Working for birds in Africa


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

Rufous-tailed Palm-Thrush Cichladusa ruficauda, Lac Tumba region of Equateur Province, DRC

Image Credit: 
Bruce Marcot

In a country as large and as underwatched as The Democratic Republic of the Congo, birdwatching can begin just about anywhere. Any of the IBAs mentioned in Section 3 would be likely to provide a good list of species.

The country has 2 Ramsar sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance. The IBA Parc national des Virunga with an area of 800,000 ha. Situated at 01º15’S 29º30’E, straddling the equator and situated in the African Rift Valley, the site boasts some of the most substantial concentrations of wild mammals in Africa, or indeed in the world. The area is important feeding and wintering ground for migratory birds and is one of the few places where Mountain Gorillas can be studied in their natural environment. The Parc national des Mangroves is 66,000 ha in area and situated at 05º45’S 12º45’E and comprises two plateaux bordered by swamplands along the Zaire River, including coastal and riverine waters, inland ponds, and swamps.

The IBA Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is situated 50 km west of the town of Bukavu in the Kivu Region, near to Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. It consists of a smaller sector on the eastern side covering part of the Mitumba Mountains, and a larger western sector in the Zairean central basin. The two zones are connected by a narrow corridor. The entrance to the park is at Tshivanga, on the eastern side. The park was established to protect 200-300 Eastern Lowland (Grauer's) Gorilla Gorilla gorilla graueri occurring mainly in the forests at 2,100 m to 2,400 m, but also in the lower rain forest.

However, there are fears that the war has adversely effected gorilla numbers since the last survey was carried out. Avifauna includes Grauer's Swamp Warbler Bradypterus graueri, Rockefeller's Sunbird Cinnyris rockefelleri and Shelley's Crimsonwing Cryptospiza shelleyi.

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