Working for birds in Africa


Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:23 -- abc_admin

The following largely unconfirmed records have all been published for interest only in Bulletins of the African Bird Club.

from ABC Bulletin 26.2

An adult Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus remained in the urban area of Plateau, Abidjan, in January–February 2019 and a Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus was north of Bingerville on 2 March (Fig. 13); these two species are rarely observed along the coast. Pairs of Senegal Thick-knees Burhinus senegalensis are being increasingly observed at the coast, e.g. at Lake Dadié, west of Abidjan, in February, and Assinie in April–May (Fig. 14). On 23 March, two Long-tailed Nightjars Caprimulgus climacurus were found at a recently burned site in N’Ganda N’Ganda Forest where the species was also seen in February 2017 (Fig. 15). Also there on the same date was a Pale Flycatcher Bradornis pallidus (Fig. 16), considered local in the coastal area and not recorded here previously (BB).

from ABC Bulletin 24.2

An Ayres’s Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii was chased by two African Pied Hornbills Tockus fasciatus in Yapo Forest on 17 December 2016 (Fig. 12; BB), whilst another was mobbed by two Pied Crows Corvus albus in Anguédédou Forest on 18 June 2017; the species is scarce at both sites. A Cassin’s Honeyguide Prodotiscus insignis observed in Azagny National Park on 30 April is an addition to the park list (EL). An adult Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola with a juvenile was observed at Assouinde on 6 May, suggesting the species breeds there (Figs. 13–14 ; LS). A group of c.10 Helmeted Guineafowls Numida meleagris was encountered at Réserve de Lamto on 26 June (Fig. 15; LS); the species is now mostly restricted to the northernmost savannas and has become rare outside protected areas, due to unsustainable hunting and habitat loss.

from ABC Bulletin 24.1

The following were reported in May–December 2016. A single Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope was observed at Assouinde marsh on 11 December; the only two previous records for the country, from January–February 2013 and January 2014, are also from this site (LS). In Bingerville Botanical Garden, a male Diederik Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius was feeding a calling fledgling on 4 September (BB); this unexpected behaviour has been documented by Lovette et al. (2006), who suggest that the available evidence indicates that male provisioning, and hence potential parental care, is present in two brood-parasitic Chrysococcyx cuckoos at a higher frequency than currently recognised (cf. Provisioning of fledgling conspecifics by males of the brood-parasitic cuckoos Chrysococcyx klaas and C. caprius. Wilson J. Ornithol. 118: 99–101).

An immature White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis was observed in the northern part of Comoé National Park (= NP) on 2 May (ELe) and at least three White-backed Vultures Gyps africanus flew over the savannah at Lamto on 20 November (ELe & LS). A Grasshopper Buzzard Butastur rufipennis was seen well in an open area along the Banco River in the centre of Banco NP on 19 December; this is an unusual location, well south of the species’ normal dry-season range, and appears to be the first record for the park (ELe). From early October until at least mid December, three Blue-bellied Rollers Coracias cyanogaster were present in an Abidjan schoolyard (BJ per LS); a pair was at the same location, c.150 km south the species’ usual range, in November 2015. In N’Ganda N’Ganda Forest, near Assinie, at the coast, two African Wattled Lapwings Vanellus senegallus were photographed on 31 October (Fig. 9). On the same day, a pair of displaying Double-toothed Barbets Pogonornis bidentatus, initially found at this site in July 2014, was seen again, with two Yellow-crowned Gonoleks Laniarius barbarus and a pair of Northern Puffbacks Dryoscopus gambensis also there (BB). A Lavender Waxbill Estrilda caerulescens was photographed in the Lac Bakré environs, between Ebrié lagoon and the ocean, near Abidjan, on 29 December, well south of this northern species’ normal range (BJ); previous southern records, of 1–2 individuals (escapes from captivity?), were made in cassava plantations near Abidjan Golf Course, in February, October and December 1987. In December, House Sparrow Passer domesticus was finally proved to breed at Abidjan Airport: two juveniles were seen being fed by an adult; the species has been present at this site since at least May 2013 (LS).

from ABC Bulletin 23.2

Records from the period November 2015–May 2016 include the following. In Dahlia Fleur Natural Reserve, near Abidjan, a group of five Latham’s Forest Francolins Peliperdix lathami was flushed on 5 March. Also there were a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus on 6 February, a Congo Serpent Eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis on 5 March (Fig. 5) and an African Hobby Falco cuvierii—rare in the south—on 11 February and 5 March.

