GEORGIA RARITIES - NON-PASSERINES

The following is a very brief summary of the Non-Passerines bird rarities of Georgia

The presented materials are prepared by Alexander Abuladze and Gia Edisherashvili.
The date are based on analysis of available literature, unpublished reports of local specialists and visitors, ornithological collections of museums, ringing data, consultations with Georgian ornithologists, zoologists, amateur bird-lovers and own observations carried out in Georgia since 1972.

The Georgian names are based on M.Kutubidze, 1975.

All your unpublished records, additions or comments will be welcome.

NON-PASSERINES

Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) [didi ghorikhva]
Vagrant. The occurence of Great Northern Diver has been verified two times in Georgia:
- died was found on 3 February 1987 at Black Sea cost, in southern environs of Sukhumi, 1,5km south of the mouth of Kelasuri River, Abkhazia, NW Georgia;
- single was observed together with four Black-throated Divers on 26 December 1996 at Black Sea coast in Chakvi, Ajaria, SW Georgia.
All records should be thoroughly documented.

European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) [grdzelniskarta chvama]
Occasional visitor. There are about 20 confirmed records to Georgia, most of records were in autumn or in winter. All records were at Black Sea coast and large lakes at coastal lowlands and Kolkheti Lowland.
During last three decades were recorded only eight times:
- on 28 December 1978 at the Paliostomi Lake, near Poti town, single was observed in flock of 70-75 Great Cormorants;
- at least seven were on 12 December 1983 in flock of 40+ Great Cormorants in port of Sukhumi, Abkhazia;
- eight on 7 October and six on 8 October 1986 were observed at Hidmaghala fish-ponds, Guria Region, W Georgia;
- died was found on 28 September 1988 at Black Sea coast in Kindghi village, Abkazia;
- three together with 130+ Great Cormorants were on 11 October 1994 at Black sea coast near Batumi;
- at least seven were recorded on 21 February 2006 sitting on rocks at Black Sea coast near Kvariati village in Ajaria, SW Georgia;
- single was observed on 26 September 2008 sitting on the rocks in Sarpi village in Ajaria, SW Georgia;
- eight were recorded on 4 March 2009 together with ca. 30 Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) under rocks at Black Sea coast near Kvariati village in Ajaria, SW Georgia.
According to some personal reports of the Georgian zoologists and hunters, may be more widespraed than our records suggest. At past, probably, was more common winter visitor (Kutubidze, 1985).

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) [chveulebrivi phlamingo]
Vagrant. At least nine records of small flocks and solitary birds were registered during the second half of 20th century (Chkhikvishvili, 1949, Chinchaladze, 1958, Zhordania, 1962, Kutubidze, 1985, Zhordania, Boehme, Kuznetsov, 1999; Abuladze, Rostiashvili, in press). The most of records were at shallow lakes in eastern part of country.
Last known records were:
- died was found on 6 December 1973 at N bank of Jandari Lake, SE Georgia;
- single was watched on 4 March 1981 at Kajiristba Lake, Kakheti Region, SE Georgia.

Bewick''s Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
Georgian name - tundris gedi
Occasional visitor. There is one confirmed record. Three adults and one immature Bewick''s Swans were observed at nothern shore of Tbilisi reservoir on 24 February 1992. First record for Georgia (A.Abuladze, in press). There are not other reports from Georgia. All records at the territory of Georgia are of great interest and should be documented.

Bean Goose (Anser fabalis)
Georgian name - mekaloe bati
Former rare irregular winter visitor. Several observations were in the middle of 20th century. Two records were registered in 1970-90''s:
- three birds were recorded on 18 November 1976 at Black Sea coast between Pitsunda Cape and Bzypi River mouth, NW Georgia, Abkhazia;
- two birds were together with 25+ White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) on 26 February 1983 at Black Sea coast, 2km south of Batumi.

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)
Georgian name - tzithelgula ghergheti
Former (before 1910''s) rare winter visitor at Black Sea coast (Satunin, 1907; Shavrov, 1907).
A few of inland records: four birds were bagged in the environs of Tbilisi - one in January 1922, one in March 1956 and two in February 1959 (Zhordania, 1962).
Vagrant at present. Only several single birds and one small flock (3 birds) were recorded at Black Sea coast during last two decades.
All records were in December and January.
The latest observations are as follows:
- on 16 December 1976 and on 4 January 1982 at sea coast near Batumi;
- on 12 January 1982 at sea coast near Poti;
- on 19 January 1992 in Chorokhi River mouth, Ajaria
(for detailed data see Abuladze, 1999).

