Working for birds in Africa

Comoros

News

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:14 -- abc_admin
Frances_Sparrowhawk_Comoros

Frances's Sparrowhawk Accipiter francesiae, Comoros

Image Credit: 
Claire Spottiswoode

The following records are from Louette 2004: an incredibly large number of 455 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis was seen on Dziani Boundouni Lake, Mohéli (1993); 80 pairs of Masked Booby Sula dactylatra were at Chaco island, Mohéli (1997); Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti is now almost annual on Mayotte; Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae is now regularly observed on Mayotte; Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei on Anjouan is new for the archipelago (1995); Mohéli Scops Owl Otus moheliensis was a newly discovered species on Mohéli (1995); Mascarene Martin Phedina borbonica was observed twice on Mayotte (1997 and 1998).

The following records are for 1997 from the Bulletin of the African Bird Club. An expedition to Anjouan from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK in August and September 1995 produced a number of interesting records including a new species for the Comoros: Bat Hawk Macheiramphus alcinus (one at Hombo on 14 August). A male Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei was calling in the early hours of 20 and 24 August near Lake Dzialandze. A grebe showing features of Madagascar Grebe Tachybaptus pelzelnii was seen in the company of Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis on Lake Dzialandze between 20 and 28 August; the former species is sedentary and confined to Madagascar but it readily hybridizes with the more migratory Little Grebe T. ruficollis. At sea, several observations of Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor were made: a female off Domoni on 31 August, 12 at the same place on 3 September, and a pair off Bimbini and another in Mutsamudu Bay on 4 September.

Three individuals of the locally rare Frances's Sparrowhawk Accipiter francesiae were seen: an adult and immature male in Oitmutsamudu valley on 26 August and an adult male near Col de Patsi on 3 September. A flock of 20+ Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii were on Gallowa beach on 7 September. The records of a single Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata that flew over Mutsamudu on 2 September and of five Sanderlings Calidris alba on Gallowa beach on 7 September appear to be the first records for the island. An adult Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus in breeding dress was also on Gallowa beach on 7 September. Over 80 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus were seen at sea off Domini, a further 30 off Mutsamudu on 3 September and 30+ off Bimbini the next day; although the presence of noddies around the islands had been established, these appear to be the first definite records (sightings of the species at sea on 9 November 1995 were reported in ABC Bulletin 3(1) p 60). In total, 18 Anjouan Scops Owls Otus capnodes were heard calling, of which one was seen, at the following localities: primary forest around Lake Dzialandze (up to six between 20 and 23 August), Houngouni (two on 25 August), Oimutsamudu valley (four on 26 August) and Col de Patsi (six, date unclear). It was estimated that another 30 individuals may still occur on the island. A flock of 20 African Black Swifts Apus barbatus was seen at Col de Patsi on 27 August where one bird was also trapped; the species was also recorded from Domoni (several on 31 August and 3 September) and Sima (six on 4 September).

The following records are for 1995 from the Bulletin of the African Bird Club. A visit to the islands in November produced a number of interesting records including two Wilson's Storm-petrels Oceanites oceanicus between Mohéli and Grand Comore on 9 November (only the second record), several Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae on Moroni, Grand Comore, Mohéli and at Lac Dzialandze on 13 and 14 November, a Little Stint Calidris minuta on Mayotte on 15 November (fifth record), 500+ Bridled Terns Sterna anaethetus were seen between Mohéli and Grand Comore on 9 November and c20 Brown Noddies Anous stolidus on the same crossing may be the first definite records for the islands. Two Anjouan Scops Owls Otus capnodes of different colour phases were observed at night on 12 November above Lac Dzialandze. Several other individuals were heard calling at the same site. A pair of Grand Comoro Drongo Dicrurus fuscipennis were observed feeding two small young in a nest at 930 m at Kourani on 11 November. A Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica at Fomboni, Mohéli on 8 November appears to be the fifth record for Comoros.

References

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:52 -- abc_admin

HORNBUCKLE, J. (1997) Recent observations of birds in the Comoros. ABC Bulletin 4(1) pp 43-45.

LAFONTAINE, R.M. and MOULAERT, N. Une nouvelle espèce de petit-duc (Otus, Aves) aux Comores: taxonomie et statut de conservation. ABC Bulletin 6(1) pp 61-65.

