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Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:09 -- abc_admin

The following largely unconfirmed records from the Bulletin of the African Bird Club and are for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

In September 2015 the following were recorded. A Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens in full breeding plumage was observed on a northern branch of Ouadi Rimé on 19th. In the same area, two groups of 100 and 400 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were encountered, as well as similar numbers of Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumenifer and up to 750 Knob-billed Ducks Sarkidiornis melanotos. Eight Marbled Teals Marmaronetta angustirostris were present with other waterfowl on Ouadi Kharma on 17th. At least four European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus, including an immature, were seen along Ouadi Kharma on 16th–17th. An immature Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo was resting in the seasonal wetlands of Ouadi Haddat on 14th, and two adults flew over Ouadi Kharma on 17th. Also there on 17th were two Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni, whilst a Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris at Ouadi Haddat was several hundreds of km north-east of its known range. Seldom-recorded migrant waders at Ouadi Kharma included two Common Snipes Gallinago gallinago, two Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, a Dunlin C. alpina (showing remnants of summer plumage) and a Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica. Single Wrynecks Jynx torquilla were encountered on three different days in the Ouadi Rimé–Ouadi Achim area. A Didric Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius displayed by intermittently extending one wing forward while singing vigorously from a treetop. Two martins within a mixed flock of hirundines and swifts above the town of Biltine on 8th were identified as Pale Crag Martins Ptyonoprogne obsoleta. Icterine Warblers Hippolais icterina were encountered more often than usual in the Chadian Sahel, with daily sightings of up to three together between 12th and 17th. Ficedula flycatchers were also present in unusually large numbers in isolated Balanites trees and thickets, and it appeared that many, possibly the majority, were Collared Flycatchers F. albicollis. A small colony of Chestnut Sparrows Passer eminibey was recorded for the first time in Chad. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

In February - June 2015, the following four species were recorded in Chad for the first time. A Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli was observed in Zakouma National Park (=NP) in February–March. A Desert Warbler Sylvia nana / S. deserti was found at Ennedi, in the north-east, on 8 February, with another north of Mao, near the Niger border, on the edge of the Sahara, on 17 February; it remains unresolved whether these were African or Asian Desert Warblers, or one of each. An African Black Swift Apus barbatus was photographed hawking at low level for 30 minutes on the south side of Ouadi Kharma, in the central grasslands, on 29 May. Finally, a Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea, showing undeveloped wattles, was calling from a treetop along the Chari River, south of N’Djamena, on 7 June.

Shrikes photographed at Zakouma NP in March - April showed features of Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus rather than Red-tailed. Black-headed Gonolek Laniarius erythrogaster, found between Lac Fitri and Mongo in May, represents a northward range extension. A Bruce’s Green Pigeon Treron waalia in a fig (Ficus) tree between Mangalme and Oum Hadjer in May was also relatively far north. The rhythmic, non-churring, nightjar song attributed to Golden Nightjar Caprimulgus eximius was heard near dusk and dawn around Mao in February and again, though more briefly, in southern Ouadi Rimé- Ouadi Achim at the end of the dry season in May.

Additional sightings from Zakouma NP include the following. A Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus was seen on 14 February and a Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga on 19th; there are just two previous reports from Chad of the latter, in January 1971 and winter 1996. The little-reported Black-breasted Barbet Pogonornis rolleti was frequently observed in February - May. Flocks of Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola were present in March and a pair at a nest containing two eggs suggests south-eastern Chad is part of their regular range. Black Crowned Crane Balearica pavonina and Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus gathered in exceptionally large numbers, with 1000s of both species present in March. Adult Saddle-billed Storks Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis with immatures in March suggest breeding in the area. Also in March, a pair of Buff-bellied Warblers Phyllolais pulchella, photographed in Acacia at Tinga Camp, may indicate that the species is resident in the south, whilst a Singing Cisticola Cisticola cantans was singing at the park headquarters. Full details on the birds of Zakouma NP will be published in a forthcoming issue of this Bulletin.

