Working for birds in Africa

São Tomé e Príncipe


Wed, 02/06/2013 - 15:30 -- abc_admin

dark morph Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis

flying off the northern coast of the island of São Tomé

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

The following largely unconfirmed records were published in the Bulletin of the African Bird Club for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 26.2

Two ‘firsts’ for the archipelago were reported in January 2019: a first-year Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo photographed above Nova Moca, São Tomé, on 11 January (RH & VH) and a Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus photographed on Príncipe on 16 January (per https://observation. org). A Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis photographed at the Jardin Botanico above Nova Moca, São Tomé, on 18 January (RH & VH), may also be considerd a ‘first’, as one seen in December 1994 has never been documented and is questioned by Jones & Tye (2006. The Birds of São Tomé & Príncipe with Annobón: Islands of the Gulf of Guinea). Also noteworthy was a Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides on Príncipe on 14–24 January (VH &; the first documented record for the island was in July 2012 (cf. Bull. ABC 24: 90–91) following an unconfirmed sighting in January 1996.

from ABC Bulletin 23.2

The first Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala for the islands was photographed at Praia Inhame, at the southern tip of São Tomé, on 24–25 December 2015. At least three Ruddy Turnstones Arenaria interpres were seen between Praia Inhame and Praia Piscina on 25–28 December (Fig. 22); there are few records of this species. A brief pelagic trip to the Sete Pedras Islets, c.5 km south-west of São Tomé, on 23 December, produced at least seven White-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon lepturus, c.1,000 pairs of Black Noddies Anous minutus, c.1,000 pairs of Brown Noddies A. stolidus, 50 Brown Boobies Sula leucogaster and 15 Bridled Terns Onychoprion anaethetus. On 27 December, at Mucumbli Lodge, Ponta Figo, a singing Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus in a maize field was sound-recorded; this appears to be only the second record for the island (BP).

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

The first Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus for the island of São Tomé was photographed at Mucumbli Ecotourism Lodge, Ponta Figo, on 28 December 2015; this is the second record for São Tomé and Príncipe, the first dating from November 1954, on Príncipe.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

Excellent views of Príncipe Thrush Turdus xanthorhynchus were obtained in the moist forests in the south of Príncipe on 10 July 2013. This Critically Endangered species, recently split from São Tomé (or Gulf of Guinea) Thrush T. olivaceofuscus, was rediscovered in 1997 after an absence of records since the 1920s and it is estimated that fewer than 250 mature individuals remain. Two Pied Kingfishers Ceryle rudis were present in the estuary of the rio Papagaio, Príncipe, from 21 July until at least early October. In São Tomé and Príncipe, the species has been recorded only at this locality, in June 1997 and June 2008.


On 1 August 2010, two Grey-rumped Swallows Pseudhirundo gryseopyga were observed in São Tomé town, above the swamp behind Hotel Omali Lodge (ex-Marlin Beach), in a large flock of Little Swifts Apus affinis and Palm Swifts Cypsiurus parvus; the species is mentioned as 'of doubtful occurrence' in Jones & Tye (2006. The Birds of São Tomé & Principe, with Annobón), based on a single record, from Príncipe airport in September - October 1997.

A belated record has been received of an adult Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides at an artificial lake next to São Tomé airport from 20 November 2007 to 31 January 2008 at least; the first record for São Tomé, from January 2003, was at the same site.

Two Pied Kingfishers Ceryle rudis were photographed in the estuarine area of the Rio Papagaio, Príncipe, on 6 June 2008. The only recent records mentioned by Jones & Tye (2006. The Birds of São Tomé & Príncipe with Annobón. An Annotated Checklist) are of a pair seen on the same river in June 1997.

On Príncipe, a juvenile Jacobin Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus was observed for several minutes being mobbed by Príncipe Golden Weavers Ploceus princeps in an area of plantations in the north of the island on 16 December 2007. There is only one previous record of this species on Príncipe, also of a juvenile, in January.

