Working for birds in Africa



Wed, 02/06/2013 - 15:50 -- abc_admin

The following largely unconfirmed records have been published in recent Bulletins of the African Bird Club for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 25.1

A Cassin’s Hawk Eagle Aquila africana observed in the West Udzungwa Mountains, on 1 October 2017 (Fig. 42; DH), was far out of its known range and may be a first for Tanzania: it does not figure in the Tanzania Bird Atlas (www. nor on the ABC checklist of the country. The second Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos for Tanzania was photographed at Lake Manyara on 17 November (per www.

from ABC Bulletin 24.2

The first Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus for Tanzania was photographed on 11 April 2017 in Arusha National Park; this is just the second record for East Africa (www. A visit to Zanzibar (Unguja) and Pemba, from 26 December 2016 to 14 January 2017, produced the following noteworthy records. Apparently new for Zanzibar were Knob-billed Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos (a male at Bwawani swamp, Stone Town, on 10–14 January), Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (one at Bwawani swamp throughout) and Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (throughout at Bwawani, with max. 40 on 27 December, and two young on 29 December and 14 January). New species for Pemba included Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus (12 in the south on 2 January), Blackshouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus (one near Kangagani on 4 January), Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica (two in the south on 31 December), White Wagtail Motacilla alba (an immature at Kangagani pond on 10 January), Mouse-coloured Sunbird Cyanomitra verreauxii (one trapped in the south) and House Sparrow Passer domesticus (common in towns and some villages). White-faced Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna viduata were at Bwawani swamp, Zanzibar, with max. 180 on 27 December, whilst max. 200 were counted at Chake Chake, Pemba, on 5 January. Three male and two female African Pygmy Geese Nettapus auritus were at Kangagani pond, Pemba, on 10 January. Long-tailed (Reed) Cormorants Phalacrocorax africanus were present daily at Bwawani swamp, with max. 42 on 30 December, whilst an adult and an immature were at Kangagani pond, Pemba, 10 January.

Other sightings at Bwawani included a male Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus payesii on 27 and 30 December, three adult and two immature Black-crowned Night Herons Nyctycorax nyctycorax on 30 December, an immature Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala on 29 December, Black Herons Egretta ardesiaca daily, with max. 12 on 27 December (ten were also observed at Chake Chake, Pemba, on 5 January) and two Purple Swamphens Porphyrio porphyrio. Approximately 300 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis were roosting in mangroves at Wete, Pemba, on 6 January. An African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus flew over Bububu, Zanzibar, on 12 January. At Kangagani pond, Pemba, 100 African Jacanas Actophilornis africanus were counted on 4 January and three Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis on 10 January, whilst >1,000 Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola assembled on beaches in the south of the island (Fig. 48). Ruffs Calidris pugnax stayed at Bwawani swamp (max. 15 on 27 December) and Kangagani pond (four on 4 January). Marsh Sandpipers Tringa stagnatilis also frequented Bwawani (with max. 30 on 13 January), whilst one was also seen at Chake Chake on 5 January and another at Gondo, Pemba, on 9 January. Two Green Sandpipers T. ochropus were at Chake Chake on 4 January. Max. 40 Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica were at Bwawani swamp on 10 January. Two mousebirds (probably Speckled Mousebirds Colius striatus) were observed in northern Pemba on 7 January.

Just two Black Kites Milvus migrans were noted on Pemba. An African Hobby Falco cuvieri was at Bwawani on 30 December. On Pemba, two immature Northern Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe were noted in the northeast on 8 January, African Reed Warblers Acrocephalus baeticatus suahelicus in mangroves (where old nests were also found), Lesser Swamp Warbler A. gracilirostris in arid areas (where it is a common breeder) and a Pale-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis rufipennis in Ngezi Forest on 8–9 January. An African Golden Oriole Oriolus auratus was found near Dongwe, Zanzibar, on 28 December. In eight days just two Pied Crows Corvus albus were seen on Zanzibar, whereas the species is still common on Pemba. Additionally, breeding data were recorded for Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudatus and Blackbacked Puffback Dryoscopus cubla on Zanzibar, for Black-headed Heron, African Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus, Pemba White-eye Zosterops vaughani and Pemba Sunbird Cinnyris pembae on Pemba, and for House Sparrow on both islands (JH).

from ABC Bulletin 24.1

Red-throated Bee-eater Merops bulocki photographed in Grumeti Game Reserve on 7 August 2016 appears to be the first for Tanzania (per On 14–15 December, a high-tide roost on the beach of Rasamvi Beach resort, at the east end of Zanzibar, held several thousand waders and terns, including up to 1,000 Crabplovers Dromas ardeola, with equal numbers of Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea and Saunders’s Terns Sternula saundersi, up to 100 individuals each of Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii, Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus, Sanderling Calidris alba, Little Stint C. minuta and Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres, with several Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata, Whimbrels N. phaeopus, Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica, Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus, Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia and Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos (KWh & DWh).

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

Mottled Spinetail Telacanthura ussheri was recorded on Pemba Island on 8 September 2015 and Yellow-vented Eremomela Eremomela flavicrissalis at Ndutu Lodge, in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, on 3 October.

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

An Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana was observed at Seronera Lodge, in the Serengeti, in October 2012; this is the first record for Tanzania. During a trip in October 2012 almost all of the Eastern Arc endemics were observed, among which the trickiest probably include Udzungwa Forest Partridge Xenoperdix udzungwensis (seven individuals seen on three out of four days in the Luala Valley on 18th–21st), Usambara Eagle Owl Bubo vosseleri (one seen well at Amani on 11th), Usambara Hyliota Hyliota usambarae (a pair foraging in the treetops below Amani on 12th) and Uluguru Bushshrike Malaconotus alius (one observed in the Ulugurus on 25th).

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

The following reports are from August 2011 - March 2012. A Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus was photographed in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on 22 February; there are fewer than ten certain records for Tanzania. An immature Ayres’s Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii was seen c.15 km beyond Lake Manyara towards Arusha on 29 February. At least five Western Banded Snake Eagles Circaetus cinerascens were observed along the Nguya River in December - March; two performed undulating display flights together in March. Also there, two pairs of Crowned Eagles Stephanoaetus coronatus, each with a single juvenile, were observed at their nests, which were 3 km distant from each other, in August - March; there appear to be few records for these two raptors in western Tanzania. An immature Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes was photographed in the Ngorongoro crater on 22 November. A perched Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides was observed in the Seronera area of Serengeti National Park (=NP) on 21 February; there are only three records for the country to date, but the species may be more frequent than the literature suggests. A juvenile Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata was seen at Speke Bay on 20 February; the species is rather uncommon in the north and there is only one previous record from this site. A Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis was on Lake Longil, Arusha NP, on 18 February; there are only three previous records from the park. Thirty Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni flew north over Speke Bay Lodge, Lake Victoria, on 26 February. No fewer than 25 Red-necked Phalaropes Phalaropus lobatus were counted at Saadani Salt Works on 30 January, with 28 at Bagamoyo on 5 February; there are only six previous records for Tanzania. Two Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei photographed at Lake Eyasi on 20 February represent the fourth record for Tanzania. A pair of Rufous-crowned Rollers Coracias naevius was displaying near Seronera Lodge, Serengeti NP, on 21 - 22 February; there are very few breeding-season records. Sharpe’s Starling Pholia sharpii was singing, displaying and nest-building in the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge grounds on 25 - 27 February.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

Records from February 2011 include the following. Of most interest were at least 23 Little Terns Sterna albifrons at Speke’s Bay, Lake Victoria, on 9 - 10th, an unprecedented number at this site. Apparently Little and Saunders’s Terns S. saundersi in non-breeding plumage cannot be reliably separated, but a summer-plumaged individual was identified as a Little Tern. An African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides was near the entrance to Arusha National Park on 7th and a pair of Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus at Olduvai Gorge Museum on 15th. At Speke’s Bay, a group of eight Heuglin’s Coursers Rhinoptilus cinctus was seen, whilst five White-fronted Plovers Charadrius marginatus on 10th is a high count. A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa was in Lake Manyara National Park on 8th. A pair of Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrikes Campephaga quiscalina was at Elephant Caves, Gibbs Farm, on 17th. Four Short-tailed Larks Pseudalaemon fremantlii were in the Serengeti between Seronera and Naabi on 12th and an Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum was in the Olduvai Gorge Museum area on 15th.


What appears to be a juvenile Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus was photographed in Arusha National Park on 1 December 2010. On Lukuba Island, a gull observed on 4 October was claimed to be a Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. Three Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei photographed at Lake Manyara on 25 September apparently represent the third record for the country. Two White-thighed Hornbills Bycanistes albotibialis were seen in Minziro Forest on 29 May.

A Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla was photographed in Arusha National Park on 11 January 2010; this is apparently the first for the country and it may well constitute the southernmost record for this species in Africa.

A visit to the East Usambara Mountains in early January 2009 produced records of several localized species such as Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula, Green-headed Oriole Oriolus chlorocephalus and the endemic race usambaricus of Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris mediocris, which is sometimes recognised as a separate species ‘Usambara Double-collared Sunbird’. On 30 January, two pairs of Spike-heeled Larks Chersomanes albofasciata of the isolated race beesleyi sometimes treated as a separate species ‘Beesley’s Lark’, were seen at Angyata Osugat, north of Arusha. To the south, a Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus was seen soaring over the lower slopes of Mt Meru. The first Black Tern Chlidonias niger for Tanzania was photographed in a large mixed tern flock with Lesser Crested Terns Sterna bengalensis, Roseate Terns S. dougallii and Saunders’s Terns S. saundersi on the small Mazive Island, Pangani, on 21 March 2009.

A small tern, seen in flight and at rest in the company of Chlidonias terns and Gull-billed Terns Sterna nilotica at Speke’s Bay lodge, Lake Victoria, on 26 February 2008, was either a Little Tern S. albifrons or Saunders’s Tern S. saundersi; both species are rarely observed inland. Two Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea were observed at a pool near Ngorongoro Crater Sopa Lodge on 4 March; this Palearctic migrant is generally uncommon in Tanzania.

There were several reports of European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster in early September, with the first from Ruaha National Park (07°30’S) on 6th, over Singida (04°45’S) on 9th, over Arusha (04°25’S) on 10th and south-east of Bahi Swamp (06°15’S) on 11th; this is some 3–4 weeks earlier than usual.

Records from February - May 2007 include the following. Two Black Storks Ciconia nigra were in the Grumeti area of the Serengeti on 12 February and five in Tarangire NP (=National Park) on 9 March; there has been an increase in observations of wintering birds in the past 15 years. Three Red-necked Falcons Falco chicquera at Lake Ndutu on 16 February were at the edge of the species’ range in Tanzania. An Amur Falcon F. amurensis in the Seronera area of the Serengeti on 14 February is an unusual date. Interesting inland records from Speke’s Bay Lodge, on the south-eastern shore of Lake Victoria, included a group of five White-fronted Plovers Charadrius marginatus on 26 February, two Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus on 12 and 27 February, and an adult Common Tern Sterna hirundo in almost full breeding plumage on 12 February. A Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus was photographed at Lake Ndutu on 4 May; this is only the second record for the country, the first being of a bird observed off Zanzibar. A juvenile Levaillant’s Cuckoo Clamator levaillantii was being fed by a pair of Arrow-marked Babblers Turdoides jardinei at the entrance to Tarangire NP on 23 February. Single White-throated Bee-eaters Merops albicollis were noted at Olduvai Gorge Museum on 17 February and 4 March. A pair of Grey Penduline Tits Anthoscopus caroli was observed at its nest with young c.4 miles west of Olduvai Gorge Museum on 17 February and 4 March. A single Yellow (African Golden) Weaver Ploceus subaureus was studied closely in Tarangire NP on 8 March; this is a significant extension of its known range and well outside its normal habitat.