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

Three field surveys by the Sahara Conservation Fund and the Zoological Society of London were carried out in Chad in September 2013, January–February 2014 and September 2014. Details of the 259 species observed during these surveys have been posted on the West African Bird Database. Unusual records include c.20–30 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus on top of the isolated volcanic plug at Abtouyour, a site which also produces regular sightings of Fox Kestrel Falco alopex. In September 2014, Pink-backed Pelicans P. rufescens were present with 1000s of waterfowl along the flooded waterways of Ouadi Rimé between Ati and Abéché, where a breeding colony containing >30 nests of African Spoonbills Platalea alba and 1000s of Abdim’s Storks Ciconia abdimii was located; White Storks C. ciconia and Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumenifer were also present. A pair of Hottentot Teals Spatula hottentota was photographed in the Bahr al Ghazal in September 2013. Among the many wetland birds along Ouadis Kharma and Achim in the northern Ouadi Rimé–Ouadi Achim Game Reserve in September 2014, the more unusual, indicating the importance of these seasonal wetlands, included at least three Marbled Teals Marmaronetta angustirostris, groups of Kittlitz’s Plovers Charadrius pecuarius and White-fronted Plovers C. marginatus, two Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata, two Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 32 Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus, a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres, a Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus, and one or two pairs of Black Crowned Cranes Balearica pavonina. Regular sightings of Clapperton’s Francolin Pternistis clappertoni and Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris in the same wadis attest to their importance for terrestrial species as well. These unique but fragile woodlands are increasingly threatened by pastoral development, settlements and clearance for agriculture.

In both September visits Beaudouin’s Snake Eagles Circaetus beaudouini were noted regularly up to 14º45’N, where they occur alongside Palearctic Short-toed Snake Eagles C. gallicus. As in previous dry-season surveys, only the latter were seen at these latitudes in January–February. Two Brown Snake Eagles C. cinereus were unusually far north along Ouadi Kharma in September 2013, as were single immature African Hawk Eagles Aquila spilogaster in September 2013 and 2014; an older bird was also observed hunting around a colony of >100 nests of Black-headed Herons Ardea melanocephala in the Bahr al Ghazal. A Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo flew over the Bahr al Ghazal on 22 September 2013. Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica were passing regularly along the Chari River in Chad’s capital N’Djaména in January 2014. The first records of Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus were made in Ouadi Kharma during both September visits; although not found there in previous surveys, the species was heard calling regularly at night and loose groups of up to 15 were observed. A pair of Temminck’s Coursers Cursorius temmincki was recorded for the first time in Ouadi Achim in September 2014. A group of five Short-eared Owls Asio flammeus was sheltering from a dust storm in grassland northwest of Salal in February 2014. In September 2013, a Greyish Eagle Owl Bubo (africanus) cinerascens was observed within a few kilometres of a pair of Desert Eagle Owls B. ascalaphus in Ouadi Rimé–Ouadi Achim Game Reserve, where Golden Nightjars Caprimulgus eximius were flushed several times by day during both wet-season visits; new crepuscular and nocturnal recordings of a rythmic pa-chuk, pa-chuk, ... call made at several locations in the reserve, which is believed to be from Golden Nightjar have produced sonograms provisionally indistinguishable from those of Red-necked Nightar C. ruficollis, a species not yet listed for Chad. Also in the reserve, several mixed groups of swifts included a few White-rumped Swifts Apus caffer in September 2013. Tens of Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus and hundreds of Hoopoes Upupa epops were present along Ouadi Kharma in September 2014. Also there, a Rufous-crowned Roller Coracias naevius represented the northernmost record to date.