LOUETTE M., ABDÉRÉMANE H., YAHAYA I. & MEIRTE D. (2008) Atlas des oiseaux nicheurs de la Grande Comore, de Mohéli et d'Anjouan. Mus. Roy. Afr. Centr. 294. ISBN : 978-9-0747-5237-4.

LOUETTE, M. (2004) Oiseaux. in: LOUETTE, M., MEIRTE, D. & JOCQUE R. (eds). La faune terrestre de l'archipel des Comores. Studies in Afrotropical Zoology (MRAC, Tervuren). 293 pp 1-456. ISBN : 90-75894-63-5.

This is an update of the 2 following publications.

LOUETTE, M. (1988) Les Oiseaux des Comores. Annls. Mus. r. afr. Centrale (Zool)., 255 pp 1-192. A detailed avifauna of these Indian Ocean islands, with chapters on climate, geography and habitats, and details of status, taxonomy and description for all species. Text in French, with an English summary. 192 pages, 8 col photos, 27 b/w photos, 33 figs & maps, line illus.

LOUETTE, M. (1999) Oiseaux. in LOUETTE, M. (Ed). La faune terrestre de Mayotte. Annls. Mus. Roy. Afr. Centr. 284 pp 60-113.

LOUETTE, M., MEIRTE, D. & JOCQUE R. (eds). (2004) La faune terrestre de l'archipel des Comores. Studies in Afrotropical Zoology (MRAC, Tervuren). 293 pp 1-456.

SAFFORD, R.J. Comoros pp 185 - 190 and Mayotte pp 597 - 601 in 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).

WHITE, R. (2011) First record of Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni for the Comoros. ABC Bulletin 18(1) pp 79-80.

Contacts

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:52 -- abc_admin

African Bird Club representative

Michel Louette  michel.louette@telenet.be

Bird recorder and checklist compiler

Dr Michel Louette

michel.louette@telenet.be

Clubs

A. Associations for the study and protection of the fauna of the Union of the Comoros.

Management Committee of the Marine Park of Moheli. The Marine Park of Mohéli was inaugurated officially on 17th October 2002 with the aim to be a sanctuary for biodiversity, an area co-managed with the local communities and a tool for conserving the environment in service of the long-term use of the marine resources. The Management Committee of the Marine Park of Mohéli was created with 16 people of whom about 10 come from the neighbouring communities.

Contact: Parc Marin de Mohéli Nioumachoua. Tél. (269) 72 66 43. E-mail pmm@snpt.km

The ULANGA Associations The Ulanga (Nature) Associations are a relatively recent movement in the Comoros. The objective is to make the inhabitants of a locality aware of hygiene problems and the need for cleanliness. In 1991, the association was created in Grand Comore with the support of the Canadian Centre for International Studies and Co-operation and volunteers from the Peace Corps. Its activities focused on awareness of the environment by organising clean-up days, tree planting and domestic waste collection. Often, these associations are created spontaneously within the community through the initiative of a few young people who want to look after their natural resources, particularly where public authorities are not taking coherent and lasting measures in order to protect the environment. By their dynamism and dedication, these Ulanga associations remain powerful vehicles for environmental information, education and communication with the population.

Contact: there is one committee in every village on each island.

Action Comoros is a non-governmental organisation based in Anjouan and created in 1992 for the conservation of Livingstone's Flying Fox and in the long-term management of its forest habitat. The objective is to protect, study the ecology and establish an inventory of rare fruit bats. After the last count by foreign researchers, it became evident that the best way in which to monitor the bat population was through local participation. This programme is successful and recent estimates report 1,200 bats in 20 dormitories. Action Comoros has undertaken work to instruct and train those monitoring the dormitories. The education programme uses Livingstone's Flying Fox as a star species for its threatened forest habitat and stresses the interdependence between flying foxes, forests and people. The outcome includes fund-raising for conservation work; scientific publications; conferences; and information for anyone who is interested in research on this fruit-bat and its forest habitat.

