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Wed, 02/06/2013 - 10:22 -- abc_admin
Northern_Double_collared_Sunbird_Cameroon

Northern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris reichnowi Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society car park,Cameroon

Image Credit: 
Roger Fotso

The following largely unconfirmed records have all been published for interest only in Bulletins of the African Bird Club.

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

Records from the period July– December 2014 include a group of five Fawn-breasted Waxbills Estrilda paludicola, discovered on the Kadei River floodplain on 16 September— this is the first record for Cameroon. A Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus was 15 km south-west of Yaoundé in mid-December, with another near Soa, north-east of Yaoundé, on 24 December; the species may be regular in the area in the dry season. A pair of Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus was discovered in an abandoned quarry in Yaoundé on 30 August; the pair exhibited breeding behaviour and has been seen regularly since. A Barn Owl Tyto alba was observed in Yokadouma on 15 September.

A group of four Ethiopian Swallows Hirundo aethiopica stayed around Yaoundé Golf Club on 5–27 July; this is the first record for Yaoundé. Wire-tailed Swallows H. smithii and Rock Martins Ptyonoprogne fuligula were present near Ebolowa in August, as well as breeding Gosling’s Apalises Apalis goslingi. Pairs of Long-legged Pipits Anthus pallidiventris were found at Yemekom on 26 October and at Obala on 13 December. An immature Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida was identified in Douala on 2 November; this is the second coastal record for Cameroon. A short visit to Lobeke National Park in September produced Willcocks’s Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi, Dja River Warbler Bradypterus grandis and Preuss’s Weaver Ploceus preussi. A pair of Grey-headed Olivebacks Nesocharis capistrata at Obala on 13 December was the southernmost record in Cameroon. 

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

Records from the period December 2013 - June 2014 include the following.The male Mallard Anas platyrhynchos discovered on the outskirts of Yaoundé in October 2013 was last seen in the area on 9 February. A Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus flying over Yaoundé on 2 February was possibly the same individual observed on 24 November 2013. An African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides and a pale morph Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus were noted just north of Yaoundé on 5 January. A Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus was found at a small pond at Bonabéri, Douala, on 24 January; there are very few records of the species. The Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum discovered at Yaoundé Golf Club in October 2013 remained throughout the period and appears to be resident. A pair of Freckled Nightjars Caprimulgus tristigma was observed on Yemekom inselberg, west of Akonolinga, on 31 December. A colony of Rock Martins Hirundo fuligula was found on buildings in Abong Mbang on 25 December, east of previously known populations in the country. Ethiopian Swallows Hirundo aethiopica were observed at Douala in March; the species appears to be expanding its range south and was first recorded here in 2006. A Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys was identified on Mount Cameroon on 20 March. At Yaoundé Golf Club, breeding by Long-legged Pipits A. pallidiventris was confirmed in November 2013; a pair with juveniles remained until at least June. Areas around Yaoundé were successfully searched for Long-billed Pipit A. similis, which was found to be common on two inselbergs near Nkolbisson and further east, near Akonolinga; the species had not been recorded in central Cameroon since 1950. An Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus was observed near Ebebda, along the Sanaga River, on 28 December, at exactly the same spot and even in the same tree as one, presumably the same individual, which wintered there in 2012 - 13.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

Records from the period August - December 2013 include the following. On 15 October, a male Mallard Anas platyrhynchos was discovered on the small lake of Parcours Vita, on the outskirts of Yaoundé, where it remained until the year-end at least. The bird was shy and had normal plumage; this is the first documented record for Cameroon. A Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus flew over Yaoundé on 24 November; there are just two previous records so far south, one from Yaoundé in the late 1960s and another from Dja Faunal Reserve in 1999. A Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum was heard on three occasions at Yaoundé Golf Club in August - September; on 6 October, a Pearl-spotted Owlet G. perlatum responded to playback of the song of Red-chested and was subsequently seen and heard until late December; the closest known population of Pearl-spotted Owlet is on the Adamawa Plateau, c.400 km to the north. A Zenker’s Honeyguide Melignomon zenkeri was singing near Nkoteng, 80 km north-east of Yaoundé, on 12 October. On 27 October, a Speckle-breasted Woodpecker Dendropicos poecilolaemus was photographed at Yaoundé Golf Club; this is a rare bird in Cameroon and the most recent record is from 2008 at the same site.

A small group of Long-legged Pipits Anthus pallidiventris was discovered at Yaoundé Golf Club on 6 October; several, probably including breeding pairs, were regularly seen in October - December. More were observed at Ebogo and near Mbalmayo during the period, confirming the species’ north-easterly expansion. A Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe was in a clearing south of Deng Deng National Park, eastern Cameroon, on 4 October; there are very few records from central and southern Cameroon, and none so far south in the east. Sooty Chats Myrmecocichla nigra were found south of Nkoteng on 12 October; these are the southernmost for Cameroon. A male Verreaux’s Batis Batis minima was displaying to a female near Ebogo on 14 December. At Yaoundé Golf Club, a pair of Orange-tufted Sunbirds Cinnyris bouvieri was seen on 27 October and again on 19 December, at the southern edge of their distribution in the country.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

Records from the period January - June 2013 include the following. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus is now a common breeder in Yaoundé, which was not the case 10 - 15 years ago. A flock of at least 15 Red-footed Falcons F. vespertinus was feasting on flying termites after heavy rain, in wooded savannah at Ngaoundaba on 1 April.

A weekend spent along the Sanaga River on 16 - 17 March, including a boat trip down to the coast, did not yield any Water Thick-knees Burhinus vermiculatus and previous claims of this species are suspected to have resulted from confusion with Senegal Thick-knee B. senegalensis. A White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus in breeding plumage stayed at the 'Lac municipal" in Yaoundé from 17 June to at least 21st; this is the first record for the capital - the species is common in the inundation zone in the far north with a few records from the coast. A Western Grey Plantain-eater Crinifer piscator at Ebebda, Centre Province, on 12 January represents one of the southernmost records in Cameroon. An adult Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius seen at Yaoundé Golf Club on 18 May is an addition to the site list. The southernmost breeding population of Wire-tailed Swallows Hirundo smithii in the country was found along the Sanaga near Marienberg. An Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus, discovered along the Sanaga at Ebebda on 2 January, was still present on 19 February; this is a very southerly record for a species that previously had only been definitely identified in the far north. A pair of White-cheeked Olivebacks Nesocharis capistrata observed at Ebebda on 12 February represents a significant southward range extension.

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

A Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush Cichladusa ruficauda, which appeared to be nest-building, was photographed in Douala in February 2012. This is only the second record for the country, following the species’ discovery in Douala in February 2010.

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

In the north, in a remote area just west of Belel, c.100 km east of Ngaoundéré and c.140 km west of the Chad border, francolins identified as Heuglin’s Francolins Francolinus icterorhynchus were seen twice on 30 August 2011. The birds had a conspicuous yellow orbital ring (a feature lacking in the more common and widespread Double-spurred Francolin F. bicalcaratus), and the bill and legs were much yellower than in Double-spurred (which has more greenish-yellow legs). There are no previous reports from Cameroon of Heuglin’s Francolin, which is known from the Central African Republic and northern DR Congo eastwards; this may be due to the lack of foreign visitors to the area concerned.