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
Georgian name - zghvis kvinthia
Rare irregular passage migrant and rare to uncommon irregular winter visitor. Always presented in small numbers. Most of known records were in cold winters, practically absent in warm winters. It is sighting in period since the end of October (earliest records - 22.10.2007; 25.10.1990; 29.10.1975) and till the end of March (the latest records were as 30.03.2008; 27.03.1980; 23.03.1996) with maximum numbers in January-February and mainly in the coastal waters. There are about 40 records of solitary individuals and small flocks since 1972. Unusually large numbers were present in the second half of February 2006, when at least 102 individuals were counted along Black Sea shore from Inguri River mouth in North to border with Turkey in South. The highest concentration (three groups, ca. 87 individuals) was recorded at sea coast section in Ajaria - from Sarpi village (border with Turkey) to Chorokhi River mouth.
Occasional visitor to inland water bodies since 1972 nine record were noted, from which 7 records were in Western Georgia (e.g. in Black Sea basin) and 2 records were in Eastern Georgia (e.g. in Caspian Sea basin):
- three were on 11 November 1975 at Didi Narionali Lake, SW part of Kolheti Lowland;
- at least 9 were in mixed flock of ducks on 26 February 1978 at Paleostomi Lake;
- male was bagged by local hunter (Boris Lefterov) on 22 November 1980 at Bashkoi Lake in Tsalka Hollow, Tsalka district, S Georgia;
- eight (5 males & 3 females) in one flock and solitary male were recorded on 2 December 1980 at Paleostomi Lake;
- two males were observed in flock of mallards and tufted ducks (ca.70) on 3 February 1983 at Inkit Lake, Abkhazia;
- solitary male was watched on 8 February 1983 at Gali Reservoir, Abkhazia;
- four (three males and one female) were on 14 December 1995 at Kakhaberi fish-ponds, 2 km S of Batumi, Ajaria;
- at least 17 (mostly males) were counted on on 7 March 1996 at Kakhaberi fish-ponds, 2 km S of Batumi, Ajaria and at least 11 were presented in the same area next day;
- single male was observed on 2 February 2006 in mixed flock of ducks at Jandari Lake, Gardabani district, Georgia-Azerbaijan border, SE Georgia.
According to some personal non-confirmed reports of the Georgian hunters, may be more widespread than our records suggest.

Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)
Georgian name - chveulebrivi suskhuri
Vagrant. Only one record: three birds, two males and one female were observed for about 15 minutes at distance from 25 to 70m on 17 December 1995 near Batumi, 8km to north, resort Mtzvane Kontskhi, Ajaria, SW Georgia. First record for Georgia and south-eastern corner of Black Sea (Abuladze, 1998). There are not other reports from Transcaucasia.

Common Scoter (Melanita nigra)
Georgian name - shavi ghkurghkumela
Occasional visitor. There were several very doubtful reports of hunters and non-professional birdlovers during the second half of 20th century. Last known record was in Abkhazia:
- two individuals were seen in mixed flock of ducks on 2 December 1985 at Black Sea coast near Bambora village, Gudauta district, Abkhazia.

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
Georgian name - mezghvia ikhvi
Vagrant to Georgia. Solitary was recorded in mouth of Inguri River on 29 September 1984.
There are no other communications from Georgia. All occurences at the territory of Georgia are of great interest and should be documented.

White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)
Georgian name - thethrthava ikhvi
Very scarce winter visitor, with c40 records, mainly in the SE of Georgia (Jandary Lake, Kumisi Lake, Dali reservoir) and Black Sea coastal wetlands.
All observations are of interest.