Contacts: Action Comoros - International, The Old Rectory, Stansfield, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8LT, United Kingdom. Email: will.trewhella@nottingham.ac.uk

Mohammed F.E. Moutui, Action Comoros, antenne Anjouan, B.P. 279, Mutsamudu, Anjouan

Tel. (269) 71 02 54; fax: (269) 71 02 52. Email: action_comores@ifrance.com

AIDE The Association for Intervention for Development and the Environment is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1997. It is also a research department and a travel agency. Its objectives are to develop technical ability nationally in environmental matters; to contribute to broadening knowledge of ecosystems; to actively participate in actions taken in order to protect and develop the natural inheritance; to promote the exchange of ideas and experience between those involved in development at the national and sub-regional levels.

Contact: AIDE, B.P. 1292 Moroni Z.I. Mavouna , Grand Comore. Tél./Fax (269) 73 07 57

E-mails: aide_km@yahoo.fr and aide.comores@caramail.com

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COMOFLORA is a non-governmental organisation, created in 1996 in Grand Comore with the objectives to save and protect the environment, save and protect flora and land fauna generally and develop ecotourist trails.

Union of Young Tourism Technicians in the Comoros (UJTTTC) was set up in 2002 in Moroni as an Association with tourism defined as its main objective: to make the population aware of the importance of tourism to the economy of the country; to involve all economic players linked with the economic development of the country; to make the country a unique and unrivalled destination.

MWEZINET the centre of information and co-operation based in La Réunion, has a web site and a "House of Comoros" planned in France. Its objectives and activities are mostly connected with exhibitions and ecotourism. An ecotourist train with a path for discovering flora and fauna is planned.

Contact: http://www.comores-online.com/ and E-mail: mwezinet@comores-online.com

B. Associations for the study and protection of fauna in Mayotte.

ARCHE has an objective to encourage the population to get involved in the protection of its environment and to respect both animal and plant life. It has set up an emergency centre for the care of world life as well as a convalescent centre; it organises guided field visits in agreement with the relevant services, stressing future skills linked to the environment and finally, to develop a series of educational activities on the theme of protecting nature.

Contact : Dr. Vét. L. Doméon, secrétaire, BP. 57 - 97605 Passamainty, Mayotte.

Naturalists, Historians and Geographers of Mayotte has an objective to put together people interested in flora, fauna, the natural environment, geology, geography, ethnography and the history of Mayotte. The association publishes a bulletin by means of which it would like to develop communication between interested parties.

Contact: Naturalistes de Mayotte, BP. 59 - 97640 Sada, Mayotte. Tél. (269) 62 29 48.

E-mail: naturalistes.mayotte@wanadoo.fr

Conservation

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:51 -- abc_admin

Population growth has impacted habitat and species adversely and there are a significant number of threats. The environmental problems are similar to many other parts of Africa and it is worth documenting these in some detail (see references  - complete text in Louette et al 2004).

The surface area of the forest is liable to become insufficient to support the populations of certain animals

It is essential to save mangrove swamps and forest cover on the massifs, not only in order to avoid erosion and maintain water resources but also to guarantee ecological equilibrium and hence the survival of many species. By plotting the terrain from aerial photographs, forest fragmentation can be seen. At present, even on Grande Comore where the state of natural forest is better, the primary natural forest is localised over even smaller areas on the most inaccessible slopes of Karthala. The rapid degradation and deforestation directly threatens their inhabitants. As an example: big trees supply crevices for the nests of certain species of birds, but also for bats and insects which live in caves. On the other hand, zones which have been heavily influenced by man, such as area of coconut palms, contain a much more ordinary fauna. The dryness of the rivers at present is probably linked to the disappearance of the forest. This is of paramount importance for the well-being of certain local animals.

The quality of vegetation is regressing

Food-producing cultivation and exploitation of the forest hinders the regeneration of the native forest. The conservation of La Grille forest poses more serious problems as it is accessed easily by a tarred road. Near Boboli and Niombadjour on Grand Comore where sawmills were in use some years ago, the forest has almost entirely disappeared and has been replaced by agriculture and by invading plants. The result is a very ordinary vegetation which is uninteresting for fauna. There are other threats and pressures such as deliberate fires, particularly on the summit of Karthala. Campaigns about the dangers of bush fires in the localities at the edge of the forests have had only a limited success. Reforestation programmes are increasing the area of forest and can fulfil the need for timber and thus lessen the pressure of exploitation of natural forests, but they are inferior for the preservation of natural biodiversity. There is, moreover, not much reforestation in the Comoros

Lakes are deteriorating

If the preservation of forests is a priority, lakes are also important as there are few of them. A good example is Lake Dziani Boundouni on Mohéli which is very dry. The water level continues to drop noticeably and the quality is compromised. Unsustainable exploitation including overgrazing, land clearance especially on the slopes causing intense erosion, deforestation of the inflowing pools is putting pressure on the areas. These pressures can seriously harm the lake and in the same way, Lake Dziani Karehani at Mayotte is in danger of drying out (see Louette 1999). The Lakes of Anjouan (Dzialandze and Dzialatsounga) suffer from the same problems.