In March - April 2012 the following were reported. Two Black Storks Ciconia nigra flew over Ngaoundaba on 17 April; there are few records of this Palearctic vagrant for Cameroon. A male Savile’s Bustard Lophotis savilei was observed in the Waza area on 10 March; this species appears to be regular at this site, although it is rarely recorded and the first record for the country was from Waza in 1994. On 9 March, a Golden Nightjar Caprimulgus eximius was flushed at Mora; first observed in Cameroon in 2003, there have been records from the same area since, but it is not clear whether the species breeds here or is a non-breeding visitor. At least two pairs of Red-rumped Swallows Cecropis daurica of the race kumboensis were seen at Nyasoso on 27 - 31 March; this is a new site for the species. The Ethiopian Swallows Hirundo aethiopica around the school buildings at Nyasoso, first noted in 2005, were still present on 31 March. A pipit observed closely in Waza National Park (=NP) on 10 March was provisionally identified as Grassland Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus; although the (possibly only non-breeding) pipits known from this area were originally labelled as Richard’s Pipits A. richardi, it is now believed that they represent an undescribed taxon, presumably of Grassland Pipit - more information is needed before their identity can be ascertained. An adult and a juvenile Plain-backed Pipit A. leucophrys on the playing fields of Nyasoso school in late March appeared to be this species rather than Long-legged Pipit A. pallidiventris; a record of either species would appear to be new for the site. An Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina was seen in Waza NP on 10 March; there are few records in the country. A Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus was seen again in Benoué NP on 13 March; singles observed in 2010 and 2011 at this site seem to be the only previous records for the park. At least four Red-winged Pytilias Pytilia phoenicoptera were coming to drink in Bénoué NP on 14 March; there are few records from the park.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

A Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus was seen in Waza National Park (=NP) on 11 March 2011; what was apparently the first for the country was recorded on 11 April 2006. A male Savile's Bustard Lophotis savilei was flushed in the Waza area on 10 March. Three African / Green-breasted Pittas Pitta angolensis / P. reichenowi were displaying in Korup NP on 29 March; the birds uttered the deeper, flatter sound of Green-breasted Pitta and responded to tape-recordings of that taxon, but lacked the deep green breast and pure white throat found in extreme examples of reichenowi, thus appearing more like P. angolensis. These Cameroonian birds may in fact be hybrids. Forest Robins Stiphrornis erythrothorax observed in Korup had the olive upperparts of nominate erythrothorax rather than the sooty grey of subspecies gabonensis, the race supposedly occurring there. A Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus was seen in Bénoué NP on 14 March; apart from a sighting in 2010 at this site, there do not appear to be any previous records for the park.

________________

In February 2010, a new species for the country was discovered at Douala: Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush Cichladusa ruficauda.

A visit in March - April 2010 produced the following records. A Long-tailed Hawk Urotriorchis macrourus was seen at Kodmin on 2 April; this seems to be on the edge of the species' range. Two juvenile Steppe Eagles Aquila nipalensis were identified in Waza National Park on 19 March; there are very few documented records for the park but it seems to be a regular visitor in small numbers. A Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus of the smaller resident race minor was displaying at Mount Kupe on 4 April; there do not seem to be any previous records from the mountain but the bird was behaving as if breeding there. A male Savile's Bustard Eupodotis savilei was flushed in the Waza area on 20 March; this species is rarely reported from Cameroon. A Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago was seen in Bénoué National Park on 22 March and a White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus on Dang Lake the next day.

A displaying Green-breasted Pitta Pitta reichenowi was observed in Korup National Park on 7 April; this appears to be the first record for the park of this species, which has a deeper, flatter voice than African Pitta P. angolensis. The continued presence of at least one pair of Ethiopian Swallows Hirundo aethiopica around the school buildings at Nyasoso on 4 April was noted. A male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis was observed at Poli on 21 April; this is a very rare Palearctic visitor to Cameroon. A Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus was seen in Bénoué National Park on 22 March. Also there were a Yellow Penduline Tit Anthoscopus parvulus, whilst four males and a female Red-winged Pytilia Pytilia phoenicoptera were found next day; there are few records of these species from the park. Several Chad Firefinches Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis were observed in the Poli area, where the species was rediscovered in 2007. At least one pair of Rock Firefinches L. sanguinodorsalis was seen in the Maroua area.

Records from Domaine de Petpenoun, near Foumban, West Province, in October 2009, include eight White-faced Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna viduata, on lower Petpenoun Lake (larger numbers occur on nearby Bamenjin reservoir) and a pair of Fox Kestrels Falco alopex in the crater of the extinct volcano Mbapit. There are rather few records of these species from the area.

Noteworthy records from November 2008–June 2009 include the following. In Nki National Park, south-east Cameroon, a Goliath Heron Ardea goliath was photographed at a bai (a swampy forest clearing) in early June. Also there was a Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus. Both species are rare in this part of the country and these are apparently the first records for this site.

During a visit to Ngaoundaba on 16–17 March, an Ovambo Sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis was photographed and a Brown-chested Lapwing Vanellus superciliosus seen. White-throated Francolin Francolinus albogularis was found in the Bénoué on 14–15 March. A Black headed Bee-eater Merops breweri was discovered near the Djembe field base in Lobéké National Park on 24 April, and a pair was observed in the same area on 6 June; this is an addition to the Cameroon list. A pair of Brown Sunbirds Anthreptes gabonicus was foraging along the Djerem River at Myere, at the edge of Mbam and Djerem National Park in central Cameroon, on 2 November 2008; on 8 April 2009 one was photographed; this species has not been found so far inland previously.

In the north, Emin’s Shrikes Lanius gubernator were observed at Poli, on 13 March, and in the Bénoué the next day. Also at Poli, on 13 March, the recently ‘rediscovered’ Chad Firefinch Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis was seen again, with the second Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana for Cameroon also there.

In May 2008, in Lobeke National Park, Dja River Warbler Bradypterus grandis was common at one but absent from another swamp. On the Sanga River between Cameroon and Congo-Brazzaville, small numbers of Grey Pratincoles Glareola cinerea and Egyptian Plovers Pluvianus aegyptius were seen. Violet-backed Hyliota Hyliota violacea was found in the forest. Near Boumba-Bek National Park, a pair of Tessmann’s Flycatchers Muscicapa tessmanni was observed.

Records from the period January–May 2008 include the following. In Faro National Park, a single Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca was seen on 27 January and an African Swallow-tailed Kite Chelictinia riocourii c.60 km south of Garoua on 4 May. An adult European Roller Coracias garrulus was found c.50 km south of Garoua on 21 January; this is a rare Palearctic visitor in Cameroon, with most records from the coast. The rarely recorded Wahlberg’s Honeybird Prodotiscus regulus was identified at Babu II, Bamenda, on 18 March. At Yaounde, two Speckle-breasted Woodpeckers Dendropicos poecilolaemus and two Violet-backed Hyliotas Hyliota violacea were observed on 17 March, whilst at least four Southern Hyliotas H. australis were seen once again on Mt. Kupe on 28 March–1 April. A Little Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa epulata was found c.40 km west of Yaounde on 18 March. In Mefue National Park, near Yaounde, three Cassin’s Malimbes Malimbus cassini were observed on 13 April. At least six Rock Firefinches Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis were at Maroua on 6–8 March.

Species observed in the immediate vicinity of Poli, North Province, include Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii (a juvenile on 27 January), Willcocks’s Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi (at least two, 23 February–2 March), Golden- tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni (at least three, 24 Febraury–2 March), Black- backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius (one, 11 March, Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis (a male, 2 March), Emin’s Shrike Lanius gubernator (at least two, 17 February–11 March), Dybowski’s Twinspot Euschistospiza dybowskii (10+, 24 February–27 April) and Chad Firefinch Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis (40+, 24 February–3 May).

