Working for birds in Africa


Wed, 02/06/2013 - 12:00 -- abc_admin

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

from ABC Bulletin 26.1

Two Ethiopian Swallows Hirundo aethiopica photographed in the centre of Macenta on 5 November 2018 are the first for the country (Figs. 15–16; BvH & WvZ); the species has been recorded recently in western Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, and is spreading west.

from ABC Bulletin 25.1

In July and November 2017, records from the Tougué area, Labé Region, included three new species for the country, if confirmed: Swamp Nightjar Caprimulgus natalensis (flushed several times in a wet bowal in July), Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea (up to three displaying simultaneously in July) and Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea (a group of six, including a male in breeding plumage, in November). The same area held White-rumped Swift Apus caffer (several), Rufousnaped Lark Mirafra africana (four observed at two sites), Preuss’s Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon preussi (near Labé), a pair of Sooty Chats Myrmecocichla nigra, Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius (common at bowals), Common Fiscal Lanius collaris (regularly encountered near villages) and Heuglin’s Masked Weaver Ploceus heuglini (two males in breeding plumage in July) (SC). The most remarkable report, however, was that of four Purpleheaded Glossy Starlings Hylopsar purpureiceps, photographed near Sérédou, in the south-east, on 16 November (WvZ); this confirms the few previous reports in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire of the species, which ranges principally in the Lower Guinea forest block—full details will be published in this journal.

from ABC Bulletin 24.2

Three seabird species recorded in May 2017 represent additions to the country list: Wilson’s Stormpetrel Oceanites oceanicus (ten photographed at sea c.12 km off Bel-Air, Boffa Préfecture, on 5–9 May; DB), Leach’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous (one at Bel-Air on 3 May) and Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus (one at Bel-Air on 10 May) (PA). A Black Stork Ciconia nigra ringed at Brzice, in the Czech Republic, on 19 June 2012, was found dead in Lébékéré Souspréfecture, in the north, on 3 April 2016 (MD per HR).

from ABC Bulletin 23.2

Records from Boffa Préfecture, in September–November 2016, included three new species for Guinea: Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus (one flying south off Foulaya on 4 November), Audouin’s Gull Ichthyaetus audouinii (a first-winter near Cap Verga on 28 October) and Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla (an adult photographed near Foulaya on 11 November). The following were also observed in the Cap Verga area: 20 Northern Pintails Anas acuta flying south on 4 November (uncommon to scarce south of its main wintering areas in the Sahel belt), three adult White-backed Night Herons Gorsachius leuconotus on 5 November (this discreet species is seldom reported), up to two Kelp Gulls Larus dominicanus and up to four adult African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris on 6–12 November, four Mottled Swifts Tachymarptis aequatorialis on 5 November (Fig. 14) and two White-rumped Swifts Apus caffer on 6 September (PA). In Dixinn commune of Conakry, two Timneh Parrots Psittacus (erithacus) timneh were seen on 4 September, with 12 there on 7th, and a, probable immature, Longtailed Glossy Starling Lamprotornis caudatus on 4 December—although these may be escapes (there are many bird traders in the city), a wild origin cannot be eliminated. In the hills north-east of Coyah, 40–50 Mottled Swifts and a Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus were observed on 3–4 September, whilst a Whitethroated Blue Swallow Hirundo nigrita was present on a small river between Coyah and Maneah (BP). A Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus was photographed in Conakry on 11 December (Fig. 15; CA per HR).

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

A record from 2011 of a Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos has only recently come to light: the bird was photographed at Siguiri, north of Kankan in the north-east, on 13 January; this is an addition to the country list. 