Exotic species are introduced

The introduction of new species can totally change the ecosystem of the island and it is probable that the loss of the majority of species dates from long ago when man arrived accompanied by domestic animals, rats, mice, insects, cockroaches and invasive plants such as golden alyssum. Even recent introductions made by man can be dangerous: mongoose, House Sparrow Passer domesticus, Common Myna Acridotheres tristis (nowadays the commonest bird in the archipelago), guppy or even the giant mollusc Achatina fulica. Globalisation and international transport genuinely increase the risks of a new wave of introductions.

The ecosystems of the Comoros, both by their diversity and their abundance, represent a unique natural heritage whose conservation is of paramount importance both now and for generations to come. The value of the faunal heritage of the Comoros is as important as the cultural inheritance and requires urgent attention. The interest in the fauna of the Comoros rests particularly in endemic animals linked with the original vegetation. The Comoros still possess well-preserved species which are of prime importance for the conservation of the environment and for science. The creation of nature reserves to protect the national heritage has become an absolute priority. In order to limit and then eliminate exploitation, these reserves will have to bring alternative sources of income to the human population living in the zone e.g. forest wardens and guides for the ecotourism circuits.

Note that at present, the UDC has only one designated National Park (Parc Marin de Mohéli); the Karthala forest park is still under debate. Mayotte has a series of Réserves Forestières (see map in Louette 1999). There are few areas that remain relatively undisturbed: upper levels of Mount Karthala; some islets near Mohéli such as M'Chaco.

Books & Sounds

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:48 -- abc_admin

Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands covers Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles and The Comoros Islands.

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 the Indian Ocean Islands, Ian Sinclair & Oliver Langrand, New Holland, Softback.
Book description: 

The first field guide to illustrate all the 359 regularly encountered species of Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, the Seychelles, the Comoros and Mayotte, many of them endemic to the area. Colour plates by leading bird artists; Norman Arlott, Hilary Burn, Peter Hayman and Ian Lewington. 359 distribution maps. 184 pages.

Media type: 
Book image: 
Book info: 
Photographic Guide to Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands, Ian Sinclair, Oliver Langrand & Fanja Andriamialisoa, New Holland, Softback.
Book description: 

A selection of the most commonly encountered and striking bird species of Madagascar, the Seychelles, the Comoros, Mayotte and the Mascarenes. The species accounts cover the bird's appearance, basic behaviour, preferred habitats, and geographical distribution. Each species account enjoys a full page which features a colour photo, distribution map, and text in English and French. 128 pages.

Media type: 
Book image: 
Book info: 
Sound Guide to the Breeding Birds of the Comoros and Mayotte, Marc Herremans, CD.
Book description: 

Voices of 52 breeding species from the four main islands in the Comoros archipelago; Grande-Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan and Mayotte. Announced, briefly, in French. The booklet gives detailed data of all the recordings, both in French and English.

Media type: 
Book image: 
Book info: 
Bird Sounds of Madagascar, Mayotte, Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius, Pierre Huguet and Claude Chappuis, Société d'Études Ornithologiques de France, 4 CD set
Book description: 

Voices of 327 bird species. All recordings are extensively documented in the 115-page booklet (in French and English).

Media type: 
Book info: 
Atlas des oiseaux nicheurs de la Grande Comore, de Mohéli et d'Anjouan (note that Mayotte is not included) (+ CD Guide sonore des Oiseaux nicheurs des Comores, Marc Herremans, 2001. Répertoires complets) (Fr)
Book description: 

Authors : LOUETTE M., ABDÉRÉMANE H., YAHAYA I. & MEIRTE D.   

Publication date : 2008

Series : ZOOLOGICAL SCIENCES     Sub-series : ANNALS, series in -8°

Discipline : Zoology

Media : Printed     Volume : 294

ISBN : 978-9-0747-5237-4  

Reference : 240 pp., 83 fig., 45 col. phot., 11 tab., 22 draw.  

35,00 €

Book info: 
La faune terrestre de l'archipel des Comores (Fr)
Book description: 

Authors : LOUETTE M., MEIRTE D. & JOCQUÉ R.   

Publication date : 2004 (new edition 2009)

Series : ZOOLOGICAL SCIENCES     Sub-series : Studies in Afrotropical zoology (formerly Annals)

Discipline : Bibliography

Media : Printed     Volume : 293

ISBN : 90-75894-63-5    ISSN : 1780-1311  

Reference : 458 pp., 267 col. phot., 2 b/w phot., 14 map., 28 fig., 1 graf., 9 tab.   

59,00 €

See: http://www.africamuseum.be/publications/search/results

Visiting

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:38 -- abc_admin

Birding tours

Birdquest organise birding tours to Comoros.

Guides

The Mohéli Marine Park has its own ecoguides. In Moroni there are guides that are helpful for climbing Mount Karthala.

Furher information was received from a correspondent in 2015: "May I suggest to mention the name of Omar Toiouil Hassani. He not only organized my trip but was also my guide on Grand Comore. He knows the places to go to and the birds very well and this including the sounds. Both Phil Gregory and co. in 2014 as well as Markus Lagerqvist in 2012 made use of his services. For independent birders he is the person to contact in my opinion (he speaks both English and French) and below are his contact details:

Omar Toiouil HASSANI  Managing Director:   +269 333 3829  Tel/fax: + 269 777 07 65 P.O.Box 20 Mbeni, Comoros Email: comotour@yahoo.fr Comores Tour & Safari"

Trip report

You can download an excellent trip report sent by Phil Gregory of Sicklebill Safaris in December 2014. All the main islands of the Comoros were visited and all the endemic species were seen. There are details of transport, hotels and other items of value for the visitor.

You can download an even more comprehensive trip report by Markus Lagerqvist which covers the birds, travel and the main sites. 

In Search of the Badanga (Comoro Scops Owl) - by Alan Lewis, from Bulletin of the African Bird Club, volume 3(2), September 1996. "In November 1995, I was lucky enough to visit the Comoros - a little visited group of islands lying in the Indian Ocean midway between the African mainland and Madagascar. The archipelago supports about 20 currently accepted endemics, but with a total avian endemic taxa list of about 54."

Logistics

Independent birders can fly into Moroni from Nairobi and Seychelles and into Pamandzi, Mayotte from Réunion. There are now flights from Réunion to Grand Comoro with Air Bourbon. There are also flights from Europe. The political situation means that Mayotte is difficult to use as a jumping-off point to the other islands. Hopping from island to island can be done by plane. All four islands are connected by a network of shipping routes, and catching boats and ferries is usually the cheapest method of getting from island to island.

October to December are the best months to visit - before the rains set in in earnest, but when bird activity is reasonably high. There are adequate hotels and the possibility of taxi hire on all the islands. Travel to the archipelago is quite expensive and tourist infrastructure in the UDC is limited.

A correspondent has sent the following details in 2015: I can confirm that Kenya Airways flies to both Moroni and Mayotte. In my opinion, island hopping is best done by plane (quite inexpensive (50 euros one-way)) among the Comoros islands but more expensive from either Anjouan (150 euros) or Grand Comore (300 euros) to Mayotte. The boats are indeed less expensive (30 euros one-way) but take much longer although they may have the advantage of spotting some pelagic species."

Safety

See the following websites for the latest safety and travel information: www.comores-online.com and UK FCO.

Hotspots

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:37 -- abc_admin

See also the IBAs section.

The islets of the Mohéli Marine Park with their dry or non-existent vegetation are remarkable. Their importance lies in their attraction for sea birds. This National Park has a legal structure which is at present managed by the "Global Environmental Facility" of the World Bank. At the termination of the project, the Park should be able to manage itself. Ecotourism should then provide its source of income. The site covers an area of about 40,000 hectares. On the coast, the boundary is along the line of the shore between the Ngouni headland between the villages of Itsamia and Hagnamoida, and the Mna Issiouani headland between the villages of Miringoni and Ouallah-Mirereni passing through the village of Nioumachoua. On the seaward side, the Park extends out to a depth of 100 metres. The beaches, mangrove swamps and all the islets are included in the Park. Access is regulated by the Park officials and ecoguides are available. This is a good site for marine birds.