A White Stork Ciconia ciconia was photographed at Pinheira, São Tomé, on 10 October 2007; it was joined by a second individual on 18 October.

Western Reef Egrets Egretta gularis were fishing on the wing in a stiff breeze on the northern coast of São Tomé beyond Guadalupe on 27 September 2006; such behaviour appears unusual. A Common Sand Martin Riparia riparia over the river in Santo Antonio, Príncipe, on 28 September, appears to be the first for the island. Prolonged views of São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor were had by a birding group in August 2006, in the south-west corner of the island.

On 4 December 2003, an Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina was observed at close range along the road between Lagoa Azul and Neves, São Tomé; this appears to be the first for the country. Another first was recorded on 23 November 2004 when a Garden Warbler Sylvia borin was seen in plantation forest above Roca Agostinho Neto, São Tomé. Other records of interest from November 2004 included a Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea at Praia dos Conchas on 23rd and a Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia at Lembá River mouth the next day. Along the north coast several observations were made of Common Terns Sterna hirundo, including a small group of two adults and three immatures resting on a cliff at Lagoa Azul on 21st. In early 2005, two São Tomé Grosbeaks Neospiza concolor were mist-netted.

A Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus was seen well in the garden of Bom Bom Island Resort, Príncipe, after a heavy thunderstorm on 21 September 2004. Also in September, a São Tomé Grosbeak  Neospiza concolor responded to playback by coming straight in, whistling loudly, in São Tomé's south-west corner.

Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus were sitting on a buoy in the Baia de Ana Chaves, São Tomé city, on 20 November 2003. A probable Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea arrived and departed with a ship on 23 November.

The first Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides for São Tomé was observed in January; this constitutes the second record for the archipelago, the first having been observed on Príncipe in January 1996. An Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia found at Santo Antonio, Príncipe on 7 April was the first for the islands. On São Tomé, a first year Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus remained at the Pinheira from 7 October until at least 10 November; it was joined by a second on 23 October. There is only one previous record for the island from November 1954 when 2 birds were also seen.

3 Harlequin Quails Coturnix delegorguei were flushed from the airstrip on Príncipe on 17 September; this appears to be the second record for the island following that of a single at the same location on 17 August 1997. The first Hoopoe Upupa epops for São Tomé was at the Pinheira on 15 and 16 October. A Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus was ringed near São Tomé airport in January; this is another addition to the São Tomé and Príncipe list.

A juvenile Grey Heron Ardea cinerea was seen on the mudflats at Santo Antonio, Príncipe on the 16th February; this species is considered a vagrant to the islands. In the forests above São Miguel, 4 pairs of São Tomé Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei and 3 pairs of São Tomé Fiscal Lanius newtoni were seen (easily located by their loud, far-carrying piping calls). São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor was also found there and its strongly whistled call was recorded.

The following three species, observed in September and October 2002 appear to be new to the islands. 2 Bat Hawks Macheiramphus alcinus were seen flying over São Tomé town in late afternoon of 30 September. 6 Sanderling Calidris alba were videotaped on São Tomé beach on 1 October and a single at Santo Antonio, Príncipe on 5 October. A Lesser Striped Swalllow Hirundo abyssinica was observed at Roca Belo Monte, Príncipe on 6 October. There were also 2 Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus on 5 October and one the next day; the only published record for the islands is of a few individuals resting on a ferry between São Tomé and Príncipe in March 1992.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:11 -- abc_admin


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:09 -- abc_admin

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

CHRISTY. P. São Tomé and Príncipe chapter pp. 727-731in 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).

CHRISTY, P. and CLARKE, W.V. (1998) Guide des Oiseaux de São Tomé et Príncipe. Describes and illustrates all known species. In French with English and Latin species names. 144 pages, 143 colour plates, Ecofac, Gabon. Hardback.

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.