Records from the immediate vicinity of Poli, North Province, in August–December 2007 include the following. A pale-headed Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii was photographed on 25 November and 9 December. Two Common Quails Coturnix coturnix were recorded on 25 November, a Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis on 9 December and two Great Snipe Gallinago media on 9 September. Between late October and mid December, over 20 Adamawa Turtle Doves Streptopelia hypopyrrha were found. A Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius was singing on 9 and 16 September. At least three Emin’s Shrikes Lanius gubernator and 40+ Chad Firefinches Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis were regularly observed throughout the period, whist at least one Barka Indigobird Vidua larvaticola was seen on 28 October and a Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht on 27 November.

Noteworthy records from a visit in October 2007 included the following. In Korup National Park, six Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas, including young, were seen, as well as a Black-eared Ground Thrush Zoothera camaronensis and a pair of Rachel’s Malimbe Malimbe racheliae with nesting material. A Mount Cameroon Francolin Francolinus camerunensis was flushed from the grassy area below Hut 2 on Mt Cameroon and a Grey-chested Illadopsis Kakamega poliothorax was seen feeding a juvenile just below Hut 1. Six White-naped Pigeons Columba albinucha were observed on Mt Kupe, whilst an Olive Ibis Bostrychia olivacea was claimed from the Edea/Dizangue area, near the Sanaga River.

An unexpected find at Ngaoundaba Ranch was a Buff-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura elegans, of which good views were obtained; this is well outside its known range in the country. Amongst the many European Pied Flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca there was at least one bird that was thought to be a Collared Flycatcher F. albicollis. A Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii was noted at Dang Lake; there are relatively few records of this widespread species in Cameroon. A flock of Harlequin Quails Coturnix delegorguei, a White-throated Francolin Francolinus albogularis and an Emin’s Shrike were observed in Benoué National Park. In Waza National Park, an African Hobby Falco cuvierii was a good find; there is apparently only one previous record so far north. Also interesting was a Savile’s Bustard Lophotis savilei, seen walking along a track at dusk; there are very few records in Cameroon of this species, all from Waza, where it was first recorded in 1994. Further records from Waza included Cricket Warbler Spiloptila clamans and Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus, whilst a European Roller Coracias garrulus, a rare Palearctic visitor, was found just outside the park north of Mora. Also north of Mora, at least six firefinches claimed as Rock Firefinches Lagonosticta sanguinodorslis were seen at a huge rocky outcrop.

Five Grey-headed Gulls Larus cirrocephalus were observed on the Benoué at Garoua on 5 November. A male Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio c.150 km south-east of Ngaoundere on 12 November was a good find; there are fewer than ten records for the country. Species found breeding on Mt Manengouba on 1 December include Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus (nest with three eggs 1 m above ground) and Bannerman’s Weaver Ploceus bannermani. The discovery of Exclamatory Paradise Whydah Vidua interjecta and Yellow-winged Pytilia Pytilia hypogrammica near Bafia, West Province, in November 2007 constitutes a small range extension.

Records from the period October 2006 - June 2007 include the following. In January, Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus were seen several times at the coast in the Ndian basin, the largest group being 130 on Saviour Island on 24th; there are few coastal records for this species, although it has been reported previously at this locality. Five Yellow-billed Ducks Anas undulata were on Lake Oku on 5 December and 19 May, whilst an exceptionally large group of 50 was on nearby Bamendjing reservoir on 6 March; this species is rare and very local in West Africa, where it occurs only in Cameroon and neighbouring Nigeria.

African White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus was recorded at Mt Manengouba on 10 April and 4 June, where it is apparently attracted by Fulani settlements with cattle; there are few records this far south. A Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus was observed near Bafia along the Bafoussam - Yaoundé road on 31 May; this savanna species is not frequently reported this far south.  A male Savile’s Bustard Eupodotis savilei was seen in the Waza area on 8 March; this is only the fourth record for Cameroon. Five Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus were observed in an abandoned sand quarry near Douala on 13 January; this species occurs mostly north of the Adamawa, but there are some records further south in the dry season. A group of 116 Pied Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta was observed on Saviour Island on 27 March; there are relatively few reports for Cameroon.

On 2 May, a breeding colony of 1,000 Grey-headed Gulls Larus cirrocephalus was found at Bamendjing reservoir; this species is common in the inundation area in the far north but has previously only occasionally been recorded so far south. In a roost of Lesser Black-backed Gulls L. fuscus in the Rio del Rey estuary, a similar-sized gull with pale grey upperparts was photographed on 26 January and identified as a Yellow-legged Gull L. cachinnans; this would be a new species for Cameroon.

A flock of 1,761 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris was seen near Bamusso, in the Ndian basin, on 25 January; this is possibly the largest congregation recorded in West and Central Africa and represents a significant proportion of the total population of the subregion, which is estimated at 7,000–13,000 birds. In March, hundreds were observed on the Sanaga River, where they breed.  Excellent views of Southern Hyliotas Hyliota australis on Mt Kupe in March once more confirmed that they were this species rather than Yellow-bellied Hyliotas H. flavigaster. On 30 October, several Yellow-crowned Bishops Euplectes afer and Fan-tailed Widowbirds E. axillaris were seen in ricefields on the Ndop plain; both species are patchily distributed in Cameroon, but appeared common here.

An adult Verreaux’s Eagle Aquila verreauxii was claimed from the area near Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, in the south-west, on 2 April 2006; this is remarkably far south and would constitute the first record for Cameroon.

The following records were reported for the period January-April 2006. More than 1,000 Little Grebes Tachybaptis ruficollis were counted on Lake Oku on 5 March; this site is known to seasonally contain large numbers of this species. A Black Stork Ciconia nigra was seen at Campement Buffle Noir, Bénoué National Park, on 23 January; this is a vagrant to Cameroon. An immature Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus was seen and photographed in Waza National Park on 11 April; this appears to be the first documented record for the country. An adult Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii was seen well at Ngaoundaba on 4 April; there do not seem to be many if any records of this species from this location.

An American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica was found at La Digue, near Douala, on 11 April. On the Bamenjing Reservoir, Ndop plains, north-west Province, three gull species were observed on 4 March: Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus, Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus (one) and Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus (one). A Golden Nightjar Caprimulgus eximius was found during the day near Mora on 18 April.

An African Broadbill Smithornis capensis was observed in Mankon forest in the Bamenda Highlands on 2 March; this species is not often noted in the area. Three male Collared Flycatchers Ficedula albicollis in breeding plumage were seen: one at Ngaoundaba on 4 April, another near the ranch on 6th and a third at Lake Awing on 15th; there is only one previous record for the country, from Bénoué National Park, in 1993. House Sparrows Passer domesticus were found at Kousséri, on the bank of the Chari River opposite Ndjamena, on 3 April. At least ten Rock Firefinches Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis were seen near Maroua on 19 April.

