After spending more than a century without a name, the Socotra Buzzard Buteo socotraensis has at last been named officially, in a paper published in the June issue of Bull. BOC by Richard Porter and Guy Kirwan (Studies of Socotran Birds VI: the taxonomic status of the Socotra Buzzard). Like all other members of the B. buteo superspecies, it is poorly differentiated genetically from most Old World buzzards, but it is closest to B. (b.) bannermani of the Cape Verde Islands and the comparatively widespread Long-legged Buzzard B. rufinus of the southern Palearctic. As well as discussing taxonomy, the authors describe its breeding biology, diet and conservation prospects – the taxon should probably be ranked as Vulnerable according to IUCN criteria. This brings the number of Socotran endemics to ten.
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £70,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.