melanotos, may even establish themselves in
the flyway as intentional migrants, so-called
‘pseudo-vagrants’ (Gilroy & Lees 2003, Lees
& Gilroy 2004). However, there may also be
a second arrival of White-rumped Sandpipers
on the west coast of southern Africa directly
Figure 2. Adult White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris
fuscicollis, Macaneta, Mozambique, 22 September 2018,
showing characteristic white rump (Olivier Hamerlynck)
Bécasseau de Bonaparte Calidris fuscicollis adulte,
Macaneta, Mozambique, 22 septembre 2018, montrant le
croupion blanc caractéristique (Olivier Hamerlynck)
First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique: Allport
242 – Bull ABC Vol 27 No 2 (2020)
across the southern Atlantic later in the season
(December–January). Data are still scant and
presumably reflect, to some extent, patterns of
observer effort and ability (Hockey et al. 1986,
Allport 2018) which is skewed towards southern
and West Africa (T. Hardaker in litt. 2019),
but the emerging pattern of records is highly
suggestive of a second trans-South Atlantic route.
Whilst the bird in Mozambique could have
been a recent transatlantic vagrant, the relatively
early date in mid September is close to the peak
of transatlantic vagrancy in Europe. The arrival
date and east coast location of this adult therefore
suggest it may have been travelling with other
waders in the Palearctic–African system as a
vagrant from a previous season that had failed
to re-orient. This may be the case for all of the
early-season vagrants arriving in southern Africa
in August–September. It would be interesting to
know the age of these birds to better understand
this possible trend.
The White-rumped Sandpiper was found
in the same area as Pectoral and Sharp-tailed
Sandpipers C. acuminata in February–March
2018 (Allport 2018).
Acknowledgements
Thanks to Olivier Hamerlynck for permission to
use his photograph. Past records were checked by
Trevor Hardaker, Etienne Marais, Don Turner and Les
Underhill. The editor, Ron Demey, acted as reviewer
on this note. Warm thanks go to them all.
References
Allport, G. A. 2018. First records of Sharp-tailed
Sandpiper Calidris acuminata for Mozambique
Figure 3. Frequency
of first dates of
White-rumped
Sandpiper Calidris
fuscicollis records
by calendar month
in southern Africa
(lower graph; 29
records) and the
rest of Africa (upper
graph; eight records).
See Appendix 1 for
sources.
Fréquence des
premières dates
des mentions
du Bécasseau de
Bonaparte Calidris
fuscicollis par mois
en Afrique australe
(graphique du bas;
29 mentions) et le
reste de l’Afrique
(graphique du haut;
huit mentions). Voir
Annexe 1 pour les
sources.
First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique: Allport
Bull ABC Vol 27 No 2 (2020) – 243
and continental Africa, and additional records of
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First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique: Allport
244 – Bull ABC Vol 27 No 2 (2020)
Appendix 1. Records of White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis from continental Africa.
Annexe 1. Mentions du Bécasseau de Bonaparte Calidris fuscicollis en Afrique continentale.
Country & Date Locality References
NORTH AFRICA
MOROCCO
21 Sep 1999 Barrage Idriss I Bergier et al. (2002), Thévenot et al. (2003)
29 Apr 2012 Tafilalt, Merzouga Bergier et al. (2013)
TUNISIA
30 Sep 2008 Ghidma near Douz / Kébili Maumary (2014)
WEST AFRICA
CÔTE D’IVOIRE
29 Oct 1988 Dabou rice fields Fishpool & Demey (1991)
GHANA
4 Dec 1985 Apan lagoon Dowsett-Lemaire & Dowsett (2014)
early Feb 2007 Elmina Dowsett-Lemaire & Dowsett (2014)
24 Dec 2011 Sakumono lagoon Dowsett-Lemaire & Dowsett (2014)
2 Nov 2012 Sakumono lagoon Dowsett-Lemaire & Dowsett (2014)
EAST AFRICA
BURUNDI
no date Rusizi National Park (not supported by description) Stevenson & Fanshawe (2002), D. Turner in litt. (2019)
SOUTHERN AFRICA
NAMIBIA
1 Jan 1965 Swakopmund (not supported by a description) Becker (1974), Hockey et al. (1986)
4 Dec 1981 Hoanib River Mouth Sinclair et al. (1983), Ryan et al. (1984), Hockey et al. (1986)
30 Jan 1998 Sandwich harbour Hockey (2005)
24 Dec 2007 Walvis Bay saltworks T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
4 Jan 2016 Walvis Bay saltworks T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
SOUTH AFRICA
8 Dec 1979 Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape Ryan & Abernethy (1981), Hockey et al. (1986)
2 Oct 1983 Port Alfred, Kowie River estuary, Eastern Cape Sinclair et al. (1984), Hockey et al. (1986)
26 Sep 1984 Olifantsbos, near Cape Point, Western Cape Hockey (2005)
30 Sep 1984 Wildevoelvlei Beach Pan, Western Cape* T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
10 Sep 1985 Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
19 Oct 1986 Vaalkop Dam, North West Province Hockey (2005)
20 Mar 1997 Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape Hockey (2005)
26 Sep 1999 Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape Hockey (2005)
5 Feb 2000 Cerebos salt works, Velddrif, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
18 Nov 2000 Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape Hockey (2005)
26 Oct 2001 Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape Hockey (2005)
First record of White-rumped Sandpiper for Mozambique: Allport
Bull ABC Vol 27 No 2 (2020) – 245
Country & Date Locality References
12 Jan 2002 Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
28 Aug 2004 Geelbek, West Coast National Park, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
27 Dec 2004 Berg River estuary, Velddrif, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
13 Mar 2005 Voelvlei, near Bredasdorp, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
