In January 2010, René and Magnus went to the volcanic, desert-like island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands to record some owls. You can see and hear the results in Undiscovered owls. By day, we took the opportunity to record a number of other island specialities. We were particularly pleased to make recordings of booming Houbara Bustards Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae, which must have the lowest-pitched voice I have ever heard from a bird. I am not aware of any previous field recordings, except ones made in captivity. The sound is only audible to humans to about 20m and the bustards are very shy, making recording exceptionally difficult. Canary Islands Stonechat Saxicola dacotiae was much easier, and fortunately we were at the right season to hear its song. We got lucky with ‘Barbary Falcons Falco pelegrinoides’ too, or whatever the large falcons breeding in the Canary Islands are. While I was recording the bustards, a falcons pair hunted a Rock Pigeon Columba livia just a couple of hundred metres away, to René’s delight. We also heard them many times at dusk and dawn, on a pinnacle near our main site for Slender-billed Barn Owl Tyto gracilirostris.

Fuerteventura

Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae, El Cotillo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 07:17, 23 January 2010 (René Pop). Display postures of male.

Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae, El Cotillo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 07:05, 28 January 2010 (Magnus Robb). Booming display of male. There are series at 0:05-0:22, 1:51-2:16, 4:54-5:06 and 7:12-7:22. Background: Lesser Short-toed Lark Alaudala rufescens polatzeki and Berthelot’s Pipit Anthus berthelotii, as well as wind and distant surf.

Fuerteventura

Canary Islands Stonechat Saxicola dacotiae, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 20 January 2010 (René Pop)

Canary Islands Stonechat Saxicola dacotiae, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 07:05, 27 January 2010 (Magnus Robb). Song at c 2 m range, with wingbeats as it arrives and departs.

Fuerteventura

Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides, predating Rock Pigeon Columba livia, El Cotillo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 30 January 2010 (René Pop). Note that the exact identity of the large falcons breeding in the Canary Islands is subject to debate, with some authorities arguing that they are closer to Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus than to Barbary Falcon F pelegrinoides.

Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides, Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 09:41, 26 January 2010 (Magnus Robb). Pair copulating on a pinnacle.

Fuerteventura

Desert Grey Shrike Lanius elegans koenigi, El Cotillo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 07:48, 28 January 2010 (René Pop)

Desert Grey Shrike Lanius elegans koenigi, Presa de las Penitas, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 17:56, 21 January 2010 (Magnus Robb). Song of a presumed male. Background: Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis, Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata and village sounds.

Fuerteventura

African Northern Raven Corvus corax tingitanus, predating Barbary Ground Squirrel Atlantoxerus getulus Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 20 January 2010 (René Pop)

African Northern Raven Corvus corax tingitanus Betancuria, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 18:06, 22 January 2010 (Magnus Robb). Calls of c 40 individuals at their roost. Background: Canarian Long-eared Owl Asio otus canariensis.

Fuerteventura

Lesser Short-toed Lark Alaudala rufescens polatzeki, El Cotillo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 10:40, 21 January 2010 (René Pop)

Lesser Short-toed Lark Alaudala rufescens polatzeki, El Cotillo, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, 11:04, 22 January 2010 (Magnus Robb). Song in flight. Background: distant sea.