A seven-day visit to Dja in March 2006 yielded the following. The large grass-covered rocky outcrops rising above the forest had their own avifauna with Freckled Nightjar Caprimulgus tristigma and Long-legged Pipit Anthus pallidiventris being especially common. Noteworthy sightings from these outcrops, which appear to be migrant traps, included a Purple Glossy Starling Lamprotornis purpureus on 19th, presumably a wanderer from the savannas, a Rock Pratincole Glareola nuchalis c.30 km from the nearest river on 21st, and a Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus on 19th-21st. There was a regular passage of European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster (60 birds in total). Other records include a Yellow-throated Cuckoo Chrysococcyx flavigularis on 18th, a Bates's Nightjar Caprimulgus batesi and two Black Spinetails Telacanthura melanopygia on 21st, and an Olivaceous Flycatcher Muscicapa olivascens on 18th, all near Boumir. Single Zenker's Honeyguides Melignomon zenkeri were seen near Somolomo on 16th and near Boumir on 21st. What was thought to be a Shelley's Eagle Owl Bubo shelleyi (based on the recording on the Chappuis CDs) was heard on the night of 20th, but the bird was some distance away and didn't respond to the tape. The Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas colony near Boumir contained over 100 nests; seven birds were seen in 30 minutes after dawn and a dozen more were heard.

Twenty-six White-faced Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna viduata were counted in Bamenda town on 12 November 2005. A surprise find was a Secretary Bird Sagittarius serpentarius at the Tiko Golf Club, between Douala and Limbe, on 12 August and 27 September. Flocks of Grey-headed Gulls Larus cirrocephalus were seen at Lake Lagdo, near Garoua in the north, in the first half of December 2005.

In November 2004-May 2005, the following records were reported. At least ten Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus and a Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica were observed off Pelican Island, in the Bakassi lagoon area, on 17 March. A Black Stork Ciconia nigra seen at Ngaoundaba on 17 February appears to be the third record for Cameroon, at a new locality. Eight White-faced Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna viduata were at Bamenda town on 24 May. About ten Common Teal Anas Crecca and three Northern Shovelers A. clypeata were counted in Waza National Park on 14th February; there are few records for the country. At least ten Yellow-billed Ducks A. undulata were at Bamendjing Reservoir, near Bamenda, on 22 December; this is a rare species in Cameroon.

A juvenile Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus was claimed from the Bui Valley c.10 km south-east of Kumbo, North West Province, on 18 February; the first for Cameroon if accepted. A Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax was seen above Kumbo on 29 November and another at Babungo, near Ndop, on 6 March; the species is rather common in the far north, but much less so further south. A juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle A. heliaca, perched near a smaller Tawny Eagle, was identified in Waza National Park on 14 February; the streaky plumage, elongated spots or streaks on the wing-coverts and pale rump were noted. There have been at least three previous records in the far north, the first in November 1993. A Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus flew over Kumbo on 16 April. Falcons included a male Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni, a rare visitor, by the Campement de Waza on 14 February, a pair of Red-necked Falcons F. chicquera in Bamenda town on 24 May and an adult Barbary Falcon F. pelegrinoides near Kumbo on 22 November.

In grasslands north of Kumbo, a Common Quail Coturnix coturnix was found on 27 December and a Kurrichane Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus on 26 April. An Egyptian Plover Pluvianus aegyptius foraged on a sandbank in the Cross River at Mamfe on 7 December. At least 50 Grey-headed Gulls Larus cirrocephalus were counted at Bamalang Reservoir, near Ndop, on 30 April. Also there was a White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus. A single Whiskered Tern C. hybrida was in Waza NP on 14 February. At least six Mottled Swifts Tachymarptis aequatorialis were hawking over a small lake at Mbalmayo, near Yaoundé, on 1 April. A pair of Forest Wood-hoopoes Phoeniculus castaneiceps, consisting of a green-headed and a brown-headed individual, was sighted near Yaoundé on 21 February; this rather uncommon species is at the edge of its range here. A Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla was noted near Kumbo on 19 December; there are few records in Cameroon.

A Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus in breeding plumage was noted at Manenguba Crater Lake on 25 March and a Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga at Tuba, near Bamenda, on 19 May. Single Western Olivaceous Warblers Hippolais (pallida) opaca were identified (no tail-pumping movements) at Garoua on 15 February and in Bénoué NP on 18-19 February. An Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida in Douala on 11 February was presumably a wandering Palearctic migrant; apparently Cameroon's southernmost record. Five hyliotas seen well at Kodmin on 4 April appeared to be Southern Hyliotas Hyliota australis rather than the previously claimed Yellow-bellied Hyliota H. flavigaster; a specimen of Southern Hyliota has been collected in the nearby Rumpi Hills.

At least six Chestnut-bellied Starlings Lamprotornis pulcher coming to roost at Ngaoundaba each evening of 22-27 January would constitute the southernmost record for the country. A female Rock Firefinch Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis was seen briefly but well (the bluish bill and grey head contrasting with the reddish back were noted) in the Maroua area on 14 February; this is a first for Cameroon and constitutes a slight eastward range extension from the Mandara Mountains in Nigeria. An Exclamatory Paradise Whydah Vidua interjecta was at Bamendjing Reservoir, near Bamenda, on 22 December. What was presumably a juvenile Streaky-headed Seedeater Serinus gularis (sometimes split as West African Seedeater S. canicapillus) was found at Ngaoundaba, and a pair in Bénoué NP, where there are very few records of this rather uncommon species.

A juvenile Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, reported from Waza National Park on 11 April 2003 would constitute the third record for Cameroon; the first was also from Waza, in 1972, and the second from Maga, in February 2000.

Records from February–November 2004 include the following. A juvenile male Black-bellied Bustard Eupodotis melanogaster was present at Kumbo, in grassland above 2,000 m on 25 May. Two White-naped Pigeons Columba albinucha were observed at Quibeko, near Fontem at 2,000 m on 27 February. At a cliff face near Kumbo, three Scarce Swifts Schoutedenapus myoptilus were seen on 1 July. A Pallid Swift Apus pallidus migrated with 30+ Common Swifts A. apus over Kumbo on 31 March. A Fire-bellied Woodpecker Dendropicos pyrrhogaster was at Fontem on 5 March. Two Ethiopian Swallows Hirundo aethiopica were recorded at Nguti on 6–8 July and four at Mamfe on 9 July. At Fomenji, near Fontem, a Bocage's Akalat Sheppardia bocagei was seen in November, and a Grey Ground-Thrush Zoothera princei was observed at Fontem on 5 March. At Banyang Mbo WildLife Sanctuary, an adult female African Pitta Pitta angolensis with a large brood patch and a cloacal protuberance suggesting breeding, was mist-netted on 26 March, and a Black-eared Ground-Thrush Zoothera camaronensis on 31st. Red-cheeked Wattle-eyes Dyaphorophyia blissetti  were noted at Fontem on 5 March (three) and at Lower Foto and Bechati (between Fontem, Wabane and Widikum; a few) in November. In the same area, also in November, Green-throated Sunbirds Chalcomitra rubescens of the distinctive and local race crossensis were recorded at Besali, Bechati and Fossimondi.

Fieldwork in Mbulu Forest, in the Njikwa area near the Nigerian border, South-west Province, in late April found c230 bird species, amongst which were Bamenda Apalis Apalis bamendae, White-throated Mountain babbler Kupeornis gilberti, Ursula's Sunbird Cinnyris ursulae, Bocage's Bush-shrike Telophorus bocagei and Rachel's Malimbe Malimbus racheliae.