An immature male Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus was observed in the Serengeti on 26 June 2005.

Records from March 2006 include the following. At least 200 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis were counted on Lakes Ndutu and Masek on 17-18th; the species appears to occur erratically and in response to rain. A Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk Accipiter rufiventris was seen over the Ngorongoro Crater on 11th and a pair over Serena Lodge on 13th; this species appears to be rare in northern Tanzania. Groups of Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni were observed from Tarangire to the Serengeti, with 250+ in the Seronera River area on 16th. A male Hartlaub’s Bustard Eupodotis hartlaubii was seen in the Serengeti on 16th; there appears to have been a recent influx of this species into the Serengeti and the question is whether this is a new or a previously overlooked phenomenon. Two Bronze-winged (Violet-tipped) Coursers Rhinoptilus chalcopterus were found at Ndutu on 17-18th. Two Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were with a flock of Collared Pratincoles G. pratincola over the lake at the Ngoitokitok picnic site in the Ngorongoro Crater on 11th; this Palearctic migrant is a rare visitor to this part of Tanzania. A Common Sand Martin Riparia riparia was seen at Ndutu on 18th. An Upcher’s Warbler Hippolais languida was identified in Tarangire on 9th. Also there was a Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria on 8th, with another at Olduvai Gorge on 11th. A Common Whitethroat S. communis and a male Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata were seen at Naabi Hill, Serengeti, on 3rd.

Records from 2005 include the following. A small drying pond near the Speke Bay Lodge turn-off had a female Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis on 4 August. An African Finfoot Podica senegalensis was found on the stream between Kisima Ngeda Camp and Lake Eyasi in August. At least 20 Broad-billed Sandpipers Limicola falcinellus were at the lake in the Ngorongoro crater on 11-12 July. A juvenile Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius begging aggressively for food from its host, a Superb Starling Lamprotornis superbus, was photographed on 10 July along the road from Ndutu Lodge to the main road through the Serengeti.

Exceptionally large concentrations of Thrush Nightingales Luscinia luscinia were reported in parts of southern Tanzania in December 2005-January 2006, as well as large numbers of Grasshopper Buzzards Butastur rufipennis and Irania Irania gutturalis; possibly, the dry conditions further north are the cause of this influx. Kungwe Apalis Apalis argentea was found east of Mahale National Park, western Tanzania, in almost every patch of riverine forest visited; the only two previous records away from Mahale are two specimens collected in the late 1930s. A sighting of Bertram’s Weaver Ploceus bertrandi at Irente Farm, Lushoto, in the West Usambaras, in early September, is a significant record; this montane forest-edge species survives in degraded habitat at low density.

Records from August 2004-March 2005 include the following. An immature Black Stork Ciconia nigra and ten Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope were seen in Lake Manyara NP (=National Park) on 24 November. A possible Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes was in Arusha NP on 1 March: this is perhaps the second record for Tanzania. In Serengeti NP, an adult Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina was seen on 27 November and a Common Redshank Tringa totanus in Ngorongoro NP next day. A Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii was at Lake Manyara in March. In January reports were received from four localities of Lesser Noddies Anous tenuirostris along the coast, including a flock of 84 off Saadani NP and a single along the Rufiji River just downstream of Selous Game Reserve on 17th; these are the first records for Tanzania but it has occurred off the Kenyan coast.

