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Wed, 02/06/2013 - 09:22 -- abc_admin
Gabela_Helmet_Shrike_Angola

Gabela Helmet-Shrike Prionops gabela near Bimbe, Angola. One of the first photos taken of this little known Angolan endemic species.

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

The following are largely unconfirmed records published originally in the ABC Bulletins for interest only.

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

An African Green Pigeon Treron calvus was photographed on an oil platform 80 km off the Angolan coast on 7 September 2015.

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

Noteworthy records from September 2014 include Finsch’s Francolin Scleroptila finschi at Tundavala, Blue Quail Synoicus adansonii, Pallid Honeyguide Indicator meliphilus, Brazza’s Martin Phedina brazzae, Black-necked Eremomela Eremomela atricollis, Margaret’s Batis Batis margaritae, Bocage’s Weaver Ploceus temporalis and Locust Finch Paludipasser locustella in the Huambo Highlands of Mount Moco and environs, and Bates’s Sunbird Cinnyris batesi north of Kalandula Falls (MM). A Pennant-winged Nightjar Caprimulgus vexillarius was photographed off Angola on 26 November 2014

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

Reports from February - May 2014 include the following. A Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata was observed in the Funda area, 30 km east of Luanda on 4 May. Three Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were at Mussulo Bay, Luanda, on 18 February 2014; this Palearctic migrant is quite scarce in Angola. On 21 May, the following were recorded 15 km east of Caxito: Monteiro’s Bushshrike Malaconotus monteiri, Gabela Helmetshrike Prionops gabela, Angola Batis Batis minulla, White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons and Golden-backed Bishop Euplectes aureus in breeding plumage.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

Reports from August - November 2013 include the following. An Orange River Francolin Scleroptila gutturalis (=levaillantoides) was observed near Luanda on 24 August - a very northerly record. A Blue Quail Synoicus (=Excalfactoria) adansonii was seen near Mount Moco, Huambo Province, on 9 November; this species’ status and distribution are poorly known and most records are from scattered localities in central and north-east Angola. A Pallid Honeyguide Indicator meliphilus and an African Pitta Pitta angolensis were encountered near Cambondo, Cuanza Norte, on 10 November.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

Reports from January - early June 2013 include the following. A Grey-striped Francolin Pternistis griseostriatus was observed at Kaviombo Farm, near Chongoroi, Benguela Province, on 20 January; there are few records so far south. Also there on that date was a Chestnut Weaver Ploceus rubiginosus in breeding plumage. A Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus was observed at Barra do Kwanza, Bengo Province, on 3 June; this species was previously known only from the extreme south-west. A Mottled Swift Tachymarptis aequatorialis was seen near Caxito, Luanda, on 23 February. Near Quibaxi, Cuanza None, the most southerly records of Green Turaco Tauraco persa, Bristle-nosed Barbet Gymnobucco peli and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis albipectus were made on 24 February. At Mount Moco, Huambo, a Tinkling Cisticola Cisticola rufilatus, a rare species here, was seen on 22 January. Three species were added to the site list on 27 May: Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii (a juvenile), a Buffy Pipit Anthus vaalensis (on recently burned ground) and Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah Vidua obtusa. Black-and-rufous Swallow Hirundo nigrorufa was still present, so is probably resident here, with Bocage's Sunbird Nectarinia bocagii also there. 

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

Reports from February - August 2012 include the following. The northernmost records of Monteiro’s Bushshrike Malaconotus monteiri and Gabela Helmetshrike Prionops gabela were made in the Caxito area, Bengo, on 19 August. Pale Olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus fulviventris, White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons and Gabela Helmetshrike were found in the Muxima area, Bengo, on 12 February. Records from Cuanza Norte include Angola Lark Mirafra angolensis near Camabatela on 21 August and many breeding Golden-backed Bishops Euplectes aureus in the Dondo area on 8 May. In Cangandala National Park, Malanje, a Böhm’s Spinetail Neafrapus boehmi observed on 8 May and a Compact Weaver Pachyphantes superciliosus on 4 May were additions to the park’s list (cf. Mills et al. 2008. The avifauna of Cangandala National Park, Angola. Bull. ABC 15: 113–120); the spinetail was seen entering an old well, perhaps prospecting a breeding site. At Mount Moco, Huambo, a Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides observed on 29 August was a surprise find; the species is very rare away from the coastal plain. Chestnut-backed Sparrow Lark Eremopterx leucotis, seen on 20 May, was new for the park.

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

A Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus was photographed with nesting material at Lake Arco, Namibe province, on 7 January 2012; this appears to be the first breeding record for Angola.

from ABC Bulletin 19.1

During a visit on 10–30 September 2011 the following were observed. Three Long-toed Lapwings Vanellus crassirostris were found near Luanda on 27th. Approximately 1,000 Royal Terns Sterna maxima were at the Cuanza River mouth on 30th and a flock of 86 Namaqua Sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua near Namibe on 15th. A Western Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba iriditorques in Kumbira Forest on 20th constitutes the southernmost record in the country. Three African Grass Owls Tyto capensis were seen at Mount Moco on 18th; this is a rare species in Angola. A Red-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus atroflavus was noted at Damengola Forest, south of Uige, on 26th; although not recorded away from Cabinda prior to 2009, this species has since proved common and widespread in the northern scarp forests. Three Swamp Palm Greenbuls Thescelocichla leucopleura seen en route from Camabatela to Quitexe on 25th is the first claim outside Cabinda. At Mount Moco, five Black-and-rufous Swallows Hirundo nigrorufa were observed, including a pair apparently nesting in a mud bank. A pair of White-headed Robin Chats Cossypha heinrichi was found nesting on 24th at the known site of Kinjila, north of Calandula. The identity of three olivebacks Nesocharis sp. observed during the visit is still a matter of debate; whatever the outcome, they constitute a new species for the country.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

A Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos was seen off Angola at 07°55'S 12°03'E on 21 April 2011. Other birds observed 90 - 130 km off the coast include a Rufous-cheeked Nightjar Caprimulgus rufigena on 21 April, a Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis that stayed on board for three days from 1 May, a Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus that stayed on board for at least two days from 19 April, a presumed Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica on 8 April and a Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea on 21 April.

