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Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:21 -- abc_admin

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

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

In June–November 2015 the following were reported. The first Franklin’s Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan for the country was observed at the Kouilou River mouth on 14 and 21 November. New records for Tchimpounga Nature Reserve, 40 km north of Pointe Noire, in November include White Stork Ciconia ciconia (50 on 20th), Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni (one on 22nd), Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus (one on 16th), Namaqua Dove Oena capensis (one on 17th), Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus (one on 22nd), European Roller Coracias garrulus (one on 15th), Common Sand Martin Riparia riparia (one on 11th), White-throated Greenbul Phyllastrephus albigularis (three ringed on 19th), Red-tailed Greenbul Criniger calurus (one ringed on 19th), Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (one ringed on 12th), Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio (two on 12th and 21st) and Johanna’s Sunbird Cinnyris johannae (one on 22nd). Other notable records from the reserve include eight Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens at the Kouilou River mouth on 17 June, two African Spoonbills Platalea alba flying south over the Kouilou River mouth on 18 July, two over-summering Ospreys Pandion haliaetus in June–July, a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus on 7 November, a Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus on 11 November, a second-year Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk Accipiter castanilius ringed on 18 November, an Ayres’s Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii along the Kouilou River on 18 July, a Great Snipe Gallinago media on 7 November, a Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea on 20 June, and small flocks of Cuckoo Finches Anomalospiza imberbis on 13 November. A kestrel observed at Pointe Noire on 16 June and presumably breeding, was either a Rock Kestrel Falco (tinnunculus) rupicolus or a Common Kestrel F. tinnunculus rufescens; similar kestrels were also noted in Tchimpounga Nature Reserve. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

In January - May 2015, the following were reported. During the annual waterbird census at Lac Télé Community Reserve, a Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus was observed between Epéna and Itanga on 21 February; this is a first for the country. A Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii was near Malonda Lodge, c.15 km south of Pointe-Noire, on 1 January. On 17 January, >40 Red-footed Falcons Falco verspertinus were hunting low above tall grass on the Batéké Plateau, c.60 km north of Brazzaville. The same day, a juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius was photographed a few km further north, along the main track to Ngabé. Also on the Batéké Plateau, a Jacobin Cuckoo C. jacobinus was observed on 14 May; this species is considered a vagrant to the country. A White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus was photographed at Malonda Lodge, near Djéno, on 26 April; there are just two previous records for the country, from the same site, in July 1991 and November 2014. The same day, a group of >150 migrating Common Swifts Apus apus paused briefly to forage over the lagoon before continuing north. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

Two firsts for the country were noted in Tchimpounga Nature Reserve, c.40 km north of Pointe Noire, in 2014: a juvenile Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus in January and a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on 2 November. Other noteworthy records from the reserve include a Great Snipe Gallinago media and a Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti in January, with a Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis mist-netted in the same month; a Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus in June; and a Vermiculated Fishing Owl Scotopelia bouvieri, four Black Spinetails Telacanthura melanopygia, two Eurasian Golden Orioles Oriolus oriolus and two Cuckoo Finches Anomalospiza imberbis in October. In July, 20 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus were seen flying north over the sea, while a Damara Tern Sternula balaenarum was at the Kouilou River mouth. An older record from Tchimpounga concerned a Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus seen in October 2013. A small group of Black-chinned Weavers Ploceus nigrimentus was seen on 16 October near Masa, on the Batéké Plateau. House Sparrows Passer domesticus were regularly seen in the Plateau Ville neighbourhood of Brazzaville in 2014; the species’ occurrence in the city was not mapped in Borrow & Demey (2014. Birds of Western Africa. Second edn). 