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

In the south-east, three species new for the country were photographed at Mont Yonon, north-west of Nzérékoré, in May 2011: Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus (a pale morph adult on 5 May), Black Spinetail Telacanthura melanopygia (two on 3rd, with the following species) and Bates’s Swift Apus batesi (four photographed amongst many more on 3rd). At the same site, a European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, photographed on 20 January 2012, constitutes yet another addition to the country list. In the Going (or Gouin) massif, east of Kérouané, a white-headed Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii was observed on 7 May 2011.

from ABC Bulletin 19.1

During survey work on Mount Nimba in September 2011, 15 territories of Sierra Leone Prinia Schistolais leontica were found, all at the edge of submontane forest patches on slopes between c.1,065 m and 1,550 m. Species not previously recorded from the massif include Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (one calling while flying over camp at night at c.780 m), Senegal Eremomela Eremomela pusilla (in savanna at the base of the massif), Red-winged Warbler Heliolais erythropterus (one nest building at 1,262 m on 15 September), African Blue Flycatcher Elminia longicauda (fairly common in gallery forest and forest patches on the slopes at c.1,200–1,600 m), Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus (in savanna at the base of the massif), Tropical Boubou Laniarius (aethiopicus) major (at least two pairs duetting in gallery forest and the edge of forest patches on the slopes, at c.1,500–1,600 m) and Splendid Glossy Starling Lamprotornis splendidus (a group of 17 at the base of the massif). Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus, observed twice, had not previously been recorded on the Guinean part of the massif; it was only found on the Liberian side in  2010: see below.

At Kabak Island, about halfway between Conakry and the Sierra Leone border, field work on 12–15 October 2011 found a flock of six Northern Shovelers Anas clypeata; this is only the second record for the country. Three adults and a recently fledged juvenile Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis were amongst a large concentration of terns on the mudflats, giving rise to the question as to whether the birds had bred locally. Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni was encountered on three occasions in mangroves; this species was previously known only from the north of the country along the Senegalese border.

Records of the following species, made during a survey of Pinselli Forest Reserve, c.45 km west-southwest of Mamou, on 18–22 October 2011, represent a small extension of their previously known ranges: Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii, Black-throated Coucal Centropus leucogaster, Black-shouldered Nightjar Caprimulgus nigriscapularis, Sabine’s Spinetail Rhaphidura sabini, Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata, Finsch’s Flycatcher Thrush Stizorhina finschi, Yellow-browed Camaroptera Camaroptera superciliaris, Ashy Flycatcher Muscicapa caerulescens (an adult with a juvenile), Little Green Sunbird Anthreptes seimundi (up to four seen and nest building observed), Velvet-mantled Drongo Dicrurus modestus (up to five seen daily in farmbush, shrub and wooded savanna, and carefully distinguished from Fork-tailed Drongo D. adsimilis), Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps, Grey-headed Negrofinch Nigrita canicapillus and Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch N. bicolor.

A search for Sierra Leone Prinia on Mont Béro, in the south-east, in November 2011, was successful: four territories were found at 682–964 m at this site, where the species was previously unknown.


Now that the vocalisations of the skulking and previously Data Deficient Baumann's Greenbul Phyllastrephus baumanni are known to a few active observers, the species is being found at an increasing number of sites. In October 2010, four individuals were found at two new sites in the Sangarédi area, in north-western Guinea.

In January - February 2010, a search for Nimba Flycatcher Melaenornis annamarulae in south-eastern Guinea found a total of 15 pairs at four of the seven surveyed sites. The species was encountered at Douama, souspréfecture de Binikala (four pairs), sous-préfecture Sengbedou-Macenta (three pairs), Tétini Forest Reserve (four pairs) and Mount Béro Forest Reserve (four pairs). It was not found in Diécké Forest Reserve, nor in the sous-préfecture de Bounouma or at Mount Yonon. In Guinea, the species was previously known only from Ziama, Déré and Pic de Fon.

In November–December 2009, a search for Sierra Leone Prinia Schistolais leontica was conducted at 11 sites in the Fouta Djalon, from ‘La Dame du Mali’ in the north to Dalaba in the south. The species was encountered only at Dalaba, where five pairs were located in a small and threatened forest behind the old colonial governor’s residence in the centre of town (10°40’N 12°16’W), at 1,196–1,314 m, on 11–12 December. There is only one previous record of Sierra Leone Prinia in the Fouta Djalon, involving a single pair near Dalaba at 1,160 m in October 1999.