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A research and conservation trip to Angola in July - August 2010 recorded several Cinderella Waxbills Estrilda thomensis near Chibemba on 12 July. On 14 July Swierstra's Francolin Francolinus swierstrai was seen near Lubango, and Pale Olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus fulviventris near Catengue. A week was spent at Mount Moco (15–22 July) where several Swierstra's Francolins were observed. Other new and interesting sightings at this site included Western Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus cinerascens, Barn Owl Tyto alba, Marsh Owl Asio capensis, Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum, African Golden Oriole Oriolus auratus, and the first nest (with eggs) of Margaret's Batis Batis margaritae. En route to Mount Namba Brazza's Martin Phedina brazzae, Black-necked Eremomela Eremomela atricollis, Bocage's Sunbird Nectarinia bocagii and Bocage's Weaver Ploceus temporalis were seen. Noteworthy species at Mount Namba, which was visited on 24 - 26 July, included several Swierstra's Francolins, as well as Grey-striped Francolin Francolinus griseostriatus, Ruwenzori Nightjar Caprimulgus ruwenzorii, several Bar-tailed Trogons, Orange Ground Thrush Zoothera gurneyi, Laura's Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus laurae and Red-faced Crimsonwing Cryptospiza reichenovii. On 28 July, Angola Slaty Flycatcher Melaenornis brunneus was seen at Pungo Andongo, and on 29 July White-headed Robin Chat Cossypha heinrichi near Calandula. On 31 July - 1 August two groups of Black-tailed Cisticolas Cisticola melanurus were encountered near Cacolo.

In October, an Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx olivinus was heard in Kumbira Forest, where at least two pairs of Trumpeter Hornbills Bycanistes bucinator were observed on 18 - 20th. Five Gray's Larks Ammomanopsis grayi were found near Namibe on 22nd.

During a visit to some sites in Huambo province in November 2008, White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons and two groups of Gabela Helmetshrikes Prionops gabela were observed in the Bimbe area on 7th–8th. On Mt Moco, on 11th–13th, two groups of Swierstra’s Francolin Francolinus swierstrai, Laura’s Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus laurae and several Angola Slaty Flycatchers Melaenornis brunneus were noted, and on 14th Bocage’s Sunbird Nectarinia bocagii was recorded in the Galanga area.

The following were reported in January 2009. In the Lubango area, on 7th–18th: Red-capped Crombec Sylvietta ruficapilla, Angola Slaty Flycatcher, Damara Rockjumper (Rockrunner) Chaetops pycnopygius, Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca (Dean 2000, The Birds of Angola, mentions only a single possible record, from Cabinda), Oustalet’s Sunbird Cinnyris oustaleti and Perrin’s Bush-shrike Malaconotus viridis.

In Iona National Park, in the extreme south-west, at the border with Namibia, Ludwig’s Bustard Neotis ludwigii, Burchell’s Courser Cursorius rufus, Fawn-coloured Lark Mirafra africanoides, Stark’s Lark Eremalauda starki, Benguela Long-billed Lark Certhilauda benguelensis (particularly common) and Gray’s Lark Ammomanes grayi were observed on 19th–22nd.

East of Lubango, Rufous-bellied Heron Ardeola rufiventris, White-backed Duck Thallasornis leuconotus and Cuckoo Finch Anomalospiza imberbis were seen in Bicuari National Park on 24th–25th. At Baia dos Tigres, Greater Crested (Swift) Tern Sterna bergii and breeding Damara Tern S. balaenarum were recorded on 24th–25th.

A team of seven ornithologists led by Michael Mills and supported by the ABC Conservation Fund visited Angola’s largest collection of bird skins, housed in Lubango, Angola, for two weeks during June 2008. Little time was spent in the field, but several short outings were made. Fülleborn’s Longclaw Macronyx fuellebornii was seen between Lubango and Humpata. Leba produced the fourth Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus for the country, Angola Cave Chat  Xenocopsychus ansorgei, Angola Batis Batis minulla and Montane (Ludwig’s) Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris ludovicensis. At Tundavala another Booted Eagle was seen (fifth record).

An excursion to the Quipungo area, c.100 km east of Lubango, produced woodland species such as African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides, Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus, Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus, Racket- tailed Roller Coracias spatulatus, Arnot’s Chat Myrmecocichla arnotti, Böhm’s Flycatcher Muscicapa boehmi, Sharp-tailed Starling Lamprotornis acuticaudus and Chestnut- backed Sparrow Weaver Plocepasser rufoscapulatus.

Other birds recorded in the area included Rufous-bellied Heron Ardeola rufiventris, Red-throated Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon rufigula, Hartlaub’s Babbler Turdoides hartlaubii and Brown Firefinch Lagonosticta nitidula.