A Greater Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes was on its nest beside a tussock of dry grass just east of the Bahr al Ghazal on 20 September 2013. Small numbers of Red-rumped Swallows Cecropis daurica were noted at Ouadi Kharma in September 2014; although no features distinguishing them from the resident African form domicella were seen, the northerly location suggested Palearctic migrants. Red-pate Cisticolas Cisticola ruficeps were frequently observed in westcentral Chad, in breeding and non-breeding plumages, in both seasons. An Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis was present at Noukou on 31 January 2014. House Sparrows Passer domesticus including bright, white-cheeked males, perhaps suggestive of the eastern race rufidorsalis are routinely observed at nearly all towns and settlements, and even some remote borehole sites, throughout central Chad. At least two breeding male Red-headed Queleas Quelea erythrops were present unusually far north near Mongo in September 2013. A Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting Fringillaria (Emberiza) tahapisi attracted to a waterhole near Goz al Fal in the same month was very far from rocky outcrops. Outside the reporting period above, a Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus was photographed in the south-west of Ouadi Rimé–Ouadi Achim Game Reserve in September 2011.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

In August 2010, following good rains, a survey of the Manga and Eguey regions north of Massakory in west-central Chad recorded more than 141 Rüppell's Vultures Gyps rueppellii, 17+ White-backed Vultures G. africanus, 33 Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus and 29 Hooded Vultures Necrosyrtes monachus. In the Bahr al Ghazal sectors more than 2,000 Abdim's Storks Ciconia abdimii and 150 Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumeniferus, but only one Black Crowned Crane Balearica pavonina were observed over two days. Raptor sightings in this sector included 2,800+ Black Kites Milvus migrans (including yellow- and dark-billed birds), three Brown Snake Eagles Circaetus cinereus, several Gabar Goshawks Micronisus gabar (mostly dark morphs), 288 Grasshopper Buzzards Butastur rufipennis (the majority immatures), 12 Red-necked Buzzards Buteo auguralis, two Tawny Eagles Aquila rapax, one African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus spilogaster, two Fox Kestrels Falco alopex, one Red-necked Falcon F. chicquera and nine Lanner Falcons F. biarmicus. In the Manga a Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, possibly a first record for Chad, was seen killing a Nubian Bustard Neotis nuba on the wing. Golden Nightjars Caprimulgus eximius were encountered six times, including a pair roosting under a grass tussock, adults with recently fledged young and a flushed bird instantly (but unsuccessfully) attacked by a Lanner Falcon. Plain Nightjars C. inornatus (at least three together, including grey and cinnamon morphs) were encountered once, and Long-tailed Nightjars C. climacurus were found in the more southerly grasslands.

Four White Storks Ciconia ciconia were at temporary desert pools north of 16°05'N with small groups of waders including Ruff Philomachus pugnax, Wood Sandpipers Tringa glareola and Green Sandpipers T. ochropus. An immature Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, Subalpine Warblers Sylvia cantillans and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida were seen battling stiff winds in the same area. Black-crowned Sparrow Larks Eremopterix nigriceps were abundant in northern areas and overlapped with Chestnut-backed Sparrow Larks E. leucotis over a wide zone around 14°N. Heuglin's Wheatears Oenanthe heuglini were frequent in the grasslands between Lake Chad and the Manga. At the small desert settlement of Salal, in the upper Bahr Al Ghazal, House Sparrows Passer domesticus, first noted here in 2001, were again seen in the company of Desert Sparrows P. simplex.

In January - February 2011 a survey route from N'Djamena to the Reserve de Faune de l'Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim (RFOROA) in central Chad recorded Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus and Marabou Storks at a known nesting site atop the vertical-sided inselberg of Abu Tuyoor, west of Mongo. Several Short-toed Snake Eagles Circaetus gallicus, Bateleurs Terathopius ecaudatus and Fox Kestrels were also encountered at this latitude. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata, Common Teal A. crecca, Garganey A. querquedula and Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus were present on seasonal pools at the extreme south of the Bahr Al Ghazal. In the RFOROA, active nests of Rüppell's Vultures (four) and Lappet-faced Vultures (two) were observed. Also there were flocks of African Swallow-tailed Kites Chelictinia riocourii (frequent), Pallid Harriers Circus macrourus (frequent), Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus, several groups of Lesser Kestrels F. naumanni, several Lanner Falcons and a single Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus. A pair of Common (=Kurrichane) Buttonquails Turnix sylvaticus was also noted, whilst Common Quails Coturnix coturnix were frequent. A Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus and a Pharaoh Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus were photographed in the reserve. A rhythmic and sustained k-tok, k-tok, k-tok call (precise, measured and mechanical, resembling a small distant water pump) coming from bare ground beside the Ouadi Kharma shortly after sunset proved to be uttered by a Golden Nightjar. A poor photograph was taken, and the large white primary patch and white tail corners were seen in flight. This species is sometimes thought to be a 'churring' nightjar, although the call has also once been transcribed as 'koro'. In the grasslands, flocks of Greater Short-toed Larks Calandrella brachydactyla were abundant, whilst displaying Dunn's Larks Eremalauda dunni were occasionally seen.