Moya-Papani, Mayotte is situated on the north-east coast of Petite Terre (Mayotte) and is linked with a specific geology dating from approximately 10,000 years ago. Petite Terre constitutes one of the rare examples in the world of a volcanic system crossing a coral barrier. Since its creation, marine erosion has sculpted spectacular landscapes of beaches and cliffs, with exceptional ecological constituents. The cliffs shelters specific fauna and flora, while the beaches represent the second nesting site in Mayotte for turtles. This site is important for tropicbirds.

The lagoon of Pamandzl, or "Vasière des Badamiers", Mayotte. To the north of Dzaoudzi-Labattoir (Petite Terre, Mayotte), the coastal currents have created a detrital cordon beyond which a mud-pool has been formed progressively where brackish water undergoes a significant level range because of the tides. This biotope contains three successive habitats: a rocky area formed by the remains of the fringing reef, a mangrove swamp and a mud-pool which is sometimes uncovered, sometimes submerged. The three habitats are an important refuge for waders, herons (Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti has been seen here for the last few years) and hundreds of terns during the migration or wintering periods. The mud-pool also attracts Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola, a bird which is present throughout the west of the Indian Ocean, but whose favourite sites are tending to become rarer. This site is unique in the Comoros, and Madagascar or the African coasts are the nearest sites with an equal abundance of this species.

Lake Dziani Karehani, Mayotte. Before the holding lake of Combani was filled in, Dziani Karehani was the only inland lake on Mayotte. This depression, filled with fresh water, is in a basin 2 km west of Combani. The surface of the lake only covers about 4 hectares but is smaller when the water level drops and the lake can become almost dry. The most spectacular plant is a kind of waterlily Nymphaea sp. with a blue flower. Efforts are being made to stop the lake from drying out. This seems to be necessary in order to guarantee the continuing presence of waterbirds. Species linked with a non-salt aquatic environment can be found, in particular Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae, Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis, Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus and Allen's Gallinule Porphyrio alleni. Other possibilities could be Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti and Great White Egret Egretta alba. Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima is present in the Ylang-Ylang plantations between Dziani Karehani and the road.

Species

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Comores_Map

Comoros map of distribution of endemic species

Image Credit: 
Courtesy: © Naturalistes de Mayotte

Country checklist and status

You can download and print separate checklists for Comoros and its islands.

The islands have a bird list of 146 species although there are probably some errors, some are extirpated and some introduced (Louette 2004).

Endemic species

Comoro Blue Pigeon Alectroenas sganzini All four islands
Comoro Olive Pigeon Columba pollenii All four islands
*Mayotte Scops Owl Otus mayottensis Mayotte
Anjouan Scops Owl Otus capnodes Anjouan
Grand Comoro Scops Owl Otus pauliani Grande Comore
Mohéli Scops Owl Otus moheliensis Mohéli
Comoro Bulbul Hypsipetes parvirostris Grande Comore, Mohéli
Comoros Thrush Turdus bewsheri Grande Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan
Grand Comoro Brush Warbler Nesillas brevicaudata Grande Comore
Mohéli Brush Warbler Nesillas mariae Mohéli
*Anjouan Brush Warbler Nesillas longicaudata Anjouan
Grand Comoro Flycatcher Humblotia flavirostris Grande Comore
Humblot’s Sunbird Cinnyris humbloti Grande Comore, Mohéli
Mayotte Sunbird Cinnyris coquerellii Mayotte
*Anjouan Sunbird Cinnyris comorensis Anjouan
*Chesnut-sided White-eye Zosterops mayottensis Mayotte
Mount Karthala White-eye Zosterops mouroniensis Grande Comore
Grand Comoro Drongo Dicrurus fuscipennis Grande Comore
Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii Mayotte

* Note that Michel Louette does not consider these to be full species.

Mohéli Shearwater Puffinus (lherminieri) temptator is considered to be a full species by some authorities but is treated by ABC as a subspecies of Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri.

There is one endemic genus, the flycatcher Humblotia.