An African Pitta Pitta angolensis was photographed by a camera trap in forest at Pic de Fon, in the extreme south-east of the country, on 2 April 2009; this is yet another addition to the birdlist of this important site, where 353 species have been recorded to date.

During survey work in the southeast, in October–November 2008, two male Blue Rock Thrushes Monticola solitarius were observed at Pic de Fon on 20 October; this is a new species for Guinea. With 352 species recorded at Pic de Fon to date, the site is the country’s Important Bird Area with the longest birdlist. Sierra Leone Prinia Schistolais leontica was found at 24 locations at 955–1,560 m, totalling 55 individuals (26 pairs or family groups and one single). The presence of White- necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus was revealed by photographs taken by a camera trap. A pair of Sierra Leone Prinias was also found at nearby Pic de Tibé and no fewer than 15 pairs were discovered at Mt Tétini Forest Reserve, to the south-east; neither site had ever been surveyed for birds.

At Tétini, the Data Deficient Emerald Starling Lamprotornis iris was observed in flocks of up to 22 birds. A few species were added to the list of Ziama Forest Reserve, including Rufous-winged Illadopsis Illadopsis rufescens and Copper- tailed Glossy Starling Lamprotornis cupreocauda. Yellow-bearded Greenbul Criniger olivaceus appeared to be remarkably common and a few Black-headed Rufous Warblers Bathmocercus cerviniventris were also noted.

During survey work in April - May 2008, the first Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata for the country was found on a sandbank at sea off Yélitono Island, close to the Sierra Leone border. A sooty-black Sarothrura rail flushed from tall grass next to the Sassina River, south- west of Faranah, may well have been a juvenile Red- chested Flufftail S. rufa, a species not previously recorded in Guinea, but known to occur in nearby Sierra Leone. Baumann’s Greenbul Phyllastrephus baumanni was found at two new sites: on the slopes of Kounounkan Forest Reserve, near Moussaya, and at the edge of the Fouta Djalon just south of Mamou. Range extensions were noted for several species including, among others, Ahanta Francolin Francolinus ahantensis (observed south of Haut Niger National Park [=HNNP] and south of Mamou), Latham’s Forest Francolin F. lathami (found at Kounounkan, a westward extension and the species’ westernmost site), White- spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra (south of HNNP; not previously known from the park area), Thick- billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti (south of Mamou;  westernmost record), Chocolate-backed Kingfisher Halcyon badia (Kounounkan; westernmost record), Yellow-billed Barbet Trachylaemus purpuratus (Mamou; westernmost record), Cassin’s Honeybird Prodotiscus insignis (Mamou), Little Grey Greenbul Andropadus gracilis (Mamou), Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina (Mamou; third record for Guinea), Winding Cisticola Cisticola galactotes (south of HNNP) and Lavender Waxbill Estrilda caerulescens (Mamou). Black-faced Firefinch Lagonosticta larvata was found at two sites south of HNNP, west of Tokounou and east of Douako; there is only one previous record of this species in Guinea, from February 2002, when it was discovered at the confluence of the Bafing and Balé Rivers, in the north- east, on the border with Mali.

Records of the following species from the Koubia area, in the northern Fouta Djalon, in June–August 2006, represent slight range extensions compared to the maps in Borrow & Demey (2004. Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa): Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria, Shining-blue Kingfisher Alcedo quadribrachys, Spotted Honeyguide Indicator maculatus, Little Green Woodpecker Campethera maculosa and Grey-winged Robin Chat Cossypha polioptera (all observed in gallery forest), Turati’s Boubou Laniarius turatii (frequently seen in Koubia), Heuglin’s Masked Weaver Ploceus heuglini, Black-winged Bishop Euplectes hordeaceus and Cabanis’s Bunting Emberiza cabanisi. Yellow-mantled Widowbirds Euplectes macroura seen near Labe airport also represent an extension of their known range.