Oriental Honey-buzzard or Crested Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
Five individuals were identified during autumn passages in Ajaria by the members of Batumi raptor Count project in 2007, 2009 and 2010 (http://www.batumiraptorcount.org/)
Beside that, there were three reports from non-professional naturalists about observations of solitary individuals (in the end of May 1976 in Rioni River valley near Samtredia town, on 2 September 1984 near Batumi Airport and on 17 September 1990 in Ozurgeti, Guria Region, W Georgia), but all reports were without any factual materials.
All occurences at the territory of Georgia are of great interest and should be documented.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Georgian name - bora
The Red Kite with absolutely reasons attribute to one of the most "mysterious" species of the Avifauna of Caucasia. Brief reports about several records of these raptor in some points and four shooting birds (Radde, 1884; 1999; Vilkonskii, 1897; Bauer, 1941; Chkhikvishvili, 1952; Bernatskii, 1958; Janashvili, 1958) - that was all data on species in the region during last 120 years. At the same time, based on this fragmentary materials, the Red Kite was included in all summaries, reviews, basic ornithological books, papers and guides as breeding at Caucasia. Later some authors compilationly added the Red Kite to breeding birds of Georgia, that undoubtedly is erroneous. Probably on the base of sightings of single occasional visitors, M.Kutubidze included this species in the list of breeding birds of environs of Tbilisi, Borjomi gorge and in the Guide of Georgian Birds (Kutubidze, 1966; 1968; 1985). Listing of Red Kite in modern literature as a breeding one for Georgia by A.Gavashelishvili (1996) is a mistake. The mistake in identification is not excluded. It''s well known, that much confusion has often occured with pale, especially immature Black Kites Milvus migrans, and undoubtedly many published records from North Caucasus, South Caucasus and NE Turkey are erroneus.
Last observation:
- single was recorded at SW part of the Kolkhida Lowland near Natanebi, W Georgia on 26 August 2000. Seventh record since 1972.
Detailed review will be published in 2010 (Abuladze, Rostiashvili, in press);
Beside that, Red Kite was reported for two sites at Black Sea coastlands in 1992 and 1996, but without details of records (Galvez, R.A., Gavashelishvili, L., Javakhishvili Z., 2006).
Detailed docimentation is necessary for all sightings.

Pallas''s Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus)
Georgian name - grdzelkuda phsovi
Vagrant to Georgia. There are only four records of singe individuals:
- at south-eastern corner of the Iori Table-land, in Vashlovani Nature Reserve on 4 April 1983;
- near Jandari Lake at the border with Azerbaijan on 30 March, 1991.
Beside that, Pallas''s Fish Eagle was reported for two sites in SE Georgia in 1997, but without details of records (Galvez, R.A., Gavashelishvili, L., Javakhishvili Z., 2006).
Listing of this species without any comments (?!) as a migrating and wintering one for Georgia is undoubtedly a great mistake (Gavashelishvili, 1996).

Bonelli''s Eagle (Hieraeetus fasciatus)
Georgian name - qorisebri artzivi
Occasional breeder: two known successful cases of nesting in 1984 and 1995 and one unsuccessful attempt of nesting in Eastern Georgia (Abuladze, 1997; Abuladze, 2008).
Last records were:
- single was on 21 July 2001 1,5km north of Thiqmathashi Pass (2168m a.s.l.) in northern part of Javakheti Ridge, Lesser Caucasus, southern Georgia;
- two were recorded on the morning (10.10) of 22 April 2003 at bank of Choloki River near locality Tikeri, Kobuleti district, Ajaria, SW Georgia. Birds were observed during 1-1,5min with binocular 10x50 in good light conditions from a distance 50-150m. First spring record of species at this passage route of birds of prey on Black Sea eastern route. Three other records were in autumn in NE Turkey: two solitary individuals was counted in September 1978 and in September 1980 (unpublished data of A.Broom & P.Doherty and unpublished data of P.Heathcote; in: Kok, M & J.P.Ongenae. Raptor migration in the north-east of Turkey, September 1990. OSME Bulletin 34, Spring 1995: 8-11) and eight individuals were recorded between 24 September and 5 October 1994 in the vicinity of Borcka, NE Turkey (Mrlik et. al. 1994);
- single was watched on 20 March 2007 flying to NE direction in Mtkvari (Kura) River valley in Gori town, Shida Kartli Region, E Georgia.
All records should be thoroughly documented.