The humid forest on Grande Comore is the habitat for many of its endemic bird species, but the Mount Karthala White-eye Zosterops mouroniensis depends on the giant heather near the top of the volcano. Some of the endemic birds are threatened, especially the scops owls and the Mayotte race of the Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima algondae, which has a patchy distribution in discrete spots of dry vegetation, contrary to its counterparts on the other islands which prefer humid habitat. Some are restricted to very small ranges. Only few endemics survive in the non-forest zone. These preferences are probably related to the vegetation history of the islands. The sunbirds have adapted best to the areas under human influence, because of the abundance of exotic flowers. The near endemic Frances's Sparrowhawk Accipiter francesiae occurs in surprisingly high density on Mayotte, but is quite rare on Grande Comore, very rare on Anjouan and absent from Mohéli.

Near endemic species (found in a few Indian Ocean islands only)

*Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti Comoros and Mayotte
*Madagascar Marsh Harrier Circus maillardi Grande Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan
*Frances’s Sparrowhawk Accipiter francesiae Grande Comore, Anjouan, Mayotte
*Madagascar Green Pigeon Treron australis Mohéli
*Madagascar Turtle Dove Streptopelia picturata Grande Comore, Seychelles
*Greater Vasa Parrot Coracopsis vasa Grande Comore, Mohéli, Anjouan
*Lesser Vasa Parrot Coracopsis nigra Grande Comore, Anjouan, Seychelles
*Madagascar Kingfisher Alcedo vintsiodes Grande Comore
*Cuckoo Roller Leptosomus discolor All four islands
*Madagascar Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone mutata All four islands
*Blue Vanga Cyanolanius madagascarinus Grande Comore, Mohéli
*Madagascar Crested Drongo Dicrurus forficatus Anjouan
Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima Grande Comore and Aldabra

* Also on Madagascar. Note that Michel Louette considers Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima to be conspecific with Forest Fody F.omissa.

Threatened species

Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti Vulnerable
Anjouan Scops Owl Otus capnodes Critical
Grand Comoro Scops Owl Otus pauliani Critical
Mohéli Scops Owl Otus moheliensis Critical
Grand Comoro Flycatcher Humblotia flavirostris Vulnerable
Mount Karthala White-eye Zosterops mouroniensis Critical
Grand Comoro Drongo Dicrurus fuscipennis Critical
Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii Critical

The lists of endemic, near endemic and threatened species have been compiled from a number of sources including Louette 2004, 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

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:31 -- abc_admin

The Comoro archipelago is classed as a single Endemic Bird Area (EBA) with 19 restricted-range species. 9 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified in total of which 4 are in UDC, covering some 35,000 ha, and 5 are on Mayotte, covering some 7,000 ha or 19% of the land area. Most IBAs are unprotected by law. The IBAs and the islands on which they are situated are as follows.

Mount Karthala Grande Comore
La Grille Grande Comore
Mohéli highlands Mohéli
Anjouan highlands Anjouan
Hachiroungou Mayotte
Mlima Combani and Mlima Mtsapéré Mayotte
Mlima Bénara Mayotte
Baie de Bouéni Mayotte
Mlima Choungui and Sazilé Mayotte

Mount Karthala is a large dome-shaped active volcano, characterised by a steep slope and with a huge caldera at the summit. It is 2,361 metres high and its landscapes are magnificent at the higher altitudes. The mountainous zone above 1,800 metres is still only relatively little influenced by man. Here, the landscape of tree-like heathers which can reach 6 to 8 metres in height, is more or less homogenous. The height of the vegetation lessens towards the summit and the caldera. Volcanic activities make life difficult for all kinds of animal life in the crater itself. Between 1,200 and 1,800 metres, one enters the zone of natural high-altitude forest. Other habitats are present in this range, in particular lava flows with caves. High altitude meadows exist in the areas where the atmosphere is more or less dry and cold. Up there, roaming cattle wander off the path and cause damage to the forest. The forest of Mount Karthala is dense and humid on the western and southern slopes and dry on the eastern side. Dense medium-altitude forest is found between 600 and 1,200 metres. This forest zone has been damaged in places or replaced by a secondary forest which nevertheless allows the existence of certain species of forest animals.