Two juvenile Steppe Eagles Aquila nipalensis were in Waza National Park on 4 March; unknown in Cameroon before 1978, this species is now regularly observed in the far north. An Ayres's Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii flew over Kilum-Ijim forest on 27 February; this species is not mentioned on the Mt Oku checklist (Fotso, R. 2001, Malimbus 23: 1­12) and may be the first record for the area. A Freckled Nightjar Caprimulgus tristigma heard near Maroua on 1 April appears to represent a range extension. At least 15 Forest Swallows Hirundo fuliginosa came to roost in old Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas nests in Korup National Park in March. A good sighting of Rufous-rumped Lark Pinarocorys erythropygia was obtained in the Bénoué area on 6 March; there are few records for the park or for Cameroon. In March, two pairs of Cricket Warblers Spiloptila clamans were found again at Mora, where the species was first recorded for the country in December 1995; they were singing and apparently territorial and it seems that the species is well established in the area. A Red-winged Pytilia Pytilia phoenicoptera was seen in Bénoué National Park on 7 March; there do not appear to be any previous published reports from the park although Exclamatory Paradise-Whydah Vidua interjecta, the species that parasitises on it, has been recorded. On 7 March, a pair of Streaky-headed Seedeaters Serinus gularis was found in Bénoué National Park, where there are few records of this species. A male Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza flaviventris was seen north of Mora on 3 March; Louette (The birds of Cameroon, 1981) only gives two published records from Cameroon, but recently the species has repeatedly been recorded in the area.

On 29 July 2003, about 20 swifts, tentatively identified as Scarce Swifts Schoutedenapus myoptilus were seen in the area of steep crags between Ndawara and Afua, in the Bamenda Highlands. Around 10 August, up to 50 swifts were present. The same species was seen soaring over Kodmin, Bakossi Mountains on 1 November at an altitude of about 1,450 m. This species was only known previously from Mount Cameroon and Mount Manenguba.

Records from March and April 2003 include the following. An Ovambo Sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis was seen at Bénoué National Park on 8 March; this is an uncommon bird in Cameroon. A juvenile Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, claimed from Waza National Park on 11 April, would constitute the second for Cameroon. The first Golden Nightjar Caprimulgus eximius for Cameroon, discovered on 25 March north of Mora (Bull ABC 10: 124­125), was still present on 11 April, when it was observed calling at dusk in low flight. A pair of large, all-dark swifts in the Bakossi Mountains, studied at close quarters on 14 April, were thought to be Fernando Po Swifts Apus (barbatus) sladeniae. Desert Cisticolas Cisticola aridulus were identified north of Mora and in Waza National Park on 10­11 April; this species was only recently confirmed for Cameroon.

The following records are from the period November 2002 to April 2003. A Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris was at Ngaoundaba on 31 March to 3 April. Three Black Herons Egretta ardesiaca were observed on a lake near the Sanaga River on 18 March. This is an unusual record as most observations are from the extreme north. A Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus flying over Mount Kupé on 11 March would appear to be the first record for the mountain, as well as being quite far south. A pair of Ovambo Sparrowhawks Accipiter ovampensis was found at Ngaoundaba on 3 April; there are few records of this species from Cameroon. A juvenile Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis was well watched in Waza National Park on 24 March; unknown in the country before 1978, this species is now observed regularly in the far north. A male Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni was noted in the Mora area in the far north on March 25; there are few records for Cameroon. Two Saker Falcons Falco cherrug were claimed at Nyaosso, Mount Kupé, on 5-6 April, where one tried unsuccessfully to take a domestic chicken at the village edge; the species is a rare vagrant.

Scaly Francolin Francolinus squamatus were particularly vocal in Bénoué National Park; this species would appear to be an addition to the park list. A Long-toed Lapwing Vanellus crassirostris was found in Waza National Park on 26 March; there are few records in Cameroon. Black Spinetail Telacanthura melanopygia was seen on 8 March at Korup where it is rare. A colony of Bristle-nosed Barbets Gymnobucco peli was found on Mount Kupé; this is apparently only the third year that the species has been recorded on the mountain. Two Black-billed Barbets Lybius guifsobalito were in woodland adjacent to the Bénoué River, Bénoué National Park on 27 March; this constitutes only the second record for Cameroon (and Western Africa), the first being from Waza National Park in February 1993.

A Rufous-rumped Lark Pinarocorys erythropygia was observed in the Bénoué area on 28 March; there are few records for the park or even for Cameroon. A Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava, apparently of the subspecies cinereocapilla, was in Waza National Park on 26 March. Several cisticolas showing the characteristics of Desert Cisticola Cisticola aridulus were observed in the Mora area; these appear to be the first reported from the country, though the species is known from the Lake Chad basin in Nigeria and Chad. There were also two Cricket Warblers Spiloptila clamans, a species only discovered in Cameroon in December 1995.

On Mount Kupé, a Forest Penduline Tit Anthoscopus flavifrons was seen on 12March and a female Johanna's Sunbird Cinnyris johannae on 16th; these are apparently new records for the site. A male Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis was found in the Mora area on 25 March and a male Emin's Shrike L. gubernator at Ngaoundaba on 2 April. A pair of Mount Kupé Bush-Shrikes Telophorus kupeensis was seen on the shrike trail on 13 March and an individual heard at Kodmin on 15th. A Maxwell's Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha was observed in Korup on 6 March; this is a rare species for the park.

Map

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References

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BirdLife International (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

BOBO, K.S., WALTERT, M., FICHTLER, M. & MUHLENBERG, M. (2005) New bird records for the Korup Project Area, southwest Cameroon. Malimbus 27(1) pp 13-18.

BOBO, K.S., WILLIAMS, E., ANYE, N.D., NJIE, M.F., FOTSO, R.C. & LANGUY, M. (2006) The birds of Mbam and Djerem National Park, Cameroon. Malimbus 28(2) pp 90-106.

BOWDEN, C.G.R. and ANDREWS, S.M. (1994) Mount Kupe and its birds. ABC Bulletin 1(1) pp 13-17.

BUIJ, R. & CROES, B.M. (2014) Raptors in northern Cameroon, December 2005 - December 2010. ABC Bulletin 21(1) pp 26-63.

BUIJ, R. (2011) Sightings of Sooty Falcon Falco concolor in the far north of Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 18(2) pp 211-215.

COLENUTT, S. & MILLS, M.S.L. (2009) First record of Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos for Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 16(2) p 219.

DOWSETT-LEMAIRE, F. & DOWSETT, R.J. (2001) First survey of the birds and mammals of the Yabassi area, south-western Cameroon. Final Report. A report by Tauraco a.s.b.l., for WWF-Cameroon. Misc. Report 27 is a PDF formatted in 2011 of a report produced in 2001; the pagination and text may differ slightly from the original. Download this paper*. Please note that this paper is 13 mb and may take some minutes to download depending on your connection speed. Please contact the websmaster if you are having problems downloading the file.

DOWSETT, R.J. & DOWSETT-LEMAIRE, F. (2000) New species and amendments to the avifauna of Cameroon. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 120: 179-185.

FAUCHER, I. and DOWSETT-LEMAIRE, F. (2011) A new form of Thrush Babbler Ptyrticus sp. from the Bakossi Mountains, Cameroon? ABC Bulletin 18(1) pp 74-75.

FOTSO, R., DOWSETT-LEMAIRE, F., DOWSETT, R.J., CAMEROON ORNITHOLOGICAL CLUB, SCHOLTE, P., LANGUY, M. and BOWDEN, C. Cameroon chapter pages 133-159 in FISHPOOL, L.D.C. and EVANS M.I. editors (2001) Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority sites for conservation. Newbury and Cambridge, UK. Pisces Publications and BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No.11).

HIVEKOVICS, A. and PALATITZ, P. (1998) Summary of a study by Hungarian ornithologists on Mount Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 5(2) pp 97-100.

LAMBEETS, K., BECKERS, G. and VANERMEN, N. (2011) First record of Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush Cichladusa ruficauda for Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 18(1) p 76.