An adult White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus flew over Yamoussoukro golf course on 31 December and a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus over Assinie Lagoon on 25 January. Unusually large numbers of herons foraged at Ebrié lagoon, near Abidjan city centre, in February–March, including >60 Intermediate Egrets Ardea intermedia and 40 Grey Herons A. cinerea, with a large group of up to 120 Common Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula also present during the same period. Approximately 20 Forbes’s Plovers C. forbesi at Assouinde on 21 February also represent a remarkable large number. A White-tailed Ant Thrush Neocossyphus poensis was observed in Banco National Park on 7 November; curiously, the species is not listed for the park by Lachenaud (2006, Malimbus 28: 107–133). Unusual coastal records involved a Rufous-crowned Roller Coracias naevius near the main road at Assinie on 26–27 February (Fig. 6) and a Northern Puffback Dryoscopus gambensis near Assinie golf course on 25 January (BB).

House Sparrows Passer domesticus continue to spread: having been noted on the Plateau, in the centre of Abidjan, and in a village north of Bingerville at Anghien lagoon at the end of 2015, 3–4 were photographed near the beach at Grand-Bereby in May (BJ).

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

Records from 2015 include the following. In recently flooded forest of Banco National Park (=NP), three Dwarf Bitterns Ixobrychus sturmii were observed on 3 January, with one also there on 17 October. A juvenile Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus was at Bingerville Botanical Garden on 12 April; this species is uncommon in the south. A Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus flew over the east of Abidjan on 24 September. A Fraser’s Eagle Owl Bubo poensis was flushed in Banco NP on 3 January. An African Wood Owl Strix woodfordii—not listed for the park by Lachenaud (2006. Malimbus 28: 107–133)—was seen on 23 May 2010. Also there, an Ashy Flycatcher Muscicapa caerulescens was found on 3 January; there are few records for the park. One year after the discovery of a pair of Double-toothed Barbets Pogonornis (Lybius) dubius at Assouinde, on the coast, a breeding pair was found at the same site in July. Also at Assouinde, two juvenile Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were photographed on 21 November; this is the fourth record outside Comoé NP, in the northeast, where the species breeds, and the first from the coast Another unusual coastal record was made on 2 November, when a pair of Blue-bellied Rollers Coracias cyanogaster was observed in an Abidjan schoolyard, c.150 km south of the species’ known range. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

The first White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus for the country was at Abidjan airport, c.2 km from the ocean, on 24–26 January 2015. A Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was found on the coast at Assouinde, near the Ghanaian border, on 25 January and was seen again on 7 February; this is a new locality for this patchily distributed species. Up to four African Wattled Lapwings Vanellus senegallus were seen on the Bandama River at Taboitien village, near Tiassale, from mid-December 2014 until at least May 2015; there are only a few records from the forest zone. On 7 February, one was photographed at Assouinde, representing the first coastal record. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

A pair of Double-toothed Barbets Pogonornis (=Lybius) bidentatus was photographed near Assouinde on 13 July 2014; there are few records from the coast. A visit to a site near Bouaké where a flock of six Piapiacs Ptilostomus afer was observed in wooded savanna in November 2013, produced c.10 Piapiacs, suggesting a southward range extension. 

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

A Sterna tern photographed near Vieux Lahou, at the mouth of the Bandama River, on 5 October 2013 was subsequently identified as an Arctic Tern S. paradisaea; there are few certain records of the species, all of them from before 1985. Noteworthy records at the same site during February - May 2014 include a Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus present from 23 March until at least 20 April, a Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus on 8 March, and a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres in breeding plumage on 25 May. On 23 March, a pair of Knob-billed Ducks Sarkidiornis melanotos was sighted at Campeix Lake, near Assouinde; this is the seventh record for the country, and the third from the coast. Visits to the Assouinde area in February - May confirmed the continued presence of species that were considered scarce in Côte d’Ivoire but have been regularly observed there since late 2012: African Darter Anhinga rufa (two on 11 May), Hartlaub’s Duck Pteronnetta hartlaubii (six in March - May), Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis (1 - 5 in the same period) and Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus (c.20); the latter can now be considered resident in the area. Three to four House Sparrows Passer domesticus discovered near Abidjan international airport in May 2013 were still present in July 2014 and appear to be resident; House Sparrows were also reported from San Pedro harbour in September 2013, Yopougon, Abidjan, on 25 February 2014, Grand Bassam in April and inside the terminal of Abidjan airport in May.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

The following records are from the period June 2013 - January 2014. Highlights include the first Black Noddy Anous minutus for the country at the Bandama River mouth, near Vieux Lahou, on 25 August, a Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva at Assouinde, near the Ghanaian border, on 18 - 19 January (third Ivorian record), the discovery of a Greater Swamp Warbler Acrocephalus rufescens at Grand Bassam on 14 July (a new locality for this patchily distributed species), and the second Ivorian record of Eurasian Wigeon Mareca (=Anas) penelope at Assouinde marsh on 18 January, the same site at which the first was recorded a year ago.