HALL, P., LEVENTIS, A.P., OLMOS, F., RUMSEY, S. and TURSHAK, L. (2010) Noteworthy bird records from São Tomé and Príncipe. ABC Bulletin 17(1) pp 93-96.

KING, T. and DALLIMER, M. (2008) Low altitude sightings of the Gulf of Guinea Thrush Turdus olivaceofuscus xanthorhynchus on Príncipe Island. Malimbus 30(1) pp 78-81.

MAIA, H., Angus Gascoigne, Domingos de Deus and Ricardo F. de Lima. (2013) Notes on the breeding ecology and conservation of the Critically Endangered Dwarf Olive Ibis Bostrychia bocagei. ABC Bulletin 21(2) pp 202-205.

MELO, M. & DALLIMER, M. (2009) Is there an undiscovered endemic scops owl Otus sp. on Príncipe Island? Malimbus 31(2) pp 109-115.

MILLS, M.S.L., CADDICK, J., HOFF, R., MYERS, D., and COETZER, I. (2007) First record of Common Sand Martin Riparia riparia for São Tomé and Príncipe. ABC Bulletin 14(2) p 207.

OLMOS, F. and TURSHAK, G. (2010) Bird observations from São Tomé: Monte Carmo as a priority conservation site. ABC Bulletin 17(1) pp 54-65.

SARGEANT, D.E. (1994) Recent ornithological observations from São Tomé and Príncipe Islands. ABC Bulletin 1(2) pp 96-102.

VALLE, S. & PATACHO, M. (2014) First record of Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus for São Tomé and Príncipe. ABC Bulletin 21(1) pp 87-88. 


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:08 -- 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

Bird recorder and checklist compiler

Dr Peter Jones
ICAPB (Zoology Building)
The King's Building
Edinburgh EH9 3JT


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:07 -- abc_admin

Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild

an introduced species on São Tomé and Príncipe

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

degraded habitat near the north coast of the island of São Tomé

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Much of the original forest of these islands has been cleared for cultivation below 800m. In common with many islands, new plant species and domestic animals have been introduced.

The Obo National Parks on both islands include montane and lowland forests, mangroves and savanna and offer a measure of protection to the endemic bird species.

São Tomé and Príncipe is party to a number of international treaties including Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species and Environmental Modification.

There are however many conservation related issues such as deforestation and soil erosion. None of the islands nor the IBAs were formally protected as late as the mid 1990s.

Books & Sounds

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:06 -- 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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:04 -- abc_admin

one of many muddy trails on São Tomé

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Birding tours

Birding AfricaBirding Ecotours, Birdquest, and Rockjumper operate tours to São Tomé and Príncipe.


We know of no birding guides in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Trip reports

A Birders Guide to São Tomé and Príncipe by SARGEANT, D. (1992) Complete checklist for both islands, detailed site guides, where & how to find all endemics, and rediscovery of the São Tomé Grosbeak. 22 pages, 3 maps. Paperback.

The trip report of the ABC Conservation Tour for 2006 can be downloaded here


General: a few operators run birding tours to São Tomé and Príncipe and you may wish to use one of these and travel in an organised tour. However, you may wish to organise your own trip but if so, a working knowledge of Portuguese would be useful and you will not find your way in the forested areas without the help of local guides (you should note that there are no trails in the São Tomé south-western forests). You should also be aware that this is a very wet and muddy country in the wet season and that it still rains most days in the south-western forests even in the dry season so come prepared.

Flights: São Tomé has good connections from Libreville and if you have time, it makes sense to combine a visit to these islands with a trip to Gabon. Libreville is connected to many African cities and to Europe via Paris. São Tomé can also be reached by air directly from Lisbon, Portugal. Access to the island of Príncipe is by air from São Tomé. You should leave sufficient time to see the endemics if that is your major objective and 7 days on the islands should be sufficient to find all but the rarely seen shrike and grosbeak. As with many African countries, there is a strong possibility of cancelled or delayed flights so it is worth giving yourself extra time between connections.

Visas: visas are necessary for nearly all visitors but can be obtained upon arrival at the customs desk at São Tomé. You will need to pay the fee of 55 euros or $US60 in cash (this was the fee at the time of writing). You may need to forward your details to a local operator in advance and our advice is to check with your local embassy and / or its website.

Vaccinations: your local doctor should obviously be consulted about health matters and the range of inoculations which is advised. A Yellow Fever certificate is essential as proof of vaccination.

Driving: it is possible to hire vehicles on São Tomé and there are a number of paved roads. We do not believe that vehicles can be hired on Príncipe where you will require the services of a local person to drive you from the airport to Santo Antonio and to the forested areas.

Currency: The local unit of currency is the São Tomé dobra and it will be useful to carry some as well as euros and US dollars. There are few if any cash machines and credit cards are not accepted in the hotels where we stayed. It is necessary therefore to carry significant cash resources.

Timing: Based on our experience in 2006, October is a good time to visit São Tomé and Príncipe for general birding and to find the endemic species, although travel and forest trekking will be easier during the dry season.

Travel Guide: the Bradt Travel Guide to Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe by Sophie Warne contains considerable detailed information on the above and many other topics. This is published by Bradt Travel Guides Ltd, UK and The Globe Pequot Press Inc, USA.


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.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:02 -- abc_admin

São Tomé Prinia Prinia molleri

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Most people will arrive at the island of São Tomé by air and probably stay in the town of São Tomé itself. There is the possibility of São Tomé Prinia Prinia molleri as well as a number of introduced species in the vicinity of the airport.

In order to see a large number of the endemic species, it is necessary to spend a day or more visiting the central São Toméan highlands at Lagoa Amelia. The road from the town of São Tomé winds its way up the mountain and once out of the populated areas, it passes through forests where Gulf of Guinea Thrush Turdus olivaceofuscus and Newton’s Sunbird Anabathmis newtonii can be found. The botanical research centre at Bom Successo is the starting point of the trail into the Obo National Park and this is a good place to try and find São Tomé Speirops Speirops lugubris, Forest Chestnut-winged Starlings Onychognathus fulgidus and Príncipe Seedeater Serinus rufobrunneus. You will need to follow the trail towards Pico de São Tomé, the island’s highest peak for São Tomé Spinetail Zoonavena thomensis, São Tomé Paradise- Flycather Terpsiphone atrochalybeia and São Tomé Weaver Ploceus sanctithomae. It will be necessary to scan Speirops flocks to find the elusive Príncipe White-eye Zosterops ficedulinus which is uncommon but even rarer on Príncipe itself! Higher up the mountain, one enters the National Park proper and here is the place to find the local race of Lemon Dove Columba larvata simplex and the striking São Tomé Oriole Oriolus crassirostris. Higher up the mountain is the dry crater lake which is a good place to survey the forests to try and find São Tomé Green Pigeon Treron sanctithomae and São Tomé Olive Pigeon Columba thomensis.

A trip to the northern Savannas will take one through a degraded habitat which has been mostly deforested but this is still a good place to find São Tomé Kingfisher Alcedo thomensis, São Tomé Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba malherbii and São Tomé Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrochalybeia. The coastal strip is a place to watch dark and pale morph Western Reef Egrets Egretta gularis and an area to look for the spectacular Giant Weaver Ploceus grandis.

A visit to the São Tomé south-western forests is essential however to try and find the remaining six endemic species of this island. Here, where it rains almost every day even in the dry season, it will probably be necessary to trek for long periods in difficult conditions in order to reach the pristine primary forest habitat and spend a few nights camping in the forest to find the endemics. In order to find Dwarf Olive Ibis Bostrychia olivacea bocagei, São Tomé Scops Owl Otus hartlaubi, the impressive Giant Sunbird Dreptes thomensis, and São Tomé Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei, good fieldcraft, patience and tenacity is required. The critically endangered São Tomé Fiscal Lanius newtoni and São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor have been seen only rarely and may require one to camp for several days in areas of the forest with very difficult access.