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

The first olivebacks Nesocharis for the country were photographed at Bilinga, in the Mayombe, on 14 February 2014; they were initially identified as Shelley’s Oliveback N. shelleyi, a species known only from south-east Nigeria / south-west Cameroon, but recently discovered olivebacks in Angola, which appear very similar to the Mayombe birds, have now been identified as White-collared Olivebacks N. ansorgei, previously considered to be a local East African endemic.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

A White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus flew around a research vessel off Congo on 28 and 30 October 2012; this would be an addition to the country list. Other species recorded from the same vessel include Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus, Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini and unidentified terns, whilst a Melodious / Icterine Warbler Hippolais polyglotta / icterina was photographed on deck.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

Noteworthy records from the Odzala area in the north include the report in early 2013 of a nest of Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas on an overhanging rock near a small waterfall in Lossi Fauna Reserve. The species was first reported for Congo-Brazzaville on 22 December 1994, in Mayombe Forest, in the south-west. A Vinaceous Dove Streptopelia vinacea, present for a few weeks in savannah near Mboko in 2012, is an addition to the Odzala list.

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

A survey in July–August 2012 west of the proposed Ogooué-Leketi National Park found one new species for Congo: Verreaux’s Batis Batis minima. The following appear to be new for the south of the country: Willcocks’s Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi, Eastern Wattled Cuckooshrike Lobotos oriolinus and Uganda Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus budongoensis. Also noteworthy were Grey-headed Broadbill Smithornis sharpei, White-spotted Wattle-eye Dyaphorophyia tonsa, Orange-tufted Sunbird Nectarinia bouvieri and Mackinnon’s Shrike Lanius mackinnoni.

A belated report was received of three Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocratalus photographed at 18.00 hrs c.15 km north-east of Conkouati Lagoon in Conkouati-Douli National Park on 1 January 2011; they appeared to be preparing to roost in the forest canopy quite far from any large body of water.

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

In April 2012, in the Chaillu massif, in the south-west (02°17’02.6”S 12°52’11.4”E), a black weaver with a pale nuchal patch and pale eyes that was foraging in the canopy, was identified as Maxwell’s Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha, a species previously known only from the north of the country.

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The following records were reported for the period June–December 2007. A Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis, seen on a road in the Pokola logging concession, on the periphery of Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, northern Congo, on 30 June constitutes a new species for the country. An immature Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus observed near Epena in Lac Tele Community Reserve on 12 November will also be a first for Congo-Brazzaville, if confirmed.

Other noteworthy records from Lac Tele include a Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo on 10 November (this species is known from only three sites in Congo-Brazzaville), a Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis on 5 December (third record here), a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola on 2 December (first record in northern Congo) and a Red-capped Lark Calendrella cinerea on 11 November (second record for Congo-Brazzaville).

One thousand Royal Terns Sterna maxima on a sandbank in the Kouilou River mouth in early October is a large group at this site. During the same period, 30 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were seen in Pointe Noir harbour, whilst Reichenbach’s Sunbird Anabathmis reichenbachi was observed on the Lefini River, 500 km inland.

The following records were reported for the period January - June 2007. A Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis was seen in Conkouati - Douli National Park during waterbird counts in June; if confirmed, this will be the first record for the country. In the same month, House Sparrow Passer domesticus was seen for the second time in Pointe Noire. Recent additions to the list of Lac Tele Community Reserve include Olive Ibis Bostrychia olivacea, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx mechowi, Willcocks’s Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi and Preuss’s Weaver Ploceus preussi. A Zenker’s Honeyguide Melignomon zenkeri was heard singing in mid-June 2007. The waterbird survey in February in Lac Tele proved very productive, with internationally important numbers of African Darter Anhinga rufa and Purple Heron Ardea purpurea. Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens has also returned to breed, having been exterminated by hunting in the 1960s. Chattering Cisticola Cisticola anonymus, a forest-edge species, was seen in the centre and north of the reserve, but is uncommon elsewhere in northern Congo.

Records from March - October 2006 include the following. A Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca (with orange feet, black eyes and a black throat) was seen on the beach in Conkouati-Douli National Park in August. Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus were seen mobbing crows in Brazzaville suggesting they breed there. Also in Brazzaville, African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were seen feeding at night in the spotlights of a riverside restaurant on the Congo River.