During a waterbird census held in January 2006 in Guinea's coastal wetlands, four species were added to the country list: Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia (an adult with a group of nine African Spoonbills P. alba in Sangareya Bay, Dubréka, on 17th), Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (five on the Khoni Benki mudflats, Boffa, on 23rd), Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus (an adult with four Grey-headed Gulls L. cirrocephalus on Kindiadi beach, Koba, Boffa, on 20th, and another on the beach of Khoni Benki, Boffa, with 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls L. fuscus, on 23rd), and Winding Cisticola Cisticola galactotes (ten in the Koba ricefields, Boffa, on 19th).

Other interesting records from the same period include the following. A Dwarf Bittern Ixobrychus sturmii was seen on the Bokaria Plain, Boké, on 22nd. Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were observed in Sangareya Bay, Dubréka (12 on 18th), at Khoni Benki, Boffa (ten on 23rd), and at Yongo Salé, Boké (60 on 2rd); these records show that the species occurs along the entire Guinean coast. Three Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor were in a flock of 3,000 White-faced D. viduata at Yongo Salé, Boké, on 23rd; this is a rare species in Guinea. Sixteen Northern Shovelers Anas clypeata at Khoni Benki, Boffa, on 23rd, constitute the first coastal record. A Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus was seen near Wassou on 19th, and an African Crake Crex egregia in the Koba ricefields, Boffa, on 19th.

A pair of Black Crowned Cranes Balearica pavonina with a juvenile was observed in the Monchon Plain, Boffa, on 21st. In the Koba ricefields, Boffa, 985 Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola were counted on 20th; this species occurs along the entire Guinean coast. A total of 2,295 Pied Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta, counted on 16th and 26th is a high number so far south.

Six Black-billed Wood Doves Turtur abyssinicus at the Grandes Chutes, Kindia, on 27th, are an addition to the site list. Twenty-five White-rumped Swifts Apus caffer flew over Sangareya Bay, Dubréka, on 18th. Mottled Swifts Tachymarptis aequatorialis were seen over the Monchon Plain, Boffa (50 on 21st) and at the Grandes Chutes, Kindia (50 on 27th). Also at the latter site were 25 Rufous-chested Swallows Hirundo semirufa. In the Koba ricefields, Boffa, two Black-backed Cisticolas C. eximius were seen on 20th and a Black-faced Quailfinch Ortygospiza atricollis the day before.

A Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata was seen in Conakry’s botanic garden on 15 March 2005; a rather surprise find of this species in a very small patch of forest in the centre of a busy city.

During field work in Boké Prefecture in April-May 2005, some 50 species were recorded for the first time in the Kamsar and Sangarédi areas and their records represent more or less significant range extensions. Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio was found near Kamsar; this is a new species for the country list, although there is an unpublished sighting from Gaoual, c300 km inland, in 1992. Two Ovambo Sparrowhawks Accipiter ovampensis were seen near Sangarédi on 8 May; the species was previously known only from Haut Niger NP (=National Park) Two Marsh Owls Asio capensis were flushed from the edge of harvested rice fields near Kamsar on 27 April; there is only one previous record from Guinea, also from the Kamsar area. An African Broadbill Smithornis capensis was heard displaying near Sangarédi on 6 May; this is the westernmost record to date of a species which was previously known to occur only as far west as Sierra Leone. Baumann’s Greenbul Phyllastrephus baumanni, currently listed as Data Deficient, was found to be locally common in farmbush near Kamsar; the species was previously only known in Guinea from the extreme south-east of the country and its known range extended westwards to north-central Sierra Leone. The present records are thus the westernmost to date and a range extension of c300 km. Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina, observed near Sangarédi on 9 May, is an addition to the country's list. Black-backed Cisticola Cisticola eximius was found to be locally common in dry rice fields and partially burnt open plains near Kamsar. Two pairs of Velvet-mantled Drongo Dicrurus modestus were found at two localities near Kamsar; this species was previously known to occur only as far west as the Kounounkan area, near the border with Sierra Leone.

