First Lesser Moorhen for France found in Corsica


The first Lesser Moorhen for France was discovered in Corsica on 6 March, following a run of recent sightings in the Western Palearctic (WP).

Jacques Artieda noticed the bird in a newly cleared wetland and posted photographs on his blog, with the bird's yellow bill and dark culmen catching Thomas Galewski's eye and leading to the identification as a juvenile Lesser Moorhen.

France's first Lesser Moorhen at Ajaccio, Corcisa, in March 2024 (Antoine Leoncini).

There has been a spate of Western Palearctic records of Lesser Moorhen since 2019, with the Ajaccio bird being the fourth in the region in 2024, with others appearing in the Azores, Spain and Egypt. Prior to 2019, there were only three WP records.

The rapid change in vagrancy status suggests the occurrences are being driven by climate change, mirroring increases and extreme occurrences of other African species.

The sighting has also highlighted the potential of the wetlands near Ajaccio as an area for rarity finding, being well placed to receive vagrants moving north out of Africa.