Purple Swamphen - request for photos, feathers, tissue samples

The large, flamboyant purple swamphens (genus Porphyrio) demonstrate extraordinary dispersal capabilities, with evidence of multiple invasions that have resulted in divergences of size, colour, and other traits. Seven species of purple swamphens are currently recognized. Principal among these is the widespread purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), which occurs from Africa and the Mediterranean east to the Pacific. We are exploring the evolution of this bird to better understand the way dispersal and natural selection interact.  To do this we are seeking the support of enthusiastic birders.  What we need are tissue samples, locality information and where possible photographs to verify plumage colouration.

Hunting/illegal killing of birds in the OSME region and the Mediterranean

Biodiversity is under greater pressure than ever before. Of the 10,000 or so bird species across the globe, approximately 1 in 8 are threatened with global extinction. Hunting is one of the key threats to many bird species, and is believed to be a particular problem in the OSME region. Remarkably, there is little quantitative data on the number of birds that are killed each year. Even the species of birds that are targeted is poorly understood.

Review of Illegal Killing in the Mediterranean

OSME has been informed by BirdLife International that the preliminary results from the review of illegal killing in the Mediterranean are now available online for public consultation. As previously explained, Birdlife is inviting relevant Governments, international conventions, hunting organisations and others to review these results and provide any feedback, corrections or comments. 


The first breeding record of the Hypocolius for Kuwait and Arabia

The first breeding record for Kuwait and Arabia of the Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus was discovered in Kuwait at Jahra Pools Reserve on 30 June 2014. Two breeding pairs bred in the reserve, produced together five chicks. The first pair was first seen on 30th of June with two fledglings by Khaled Al-Ghanem, the manager of the reserve, who then discovered another pair at a stage of nest building, eggs then hatched producing three chicks. The photograph above shows an adult male and female feeding three chicks at Jahra Pools Reserve. Photograph by Khaled Al-Ghanem.

Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre

Turf cutting for the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre. Jack Aspinall (centre), NWT chairman, Martin Shaw (left) and HLF's Philip Venning. Jack used Simon's spade.
Simon, who died from Motor Neuron disease in 2011, made a very important contribution to ornithology and conservation in the Middle East and was a great supporter of OSME. When in the UK he lived in Cley, Norfolk and in his honour a wildlife education centre is being built at Cley nature reserve belonging the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT).