Working for birds in Africa

Important Bird Areas

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 14:26 -- abc_admin

Almost the whole of Liberia falls within the Upper Guinea forests Endemic Bird Area (EBA) and all 15 of its endemic species are found. It also lies entirely within the Guinea-Congo Forest biome and 184 species characteristic of this biome have been found herein. Liberian Greenbul Phyllastrephus leucolepis has only been recorded from a limited area in the east of the country, while Gola Malimbe Malimbus ballmanni is almost entirely confined to Liberia. This serves to highlight the importance of Liberia’s high forests which a few years ago still covered some 40% of the land area. Much more is still covered with secondary forests which also host a rich avifauna. Liberia’s coastal wetlands on the other hand are relatively unimportant ornithologically by comparison with Sierra Leone and Guinea (Gatter 1988a, b). Most of the lagoons, especially in the central coast are still surrounded by heavy forest which leaves little room for mudflats and sandspits. Water levels are high, due to annual precipitation between 2,000 mm in the north and between 3,000 and 5,000 mm along the coast. The best time for waders, egrets and herons is when water levels are at their lowest level between March and May.

Nine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified which cover 5,800 km2 or 6% of the land area. All sites comprise substantial areas of forest being representative of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome, and one site qualifies in addition for its congregation of waterbirds. The sites are listed below. The number of species found at each site is more a reflection of the work which has been done there rather than their real value.

Wologizi mountains are an isolated upland area in the north-west of the country and include Liberia’s highest peak, Mount Wuteve.

Wonegizi mountains are also in the north-west of the country adjacent to the Guinea border and are an extension of a large and long mountain range stretching from Guinea into Liberia.

Lofa-Mano is a proposed National Park in western Liberia which includes part of the Liberian Gola National Forest. It is contiguous with the Gola Forest Reserves IBA in Sierra Leone and is the least researched of the Liberian IBAs.

Nimba mountains in the north-east of the country are shared with Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire and have contiguous IBAs with both countries. The forest avifauna seems to be extremely rich compared to other IBAs but this is mainly due to the large amount of research which has been carried out there (see Zwedru Forest).

Cape Mount is a proposed Nature Reserve on the coast in the extreme west of the country near the town of Robertsport lying at a large flat ocean bay with a neighbouring large lagoon called Lake Piso. Between Lake Piso and the ocean lies the Cape Mount Peninsula, one of the most beautiful landscapes along the West African coast.

Zwedru is fragmented forest located in east central Liberia, north-west of the town of Zwedru. The Cavalla River which is the frontier with Côte d'Ivoire forms the northern boundary of the IBA. The forests of the area are being destroyed by slash and burn agriculture. This is the only known site for Liberian Greenbul Phyllastrephus leucolepis and holds a large population of Gola Malimbe Malimbus ballmanni. Three years of intensive research make it the best researched area of Liberia apart from Mt. Nimba.

Cestos-Senkwehn lies in the lowly populated coastal centre of Liberia between the towns of Buchanan and Greenville and stretches inland from the coast for some 70 km.

Sapo National Park is located in south-east Liberia some 70 km inland from the coastal town of Greenville.

Cavalla River in Grebo National Forest is enclosed on three sides by the Cavalla River and is on the international border with Côte d'Ivoire in the far east of the country.

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

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