Working for birds in Africa

Introduction

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:45 -- abc_admin
Sierra_Leone_Gola_Forest

Sierra Leone Gola North

Gola Forest Reserve is the largest area of Upper Guinea rainforest in Sierra Leone

Image Credit: 
Andrew Hester
Little_Green_Woodpecker_Sierra_Leone

Sierra Leone near Freetown

Little Green Woodpecker Campethera maculosa

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Sierra Leone has over 640 bird species recorded in an area of similar size to Scotland. It is also one of the best places to see the enigmatic White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus and perhaps to find the rare eponymous Prinia Prinia leontica. In total, 14 of the 15 restricted range and rare Upper Guinea Forest endemic species can be found here. In addition, there are other restricted range and difficult to find species such as Little Green Woodpecker Campethera maculosa, Turati's Boubou Laniarius turatii, Emerald Starling Lamprotornis iris and Togo Paradise Whydah Vidua togoensis. It is also a good place to find a range of wintering Palearctic species.

The potential for birdwatchers is therefore high. A 10 year conflict and its aftermath has denied birdwatchers the opportunity to visit in the recent past, but this is changing as peace and democracy take hold.

Facilities in Sierra Leone are still somewhat limited and basic infrastructure is generally in a poor condition. We hope that over the next few years the area will be developed responsibly allowing more people to experience this diverse west African country. It is however hard to imagine making a trip to the key birding areas without the services of a tour company and / or local guide.

The purpose of this document is to provide a summary of Sierra Leone and its birds for birders interested in the country and potentially planning a visit. The information has been put together from a number of sources and it is intended to add new information as it becomes available. As such, readers are welcome to submit contributions by e-mail to info@africanbirdclub.org. You should note that the names of birds used in this document are those of the African Bird Club checklist.

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