Working for birds in Africa

First record of Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala for Príncipe, with other noteworthy sightings from São Tomé and Príncipe


Première observation du Héron melanocéphale Ardea melanocephalus pour Príncipe, et autres observations intéressantes de São Tomé et Príncipe. La première observation du Héron melanocéphale Ardea melanocephalus à Príncipe, le 3 mars 2018, est documentée. Les auteurs signalent entre autres l’observation d’un groupe de petits faucons, probablement des Faucons kobez Falco vespertinus, à Príncipe en décembre 2017 et celle d’un Merle de São Tomé Turdus olivaceofuscus capturant un gecko.

The following observations were made recently on São Tomé and Príncipe. Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala

On 3 March 2018 TFOP was driving a regular route past a swamp c.2 km east-southeast of Ponta do Sol in northern Príncipe, when she noticed an unfamiliar heron. She photographed the bird before it flew off (the photographs prove the species’ identity, but their low resolution precludes reproduction; they are available on request from ASC). Local bird guides could not identify the species, but ASC, during his visit in August 2018, identified it as a Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala, the first record for the island. The species was unknown in São Tomé and Príncipe until recently (Jones & Tye 2006, Leventis & Olmos 2009), when one was photographed on São Tomé on 24–25 December 2015 (B. Piot in Bull. ABC 23: 241).

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