Species observed in the woodlands and scrub of the ouadis Achim and Kharma included Clapperton's Francolin Francolinus clappertoni, Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris, European Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus, Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli (whether Eastern / Western is unknown), Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis (Eastern / Western not distinguished) and Rüppell's Warbler S. rueppellii. Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus was found in large Acacia trees at Arada; other small migrants included Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica, Northern Wheatear O. oenanthe, Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis and Lesser Whitethroat S. curruca. A small group of Kordofan Rufous Sparrows Passer cordofanicus was observed west of Abéché, while House Sparrows (with very white cheeks) were present in all of the towns along the eastern boundary of the RFOROA, including Biltine and Arada, with the most north-easterly at Kalla Id, just south-west of 16°N 21°E. A single Green-winged Pytilia Pytilia melba found at a cattle watering point east of N'Djamena suggests that the frequently seen male paradise whydahs in breeding plumage in the area might be Sahel Paradise Whydahs Vidua orientalis.

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A not so recent, but nevertheless noteworthy record is that of a House Sparrow Passer domesticus photographed near Am-Timan, a small town c.60 km east of Zakouma National Park, in the south-east (c.11°02'N 20°17'E) on 6 April 2004; this appears to be a new locality for the species.

The following records are from the Lower Chari area, near Lake Chad, in January 2006. A Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides was seen hunting Red-billed Queleas Quelea quelea, with Montagu’s Circus pygargus and Pallid Harriers C. macrourus, on 15th; there is only one other, old record from Chad (Grote, H. 1928. J. Orn. 76: 739–783).

Breeding records of Black-headed Lapwing Vanellus tectus include copulation on 14th, a pair with a fledgling on 27th, and seven nests containing eggs (two with two eggs, five with three) on 17th, 27th and 30th. Less than 10% of the birds were breeding. These data confirm that breeding commences locally in December at the latest, and not in March, as stated in The Birds of Africa. Although this species is generally reported to be monogamous, the majority of birds were not in pairs but in trios, a phenomenon not mentioned in the literature for any lapwing.

Only seven European Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur were recorded, at c.12°45’N 14°55’E, on 30th, which confirms the relative rarity of wintering individuals north of 12°N. Approximately 40 years ago European Turtle Dove and Black-billed Wood Dove T. abyssinicus were considered common in the N’Djaména area, which is no longer the case, whereas the previously uncommon Laughing Dove S. senegalensis is now conspicuously commoner than the previous two species. Two groups of Wattled Starlings Creatophora cinerea, totalling over 100 birds, were seen foraging on dry mud around water holes on 13–14th, at 12°24’N 15°00’E and c.10 km to the south; these appear to constitute the first records of this species for Chad.

A birding trip to Zakouma National Park, in the south-east of this little-visited country, produced c.130 bird species. Ostrich Struthio camelus was found to be still relatively common and Black Crowned Crane Balearica pavonina was abundant. Other species recorded included Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus (common), Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs, a group of Fulvous Babblers Turdoides fulva near Tinga Camp (this location would represent a southern range extension), and Neumann's Starling Onychognathus neumanni near Ibir.

Four Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula were seen on the Logone floodplain on 23 January 2001; there are few records of this species in Chad. Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina appeared to be very common at the same site.

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