LANGUY, M., BOBO, K.S., NJIE, F.M., NJABO, K.Y. & LAPIOS, J.M. (2005) New bird records from Cameroon. Malimbus 27(1) pp 1-12.

MAISELS, F. and FORBOSEH, P. (1999) The Kilum-Ijim Forest Project: biodiversity monitoring in the montane forests of Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 6(2) pp 110-114.

MILLS, M. and COHEN, C. (2003) Birding Cameroon, part 1 Northern Cameroon: Guinea Woodlands to Sahel. ABC Bulletin 10(2) pp 111-116.

MILLS, M. and COHEN, C. (2004) Birding Cameroon, part 2 Southern Cameroon: forests, low to lofty. ABC Bulletin 11(1) pp 51-58.

MILLS, M.S.L. (2010) Rock Firefinch Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis and its brood parasite Jos Plateau Indigobird Vidua maryae in northern Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 17(1) pp. 86-89.

RIEGERT, J., ANTCZAK, M. & FAINOVA, D. (2008) The first record of Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus in SW Cameroon. Malimbus 30(2) pp 165-167.

SEDLACEK, O., REIF, J., HORAK, D., PESATA, M. and KLVANA, P. (2007) The birds of a montane forest mosaic in Big Babanki area, Bamenda Highlands, Cameroon. Malimbus 29(2) pp 89-100.

VOADEN, N. (2008) Chad Firefinch Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis 'rediscovered' in northern Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 15(2) pp 238-241.

WHYTOCK, R.C. and MORGAN, B.J. (2010) The avifauna of the Ebo Forest, Cameroon. Malimbus 32(1) pp 22-32.

WILKINSON, R. (2008) Some recent records of birds from Gashaka Gumti National Park and Ngel Nyaki, Nigeria, and the Gotel Mountains, Cameroon.
Malimbus 30(2) pp 156-164.

WILLIAMS, E. (2007) Birding Dja Biosphere Reserve, southern Cameroon. ABC Bulletin 14(1) pp. 84-91.

* In order to view and print these papers, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader

Contacts

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African Bird Club representative

Dr Taku Awa II
Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society (CBCS)
P.O. Box 3055, Messa, Yaounde, Cameroon.

Email: takuawa@yahoo.co.uk

Bird recorder and checklist compiler

Roger Fotso
Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society
PO Box 3055
Messa
Yaoundé
Cameroon
rfotso@wcs.org

Clubs

Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society, CBCS, is the BirdLife Affiliate for Cameroon. Key activities include IBA monitoring, species work, production ot the Cameroon Birdline newsletter and educational work in schools around Yaounde. The e-mail address is cbcs_cam@yahoo.fr

"Living Earth" is also working in a similar way for a few other schools in other provinces.

Conservation

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Cameroon is party to a number of international treaties such as biodiversity, climate change, desertification, endangered species and tropical timber. Since Independence, Cameroon has made conservation a priority with the objective of putting 30% of the national territory under some form of protected designation. There are many categories of protected areas including  National Parks, Faunal and Wildlife Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Hunting Areas, Game Ranches, Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Strict Nature Reserves, Protection Forests and Plant Life Sanctuaries. Some forest reserves (Production Forests) are designated for commercial exploitation or plantation.

The number of Cameroonians with a knowledge of birds has been growing steadily in recent years, especially since the foundation of the Cameroon Ornithological Club (now expanded into the Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society) in 1995 and the establishment of the BirdLife Cameroon Office in 1998. Apart from surveys carried out in the 1950s by Bannerman, in 1981 by Louette and in 1983 by BirdLife International, no consistent survey on the ornithology of Cameroon had been carried out until 1998 with the onset of the IBA process. One objective of this work was to train young Cameroonians to be able to identify, document and work towards the conservation and sustainable management of globally important areas for bird conservation. This project led to a nationwide survey of the birds of Cameroon and the establishment of baseline data.

There is ongoing work to conserve individual species, a good example being the Earthwatch project "Saving Cameroon's Rock Fowl". (Rock Fowl is an alternative local name for Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas). Further information can be found at Earthwatch Europe.

Books & Sounds

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The western and central parts of Africa now have an excellent guide in the Birds of Western Africa by Borrow and Demey. It is a fantastic reference work and thoroughly recommended. It covers 23 countries south of the Sahara, from Mauritania in the northwest, to Chad and Central African Republic in the east, and Congo Brazzaville in the southeast, include the Cape Verde and Gulf of Guinea Islands. The paperback version is much more portable than the hard cover edition and it is ideal for the field, although there is less detail.

Birds of Africa south of the Sahara also covers the same countries except the Cape Verde Islands.

You can purchase these and other books from WildSounds, one of the largest specialist UK mail-order companies, via our book and media sales page. Many birdwatchers are not only interested in birds, so we have added the most useful books for other taxa on this page.

*** Wildsounds donates 5% of each order generated via these links to the ABC Conservation Fund. Please order here, get a good price and support ABC! ***

Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of Western Africa, Nik Borrow & Ron Demey, Helm, Hardback.
Book description: 

Helm Identification Guide. 147 plates depicting over 1280 species in 2800 individual figures. Covers Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rio Muni, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, part of Mauritania and the islands of Sao Tome, Principe and Bioko (Fernando Po). All the species described are illustrated in colour apart from a few vagrants, which are depicted in black-and-white in the text. Distribution maps are provided for the majority of species (except vagrants). 832 pages.

Media type: 
Book image: 
Book info: 
Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa, Nik Borrow & Ron Demey, Helm, Softback.
Book description: 

Helm Field Guide. Utilises all the plates from the Helm ID Guide by the same authors, with a concise, authoritative text on facing pages, to create a guide covering all 1,304 species found in the region. The guide also contains an updated colour distribution map for each species and a number of new images have been painted just for this guide. Covers Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rio Muni, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, part of Mauritania and the islands of Sao Tome, Principe and Bioko (Fernando Po). 512 pages.

Media type: 
Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of Africa South of the Sahara, Ian Sinclair & Peter Ryan, New Holland, Softback.
Book description: 

Second edition, including 500 new images and 400 updated distribution maps. Unrivalled coverage of African birds in a single volume. 2129+ species covered with an additional 101 vagrants briefly described. Revised to reflect the latest changes in taxonomy. Species descriptions give precise identification features highlighting differences between similar species as well as briefly reporting habitat, status and call. Annotated illustrations portray distinctive plumages as well as diagnostic flight patterns and major geographic variants where applicable.

Media type: 

Visiting

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Quail_Plover_Cameroon

Quail-plover Ortyxelos meiffrenii, Cameroon

Image Credit: 
Birding Africa

Birding tours

Birding AfricaBirding Ecotours, Birdquest and Rockjumper operate tours to Cameroon.

Trip reports

See the following articles in Bulletin ABC.

Birding Cameroon part 1 Northern Cameroon: Guinea Woodlands to Sahel by Michael Mills and Callan Cohen. Bulletin of the African Bird Club Vol.10, No.2, September 2003.

Birding Cameroon part 2 Southern Cameroon: forests, low to lofty by Michael Mills and Callan Cohen. Bulletin of the African Bird Club Vol.11, No.1, March 2004.

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Guides

Birdingpal Cameroon run tours in Cameroon and provide local guides. Contact: Benjamin Jayin Jomi, Birdingpal Cameroon, Coordinator BIPAHET-CIG, P.O Box 1396 Limbe,Cameroon. Tel: 237/77 24 61 05 E.mail: bipahet_cig@yahoo.com and benjijayin@yahoo.com 

The Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society, CBCS, formerly the Cameroon Ornithological Club, COC, has been responding to requests from expatriates by guiding tours of limited duration. There is no website for CBCS but the e-mail address is cbcs@iccnet.cm and the postal address is P.O. Box 3055, Messa, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Tel: (237) 221 16 58.

