Working for birds in Africa

The recent rediscovery of White-winged Flufftails in Ethiopia

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The White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi is one of the least known birds in Africa. Their unpredictable habits and secretive nature make them a very difficult species to study. Two populations are known in Africa, one in Ethiopia and the other in southern Africa. Records in Ethiopia come from a number of high altitude marshes around Addis Ababa between July and September, coinciding with the wet season and there is one record from the south of the country at Charada in May 1905. There seems to be no site where White-winged Flufftails are found on a regular basis. Swamps around Addis Ababa, e.g. at Entoto, Gafersa, Sululta, Debre Birhan have been visited by birders between June and September but there has been no guarantee of seeing this bird and this has led some to speculate that White-winged Flufftails do not show regular seasonal movements but rather irregular irruptions and dispersals which are related to periods of greater or lesser rainfall, perhaps making different wetlands suitable for the species in different years. Phil Atkinson et al

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