A Pennant-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx vexillarius was observed c.90 nautical miles offshore from Soyo, at the Congo River mouth, on 5 August 2008. This is much further out at sea than the one photographed c.10 km offshore from Cabinda on 26 July 2006.

A Pennant-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx vexillarius was photographed c.10 km offshore from Cabinda on 26 July 2006.

Belated records from 2005 include the following. In the Mount Moco area, Huambo, visited on 11–17 August, Afromontane forests were found to be highly disturbed, and have almost certainly been reduced significantly in size since the 1970s. Still, birds seen here included endemic subspecies of Western Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus coryphaeus, Bocage’s Akalat Sheppardia bocagei, Mountain Chat Oenanthe monticola, Evergreen Forest Warbler Bradypterus lopezi, Grey Apalis Apalis cinerea, African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica and Swee Waxbill Coccopygia melanotis. The call of a francolin was recorded and subsequently identified as belonging to Swierstra’s Francolin Francolinus swierstai. At a nearby mountain, a pair of Verreaux’s Eagle Aquila verreauxii, not previously recorded this far north in Angola, was watched hunting along a ridge, and a pale-morph Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus, apparently only the third country record, was seen. Three pairs of Swierstra’s Francolin were found.

The most interesting find in the Cassongue area, Cuanza Sul, on 18 August, was Brazza’s Martin Phedina brazzae, which was seen in two consecutive river valleys, a range extension of c.800 km. This species was again seen about two weeks later, c.100 km to the east, and is suspected to breed in the region at low densities.

Records of Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx mechowi, Least Honeyguide Indicator exilis and Mountain Chat at Kumbira Forest represented range extensions. Elsewhere in the Gabela area, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus bilineatus was found to be fairly common; this species was previously known only from Cabinda. Another range extension in this area was Little Green Sunbird Anthreptes seimundi.

The first ABC sponsored conservation tour, organised and operated by Birding Africa, took place to Angola on the 9th - 16th October 2005 and recorded 14 Angolan endemics and several range extensions. The highlights of this tour are documented in ABC Bulletin 13(1) pp 6-7. Red-backed Mousebird Colius castanotus, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush Cichladusa ruficauda, White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons, Bubbling Cisticola Cisticola bulliens, Angola Batis Batis minulla and Golden-backed Bishop Euplectes aureus were all found near the mouth of the Rio Longa. Red-crested Turaco Tauraco erythrolophus, Gabon Coucal Centropus anselli, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus, Yellow-throated Nicator Nicator vireo, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush Neocossyphus fraseri, Black-throated Apalis jacksoni and Buff-throated Apalis A. rufogularis, Green Crombec Sylvietta virens, Southern Hyliota Hyliota australis and Red-headed Bluebill Spermophaga ruficapilla, were all found close to Gabela. The Sunbird family was well represented in this area and many species were seen such as Carmelite Chalcomitra fuliginosa, Green-headed Cyanomitra verticalis, Little Green Anthreptes seimundi, Superb Cinnyris superbus and Olive-bellied C. chloropygius.

Angola Cave-Chat Xenocopsychus ansorgei, Miombo Rock-Thrush Monticola angolensis, a single Damara Rockjumper Chaetops pycnopygius, several Oustalet’s Cinnyris oustaleti and Montane Double-collared Sunbirds C. ludovicensis and a party of Dusky Twinspots Euschistospiza cinereovinacea were all seen on the escarpment near the village of Conda. The Kumbira forest in the same area held African Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus, Least Honeyguide Indicator exilis, Petit’s Cuckoo-Shrike Campephaga petiti, Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela, Pulitzer’s Longbill Macrosphenus pulitzeri, Rufous-vented Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone rufocinerea, the trio of Gabela Laniarius amboimensis, Monteiro’s Malacanotus monteiri and Perrin’s Bush-Shrikes Telophorus (viridis) viridis, Pale-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta (rubricata) landanae and Black-faced Canary Serinus capistratus. In the area of Bimbe, eight Gabela Helmet-Shrikes Prionops gabela were seen in the tallest trees of what was essentially an area with grass and scrub. In the same area were African Barred Owlet Glaucidium capense, Bohm’s Neafrapus boehmi and Mottled Spinetails Telacanthura ussheri, Black Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus aterrimus and Pale-olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus fulviventris.

A visit to the north in January-February 2005 yielded the following interesting records. Five of the poorly known White-headed Robin Chat Cossypha heinrichii were found in fairly degraded gallery woodland 30 km north-east of Calandula, Malanje, on 1 February; this species, listed as Vulnerable, has a very limited range. Two Slender-tailed Cisticolas Cisticola melanurus, a Data Deficient species, were seen in pristine climax miombo woodland 26 km north-east of Calandula, Malanje, on 2 February. Three pairs of the Endangered Braun’s Bush-Shrike Laniarius brauni were duetting in a small patch of degraded forest 30 km south of Uíge, Uíge Province, on 31 January. The sighting of two male Bob-tailed Weavers Brachycope anomala in swampy, grassy habitat on a flooded area of the Luinha River, 2 km south of Luinha village, Cuanza Norte, on 1 February, appears to constitute the first record of this species for the country.

