Working for birds in Africa

Equatorial Guinea

News

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:40 -- abc_admin

The following are largely unconfirmed records in the ABC bulletins for interest only.

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

On Bioko, the first African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris for the island was observed on the southern shore on 28 October 2014. During a visit in December to mainland Río Muni, several species were observed that appear to be additions to the country list, including Spectacled Weaver Ploceus ocularis at Bata and Pel’s Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide Melichneutes robustus, Ethiopian Swallow Hirundo aethiopica, Yellow-throated Leaflove Atimastillas flavicollis and Magpie Mannikin Spermestes fringilloides near Nsork, in the southeast; details will be published in due course.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

Reports from a visit to mainland Equatorial Guinea and Bioko in November 2013 include the following. A Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni at the Aeropuerto de Bata appears to be a new species for the country list - it is not mentioned in the ABC checklist of Equatorial Guinea (Dowsett et al. 2013). A Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola foraging at the edge of Altos de Nsork on 27 November was a first for the Región Continental. On the island of Bioko, a Garden Warbler Sylvia borin was observed on Pico Biao; Pérez del Val (1996. Las Aves de Bioko) mentions only two previous records. A Slender-billed Greenbul Stelgidillas gracilirostris at Moka, at c.1,200 m, was noteworthy, as Pérez del Val (1996) states that the species occurs only up to 400 m. Also there were Black-capped Apalis Apalis nigriceps and Dark-backed Weaver Ploceus bicolor.

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The first White Stork Ciconia ciconia for Bioko was observed at Punta Europa on 4 February 2006; there had been a heavy thunderstorm the night before which may have blown it in from the mainland. The bird remained in the area and was last seen on 23rd, when the observer left the island.

On Bioko, three Scarce Swifts Schoutedenapus myoptilus were flying close to the coast on 10 February 2001 beside the river Ope about 4 km north of Basacato del Oeste on the western side of the island towards Luba. The only previous records from Bioko include a possible sighting from December 1996 to January 1997 and eight specimens from the period 1902 to 1933.

A three-week visit in January and February 1998 added many species to the country’s list and clarified the status of many others. Highlights included the discovery of several montane species on Monte Alen such as Grey Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina caesia, Black-capped Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus herberti and Pink-footed Puffback Dryoscopus angolensis. Uganda Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus budongoensis was also found to be common from 325 to 1,100 m and overlapped with Black-capped Woodland-Warbler P. herberti above 800 m. Black-throated Apalis Apalis jacksoni was found on the eastern slopes of the mountain at 750 m. Zenker’s Honeyguide Melignomon zenkeri appeared common with three sightings between 350 and 950 m. Both Verreaux’s Batis Batis minima and Bioko Batis B. poensis occur (Robert Dowsett & Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire).

Map

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:36 -- abc_admin

References

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:35 -- abc_admin

BirdLife International (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

COSTANTINI, C. (2012) Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis and Royal Tern T. maximus on Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. ABC Bulletin 19(2) pp 209-210.

DOWSETT-LEMAIRE, F. & DOWSETT, R. J. (1999) Birds of the Parque Nacional de Monte Alen, mainland Equatorial Guinea, with an updating of the country's list. Alauda 67 pp 179-188.

MOORE, A. (2000) Comment on species rejected from and added to the avifauna of Bioko Island (Equatorial Guinea). Malimbus 22 pp 31-33.

de NAUROIS, R (1994) Les Oiseaux des Iles du Golfe de Guinée: São Tomé, Principe et Annobón. An avifauna of this island archipelago, with sections on origin, composition, diversity and endemism. Bilingual text - French / Portuguese. 203 pages, 24 colour plates. IICTM, Portugal. Hardback.

PEREZ del VAZ, J. CASTROVIEJO, J. & PURROY, F. J. (1997) Species rejected from and added to the avifauna of Bioko island (Equatorial Guinea). Malimbus 19 pp 19-31.

PEREZ del VAZ, J. (2001) A survey of birds of Annobón Island, Equatorial Guinea: preliminary report. ABC Bulletin 8(1) p 54.

PEREZ del VAZ, J. Equatorial Guinea chapter pp 265-272 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).

Contacts

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:34 -- abc_admin

African Bird Club representative

The African Bird Club is seeking to appoint a representative in this region. If you are interested in supporting and promoting the Club, have any queries or require further information relating to the ABC representatives scheme, please contact the Membership Secretary at membership@africanbirdclub.org.

Clubs

There are no addresses for clubs in Equatorial Guinea at present.

Conservation

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:33 -- abc_admin

Equatorial Guinea is party to a number of international treaties including Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification and Endangered Species. There are many environmental issues: tap water is not drinkable; hunting; deforestation is extensive on Rio Muni and considerably exceeds the government targets; the impact of oil extraction on the island of Bioko.

