Climate change draws African birds north

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The Independent Online

Climate change is sending birds once native to Africa north, to settle in southern Spain, scientists say.

Rare birds once spotted only on an African safari or caged in markets are now common in Murcia, Granada, Alicante and Almeria.

The rosy-breasted trumpeter finch is usually found on barren land between the western Sahara and the Middle East. But hundreds of breeding pairs have settled happily around Cabo de Gata in Almeria.

Birdspotters recently saw several cream-coloured coursers (below), which are native to the Sahara desert, in a dry field in southern Spain, among them a pair with a newly-hatched chick. Other species drawn to the area's heat and dust include the African goshawk eagle, usually seen in Tanzania, and the Rüppell's griffon vulture, that ranges from Senegal to Kenya.

"This testifies to the effects of global change," Dr Eulalia Moreno, of the Spanish state scientific research council, said.