Other noteworthy records from the Assouinde area include three Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola on 12 January and at least 16 on 25 January, two male and three female Northern Pintails Anas acuta on 7 December, a female Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis on 25 January, and a Common Redshank Tringa totanus on 12 - 18 January. African Darter Anhinga rufa, a scarce species in Côte d’Ivoire nowadays, is regularly present at Assouinde, with 1 - 2 observed in October - January; one also flew over the lagoon at Grand Bassam on 13 January. Hartlaub’s Ducks Pteronetta hartlaubii were also regularly observed at this site throughout the period. Although Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus is rather scarce in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly on the coast, some appear to be resident at Assouinde marsh: since a first visit in January 2013, at least 19 individuals have been present and a nest with three eggs was discovered on 19 January 2014. Two birds were also photographed at Kossou Dam, in the centre of the country, on 26 July. At the coastal lagoon of Vieux Lahou, c.150 km west of Abidjan, a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was observed on 25 August and a Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus on 15 December. At nearby Azagny National Park, a Congo Serpent Eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis, photographed on 4 August, and a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata on 26 October were additions to the park list. One or two Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were regularly seen at Vieux Lahou in August - November. A flock of six Piapiac Ptilostomus afer, including an immature, was accompanying cattle near Bouake on 2 November, well south of their known range. The small group of 3 - 4 House Sparrows Passer domesticus found near Abidjan International Airport in May 2013 was still there in January.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

The following records are from December 2012 - early June 2013. The most remarkable reports include the first Eurasian Wigeons Anas penelope for Cote d'lvoire (two at Assouinde marsh on 27 January and 3 February, the most southerly West African record of Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus (one in mangroves between Assinie Mafia and the Ehotile' Islands on 4 May), the first coastal record of Rufous-crowned Roller Coracias naevius (one between Assouinde and Assinie on 20 April, and the second record of House Sparrow Passer domesticus for the country (3-4 birds at Abidjan airport from 30 May. In the Assouinde area, on the coast, especially at Campeix Lake, the following were observed in January - April: up to four African Darters Anhinga rufa (regularly seen; has become quite scarce in the country), a White-crested Tiger Heron Tigriornis leucolopha, up to three White-backed Night Herons Gorsachius leuconotus, 1 - 3 Spur-winged Geese Plectropterus gambensis, a flock of six Hartlaub's Ducks Pteronetta hartlaubii, two male and two female Northern Pintails Anas acuta on 27 January and 3 February, a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus on 2 February, with another also there on 17 February, and up to 20 Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola on 27 January - 17 February.

An African Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii was photographed at Brafifedon, near Vieux Lahou, on the coast, on 23 February and 16 March. Up to six Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were at the river mouth at Vieux Lahou between 24 February - 14 April. Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus, a rare species on the coast, was regularly observed in small numbers at Assinie and Assouinde marsh between December and March; it was also seen at Vieux Lahou and one was at Grand Bassam on 26 May. A Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was photographed at Vieux Lahou on 13 April. An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was on a sandbank near Vieux Lahou with a flock of Royal Thallaseus maximus and Sandwich Terns T. sandvicensis on 2 June. An unusually southern African Thrush Turdus pelios was found at Braffedon on 23 February. A leucistic Violet-backed Starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster was at Assouinde on 3 March, with three normal-plumaged males and a female. 

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

Rapid surveys undertaken in April 2012 of four national parks added 40 species to the species lists of these parks, despite the alarming state in which they were found to be. In Azagny National Park (=NP), a Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus was seen; there are few coastal records. The occurence of Red-chested Swallows Hirundo lucida confirmed their recently observed southward range expansion. More surprising was the presence of a Piapiac Ptilostomus afer in the coastal savanna; this species was hitherto known only from the north. Marahoué NP was found to have been massively encroached during the last few years and the future of the park must be considered in jeopardy. Cabanis’s Bunting Emberiza cabanisi, of which a group of three was seen, was an addition to the park list. The situation of Péko NP is as worrying as that of Marahoué, with large areas of forest having been, and still being, destroyed and replaced by cocoa plantations. Among a few other species, Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica and Ethiopian Swallow Hirundo aethiopica had not previously been recorded in the park. The destruction of forest in Mont Sangbé NP started just a year or two ago, and in the remaining parts several typical forest species were added to the park list, including Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus, White-bellied Kingfisher Alcedo leucogaster, Least Honeyguide Indicator exilis, Red-tailed Greenbul Criniger calurus, Forest Scrub Robin Cercotrichas leucosticta, Black-capped Apalis Apalis nigriceps, Sabine’s Puffback Dryoscopus sabini, Yellow-mantled Weaver Ploceus tricolor and Preuss’s Weaver P. preussi.