The endemics of the small island of Príncipe which is located a mere 45-minute by air to the north-east of São Tomé are much easier to find. Príncipe Kingfisher Alcedo nais can be found en route from the airport and in the centre of the main town, Santo Antonio where Grey Parrots Psittacus erithacus can be seen flying overhead. A walk to the outskirts of town should allow you to find the common Príncipe Golden Weaver Ploceus princeps and the unusual and vociferous Dohrn’s Thrush Babbler Horizorhinus dohrni, Príncipe Speirops Speirops leucophaeus and Príncipe Glossy Starling Lamprotornis ornatus. It may be necessary to go a little higher into the hills to find the remaining endemic species, Príncipe Sunbird Anabathmis hartlaubi and perhaps the most difficult to find, Príncipe Drongo Dicrurus modestus modestus.

A visit to the southern forests is recommended to see Príncipe Thrush Turdus olivaceofuscus xanthorhynchus - a sub-species of Gulf of Guinea Thrush T. olivaceofuscus. These forests are also a stronghold of Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus with a breeding population. Its shores are the best place to see Príncipe Seedeater Serinus rufobrunneus. Spending one night at the southern coast bordering the rainforest is recommended. A small owl described by local people has still to be found.

Ilhas Tinhosas some 20 km south of Príncipe are well worth a visit and boats can be hired through the Bom Bom Island resort but beware that the Atlantic can be surprisingly rough. Black Anous minutus and Brown Noddies A. stolidus and Brown Boobies Sula leucogaster breed in many thousands on these tiny rocks. White-tailed Tropicbirds Phaethon lepturus can be seen drifting overhead. Do not land on the islets: besides being extremely dangerous it causes great disturbance to the birds.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 11:59 -- abc_admin

female Príncipe Golden Weaver Ploceus princeps

one of several endemic species on the island of Príncipe

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Country checklist and status


We are delighted that our Corporate Sponsor iGoTerra has made its country checklists, including subspecies (IOC or Clements) as well as all other species groups like mammals, butterflies etc. available through the ABC website. The only thing required is a Basic membership / registration which is free of charge. Go to São Tomé and Príncipe checklists. If you are already a member of iGoTerra, you will be taken directly to the country page. In case you are not a member, you will be redirected automatically to the registration form and from there can go straight to the country page.

The Gulf Of Guinea Conservation Group website at also contains the BOU checklist for the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe.

Endemic species

São Tomé Green Pigeon Treron sanctithomae s
São Tomé Olive Pigeon Columba thomensis s
São Tomé Scops Owl Otus hartlaubi s
São Tomé Spinetail Zoonavena thomensis s/p
Príncipe Kingfisher

Alcedo nais

São Tomé Kingfisher Alcedo thomensis s
Gulf of Guinea Thrush Turdus olivaceofuscus s/p
São Tomé Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei


São Tomé Prinia Prinia molleri s
São Tomé Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrochalybeia s
Dohrn's Thrush-Babbler Horizorhinus dohrni p
Príncipe Sunbird Anabathmis hartlaubii p
Newton`s Sunbird Anabathmis newtonii s
Giant Sunbird Dreptes thomensis s
Príncipe White-eye Zosterops ficedulinus s/p
São Tomé Fiscal Lanius newtoni s
São Tomé Speirops Speirops lugubris s
Príncipe Speirops Speirops leucophaeus p
São Tomé Oriole Oriolus crassirostris s
Príncipe Glossy Starling Lamprotornis ornatus p
Príncipe Golden Weaver Ploceus princeps p
Giant Weaver Ploceus grandis s
São Tomé Weaver Ploceus sanctithomae s
Príncipe Seedeater Serinus rufobrunneus s/p
São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor s