Other noteworthy recent and not-so-recent records include the following. Little Grebes Tachybaptis ruficollis were observed at Dalaba on 22 February 2001, 18 km south-east of Coyah on 3 May 2003 (five) and at Conakry on 26 October 2004; there are few records in Guinea. An Ovambo Sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis was photographed south-east of Coyah on 8 May 2005. Also there on the same day was a Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis, with four there on 22nd; this is a new species for the Guinea list. More than 60 Preuss's Cliff Swallows Hirundo preussi were counted near Coyah on 22 May. A Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus was found in Haut Niger NP on 28 February; there is only one previous record for Guinea.

Records from Dalaba, in the Fouta Djalon, from 10 to 13 February 2004, represent a new locality for Brown-crowned Tchagra Tchagra australis, Heuglin's Masked Weaver Ploceus heuglini (common), Dybowski's Twinspot Euschistospiza dybowskii and Cabanis’s Bunting Emberiza cabanisi.

Surveys carried out in November–December 2003 in Déré, Diécké and Mont Béro Forest Reserves in the extreme south-east, produced ten additions to the country list: Sandy Scops Owl Otus icterorhynchus, Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum, Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill Bycanistes subcylindricus (at all three sites), Bristle-nosed Barbet Gymnobucco peli, Rufous-sided Broadbill Smithornis rufolateralis (at all three sites), Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis, Bioko Batis Batis poensis, Tiny Sunbird Cinnyris minullus, Narrow-tailed Starling Poeoptera lugubris and, most importantly, the endangered Gola Malimbe Malimbus ballmanni, which appeared to be relatively common in mixed bird parties in Diécké forest.

New data on the distribution and status of a range of species were collected during training in field ornithology organised for Guinean and Liberian nationals by Guinée-Ecologie, a local non-governmental organisation, from February to April 2003. A surprising discovery was that of White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus in a small patch of gallery forest at the 'Grandes Chutes' south of Kindia; this constitutes the most western site to date for this threatened species. Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus, found at the same locality on 4 April (three males together), was an addition to the Guinean list.

A primary feather picked up at the Chutes de la Sâla, near Labé, in the Fouta Djalon, on 15 March 2003, proved to be of Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis, a species not previously recorded from Guinea.

During fieldwork in south-western Mali, at the confluence of the Bafing and Balé Rivers, on the border with north-eastern Guinea, in mid February 2002, Adamawa Turtle Dove Streptopelia hypopyrrha, Dorst's Cisticola Cisticola dorsti and Swamp Flycatcher Muscicapa aquatica were seen on the Guinea side, and added to this country's list.

During a preliminary survey of the Pic de Fon Forest Reserve, in the south-eastern Simandou Range, organised by Conservation International in November and December 2002, 233 bird species were recorded, of which six were new for the country: Fraser's Eagle Owl Bubo poensis, Cassin's Spinetail Neafrapus cassini, Willcocks's Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi, African Broadbill Smithornis capensis, Baumann's Greenbul Phyllastrephus baumanni, Forest Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas leucosticta and Cameroon Indigobird Vidua camerunensis. In addition, a number of species were observed which are rare or poorly known in either Guinea or West Africa, including Blue-headed Bee-eater Merops muelleri, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide Melichneutes robustus, Western Wattled Cuckoo-Shrike Lobotos lobatus, Yellow-bearded Greenbul Criniger olivaceus, Grey-winged Robin Chat Cossypha polioptera, Black-headed Rufous Warbler Bathmocercus cerviniventris, Sierra Leone Prinia Prinia leontica, Dusky Tit Parus funereus, Emerald Starling Lamprotornis iris and Dybowski's Twinspot Euschistospiza dybowskii.

A report of Sierra Leone Prinia Prinia leontica, observed near Dalaba in early 2001, confirms the occurrence of the species in the area, discovered in October 1999. A Grey-winged Robin Chat Cossypha polioptera was found in the Fouta Djalon, near Daralabé, on 13 December 2000; this is the westernmost record of this species to date.

Records from October 1999 representing new localities include a Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni excavating into tree termitaria near Dalaba on 16th and Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga near Labe on 23rd. The record of a Sierra Leone Prinia Prinia leontica carrying food to its nest and singing near Petel, Dalaba, would constitute the westernmost locality for this species, if confirmed.

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