Influx of Saharan species to Canary Islands after calima storm in February 2020

Ricard Gutiérrez, Francisco Javier García Vargas, Juan Antonio Lorenzo, Peter De Vries

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


INFLUX OF SAHARAN SPECIES TO THE CANARY ISLANDS AFTER A CALIMA STORM IN FEBRUARY 2020 From 22-24 February 2020, a severe calima storm brought African dust and birds to the Canary Islands, in the strongest known storm of this kind. Besides massive arrivals of transaharian migrants, a live recording effort compiled proven records of eight rare African passerines (59 records of 120 individuals) with Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti (85 birds) and Isabelline Wheatear O isabellina (27 birds) the most frequent rarities. A migrant Western Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca and a vagrant Cape Gull Larus dominicanus vetula were seen too. Rare desert passerines were recorded at 60 locations of six islands: Fuerteventura (45 birds) and Gran Canaria (35 birds) held most of them. 113 different observers birdwatched during the calima (of those, only 40 were bird finders). The total numbers of finders and rarities per island was statistically correlated. Best days for vagrant arrivals were the first two after the calima ended. Diversity of birds peaked during the first five days but decreased later. The described amount of North African rare birds recorded appears to be linked to the origin and intensity of the wind besides the species phenology. Their interspecific abundance and occurrence was linked to their mainland African distribution, abundance and behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


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