Dwarf Olive Ibis Bostrychia bocagei, which is endemic to São Tomé and thought to be a full species by some authorities, is considered to be a subspecies of Olive Ibis Bostrychia (olivacea) bocagei by the African Bird Club. It is considered critically endangered by BirdLife International.

s indicates that the species is found only on São Tomé
p indicates that the species is found only on Príncipe
s/p indicates that the species is found on both islands

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

São Tomé Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba malherbii a
Golden-backed Bishop Euplectus aureus  

a indicates that this species is also found on Annobón island

Threatened species

São Tomé Olive Pigeon Columba thomensis Vulnerable
São Tomé Scops Owl Otus hartlaubi Vulnerable
São Tomé Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei Vulnerable
Giant Sunbird Dreptes thomensis Vulnerable
Príncipe White-eye Zosterops ficedulinus Vulnerable
São Tomé Fiscal Lanius newtoni Critical
São Tomé Oriole Oriolus crassirostris Vulnerable
São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor Critical

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 the threatened species, see BIrdLife International.

Important Bird Areas

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 11:58 -- abc_admin

Príncipe Kingfisher Alcedo nais

the island of Príncipe

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Of the total 144 recorded species, 72 are breeding residents and 25 are endemic to the islands. Of the endemic species, 12 are of global conservation concern of which 8 are restricted to São Tomé, 2 to Príncipe and 2 are found on both islands. All the endemics are restricted range species with each island being a separate Endemic Bird Area (EBA). São Tomé holds 21 restricted range species and Príncipe holds 12. There are 5 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) covering 250 km2.

São Tomé lowland forests are situated in the south-west. 32 species have been recorded here of which 10 are of global conservation concern and this is the only known site for São Tomé Fiscal Lanius newtoni, São Tomé Short-tail Amaurocichla bocagei and São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor.

São Tomé montane and cloud-forests cover the highest parts of the island. 21 species have been recorded here of which 6 are of global conservation concern. The majority of the population of São Tomé Olive-Pigeon Columba thomensis occur here as well as São Tomé Scops Owl Otus hartlaubi, Gulf of Guinea Thrush Turdus olivaceofuscus, Giant Sunbird Dreptes thomensis, Príncipe White-eye Zosterops ficedulinus and São Tomé Oriole Oriolus crassirostris.

São Tomé northern savannas is situated on the northern coast and a total of 59 species have been recorded here including 3 of global conservation concern. Restricted range species are well represented here including São Tomé Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba malherbii, São Tomé Kingfisher Alcedo thomensis, São Tomé Prinia Prinia molleri, São Tomé Speirops Speirops lugubris, Newton`s Sunbird Anabathmis newtonii and São Tomé Weaver Ploceus sanctithomae.

Príncipe forests cover the southern third of the island consisting mainly of lowland evergreen forest. A total of 28 species have been recorded of which 23 are forest residents. There are 4 species of global conservation concern as well as the species endemic to the island: Príncipe Kingfisher Alcedo nais, Dohrn's Thrush-Babbler Horizorhinus dohrni, Príncipe Sunbird Anabathmis hartlaubii, Príncipe Speirops Speirops leucophaeus, Príncipe Golden Weaver Ploceus princeps and Príncipe Glossy Starling Lamprotornis ornatus. The forests also hold several subspecies endemic to Príncipe.

Tinhosas islands are 2 small islands which lie 22 km south-west of Príncipe and shelter the largest seabird colonies in the Gulf of Guinea. Key breeding species are Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata, Black Noddy Anous minutus, Brown Noddy A.stolidus, Brown Booby Sula leucogaster and a small number of White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus.

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


Subscribe to São Tomé e Príncipe

Copyright © African Bird Club. All rights reserved.
UK registered charity 1184309


Web site designed and built by