Shikra (Accipiter badius)
Georgian name - aghmosavluri qortzqvita
Occasional visitor. The occurrence of the Shikra in Georgia since middle of 1970''s has been verified at least eight times. All records were in Eastern Georgia and in all cases - solitary birds.
During last two decades there were the following records:
- on 17 October 1993 in semi-desert 2,5 km N of Jandari Lake was observed solitary hunting on lizards;
- on 16 September 1994 in small village near Kumisi Lake was watched from a distance of 20-25 m during 3-4 min bird sitting on tree in garden;
- on 26 September 1996 solitary was recorded on arid gentle slope at right side of Khrami River valley in lower part (1 km of Red Bridge, near border with Azerbaijan, Kvemo-Kartli Region, E Georgia);
- single was seen on 12 May 2007 in field near Sadakhlo village, Gardabani district SE Georgia.
Beside that, this species was reported for two sites in SE Georgia in 1998, but without details of records (Galvez, R.A., Gavashelishvili, L., Javakhishvili Z., 2006).

Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus)
Georgian name - tzithurthava gavazi
Occasional resident breeder in semideserts of SE parts of Georgia. For details see Abuladze, Eligulashvili, Rostiashvili, 1991; Abuladze, 1994; Abuladze, 1997.
Last (12th, 13th and 14th) records since 1972) were the following:
- single was on 2 July 2001 at Jalguja Ridge, SE environs of Tbilisi;
- single was watched on 23 September 2003 in locality Agurkarkhana at Kobuleti Lowland, Ajaria, SW Georgia, that is the first record of species at Eastern Black Sea passage route of birds of prey;
- single adult individuals were recorded two times with 1 h 45 min interval on 7 August 2006 in fields near Dedoplis tskaro town (2,5-3 and 6-7 km SW of Dedoplistskaro). Probably it was one individual, flying across area.
Taking into account the status of species to Georgia, all records should be thoroughly documented.

Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus)
Georgian name - duraji
Former breeder in the Iori River valley, extinct as a regular breeder from the Avifauna of Georgia at the middle of 1980''s. This bird was very rare year-round resident species in several points of south-eastern corner of Georgia: about 300 individuals in the 1950''s-1960''s (Kutubidze, 1955, 1961, 1985); 200-250 individuals in the end of 1960''s (Abuladze, 1972); about 100 in the end of 1970''s and 20-25 birds in the early 1980''s. Breeding habitats were located in the Iori River valley along frontier with Azerbaijan. Destruction of the flood shrubs, stray dog number increasing and severe snowy winters influence on species numbers very negatively. Since 1973 Black Francolin was under legal protection and in 1982 was included in the Red Data Book of Georgia (1982).
Latest data are the following:
- single male was observed at a distance of c.15-20 metres near bank of Iori River on 20 November 2002. Next day single male was recorded in Iori River flood-land at the edge of dense thickets of blackberry at 1,5 km from the first site. According to reports of local people, during last two years there are about ten individuals in area and several times young birds were sighted here in summer. Probably birds appeared here from adjacent part of Western Azerbaijan, where this species still saved.

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Georgian name - khonthqris qathami
Very rare year-round resident at wetlands in lower part of Chorokhi River valley (Black Sea coastal loland, Ajaria, Western Georgia).
Former breeder in extreme south-eastern areas - in flood-lands of Mtkvari, Iori and Alazani rivers (Red Data Book of Georgia, 1982). Vagrant at present. Only three winter records were noted in 1970''s-1990''s.

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
Georgian name - mskhviniskarta mechvavia
One historical record: male was bagged on 30 April 1881 in the environs of Tbilisi (Collection of the Tbilisi State Museum);
One recent record: small flock (four birds) on 31 March 1991 at stony bank of Kura River in Gardabani Reserve, Georgia-Azerbaijan border, E Georgia (Abuladze, Eligulashvili, Rostiashvili, in press).
The listing of Greater Sand Plover among breeders in Georgia (Gavashelishvili, 1996) may be considered as mistake.

Caspian Plover (Charadrius asiaticus)
Georgian name - kaspiuri mechvavia
Occasional visitor. There are only one record during recent decades:
- two birds were observed on 11 September 1979 in Alazani River valley, Tznori disrict, Kakheti Region, E Georgia;
Data on breeding in Georgia (Gavashelishvili, 1996) may be considered as mistake.

