Working for birds in Africa

Red-billed Queleas at sea off Senegal

pp 216

Des Travailleurs à bec rouge Quelea quelea observés au large du Sénégal.

Le 6 mars 2016 au moins deux Travailleurs à bec rouge Quelea quelea ont été observés à environ 100 km de la côte sénégalaise, au nordouest de Dakar. Il s’agit de l’observation la plus éloignée du continent jusqu’à présent.

On 6 March 2016, at 11.00 hrs, while watching Brown Boobies Sula leucogaster off Senegal from the upper deck of MV Green Mountain, I heard a loud twittering emanating from the other side of the deck. I rushed over and saw a flock of c.40 small birds flying low over the sea in tight formation, heading north. Unfortunately, they disappeared before I was able to identify them. At c.11.30 hrs I went inside for lunch but was on deck again at 14.30 hrs when two small passerines appeared aft of the ship flying level with the upper deck before appearing to land. After searching for c.15 minutes, I heard a loud chirping from a crane above me. Two birds emerged and quickly flew off towards the bow, disappearing over the sea. They were roughly sparrow-sized with short tails, streaky fawn and brown plumage, bright pink bills and pinkish legs. I identified them as Red-billed Queleas Quelea quelea, a species with which I am familiar from northern Cameroon. At the time, the ship was c.100 km off the Senegalese coast, north-west of Dakar, at 15º20’10.4280”N  18º03’23.1480”W. Weather conditions were clear and calm.

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