The Cameroonians who worked with BirdLife International to help define IBAs and carry out surveys in the Bamenda Highlands are able to act as guides to visitors wishing to see a general range of species or to focus on the endemics. Contact can be made via Taku Awa II at e-mail: takuawa@yahoo.co.uk or tel: (237) 745 44 44.

The following website http://www.mount-cameroon.org/birdwatching.htm includes many contact details of local guides in the excellent forests in Cameroon. If you hire one of these guides, you will make a contribution to the community which will help in biodiversity conservation. If you intend to visit Mount Cameroon, please make sure you go through Mount CEO. They are the only official tour operator on the mountain.

Logistics

There are daily flights to Douala from Paris on either Air France or Cameroon Airlines. There are international flights from Europe to Yaoundé on Swissair, Air France, and SN Brussel. SN Brussels Airline and Royal Air Maroc also have several flights during the week to Cameroon.

Air is the most efficient means of national transport. There are daily flights between Douala and Yaoundé but less regular flights to other interior towns. The roads are paved from Douala to Yaoundé, Limbe, Buea, Bafoussam and Bamenda and between main centres. Other roads are generally poorly maintained and become almost impassable during the rainy season. Rail travel within Cameroon is slow but cheap. Daily trains run from Douala to Yaoundé, with onward connections to Ngaoundere, and from Douala to Kumba.

There are road connections to Chad, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Gabon. Travel on many of these routes is rough and should not be attempted in the rainy season. The road connection to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea however is now excellent all year round as it has been paved.

A valid passport, visa, evidence of yellow-fever vaccination, and current immunisation records are required.

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Safety

Safety issues encountered in Cameroon are no different from those met in many other African countries. Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but some key points warrant repetition here. (1) be aware of the risk of malaria, seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended. (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling). (3) do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun too long. Ensure you use sun-block and drink plenty of water, and wear a hat. (4) The incidence of Aids is high. (5) Ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles.

See the following 2 websites for the latest safety and travel information:  US travel and UK FCO.

Hotspots

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Banded_Wattle_eye_Cameroon

Banded Wattle-eye Platysteira laticincta

Oku Forest, Bamenda Highlands, Cameroon

Image Credit: 
Roger Fotso

The Waza National Park is located in the transition zone between the Sahel and Sudan-Guinea Savanna biomes. The north-eastern corner is flooded annually and this park, together with the contiguous Logone flood-plain harbours some 379 bird species. Several species of particular interest can be observed here including those of global conservation concern such as Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris, Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca and Nubian Bustard Neotis nuba. In other grassland areas, easily observed species include populations of Quail-plover Ortyxelos meiffrenii, Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs, the last remaining population of Ostrich Struthio camelus in Cameroon with about 100 individuals. You would also enjoy the views of thousands of waterbirds such as White-faced Whistling Duck Dendrocygna viduata, and Black Crowned Crane Balearica pavonina. In general more than 20,000 waterbirds are thought to be present at this site most of the year. The site has a very open habitat with excellent visibility. A good number of raptors can be observed as well as species restricted to the Sahel biome.

Mbam Djerem National Park is located on the southern slope of the Adamawa plateau and is a good site for the Sudan-Guinea Savanna biome species. Birdwatchers here enjoy the diversity of savanna birds with excellent visibility of species such as the beautiful Green Wood-hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus plus several bee-eater and roller species. Of particular interest is the endemic Bamenda Apalis Apalis bamendae seen along the gallery forests.

Mount Cameroon and Mokoko-Onge. Mount Cameroon is a vast volcanic dome that is still active. The lower slopes are forested and are replaced by montane grassland at 2,300 m and volcanic rock and gravel up to the peak at 4,095 m. The avifauna is diverse with some 370 species recorded including montane endemics such as Mount Cameroon Francolin Francolinus camerunensis and Mount Cameroon Speirops Speirops melanocephalus. This site is also the only Cameroon locality for Mountain Saw-wing Psalidoprocne fuliginosa. Species of global conservation concern to be observed here include Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata, Cameroon Montane Greenbul Andropadus montanus, Grey-headed Greenbul Phyllastrephus poliocephalus, Green-breasted Bush-Shrike Malaconotus gladiatorCrossley's Ground-Thrush Zoothera crossleyi, Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas, and Ursula's Sunbird Cinnyris ursulae. This site holds 19 of the 27 Cameroon mountain endemics and 120 of the 215 species of the Guinea-Congo forests biome as well as 30 of the 44 species restricted to the Afro-tropical Highlands biome.

Mount Kupé. This mountain (2,064 m) is located in the south-west province of the country and apart from small grassy clearings on a rocky outcrop near the summit, it was entirely clothed with forest from the foothills at c300 m. All sides are being gradually encroached upon by cultivation. The total species list for the forest including those of the edges is nearly 270. Until recently, Mount Kupé Bush-Shrike Telophorus kupeensis was thought to be endemic to the mountain, with only a few pairs located in 1990, between 950 and 1,450 m. The forest holds a good number of Western Mountain Greenbul Andropadus tephrolaemus, Cameroon Olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus poensis, Grey-headed Greenbul P. poliocephalus, White-throated Mountain-Babbler Kupeornis gilberti, Green Longtail Urolais epichlorus, and Cameroon Sunbird Cyanomitra oritis. Mountain Robin-Chat Cossypha isabellae is common above 1,400 m. Green-breasted Bush-Shrike Malaconotus gladiator is not uncommon above 1,500 m with a preference for canopy clearings. Bates's Weaver Ploceus batesi occurs on the lower edges of the forest at Nyassosso, White-naped Pigeon Columba albinucha and Zenker's Honeyguide Melignomon zenkeri can also be observed mainly in secondary forest at 1,000 - 1,100 m. Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas is also present.

See the ABC feature article and the first photographs of Mount Kupe Bush-Shrike in the wild.

The Bamenda Highlands encompass overall patches of forest which include Mbi Crater Faunal Reserve-Mbingo Forest, Bambili Hills and the largest and highest patches of montane forest left in West / Central Africa, the Kilum and Ijim Mountain Forests. These patches support 15 of the 27 endemics of the Mount Cameroon area. Key species include Yellow-breasted Boubou Laniarius atroflavus, Cameroon Olive Pigeon Columba sjostedti, Green Longtail Urolais epichlorus, Cameroon Montane Greenbul Andropadus montanus, Western Mountain Greenbul A. tephrolaemus, Cameroon Sunbird Cyanomitra oritis, Shelley's Oliveback Nesocharis shelleyi, Mountain Robin-Chat Cossypha isabellae, Bangwa Forest Warbler Bradypterus bangwaensis, with Bannerman's Turaco Tauraco bannermani and Banded Wattle-eye Platysteira laticincta restricted to the Bamenda Highlands. This is the heart of the area for endemics in Cameroon. A total of about 185 birds species has been recorded in this area.

Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary. With coastal evergreen rainforest and a mix of mid altitude and montane forest, this area will reveal species such as malimbes, hornbills and Great-blue Turaco Corythaeola cristata, Superb Sunbird Cinnyris superbus, Splendid Sunbird C. coccinigaster and Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris. Parrots, barbets, and bee-eaters are well represented and overall the avifauna is rich with a present total of 322 species.