A juvenile Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina fitted in the nest in Germany with a satellite transmitter in 2008 and wintering in Côte d’Ivoire was tracked to 69 km east of Abidjan. The bird had migrated via Gibraltar and crossed the Sierra Leone–Liberia border on 27 November and the Liberia - Côte d’Ivoire border on 1 December. On 21 December it flew high over Abidjan; the next day it was recorded for the last time. This is the first record not only for Côte d’Ivoire, but also for all the other West African countries it crossed.

Most of the following sightings were made by Olivier Lachenaud, Bruno Boedts and Henk-Jan Oosterhuis during the period 2000-2002 and are to be published with more details in Malimbus.

Regular visits to Banco National Park and neighbouring Anguédédou forest in 2000-2002 produced a number of interesting records. Those from Banco National Park include Yellow-bearded Greenbul Criniger olivaceus (attracted to playback on two occasions in April 2002), White-crested Tiger Heron Tigriornis leucolopha, Hartlaub's Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii, Black Spinetail Telacanthura melanopygia, White-bellied Kingfisher Alcedo leucogaster, Green-Tailed Bristlebill Bleda eximius and Olivaceous Flycatcher Muscicapa olivascens. In Anguédédou, the two most exciting finds were Yellow-footed Honeyguide Melignomon eisentrauti (one seen in very good conditions on 25 Nov 2001) and African Piculet Sasia africana (a female on 3 Nov 1999). The Piculet is extremely rare in Upper Guinea, with only two previous records in Côte d'Ivoire, while the Honeyguide is a rare and elusive species, whose presence in the country was confirmed only in 2000. Other rarely recorded species seen there include Willcocks's Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi, Bioko Batis Batis poensis and Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis, which was found not to be rare.

During a visit to Divo area in Oct-Nov 1999, Western Wattled Cuckoo-Shrike Lobotos lobatus was seen at three different places in two days, suggesting it is not rare. Red-fronted Parrot Poicephalus gulielmi was abundant, and Black Spinetail Telacanthura melanopygia was also seen.

Interesting records made in the west of the country in Feb 2000 include a Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus seen at Danané (6th Ivorian record), Preuss's Weaver Ploceus preussi at Lieupleu (south-west of Danané), Purple-throated Cuckoo-Shrike Campephaga quiscalina and Violet-backed Hyliota Hyliota violacea both at Gouessesso (near Biankouma). The three latter species, considered uncommon to rare in the country, were all found to be common at the Camp Alpin des Missions Protestantes, between Man and Biankouma, in July 2002; also seen there was a Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat Cossypha cyanocampter, a rare species in Côte d'Ivoire, with very few recent records.

On the summit (about 1,235 m) of Mt Tonkoui, near Man, at least four African Black Swifts Apus barbatus were circling around the television station with hundreds of Little Swifts A. affinis, on 30 Apr 2001. The former species is very little-documented in the country, although there is a previous record from the same site. Also there, Fiery-breasted Bush-Shrike Malaconotus cruentus and Many-coloured Bush-Shrike Telephorus multicolor were seen twice flocking together. Mountain Wagtail Motacilla clara was observed several times at the waterfall near the base of the mountain, suggesting it is resident there.

A surprising find was that of a heronry at Grand-Bassam, near the bridge on the Comoé river, in a previously well-watched area. Pairs of Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis, Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax as well as Long-Taïled Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus were found to breed there in May-July. Also seen at Grand-Bassam was the second Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus for the country on 5 Oct 2001.

Another astonishing discovery was that of Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea in the suburbs of Abidjan (several observations in Mar, Jun and Sep-Oct), more than 600 km south of its known range. The species is not usually kept in captivity and the origin of these birds is a mystery.

An African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus spilogaster was seen at close range on Lamto reserve, far south of its range, on 7 May 2000.

Greater Swamp Warbler Acrocephalus rufescens, not previously recorded in the country, was found to be quite common at Yamoussoukro lakes. Also near Yamoussoukro, a colony of c100 Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola was found in Oct 2001; the birds were absent in Dec but present again in Feb and Mar 2002 when some were displaying and mating. Also seen at Yamoussoukro were Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius, Village Indigobird Vidua chalybeata (both south of their known range in the country), Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus and Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei (two rarely recorded species).

The Sassandra area in the south-west, was regularly visited and produced a number of interesting records, especially African Darter Anhinga rufa (almost extinct in the country, but possibly breeding in the area), Goliath Heron Ardea goliath and White-crested Tiger Heron Tigriornis leucolopha. Several rare Palearctic migrants were also seen there, including Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus (three records of immatures), Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus and Common Sand Martin Riparia riparia; European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus and Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius, previously very little-documented in the country, were both found to be common at sea in February and May 2002.

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