Working for birds in Africa


Wed, 06/02/2013 - 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.

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