Dja Faunal Reserve is located in the south central part of the country, generally flat and the vegetation comprises evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforest and some riparian swamp forest. The highly sought-after Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas can be seen in this forest alongside the attractive Turacos such as the Great Blue Turaco Corythaeola cristata, Yellow-billed Turaco Tauraco macrorhynchus and several species of hornbills and parrots including Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus. The total list for this site is about 310 species.

Lake Maga is an artificial wetland resulting from the construction of the Maga dam in 1979, located upstream of the Logone flood plain. It is an important dry season refuge for waterbirds. Bird species include Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, a common winter visitor, thousands of White-faced Whistling Duck Dendrocygna viduata, Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis, Northern Pintail Anas acuta and Long-tailed Comorant Phalacrocorax africanus.

Ngaoundaba Ranch situated 35 km from the Adamawa provincial capital Ngaoundere, is a working cattle ranch which also offers comfortable accommodation for visitors. (As of May 2006, it seems that the owner has dismissed the previous managers and the ranch will be reopened under new European management from October 2006.) The vegetation is a mixture of savanna, gallery forest and grassland; there are also two lakes. Over 300 species have been recorded. Among rarely seen species that have been recorded at the ranch are Schlegel's Francolin Francolinus schlegelii, Brown-chested Lapwing Vanellus superciliosus, Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus, Horus Swift Apus horus and Bamenda Apalis Apalis bamendae. The ranch is famous for its huge mixed roost of heron, weaver and starling species including during the months of February and March, up to 100 Wattled Starlings Creatophora cinerea - the only known roost of this East African species in Cameroon.

Korup National Park in south-west Cameroon on the Nigerian border (and contiguous with Cross River National Park in Nigeria) is an area of unbroken coastal evergreen rainforest and one of the most ornithologically diverse lowland forest sites in Africa. Over 320 species have been recorded in the forest and a further 70 or so in the surrounding area. Of particular interest are the forest hornbills, Black-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna atrata, Yellow-casqued Hornbill C. elata and Brown-cheeked Hornbill Bycanistes cylindricus, and also Black-eared Ground-Thrush Zoothera cameronensis, Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas and Rachel's Malimbe Malimbus racheliae. From the Korup entrance at Mundemba, it is also possible to arrange travel by river to the Rio del Rey estuary where huge numbers of waders and seabirds gather on the exposed mudflats at low tide.

Species

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Bannermans_Turaco_Cameroon

Bannerman's Turaco Tauraco bannermani, Oku Forest, Bamenda Highlands, Cameroon

Image Credit: 
Roger Fotso

Country checklist and status

You can download and print a checklist for Cameroon.

The avifauna of Cameroon stands at 908 species of which 703 are resident (Fotso et al 2001) and (Dowsett & Dowsett-Lemaire 2000).

The country checklist for Cameroon can also be downloaded in a spreadsheet from this link: Cameroon checklist.

Endemic species

Mount Cameroon Francolin Francolinus camerunensis
Bannerman's Turaco Tauraco bannermani
Bamenda Apalis Apalis bamendae
Mount Cameroon Speirops Speirops melanocephalus
Banded Wattle-eye Platysteira laticincta
Mount Kupé Bush-Shrike Telophorus kupeensis
Bates's Weaver Ploceus batesi

Near endemic species (found in 3 or less African countries)

Cameroon Olive Pigeon Columba sjostedti
Mountain Saw-wing Psalidoprocne fuliginosa
Cameroon Montane Greenbul Andropadus montanus
Western Mountain Greenbul Andropadus tephrolaemus
Cameroon Olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus poensis
Grey-headed Greenbul Phyllastrephus poliocephalus
Mountain Robin-Chat Cossypha isabellae
Dja River Warbler Bradypterus grandis
Bangwa Forest Warbler Bradypterus bangwaensis
Black-capped Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus herberti
Green Longtail Urolais epichlorus
Verreaux Batis Batis minima
White-throated Mountain-Babbler Kupeornis gilberti
Cameroon Sunbird Cyanomitra oritis
Ursula's Sunbird Cinnyris ursulae
*Green-breasted Bush-Shrike Malacanotus gladiator
*Monteiro's Bush-Shrike Malaconotus monteiri
Yellow-breasted Boubou Laniarius atroflavus
Bannerman's Weaver Ploceus bannermani
Shelley's Oliveback Nesocharis shelleyi

*See the ABC feature article Bush-Shrike about these two species in Cameroon.

Threatened species

Lappet-faced Vulture

Torgos tracheliotus

Vulnerable
Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga Vulnerable
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni Vulnerable
Mount Cameroon Francolin Francolinus camerunensis Endangered
Corncrake Crex crex Vulnerable
Bannerman's Turaco Tauraco bannermani Endangered
Dja River Warbler Bradypterus grandis Vulnerable
Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas Vulnerable
White-throated Mountain-Babbler Kupeornis gilberti Endangered
Mount Cameroon Speirops Speirops melanocephalus Vulnerable
Banded Wattle-eye Platysteira laticincta Endangered
Mount Kupé Bush-Shrike Telophorus kupeensis Endangered
Green-breasted Bush-Shrike Malacanotus gladiator Vulnerable
Bates's Weaver Ploceus batesi Endangered
Bannerman's Weaver Ploceus bannermani Vulnerable

The lists of endemic, near endemic and threatened species have been compiled from a number of sources including the African Bird Club, BirdLife International, and Birds of the World Version 2.0 ® 1994-1996, Dr. Charles Sibley and Thayer Birding Software, Ltd. For further information on Cameroon's threatened species, see BirdLife International.

Important Bird Areas

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33 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified in Cameroon covering 42,056 km2 or 8.8% of the surface area of the country. Cameroon is divided between 4 biomes: the Sahel biome in the extreme north of the country; the remaining northern parts of the country fall within the Sudan-Guinea Savanna biome; all lowland forests form part of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome; and Mount Cameroon and the western highlands form part of the Afro-tropical Highlands biome.

Parts of two Endemic Bird Areas occur in Cameroon: The Cameroon and Gabon lowlands EBA, with 14 IBAs in which five of the six relevant restricted range species in Cameroon occur. The Cameroon Mountains EBA encompasses 16 IBAs, containing all 27 restricted range species that are found nationally.

The following IBAs are in the far north and are largely in the Sahel biome: Kalamaloué National Park; Logone flood-plain; Waza National Park; and Lake Maga.

The following IBAs are in the north and largely in the Sudan-Guinea Savanna biome: Mayo-Louti Forest Reserve; Gashiga-Demsa; Bénoué National Park; Faro National Park; Tchabal Mbabo; and Ngaoundaba Ranch.

The following IBAs form a large group mostly in the south-west of the country: Njinsing-Tabenken; Mount Oku; Mbi Crater Faunal Reserve - Mbingo Forest; Mount Mbam; Mbam Djerem National Park; Bali-Ngemba Forest Reserve; Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary; Santchou Faunal Reserve; Korup National Park; Mont Bana; Mont Manengouba; Bakossi Mountains; Mont Nlonako; Mount Rata and Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve; Mount Kupé; Yabassi; and Mount Cameroon and Mokoko-Onge. These form part of both the Guinea-Congo Forests biome and the Afro-tropical Highlands biome.

The remaining IBAs are in the southern part of the country: Mbam-Minkom Kala; Dja Faunal Reserve; Boumba-Bek; Campo Ma'an complex; Nki; and Lobéké National Park.

For further details, download the country IBAs from BirdLife International.

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