Grey-striped Francolin Francolinus griseostriatus, an Angolan endemic, was seen at Quiçama National Park (two, 18 March 2001; four, 10 May 2002) and Kumbira, a forest 7 km south of Conda, Cuanza Sul, on the road to Seles (several pairs, 6 February 2003). Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni was abundant on the Queve River floodplain on 26th. Fourteen Gull-billed Terns Sterna nilotica, a rare Palearctic visitor, were recorded at Luanda Bay on 9th, with six there on 28th. Red-crested Turaco Tauraco erythrolophus was found to be common in the Gabela and Kumbira areas. Two Gabon Coucals Centropus anselli were seen at Kumbira on 6th. In Quiçama National Park, Loanda Swifts A. (horus) toulsoni (usually treated as a dark-rumped morph of Horus Swift A. horus, but possibly constituting a separate species) were seen on 18 March 2001 (two) and 10 May 2002 (four). Records of Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta (fairly common at Kumbira), Long-legged Pipit Anthus pallidiventris (two at Sumbe, Cuanza Sul) and Slender-billed Greenbul Andropadus gracilirostris (one at Kumbira) on 25th apparently constitute southerly range extensions.

Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela, an endangered Angolan endemic, was observed at Kumbira on 6th (one) and 25th (one). The rare and local Pulitzer's Longbill Macrosphenus pulitzeri was found to be fairly common at Seles on 26th. White-fronted Wattle-eyes Platysteira albifrons were seen at Quiçama National Park on 18 March 2001 and 10 May 2002 (several), and at Seles on 26 February 2003 (two). Records of Damara Rockjumper Chaetops pycnopygius inland from Seles (one) and Bare-cheeked Babbler Turdoides gymnogenys inland from Sumbe (fairly common) on 26th constitute northerly range extensions. Monteiro's Bush-Shrike Malaconotus monteiri was fairly common at Kumbira on 6th and 25th. The little-known endemic Gabela Bush-Shrike Laniarius amboimensis was common at Kumbira. Seven Gabela Helmet-Shrikes Prionops gabela, another endangered Angolan endemic, were seen on the road between Kumbira and Seles on 6th. Southerly range extensions were noted for Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni (common on the Queve floodplain on 25th) and Compact Weaver Pachyphantes superciliosus (small groups near Kumbira on 6th).

Map

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 18:43 -- abc_admin

References

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

COHEN, C., SPOTTISWOODE, C. & ROSSOUW, J. (2006) Southern African Birdfinder: where to find 1,400 birds in southern Africa and Madagascar. Struik Publishers. 

DEAN, W.R.J. and LE MAITRE, D.C. (2008) The birds of the Soyo area, northwest Angola. Malimbus 30(1) pp 1-18.

DEAN, W.R.J., Angola chapter pp 71 - 91in 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).

DEAN, W. R. J. (2000) The Birds of Angola. Tring, UK: British Ornithologists' Union (BOU Checklist No.18). "A monumental avifauna covering this hugely ornithologically neglected country." 444 pages, 16 pages of colour photographs, figures, diagrams and maps. ISBN: 0-9074-4622-1.

DEAN,  W. R. J,,  Franke U, Joseph G, Gonçalves FM, Mills MSL, Milton SJ, Monadjem A and Oschadleus HD. 2012. Type specimens in the bird collection at Lubango, Angola. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 132: 41-45.

GIBBON, G. Roberts’ Multimedia Birds of Southern Africa Version 3.0. This is a comprehensive and interactive multimedia program with 950 Southern African bird species, 4,000 photos, 850 bird sounds and 650 bird videos on 2 CD-ROMs.

MILLS, M. S. L. (2006) First record of Pink-billed Lark Spizocorys conirostris for Angola. ABC Bulletin 13 (2) pp 212.

MILLS, M. S. L. (2009) Vocalisations of Angolan birds: new descriptions and other notes. ABC Bulletin 16(2) pp 150-166.

MILLS, M. S. L. (2013) Dusky Twinspot Euschistospiza cinereovinacea, a new host species for indigobirds Vidua. ABC Bulletin 21(2) pp 193-199.

MILLS, M. S. L. (2013) Observations of the rarely seen aerial display of Short-winged Cisticola Cisticola brachypterus. ABC Bulletin 21(2) pp 200-201.

MILLS M. S. L. (2015) An overlooked population of White-collared Oliveback, in Angola. ABC Bulletin 22(1) pp 64-67.

MILLS, M., COHEN, C. and SPOTTISWOODE, C. (2004) Little-known African bird: Gabela Akalat, Angola's long-neglected Gabelatrix. ABC Bulletin 11(2) pp 149-151.

MILLS, M. S. L., vaz PINTO, P. & DEAN, W.R.J. (2008) The avifauna of Cangandala National Park, Angola. ABC Bulletin 15(1) pp 113-120.

MILLS, M.S.L., FRANKE, U., JOSEPH, G., MIATO, F., MILTON, S., MONADJEM, A., OSCHADLEUS, D. and DEAN, W.R.J. (2010) Cataloguing the Lubango Bird Skin Collection: towards an atlas of Angolan bird distributions. ABC Bulletin 17(1) pp 43-53. You can see this article here.

MILLS, M.S.L., MELO, M., BORROW, N. and vaz PINTO, P. (2011) The Endangered Braun's Bushshrike Laniarius brauni: a summary. ABC Bulletin 18(2) pp 174-181.

MILLS, M.S.L., MELO, M. and VAZ, A. (2011) Black-tailed Cisticola Cisticola melanurus in eastern Angola: behavioural notes and the first photographs and sound-recordings. ABC Bulletin 18(2) p p 193-198.

MILLS, M.S.L., P. VAZ PINTO and S. HABER (2012) Grey-striped Francolin Pternistis griseostriatus: specimens, distribution and morphometrics. ABC Bulletin 19(2) pp 172-177.