White-tailed Plover (Chettusia leucura)
Georgian name - thethrkuda prantzia
Occasional visitor. In 1970''s-1990''s only two records were noted:
- small flock, composing of five birds, was recorded at bank of Paravani Lake (37 sq.km, 2074m a.s.l., 41.23''-41.29''N - 43.46''-43.51''E), Javakheti Upland, Southern Georgia on 18 August 1984;
- two were observed in Alazani River valley near border with Azerbaijan on 28 October 1991.

Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris)
Georgian name - mtsire kronshnepi
Listing of this species with a status "passage migrant" to Georgia (Gavashelishvili, 1996) without any confirmation or base for such assertion, may be considered as mistake. Nothing is known on the species records at the territory of Georgia.

Temminck''s Stint (Calidris temminckii)
Georgian name - thethrkuda meqvishia
Vagrant. There are several reports, but only one may be considered as confirmed record:
- single was bagged on 20 June 1955 at the bank of Liakhvi River in the environs of Gori, Shida Kartli Region, E Georgia (Zhordania, 1962).

Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudatus)
Georgian name - grdzelkuda mezghvia
Occasional visitor. There are only two records (Abuladze, 1998):
- single was observed on 8 May 1987 at the sea, 300-400m from bank, near Rioni River mouth;
- single was watched on 11 October 1994 at locality Makhindzhauri, Ajaria, SW Georgia in the flock of 40+ Yellow-legged gulls and one Arctic Skua.

Audouin''s Gull (Larus audouinii)
Georgian name - oduenis tholia
Vagrant. There are only one record:
- on 3 October 1984 an adult individual was sighted on the Black Sea coast near Batumi (Hottola, 1987; Zubakin, 1989).
Detailed docimentation is necessary for all sightings.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis)
Georgian name - shavthava gvrittchita
Former breeder in SE corner of Georgia (Bogdanov, 1879; Radde, 1884; Radde, 1899; Collections of the State Museum of Georgia - 6 eggs from the "area lower Tbilisi", collected on 1 June 1895 and on 6 June 1897).
Occasional visitor at present (Zhordania, 1962; Kutubidze, 1985).
One was bagged in the environs of Tbilisi on 18 May 1956 (Collection of the Tbilisi Univ. Museum).
At least six records in 1970''s-1990''s. All records of small flocks were in semideserts in SE Georgia - one in May and five in September.

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata)
Georgian name - thethrmutsela gvritchita
There are only historical data (Guldenstedt, 1787; 1815) about two bagged birds in the environs of Tbilisi in November 1771 and November 1772. During the second half of 20th century only one record was noted on 26 September 1996 in Khrami River valley, SE Georgia, Georgia-Azerbaijan border.

Pallas''''s Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus)
Georgian name - sadja
There are only historical reports in journal for hunters and one unpublished non confirmed report on the record of flock in September 1976.

Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)
Georgian name - qochora guguli
Vagrant. Great Spotted Cuckoo has been recorded three times in Georgia; in all cases it was solitary individuals:
- on 28 July 1979 was shot in Mtkvari River valley near Dviri village (upper part of Borjomi gorge), that is second record to Southern Caucasus, first record was in 1978 in Armenia, when a juvenile male was collected by A.Ohanjanian near Hovtashat village in Metsamor River basin (for details see Adamian, 1978);
- female was shot by local hunter on 22 September 1987 in garden in Achkvisthavi village, Kobuleti district, Ajaria, SW Georgia;
- died was found on 16 August 1991 at motor-road near Atskuri, Samtskhe-Javakheti Region, S Georgia.
Beside that, there are four reports from local hunters and amateur naturalists about records of single birds - on 7 September 1980 in Kobuleti seaside park, Ajaria, on 26 August 1988 in Kulashi village, Imereti Region and on 3 September 1996 in Gonio village, vicinty of Batumi, Ajaria.

Blue-checked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)
Georgian name - mtzvane kvirioni
Very rare passage visitor or vagrant.
Formerly, probably was very rare sporadic breeder in semideserts (Kutubidze, 1985).
During last three decades only seven times were recorded small flocks (from 4 to 10 birds) and in one case 25+ on autumn passage.
All records were in September in arid areas of East and only one - on 16 September 1999 at the Black Sea coast

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