In Lac Télé Community Reserve (LTCR), Long-legged Pipit Anthus pallidiventris was finally confirmed as the common savanna pipit—a range extension. Black Spinetail Telacanthura melanopygia, Grey-throated Flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis, Shrike Flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus and Forest Penduline Tit Anthoscopus flavifrons were added to the reserve list in October, July and April and May 2006 respectively. A male Cuckoo Finch Anomalospiza imberbis was seen in savanna during high floods in October; this species appears not to have been documented in Congo. A juvenile Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting Emberiza tahapisi was seen in short grass in September - a first for the Likouala region.

First and last arrival dates for migrant birds leaving and returning to LTCR in 2006 include the following: Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides 24 April (last); Black Kite Milvus migrans parasitus 2 June (last) and 11 September (first); Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus 17 January (last); Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus 2 April (last); Great Snipe Gallinago media 17 February (last) and 27 August (first); Common Swift Apus apus 5 May (last) and 12 August (first); White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis 4 June (last) and 1 October (first); Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga 23 April (first) and 10 October (last); South African Cliff Swallow Hirundo spilodera 19 April (first) and 6 October (last); the dates for the latter two species coincide with the departure and arrival of Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 9 April (last) and 2 September (first); Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 5 March (last) and 4 November (first); Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 5 April (last); Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus 8 April (last); Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus 14 October (first); and Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 23 April (last) and 5 October (first).

In Lac Télé Community Reserve, Great Snipe Gallinago media were common in January-February 2006, with up to four seen in a day. Weyns's Weaver Ploceus weynsi was still in the area.

Records from April-October 2005 include the following. A female Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus was seen in Lac Tele Community Reserve in early October. A Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris was killed at Tchissinga, near Diosso north of Pointe-Noire, in April; apparently the species is quite regularly caught in semi-forested hills along the coast. In Brazzaville, Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus was recorded breeding in August and Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola was calling in April. In Lac Tele Community Reserve, an African Grass Owl Tyto capensis was seen in July and more than 850 Rosy Bee-eaters Merops malimbicus were found breeding in at least two colonies. Four Palearctic migrants, Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, Great Snipe Gallinago media, Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica, were observed in the savanna on 5 September, which is rather early. Weyn’s Weaver Ploceus weynsi was seen again on a few occasions.

The most remarkable observation was made at Lac Télé in January 2005, where large flocks of Weyns's Weavers Ploceus weynsi, totalling at least 5,000 birds, were assembling every evening just outside Epéna before flying to roost in scrubby fallow fields a few kilometres away. The species was also observed on the western border of the reserve on the Bailly River. This constitutes a new species for the country and western Africa, although its occurrence is perhaps unsurprising as it has been recorded on the other side of the Congo River in DR Congo, from Mbandaka to Bumba. In February–March, Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus, among them rufous individuals, were seen c.15 times in the Lac Télé Community Reserve; this is also an addition to the country's list. Yet another first is Wahlberg’s Honeybird Prodotiscus regulus, of which two were seen on the road between Impfondo and Epéna on 2 May; they were poking around cavities in a large dead tree hosting Grey-throated Barbets Gymnobucco bonapartei. The white, black-tipped outer tail-feathers, uniform dark brown upperparts, grey underparts and sharp bill were noted. This species has not been recorded anywhere near north Congo, but has a disjunct distribution over much of western Africa.

Other records of interest from the Lac Télé area include the following. A Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (the snow-white throat, breast and belly were noted) was claimed 40 km east of Epéna on 28 April; this species has previously only been seen on the coast. Twelve Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumeniferus were moving north on 22-23 January; the species is quite rare here as it is large and edible. During annual waterbird counts in late February it was often seen with Woolly-necked Storks Ciconia episcopus, over 80 of which were observed on 20 March with both Marabou and Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis. Montagu's Harriers Circus pygargus were seen at three sites in late January-early February. A Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus flew past Epéna on 5 January. In early January Great Snipe Gallinago media were quite common in burnt grassland; by the end of the month they had moved on, possibly to other areas in the extensive grassland savanna in the reserve (one was seen further south on 20 February). A Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was seen mobbing an African Grass Owl Tyto capensis, whereas another Western Marsh Harrier was being mobbed by a pair of Marsh Owls Asio capensis on 5 January, suggesting they were breeding in the dry season. A Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga was observed at Dongou, 50 km north of Impfondo, on 30 April and a Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii 2 km south of Impfondo on 2 May. Congo Sunbird Cinnyris congensis was found to be fairly common around Epéna.