MILLS, M.S.L. compiler (2012) Bird Conservation and Research Activities. Angola 2012 Annual Report. *Download the report.

MILLS, M. S. L,, MELO, M and VAZ A. (2012). The Namba Mountains: new hope for Afromontane forest birds in Angola. Bird Conservation International. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S095927091200024X .

MILLS, M. S. L. and OSCHADLEUS, H. D. (2013) Black-chinned Weaver Ploceus nigrimentus in Angola, and its nest. ABC Bulletin 20(1) pp 60-66.

MILLS, M. S. L, (2013) Little known African bird: Bocage's Sunbird Nectarinia bocagii - an Angolan near endemic. ABC Bulletin 20(1) pp 80-88.

MILLS, M. S. L., VAZ PINTO, P. and PALMEIRIM, J.M. (2013) First records for Angola of Yellow-throated Cuckoo Chrysococcyx flavigularis, South African Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon spilodera and Red-tailed Leaflove Phyllastrephus scandens. ABC Bulletin 20(2) pp 200 - 204. 

MILLS, M.S.L. and TEBB, G. (2015) First record of Forest Swallow Petrochelidon fuliginosa for Angola. ABC Bulletin 22(2) pp 221 - 222.

MILLS, M.S.L. (2015) First record of Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva for Angola. ABC Bulletin 22(2) pp 223 - 224.

SIMMONS, R.E., MILLS, M. S. L. & DEAN, W.R.J. (2009) Oystercatcher Haemotopus records from Angola. ABC Bulletin 16(2) pp 211-212.

SINCLAIR, I. and HOCKEY, P (1996) Birds of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa. 448 pages. ISBN 1-8682-5759-2 (English). Also available in Afrikaans. This book covers many of the species in Angola, particularly the southern areas.

SINCLAIR, I. and RYAN, P. (2003) CUANZA SUL -The heart of Africa. Africa Birds and Birding Vol 8(3). See this article also at Birding Africa.

SINCLAIR, I. and RYAN, P. (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa. 760 pages. ISBN 1-8687-2857-9.

SINCLAIR, I., SPOTTISWOODE, C., COHEN, C., MILLS, M., CASSIDY, R., vaz PINTO, P. and RYAN, P. (2004) Birding western Angola. ABC Bulletin 11(2) pp 152-160.

Contacts

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African Bird Club representative

The African Bird Club is seeking to appoint a representative in this region. If you are interested in supporting and promoting the Club, have any queries or require further information relating to the ABC representatives scheme, please contact the Membership Secretary at membership@africanbirdclub.org.

Bird recorder and checklist compiler

Michael Mills

PO Box 34146

Rhodesgift 7707

Cape Town

South Africa

michael@birdingafrica.com

Clubs

There are no addresses for bird clubs in Angola at present.

Conservation

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Kumbira_Forest_Angola

Kumbira Forest Angola is home to a range of endemic and endangered species. The forest is not protected and some is being cleared for crops such as coffee and bananas to support the local village population.

 

Image Credit: 
John Caddick 2005

You can download this report from Michael Mills which describes the construction of the first native tree nursery at Kanjonde village on the slopes of Mount Moco, with the long term aim of reforesting Mount Moco. The mountain, Angola's highest, is the second most important site in Angola for Afromontane forest conservation and protects a vital population of the Endangered Swierstra's Francolin, one of the country's rarest birds.

A report by Michael Mills on bird conservation and research in Angola can be downloaded here. This report includes the achievements in 2010 and plans for 2011.

In common with other African countries, Angola has a large number of environmental issues: the overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest; and inadequate supplies of drinking water.

Although Angola has a number of designated National Parks and Reserves, the war has had a devastating impact on conservation and most protected areas are without wardens. On the positive side, soldiers are being trained as park wardens through an IUCN / Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development project. In addition, there are extensive protected areas that remain relatively undisturbed and which adequately protect some vegetation types and therefore habitat for birds.

Seven of the IBAs are nominally National Parks or Reserves, and the remaining sixteen sites are unprotected by law. More information about National Parks can be found at Quicama.

Books & Sounds

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The field guide which includes all the species found in Angola is Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by Sinclair and Ryan. The range maps however are not always accurate for Angola and this perhaps reflects the difficulties of birding in this country for the last 30 years.

The excellent west and south African field guides such as Birds of Western Africa by Borrow and Demey and the SASOL Birds of Southern Africa contain many, but not all of the species found in Angola and exclude of course the many endemic species.

Birds of Angola by Dean is a monumental avifauna on an ornithologically neglected country. Angola is rich in bird species and has a range of biomes and ecosystems that are almost unequalled in Africa. This book should be considered and is useful to have available during a visit to Angola.

The Southern African Birdfinder: Where to find 1,400 bird species in southern Africa must rank as one of the best 'Where to' guides for a region. It contains detailed information on sites, clear maps and directions and great photos.

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 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.

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Book info: 
Sasol Birds of Southern Africa (4th edition), Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Warwick Tarboton & Peter Ryan, Struik, Softback.
Book description: 

4th edition. The best field guide to the region with over 200 colour plates and numerous distribution maps. The Southern African region is Botwana, Lesotho, southern Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

This fourth edition has been greatly improved by the addition of group introductions, calendar bars showing species' occurrence and breeding periods, a section on 'how to use this book', as well as sonograms depicting the calls of tricky bird groups. The newly designed plates are meticulously illustrated, with labels pinpointing key differentiating features. Distribution maps show the relative abundance of a species in the region and also indicate resident or migrant status.