In conjunction with a European Union funded programme, the Ministry of Forests and the Environment has developed a national network of 13 protected areas covering 5,860 km2 or 18% of the country. 10 protected areas are on the mainland, 2 are on Bioko as well as the whole of Annobón.

Books & Sounds

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:33 -- abc_admin

The western and central parts of Africa now have an excellent guide in the Birds of Western Africa by Borrow and Demey. It is a fantastic reference work and thoroughly recommended. It covers 23 countries south of the Sahara, from Mauritania in the northwest, to Chad and Central African Republic in the east, and Congo Brazzaville in the southeast, include the Cape Verde and Gulf of Guinea Islands. The paperback version is much more portable than the hard cover edition and it is ideal for the field, although there is less detail.

Birds of Africa south of the Sahara also covers the same countries except the Cape Verde 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 Western Africa, Nik Borrow & Ron Demey, Helm, Hardback.
Book description: 

Helm Identification Guide. 147 plates depicting over 1280 species in 2800 individual figures. Covers Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rio Muni, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, part of Mauritania and the islands of Sao Tome, Principe and Bioko (Fernando Po). All the species described are illustrated in colour apart from a few vagrants, which are depicted in black-and-white in the text. Distribution maps are provided for the majority of species (except vagrants). 832 pages.

Media type: 
Book image: 
Book info: 
Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa, Nik Borrow & Ron Demey, Helm, Softback.
Book description: 

Helm Field Guide. Utilises all the plates from the Helm ID Guide by the same authors, with a concise, authoritative text on facing pages, to create a guide covering all 1,304 species found in the region. The guide also contains an updated colour distribution map for each species and a number of new images have been painted just for this guide. Covers Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rio Muni, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, part of Mauritania and the islands of Sao Tome, Principe and Bioko (Fernando Po). 512 pages.

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Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of Africa South of the Sahara, Ian Sinclair & Peter Ryan, New Holland, Softback.
Book description: 

Second edition, including 500 new images and 400 updated distribution maps. Unrivalled coverage of African birds in a single volume. 2129+ species covered with an additional 101 vagrants briefly described. Revised to reflect the latest changes in taxonomy. Species descriptions give precise identification features highlighting differences between similar species as well as briefly reporting habitat, status and call. Annotated illustrations portray distinctive plumages as well as diagnostic flight patterns and major geographic variants where applicable.

Media type: 
Book info: 
Birds of São Tomé and Príncipe with Annobon, Peter Jones & Alan Tye, British Ornithologists Union, Hardback.
Book description: 

BOU checklist 22. An annotated checklist to this group of islands in the Gulf of Guinea. These islands, each with its endemic species and subspecies, are of global importance for their biodiversity. Part of the diversity may be attributed to the range of habitats and niches that are found on the islands. The plates illustrate some of the extraordinary scenes and bizarre rock formations. 16pp colour photographs, plus black-and-white maps and figures. 192 pages.

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Visiting

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:30 -- abc_admin

Birding tours

We know of no birding tours to Equatorial Guinea.

Guides

We do not know of any bird guides in Equatorial Guinea.

Trip reports

We have not been able to find any trip reports for Equatorial Guinea.

Logistics

There are two flights a week from Madrid to the capital, Malabo. There are also regular flights to Douala in Cameroon and these connect with direct flights to various European cities including London, Paris and Rome. There are also flights from several west and central African capitals. The country's national airline has six flights a week from Malabo to Bata. On Bioko there are taxi connections around the island, while in Rio Muni about three minibuses a day run each way along the coast road between Bata and Acalayong and six a day head inland to Ebebiyin. There are currently no companies offering car rental. Rain is the main factor to consider when travelling in Equatorial Guinea. Dirt roads are the norm which become extremely muddy and could leave you stranded for some time. To avoid the wet season, the best time to travel in Equatorial Guinea is between November and April.

Safety

Safety and health issues are no different from those in many African countries. Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but key points warrant repetition here: (1) be aware of the risk of malaria and seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended; (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling); (3) do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun for too long, ensure you use sun-block, drink plenty of water and wear a hat; (4) be aware of the risk of AIDS; (5) ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles. See the following 2 websites or your own local embassy website for the latest safety and travel information: US Travel and UK FCO.

Hotspots

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:29 -- abc_admin

There is little information on birding hotspots although all the IBAs should offer excellent birdwatching opportunities.

