Saturday, April 14, 2007

Perspective: Recovery of southern marshes moving wildlife off threatened list

The Basra Reed Warbler

While the human carnage continues in Iraq, particularly around the capital, there has recently been good news about our less violent cohabitants from the south of the country. A recent report by BirdLife International indicates that the recovery of the southern marshes, reported in previous columns, continues. Two summer and three winter surveys, carried out since 2003 and now published, indicate healthier than expected populations of birds — including six species assessed as Globally Threatened.

One of these is the Basra Reed-Warbler, endemic to southern Iraq as a breeding species (until recently its sole known habitat; it was recently discovered breeding in Israel). It is fairly large for a warbler, around 15 centimeters long, rather uniform brown above, paler below with a whitish throat and eye-stripe, long bill and dark rounded tail. Interestingly, there have been several unconfirmed records from Egypt of this migratory species, but beware of confusion with the larger and more rufous (reddish-brown) Great Reed Warbler.

Read the rest at Egypt Today