Written by top birders, this authoritative and comprehensive identification guide is invaluable to all birders. 464 pages.

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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.

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Southern African Birdfinder: Where to find 1400 bird species in southern Africa, C Cohen & C Spottiswoode, assisted by J Rossouw, New Holland, Softback.
Book description: 

2006. The ideal companion to all the local bird field guides. After an introduction to birding in the southern African region, the authors identify and describe more than 330 birding sites and associated birds across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and, the little-documented but increasingly popular, areas of Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi. All sites are ranked into one of three categories of priority: essential (the regions best); excellent (top sites but expendable to a time-limited visitor) and local interest (ideal for those looking for new areas to explore). All sites include practical details of access, best times to visit, habitat diversity and general natural history.

Includes a fold-out map of the entire region that features all routes. A quick guide to finding the region's top 100 birds and an annotated checklist conclude the book.

"Written by three of the most experienced birders in the region, they have poured their experience into its production and this really shows in the level of detail and coverage." - Martin Fowlie, BTO.

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Book info: 
Birds of Angola, W J R Dean, British Ornithologists Union, Hardback.
Book description: 

BOU Checklist 18. 2000. A monumental avifauna on an ornithologically neglected country. Angola is rich in bird species (at least 915) and has a range of biomes and ecosystems that are almost unequalled in Africa. 16 pages of colour plates. 444 pages.

Media type: 
Book image: 
Book info: 
BOU Checklist 18. 2000. A monumental avifauna on an ornithologically neglected country. Angola is rich in bird species (at least 915) and has a range of biomes and ecosystems that are almost unequalled in Africa. 16 pages of colour plates. 444 pages.
Book description: 

111 species on one CD - in MP3 format.

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Visiting

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 18:00 -- abc_admin
Conda_Mountains_Angola

Conda Mountains, Cuanza Sul Province, Angola

Image Credit: 
Claire Spottiswoode

Birding Tours

Birding AfricaBirdquest, Letaka Safaris and Rockjumper run tours to Angola.

Trip reports

Conda Mountains, Cuanza Sul Province, Angola
Photo: Claire Spottiswoode

See the following two feature articles in the African Bird Club Bulletin, Volume 11.

Little-known African bird: Gabela Akalat, Angola’s long-neglected Gabelatrix by Michael Mills, Callan Cohen and Claire Spottiswoode.

Birding western Angola by Ian Sinclair, Claire Spottiswoode, Callan Cohen, Michael Mills, Rodney Cassidy, Pedro vaz Pinto and Peter Ryan.

Logistics

General: we would seriously advise people only to travel to Angola in an organised party which includes a local translator and a local guide.

Flights: there are twice weekly flights from Windhoek in Namibia to Luanda with connections from South Africa, Germany and the UK. Luanda is also served by direct flights from Portugal and Brazil. Flying from Windhoek to Luanda is expensive per kilometre when compared with the cost of the flight from Europe to Windhoek for example.

Visas: visas are necessary for all visitors and must be obtained in advance through your local embassy since it is not possible to obtain visas upon arrival in Angola. Our advice is to check with your local embassy and / or its website and get your visa early as it can be a complicated process.

Vaccinations: your local doctor should obviously be consulted about health matters and the range of inoculations which is advised. A Yellow Fever certificate is essential as proof of vaccination and this is checked thoroughly on arrival and before the immigration desk is reached.

Driving: you would be well advised to use a local person to drive the vehicle. The roads are metalled but crowded in Luanda and the main coast road south of Luanda is also metalled but the surface is badly worn in places and great care should be taken. Fuel supply points are limited outside of Luanda and even in Luanda, long queues can be seen at filling stations. It is advisable to take spare fuel cans for a long trip. The access to many of the areas mentioned in hotspots and elsewhere is along very rough tracks and a rugged and reliable 4WD vehicle with high ground clearance is essential.

Land mines: some areas of Angola were mined during the long running civil war and not all mines have yet been cleared. The areas mentioned in hotspots have tracks which are used by local villagers and you should only use well worn tracks. If you have any doubts, you should ask the local people, always use a guide and don’t stray from the beaten track on your own.

Currency: The local unit of currency is the Kwanza and the exchange rate in 2013 is US$1=100 Kwanza. US dollars are widely accepted throughout Angola although you may lose out on the change given for small purchases. On an organised tour paid in advance, it should not be necessary to change much, if any, money into the local currency.

Timing: Based on our experience in 2005, October is a good time to visit Angola for birding, although travel is easiest during the dry season from June to September. October is at the end of the dry season and the weather is not too hot. There was some cloud and light rain at times with sunny periods. Many of the roads and tracks mentioned in the hotspots section will be impassable in the wet season.

General Safety

Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but key points warrant repetition here: (1) be aware of the risk of malaria and 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 for too long, ensure you use sun-block, drink plenty of water and wear a hat; (4) be aware of the risk of AIDS; (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 or your own country’s embassy for the latest safety and travel information: US Travel and UK FCO.