17 Sep 2005 Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
12 Nov 2006 Cerebos salt works, Velddrif, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
18 Jan 2007 Chatty River, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape (two birds) T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
22 Feb 2014 De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
21 Dec 2014 Durban Bayhead, KwaZulu-Natal T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
4 Oct 2015 Strandfontein sewage works, Western Cape T. Hardaker in litt. (2019)
23 Jan 2017 Cerebos salt works, Coega, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee (2017)
9 Jan 2019 Sappi Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal Allport (2019), BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee (2020)
MOZAMBIQUE
22 Sep 2018 Macaneta, Maputo Province This paper
* possibly same individual as on 26 Sep 1984
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The Macaneta area lies in the Incomati River estuary in northern Maputo Bay, Maputo Province, southern Mozambique. The 56 km2 area of study was selected based on access from tracks and follows no formal boundaries. The site comprises a 10 km stretch of ocean beach, coastal dunes with patchy thicket forest, and low lying wet grasslands inland to the Incomati River. The wetlands have complex hydrology offering diverse salinity and temporal conditions. The peninsula of Praia de Macaneta is also included in the study site but with few data. Improved access to the site in Oct 2016 enabled over 200 field ornithological visits Oct 2016-Oct 2020 and the sightings are analysed and reported herein. A total of 295 species was recorded including eight Globally Threatened birds (three Endangered, five Near-threatened) and Internationally Important numbers of White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and Whiskered Terns Chlidonias hybrida were found. Three new birds for Mozambique were discovered; Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata (first for Africa), White-rumped Sandpiper C. fuscicollis and Pearl-breasted Swallow Hirundo dimidiate. An annotated checklist of selected species is presented. The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in particular drew much birder interest with 254 international visitor days over the 12 weeks of its first visit Feb-Apr 2018, contributing over US$12,000 into the local economy. The bird returned for two further seasons but it was not possible to gather further data.
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The first records of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata for Mozambique and continental Africa (1-2 adults, 4 February-16 April 2018), and additional records of Pectoral Sandpiper C. melanotos in Mozambique (1-2 birds, 20 February-31 March 2018) are reported, all at Macaneta, Maputo province. Identification features of these two species attaining breeding plumage are detailed and patterns of occurrence in Africa are discussed.
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Reverse migration is a popular concept, often used to explain the occurrence of autumn vagrants.The term 'reverse migration shadow' has been used to identify regions in which autumn vagrancy of a given species may occur, and to predict potential future vagrants to Britain. In this paper, we evaluate this theory and, by analysing vagrancy patterns, demonstrate that autumn vagrancy is not limited to the 'shadow' of a 180° route-reversal. Although the vast majority of individuals follow a traditional route to winter quarters, vagrancy during autumn migration occurs in all directions, and we contend that it is the pattern of observer coverage which determines the number of vagrants discovered.The occurrence patterns of some vagrants reaching Britain can be explained using the idea of long-range dispersal. We suggest that some comparatively regular vagrants reaching Britain are, in fact, performing annual migrations to presently undiscovered wintering grounds in western Europe or West Africa.
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Unprecedented numbers of Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos were reported in Britain & Ireland during autumn 2003, and to a lesser extent throughout the rest of Europe as well.This paper presents a review of the occurrence patterns and migratory behaviour of the species, both during the 2003 influx in Europe, and on a wider scale. Potential explanations for the unexpected regularity of this species in Europe, given its relatively small global population size and predominantly overland migration strategy, are discussed. It is suggested that the routes and wintering grounds used by Pectoral Sandpipers are more dynamic than was previously acknowledged.
Article
Hockey, P. A. R., Brooke, R. K., Cooper, J., Sinclair, J. C. & Tree, A. J. 1986. Rare and vagrant scolopacid waders in southern Africa. Ostrich 57: 37–55.Records of rare scolopacid waders in southern Africa are reviewed. 374 records of 15 species are accepted: seven of four Nearctic species. 51 of four Holarctic species and 316 of seven Palaearctic species. Their spatial and temporal (year and season) occurrence is analysed and their habitat requirements in southern Africa are described.
Beobachtungen an paläarktischen Zugvögeln in ihrem Winterquartier Südwestafrika
  • P Becker
Becker, P. 1974. Beobachtungen an paläarktischen Zugvögeln in ihrem Winterquartier Südwestafrika. J. SWA Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft 12: 1-86.
The Birds of Southern Mozambique
  • P A Clancey
Clancey, P. A. 1996. The Birds of Southern Mozambique. KwaZulu-Natal: African Bird Book Publishing.