For example, in a 19 day study of the avifauna of Parque Nacional de Monte Alen in Rio Muni, Bob Dowsett and Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire recorded 248 species. A remarkable 72 species were additions to the national list (29 of which confirmed previously doubtful records). A full discussion of the area’s avifauna, complete with a coded checklist, appears in a recent issue of Alauda; the authors also report on a number of other additions and deletions to the country’s avifauna since the publication of their checklist in 1993, see DOWSETT-LEMAIRE, F. & DOWSETT, R. J. (1999).

Species

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:29 -- abc_admin

Country checklist and status

You can download and print separate checklists for Annobón, Bioko and the mainland of Equatorial Guinea.

The Gulf Of Guinea Conservation Group website at http://www.ggcg.st also contains the BOU checklist for the islands of Bioko and Annobón.

Endemic species

Annobón White-eye Zosterops griseovirescens a
Fernando Po Speirops Speirops brunneus b

Some authorities raise Annobón Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone smithii but the African Bird Club treats this as a subspecies of Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher T. (rufiventer) smithii. Some authorities raise Fernando Po Swift Apus sladeniae but the African Bird Club treats this as a subspecies African Black Swift A. (barbatus) sladeniae.

Near endemic species (found in 3 or less African countries)

São Tomé Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba malherbii a
Mountain Saw-wing Psalidoprocne fuliginosa b
Black-capped Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus herberti  
Verreaux’s Batis Batis minima  
Ursula’s Sunbird Cinnyris ursulae b
Fernando Po Oliveback Nesocharis shelleyi b

a indicates that the species is found on Annobón, not the mainland
b indicates that the species is found on Bioko, not the mainland.

Threatened species

Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus Vulnerable
Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas Vulnerable
Annobón White-eye Zosterops griseovirescens Vulnerable
Fernando Po Speirops Speirops brunneus Vulnerable

The lists of endemic, near endemic and threatened species have been compiled from a number of sources including the African Bird Club, BirdLife International, and Birds of the World Version 2.0 ® 1994-1996, Dr. Charles Sibley and Thayer Birding Software, Ltd. For further information on Equatorial Guinea’s threatened species, see BirdLife International.

Important Bird Areas

Mon, 01/14/2013 - 15:28 -- abc_admin

The avifauna of Equatorial Guinea is amongst the least known in Africa. 3 Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs) cover Equatorial Guinea including the whole of Rio Muni which falls within the Cameroon and Gabon lowlands EBA. Annobón forms an EBA in its own right and Bioko is a part of the Cameroon mountains EBA.

5 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified with a total area of 3,770 km2 which includes marine areas and offshore islands around Annobón. Apart from these areas around Annobón, all the IBAs are forested. These sites hold all the species of global conservation concern as well as the 176 restricted range species of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome.

The Annobón IBA includes the whole island, islets and surrounding seas up to 5 km offshore. Forest covers about 75% of the island. Key species are São Tomé Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba malherbii and Annobón White-eye Zosterops griseovirescens. Other breeding seabirds include Brown Booby Sula leucogaster, White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus, Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus and Brown Noddy Anous stolidus.

Basilé Peak National Park is located in the northern half of Bioko. The terrain is extremely rugged and the vegetation comprises montane forest with bushland and thickets at higher altitudes. A total of 70 species, all thought to be resident, have been recorded. These include the endemic Fernando Po Speirops Speirops brunneus and some 28 endemic subspecies. Other key species are Mountain Saw-wing Psalidoprocne fuliginosa and Ursula’s Sunbird Cinnyris ursulae.

Luba Caldera Scientific Reserve is centred on the volcanic Mount Luba in southern Bioko and is one of the wettest places on earth with annual rainfall reaching 10 metres. It is an area of undisturbed lowland forest which merges into montane forest above 800 m. 120 species have been recorded to date including Bioko Batis Batis poensis, Mountain Saw-wing Psalidoprocne fuliginosa, Ursula’s Sunbird Cinnyris ursulae and Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas and is the only site in Bioko where Black-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna atrata and Hadeda Ibis Bostrychia hagedash occur.

Monte Alen National Park is covered entirely with primary rainforest and at least 256 species have been recorded. Of special note is the recent discovery of 3 montane species Grey Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina caesia, Pink-footed Puffback Dryoscopus angolensis and Black-capped Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus herberti. Other key species are Uganda Wood Warbler Phylloscopus budongoensis, Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas which is widespread, Zenker’s Honeyguide Melignomon zenkeri, Tessmann’s Flycatcher Muscicapa tessmanni and Verreaux’s Batis Batis minima.

Nsork Highlands National Park is situated in the south-east corner of Rio Muni and represents one of the best preserved areas of primary rainforest. Little survey work has been done at this site but it is a nesting area for Grey-necked Picathartes Picathartes oreas.

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

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