Hotspots

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 17:35 -- abc_admin
Angola_birding_hotspots_map
Rio_Longa_Angola

Rio Longa from the Lodge, Angola

Image Credit: 
Claire Spottiswoode
Njelo_Mountain_Angola

N'jelo Mountain Angola - the home of the Angola Cave Chat Xenocopsychus ansorgei

Image Credit: 
John Caddick 2005

Quiçama National Park is situated in the north-western part of Angola, and the most northerly part of the Park is approximately 70 km south of the capital, Luanda. The Atlantic Ocean forms the Park’s long western border, while the perennial Cuanza and Longa rivers constitute the northern and southern borders respectively. The eastern border consists of a belt of dense, tall thicket. Quiçama covers an area of roughly 9,960 km2. The main coast road running south from Luanda towards Port Amboim runs through this National Park. The riparian forest and thicket support several Angolan endemics. Some endemics and near endemics as well as a good variety of waterbirds can be found along the Rio Longa near where the Luanda to Port Amboim road crosses the river approximately 220 km south of Luanda. The Rio Longa Lodge is located a few kilometres towards the coast from the road and access is by boat only from near the road bridge. Specials: the endemic Grey-striped Francolin Francolinus griseostriatus, Red-backed Mousebird Colius castanotus, small numbers of Red-crested Turaco Tauraco erythrolophus and White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons, as well as near endemic species such as Pale-olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus fulviventris and Bubbling Cisticola Cisticola bulliens. Further information about this Park can be found at Quicama.

Gabela and Conda areas: remnant forests along the west Angolan escarpment at some 900 m above sea level support populations of many of the endemic and near endemic species. The forests have been degraded through clearance for crops and slash and burn agriculture is still in evidence. The following areas are all close to the towns of Gabela and Conda where some of the best remaining forests can be found:

Gabela is reached by continuing southwards along the coast road from Quiçama. The town of Port Amboim is 66 km from the Rio Longa and is the place to stop for fuel and other supplies. After a further 54 km south from Port Amboim, a left turn leads to the town of Gabela, some 65 km east from the main coast road. You should note that the main coast road is metalled although the surface is worn and very bad in places whilst the road to Gabela is unsurfaced and extremely rough in places. There are a few areas which are worth stopping at on this route and a number of interesting species can be seen including European White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus, Black-bellied Bustard Eupodotis melanogaster, Angola Swallow Hirundo angolensis, Desert Cisticola Cisticola aridulus, Copper Sunbird Cinnyris cupreus and Vieillot’s Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus.

The area about 15 km before Gabela is reached near the junction of the road to Conda has rain forest with some areas of cultivation. This is very productive and it is well worth spending a day birding the forest tracks and Conda road. Specials:  Grey-striped Francolin Francolinus griseostriatus, Red-crested Turaco Tauraco erythrolophus, Great Blue Turaco Corythaeola cristata, Gabon Coucal Centropus anselli, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus, Yellow-throated Nicator Nicator vireo, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush Neocossyphus fraseri, Black-throated Apalis jacksoni and Buff-throated Apalis A. rufogularis, Green Crombec Sylvietta virens, Southern Hyliota Hyliota australis and Red-headed Bluebill Spermophaga ruficapilla. The Sunbird family is well represented with species such as Carmelite Chalcomitra fuliginosa, Green-headed Cyanomitra verticalis, Little Green Anthreptes seimundi, Superb Cinnyris superbus and Olive-bellied C. chloropygius.

Kumbira Forest is reached by travelling the 25 km from the junction of the Conda road to town of Conda itself. The habitat changes dramatically along this road to grassland and moorland. The start of the Kumbira Forest is a further 10 km from Conda on a very bad track which is not signposted. Camping is probably the best and perhaps the only option in and around the forest. The forest is much drier than that nearer Gabela and runs in roughly a north to south direction along the line of an escarpment forming what appears to be a valley floor. Tracks lead through the forest and are well used by the local villagers to reach coffee and banana plantations which intersperse areas of large trees, bushes and scrub. The best birding areas are unsurprisingly those with the dense understorey still intact. Specials: African Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus, Least Honeyguide Indicator exilis, Petit’s Cuckoo-Shrike Campephaga petiti, Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela, Pulitzer’s Longbill Macrosphenus pulitzeri, Rufous-vented Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone rufocinerea, the trio of Gabela Laniarius amboimensis, Monteiro’s Malacanotus monteiri and Perrin’s Bush-Shrikes Telophorus (viridis) viridis, Pale-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta (rubricata) landanae and Black-faced Canary Serinus capistratus.

N’jelo Mountain is the home of the Angola Cave-Chat Xenocopsychus ansorgei and is reached by walking through the dry forest habitat of the Kumbira Forest and climbing the mixed sandy and rocky face of the escarpment to an altitude at least 350 metres above the forest or 1,250 m above sea level. To find the Angola Cave-Chat, it is necessary to find a suitable vantage point with a good view over the escarpment. The nature of the terrain and the fact that only a single pair of birds have been found in several kilometres of escarpment make it essential that an experienced guide is used. Specials: Miombo Rock-Thrush Monticola angolensis, Damara Rockjumper Chaetops pycnopygius, Oustalet’s Cinnyris oustaleti and Montane Double-collared Sunbirds C. ludovicensis, and Dusky Twinspot Euschistospiza cinereovinacea. Black Swifts Apus sp. nest in caves in the escarpment. These appear different from African Black Swift Apus barbatus in that they have an all dark throat and a different call. Perhaps these are Fernando Po Swifts Apus (barbatus) sladeniae and they are certainly worthy of further investigation.

Bimbe is the nearest village to an area where several Gabela Helmet-Shrike Prionops gabela have been found recently. This area is to the west of Conda some 2 hours drive on a very bad track and at a much lower altitude than Conda. From this area, it is possible to reach the road from the coast to Gabela without returning via Conda. Specials: African Barred Owlet Glaucidium capense, Bohm’s Neafrapus boehmi and Mottled Spinetails Telacanthura ussheri, Black Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus aterrimus, Pale-olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus fulviventris and Gabela Helmet-Shrike Prionops gabela.