This site contains the complete community of forest birds on Grande Comore supporting the world population of Grand Comoro Scops Owl Otus pauliani, Grand Comoro Flycatcher Humblotia flavirostris and Mount Karthala White-eye Zosterops mouroniensis as well as most of the populations of Grand Comoro Brush Warbler Nesillas brevicaudata and Grand Comoro Drongo Dicrurus fuscipennis. Six other restricted-range species occur.

La Grille is the extinct volcano massif which dominates the northern part of Grand Comore and the site extends from an altitude of 800 m to the summit. The site includes nearly all the area used by the restricted-range bird species on the mountain. The birds are a subset of those on Mount Karthala and include Comoro Olive Pigeon Columba pollenii, Comoro Blue Pigeon Alectroenas sganzini, Comoro Bulbul Hypsipetes parvirostris, Comoro Thrush Turdus bewsheri, Grand Comoro Brush Warbler Nesillas brevicaudata, Humblot's Sunbird Cinnyris humbloti and Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima. Note that 4 of 5 Grand Comore endemics are not found at this site.

Mohéli highlands site comprises the central ridge and the upper slopes of the island of Mohéli occupying the interior of the western two-thirds of the island above 500 m. The site supports a unique forest bird community including the recently described Mohéli Scops Owl Otus moheliensis and Mohéli Brush-Warbler Nesillas mariae. In addition, 12 Mohéli endemic and 7 Comoro endemic subspecies are present along with the non-endemic Madagascar Marsh Harrier Circus maillardi. The local race of Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri temptator also breeds in forest at this site.

Anjouan highlands comprises the central highlands of the island. The endemic Anjouan Scops Owl Otus capnodes is frequent in both intact and underplanted forest. Comoro Olive Pigeon Columba pollenii is found although uncommon and 7 Anjouan and 8 Comoro subspecies are found. These include the rare and distinctive Cuckoo Roller Leptosomus discolor intermedius.

Hachiroungou comprises the massif in the north-west of Mayotte. The entire community of 14 species of forest birds found on the island are at this site. Populations are small in line with the forest fragments remaining although species are common. Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii is found only in forest and forest edge.

Mlima Combani and Mlima Mtsapéré is made up of the mountain massif in the north-centre of the island. All 14 forest species are found and because of its size, it may be the most important area for Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii.

Mlima Bénara is dominated by the peak at 660 m, the highest on Mayotte. All 14 forest dwelling birds on Mayotte are found here.

Baie de Bouéni comprises the coastal fringe of the large bay in south-west Mayotte. Most of the forest birds of Mayotte occur but the small population of Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima is of special importance. This is also a good site for shorebirds.

Mlima Choungui and Sazilé includes peaks which dominate the southern peninsula and the site contains the main block of forest of the peninsula. Most of the forest birds occur at this site although Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii is absent. There is also an important population of Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima.

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

Geography

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:30 -- abc_admin

The Comoros are in the Mozambique Channel, between Mozambique and Madagascar.

Grande Comore, with a surface of 1,148 km2, the highest point at 2,361 m and a population estimate of 293,160, is the youngest, largest and highest island in the archipelago. It has the greatest area remaining under pristine forest, mostly on the steep slopes of Mount Karthala in the southern part of the island. Around the crater rim of this volcano, there is a vegetation zone of giant heather.

Mohéli, with a surface of 211 km2 rising to an altitude of 790 m and a population of c34,650 has a forested ridge. The slopes are less steep than on the two other UDC islands.

Anjouan, with a surface of 424 km2, culminating at an altitude of 1,595 m with some very steep mountain slopes has the smallest remaining area of primary forest and and a population estimate of 253,950.

Mayotte has a surface of 374 km2 rising to an altitude of 660 m; this island is now developing rapidly. The human population reached c131,320 in 1999. In the countryside, the effects of shifting agricultural practices are very much apparent, resulting in a checkerboard pattern of vegetation types with secondary humid forest covering its peaks and some dry forest in the coastlands. It is the only island with a storage dam.

Remarkable features in the Comoro landscape are volcanic peaks, cliffs, a long coastline, dry islets and relatively unspoilt peninsulas, mangrove stands and lakes (both hypersaline sulphurous crater lakes and natural freshwater lakes). The archipelago has a variety of microclimates from very humid to rather arid.

The islands have a coastline of over 500 km. The official languages are French and Shicomore, with some Arabic.

More details can be found at CIA Factbook.

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