Socotra Buzzard

Published on 14 July 2010 in News and comment

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.