A belated report was received of a Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina along the Bas-Kouilou road, near Pointe-Noire, on 24 May 2003; the only previous records are from Odzala and near Bomassa. Also in the Pointe-Noire area, three Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis and a White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus were seen at a wetland on 19 April 2005. Bob-tailed Weaver Brachycope anomala was recorded adjacent to the cataracts of the Congo River at Brazzaville on 4 May; this is the southernmost record in the country.

In the Pointe-Noire area at the coast, the following records were made in 2002–2004. Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus (seen on 27 October 2003), Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis (seen on many occasions) and Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus (a group of about six on 27 October 2003 and possibly the same on 28 January 2004), appear to be additions to the Congo list. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus was seen on 29 January 2004; this species was previously known only from a single, old, inland record. Single Namaqua Doves Oena capensis were observed on 22 November 2002 and 23 May 2003 at two different sites; there are few records of this species for Congo. White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus was noted on 26 January and 21 May 2003, also at two different sites; there is only one previous record for Congo, from 1991, also from Pointe-Noire.

A pair of Familiar Chats Cercomela familiaris found at Ngouédi close to the DR Congo border halfway between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville on 12 September 2004, appears to be another first for the country.

In August–November 2004, over 40 species were added to the Lac Télé list, which now totals almost 340 species, amongst which were Wahlberg's Eagle Aquila wahlbergi (a few migrating through in October), Kurrichane Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus (common in flooded grassland), Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis (two seen), White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus (two on 24 November), Green Turaco Tauraco persa, Marsh Owl Asio capensis, Cassin's Spinetail Neafrapus cassini, Cassin's Honeybird Prodotiscus insignis, Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga, Red-throated Cliff Swallow Hirundo rufigula (common in August–October), Golden Greenbul Calyptocichla serina, White-bearded Greenbul Criniger ndussumensis, Bates's Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone batesi, Reichenbach's Sunbird Anabathmis reichenbachii, Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio and White-collared Starling Grafisia torquata. Other species of interest included Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens (a former breeding species apparently hunted to extinction in the 1980s) and Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo (c10 passing through in October).

In the same period, Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus was seen near Impfondo and Hoopoe Upupa epops at Kabo, north of Ouesso. Four Forest Swallows Hirundo fuliginosa were seen near Bomassa, Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in July.

An Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii, seen at Mbeli Bai on 28 December 2000, apparently constitutes only the second record for the country. The first European White Storks Ciconia ciconia for the country were recorded on 23 February 2000, when eight individuals were sighted in the company of Wooly-necked Storks C. episcopus along the Likouala aux Herbes, at the Bally river mouth in northern Congo.

The first Yellow White-eyes Zosterops senegalensis for the country were found in several places along the Dja and Ngoko rivers from Ndongo to Moloundou in December 1997 and January 1998.

F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R.J.Dowsett added many species to the Congo list. During nine months in Odzala National Park from July 1994, the rare Eastern Wattled Cuckoo-Shrike Lobotos oriolinus was the most exciting and Grey Penduline Tit Anthoscopus caroli perhaps the least expected. Intra-African vagrants included Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio and White-throated Swallow Hirundo albigularis (the most northerly, apart from a record in Cameroon mentioned in Birds of Africa, for which supporting details cannot be traced). Bronze-winged Courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus (only one previous record) proved not to be rare. Although clearly off the major Palearctic flight lines, among the vagrants added were Pallid Swift Apus pallidus and Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus, while confirming the occurrence of the odd Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni and Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis. A population of Southern Blue Waxbills Uraeginthus angolensis at Brazzaville seems to be well established. A three-week visit in April and May 1997 to the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the extreme north of the Congo produced four additions to the country’s list: Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii, Brown Nightjar Caprimulgus binotatus, Zenker’s Honeyguide Melignomon zenkeri and Grant’s Bluebill Spermophaga poliogenys. The unknown nightjar from south-east Cameroon, which had already been located here in 1996, was found again and tape-recorded.

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