Working for birds in Africa


Mon, 14/01/2013 - 22:03 -- abc_admin

Asmara The capital of Eritrea is surrounded by grassland and cultivated fields. The road connecting it to the Red Sea port of Massawa passes through diverse terrain and there is some interesting birding close to Asmara including the possibility of Rouget`s Rail Rougetius rougetii and Abyssinian Longclaw Macronyx flavicollis.

Semenawi Bahri The village of Weki-Zager is the gateway to Semenawi Bahri, Eritrea`s Green Belt. Interesting birds in this region include Rosy-patched Shrike Rhodophoneus cruentus, Erckel's Francolin Francolinus erckelii, White-cheeked Turaco Tauraco leucotis and White-headed Babbler Turdoides leucocephala. The route to Filfil offers the possibility of Black-billed Barbet Lybius guifsobalito and White-billed Starling Onychognathus albirostris. The route over Mt. Solomuna holds Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis taranta, the rare Banded Barbet Lybius undatus and Abyssinian Woodpecker Dendropicos abyssinicus.

Massawa - the Red Sea Coast The area between Gahtelay to Massawa has been found to be very good for Sandgrouse including large flocks of Yellow-throated Pterocles gutturalis, Chestnut-bellied P.exustus and Black-faced P.decoratus as well as smaller numbers of Lichtenstein's P.lichtensteinii and Spotted P.senegallus. Massawa is a delightful port where Abdim's Stork Ciconia abdimii is reportedly common. It has many waders and seabirds including Crab-plover Dromas ardeola and Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis. Other birds in the vicinity include Greater Hoopoe-Lark Alaemon alaudipes, Thekla Lark Galerida theklae, Fulvous Babbler Turdoides fulva and Speckle-fronted Weaver Sporopipes frontalis.   

Ghinda is almost half way between Massawa and Asmara and is a good destination for birders, with hotels and guest houses. The area has a good variety of species which include Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris, African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis,  Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus as well as mousebirds and sunbirds.   

Hargigo ­ Foro-Zula From Massawa towards Irafayle is about a 70 km drive on a dirt road along the Red Sea coast. In this area, it is possible to see a number of desert adapted species including Ostrich Struthio camelus, Dark Chanting Goshawk Melierax metabates, Erckel's Francolin Francolinus erckelii, as well as quails, mousebirds, bee-eaters, kestrels, oxpeckers etc. Along the coast you are sure to encounter Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens, Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor and Crab-plover Dromas ardeola in the mangroves of Hargigo.

Green Island From Massawa Bay (Central or Dahalak Hotel in Massawa), you can take a 20 minute boat ride to Green Island. This beautiful mangrove island is an ideal place for watching Goliath Heron Ardea goliath, Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens, Osprey Pandion haliaetus, Crab-plover Dromas ardeola and Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus.

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