Species

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 17:32 -- abc_admin

Country checklist and status

You can download and print a checklist for Angola.

Angola has a list of over 900 species of which about 800 breed or are assumed to breed - (DEAN 2000). An up to date checklist in both English and Portuguese can be downloaded at Birds Angola.

Endemic species

Grey-striped Francolin

Francolinus griseostriatus
Swierstra's Francolin Francolinus swierstrai
Red-crested Turaco Tauraco erythrolophus
Red-backed Mousebird Colius castanotus

Gabela Akalat

Sheppardia gabela
Angola Cave-Chat Xenocopsychus ansorgei
Pulitzer's Longbill Macrosphenus pulitzeri
Angola Slaty Flycatcher

Melaenornis brunneus

Montane Double-collared Sunbird

Cinnyris ludovicensis
Braun’s Bush-Shrike Laniarius brauni
Gabela Bush-Shrike Laniarius amboimensis
Gabela Helmet-Shrike Prionops gabela
*Golden-backed Bishop Euplectes aureus

* introduced to São Tomé

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

Ruppell's Parrot Poicephalus rueppellii
Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis
Anchieta's Barbet Stactolaema anchietae
Angola Lark Mirafra angolensis
Benguela Long-billed Lark Certhilauda benguelensis
Gray's Lark

Ammomanes grayi

Brazza's Martin Phedina brazzae
Congo Sand Martin Riparia congica
Black-and-Rufous Swallow Hirundo nigrorufa
Grimwood's Longclaw Macronyx grimwoodi
Pale-olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus fulviventris

White-headed Robin-Chat

Cossypha heinrichi
Herero Chat Namibornis herero
Black-necked Eremomela Eremomela atricollis
Laura's Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus laurae
Bubbling Cisticola Cisticola bulliens
Slender-tailed Cisticola Cisticola melanurus
White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons
Margaret's Batis Batis margaritae
Black-faced Babbler Turdoides melanops
Damara Rockjumper Chaetops pycnopygius
Bannerman's Sunbird Cyanomitra bannermani

Bocage's Sunbird

Nectarinia bocagii
Monteiro’s Bush-Shrike Malacanotus monteiri
Black-chinned Weaver Ploceus nigrimentus
Bocage's Weaver Ploceus temporalis
Bar-winged Weaver Ploceus angolensis
Cinderella Waxbill Estrilda thomensis

Threatened species

African Penguin Spheniscus demersus Vulnerable
Cape Gannet Sula capensis Vulnerable
Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula Vulnerable
Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae Vulnerable
Lappet-faced Vulture* Torgos tracheliotus Vulnerable
Lesser Kestrel* Falco naumanni Vulnerable
Swierstra's Francolin* Francolinus swierstrai Vulnerable
Wattled Crane* Bugeranus carunculatus Vulnerable
Corncrake Crex crex Vulnerable
Braun’s Bush-Shrike* Laniarius brauni Endangered
Gabela Bush-Shrike* Laniarius amboimensis Endangered
Gabela Helmet-Shrike* Prionops gabela Endangered
Gabela Akalat* Sheppardia gabela Endangered
White-headed Robin-Chat* Cossypha heinrichi Vulnerable
Pulitzer's Longbill* Macrosphenus pulitzeri Endangered
Loango Weaver*

Ploceus subpersonatus

Vulnerable

* species occur regularly in Angola. 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.

Important Bird Areas

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 17:28 -- abc_admin
Kumbira_Forest_Angola

Kumbira Forest Angola, home of the Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela, Gabela Bush-Shrike Laniarius amboimensis and Pulitzer’s Longbill Macrosphenus pulitzeri

Image Credit: 
John Caddick 2005

A number of species have been recorded only in Cabinda or in the gallery forests along major rivers draining the Congo basin in the north-east. Similarly, a number of species occur only in the arid south-west. The coastal sand-spits south of Luanda (Mussulo Bay) and the saltpans and wetlands south of Namibe town may be of international importance, as they provide stop-over places for migrant waders moving down the west coast of Africa.

The forests and surroundings at Gabela are important on an international scale. The richest array of local endemic bird species in Angola occurs here, with three species Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela, Gabela Bush-Shrike Laniarius amboimensis and Gabela Helmet-Shrike Prionops gabela confined to the area, while the little known Pulitzer’s Longbill Macrosphenus pulitzeri also occurs in the Gabela forest area.

Angola supports one of only two isolated populations of White-throated Francolin Francolinus albogularis south of the Equator, the most southerly population of Egyptian Plover Pluvianus aegyptius and some of the remaining southern African population of Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus.

23 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified in Angola covering 73,850 km2, equivalent to 5.9% of the land-surface area of the country. The list of IBAs is as follows: Bicuari NP; Caconda; Calandula; Camabatela; Cameia NP; Cangandala NP; Chongoroi; Cuango; Cuelei; Cutato; Gabela; Iona NP; Lago Carumbo; Luachimo river (Chitato); Luando Strict Nature Reserve; Luia; Maiombe; Mombolo (Missao da Namba); Mount Moco; Mupa NP; Mussulo; Quicama; Tundavala.

NP=National Park.

BirdLife International has also designated 4 Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs): Western Angola; secondary areas of Gabon-Cabinda; Namibian Escarpment; West Zaire and North Angola forests.

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

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