Working for birds in Africa

Introduction

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 10:52 -- abc_admin
Yellow_casqued_Hornbill_Nigeria

Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata Nigeria

Image Credit: 
Tasso Leventis
Bateleur_Nigeria

Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus, Yankari National Park, Nigeria

Image Credit: 
Ian Nason

Nigeria has a bird list of just over 900 species and this is increasing every year particularly since the establishment of the A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute in Jos, Plateau State, in 2003. Prior to this, apart from a 3-year migration study at Lake Chad, there had been very little interest in Nigeria since the 1980s. Unfortunately, during the 1990s, Nigeria gained a very bad reputation worldwide for its political instability and this, coupled with widespread incidences of armed robbery especially on the main highways tended to put off all but the intrepid traveller from visiting Nigeria. Since democracy returned to the country in 1999, the situation has improved although precautions still have to be taken when travelling around the country and it is best to seek local advice before undertaking any ornithological expeditions. In spite of this, there have been several organised birding trips to Nigeria over the past few years and there appears to be a growing interest in this.

Nigeria is a biologically diverse country with good patches of lowland rainforest in the south to semi-desert in the extreme north. As a result of this, there is much of interest for the birder to see but the birds that probably draw most people to the country are primarily in the south-east of the country, particularly Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas and the Cameroon Montane endemics which can easily be seen on Obudu Plateau. In addition to this, in Okomu National Park it is possible to see all the West African rainforest species of hornbills as well as many other difficult forest species. In the north, both Lake Chad and the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands are of international importance holding significant concentrations of both Palearctic and African waterfowl and wader species and the adjacent savanna woodlands are major wintering areas for European passerines during the temperate winter.

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of Nigeria and its birds for birders interested in the country. It is intended to add new information as it becomes available and in this regard, readers are encouraged to submit records by email to info@africanbirdclub.org or phall@statoil.com. Anybody interested in undertaking a visit to the country should make contact with Phil Hall at the preceding address. You should note that the names of birds used in this document are those of the ABC checklist.

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