In August 2004 hundreds, possibly thousands, of Banded Martins Riparia cincta, were seen over the dry Wembere Steppe east of the river in grassland gradually being flattened by cattle; very little is known concerning the movements and breeding season of this species. During the January 2005 waterbird count of the Usangu flats hundreds of Grey-rumped Swallows Pseudhirundo griseopyga were seen feeding over grassland at the water's edge; if numbers were similar elsewhere along the shoreline of this huge swamp several thousand would have been in the area. More reports have been received of Blue Swallows Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding in association with habitation and in November a pair was found nest-prospecting under a small bridge near Lupembe at only 1,540 m, which is very low for this species. In September 2004 at least 12 Pearl-breasted Swallows H. dimidiata were seen on the Isunkavyola Plateau in Ruaha NP, where a population was discovered in November 2003; there have been only two records in the last 25 years both close to the Malawi and Zambian borders that were presumed nominate cold-season migrants, and it is tempting to speculate that the birds on the Isunkavyola Plateau are of the subspecies marwitzi and resident. Eleven White-throated Swallows H. albigularis were found on the Manonga River, north-central Tanzania, on 20 August 2004; this is a rare cold-season migrant from southern Africa at the northern edge of its wintering range, with only a few previous records in Tanzania. Two Angola Swallows H. angolensis at a bridge on the Mfuji River, in the Kilombero Valley, at only 580 m, in November 2004, were possibly nest-prospecting, and a surprising find as this is essentially a highland species in eastern Tanzania with a population associated with the Eastern Arc Mountains. A large roost of more than 100,000 Barn Swallows H. rustica was found along the Pangani River, in northern Tanzania, in late 2004; in early December another roost was found on the northern edge of Iringa town.

In Serengeti NP, a Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca was identified at Michael Grzimek Way on 27 November. A Shelley's Starling Lamprotornis shelleyi was seen just outside the Mkomasi Game Reserve in March. Records from north of Pingwe, Zanzibar (Unguja), in December 2004 include 30 Common Swifts Apus apus on 6th and two on 9th, two pairs of Chestnut-backed Sparrow Larks Eremopterix leucotis on 6-12th (first record for Zanzibar?), a female Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe on 5-6th, a Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus on 6th, a male Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio on 3rd-14th, with 1–3 immatures on 10-13th and two females on 13th, and two African Golden Orioles Oriolus auratus on 13th.

Records from November 2003 to March 2004 include the following. An adult Saker Falcon Falco cherrug was seen east of Mkumbale, between Mombo and Same, in the north-east on 7 November 2003. A Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was found in the Ngorongoro Crater in February; despite regular large numbers on Lake Lagarja there are very few records from this site. Three Black Storks Ciconia nigra were seen in Tarangire National Park in February; there has been an increase in sightings during the past decade which mirrors a population increase in eastern Europe. A flock of 15 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope stayed in the Ngorongoro Crater in February; there are very few records of this Palearctic species in Tanzania. Only eight Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa were counted on the Momella lakes in February; this species appears to be heading for local extinction within the next few years. An immature African Cuckoo Hawk Aviceda cuculoides was observed at Ndarakwai Ranch, West Kilimanjaro, on 21 February, and an adult Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis in Arusha National Park on 20 February. A Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk Accipiter rufiventris was in Arusha National Park in February; there are very few records from this well-watched site where this species is presumably resident. Two Lesser Spotted Eagles Aquila pomarina seen in the Serengeti in February is a good record; this species is not common in the west. An adult female Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus was noted at Ndarakwai Ranch, West Kilimanjaro, on 22 February; there are few records of this species in Tanzania. Two pale, streaky quails, that were believed to be Common Quail Coturnix coturnix, were flushed around Manta Reef Lodge, Pemba on 21 November. A Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius was observed in the north in February; Tanzania is the southern limit of its wintering range and sightings from Manyara and Tarangire are most welcome. Two White-fronted Plovers C. marginatus at Ifakara, Kilombero floodplain on 17 November, constitute the first inland record. Ten Spur-winged Lapwings Vanellus spinosus were counted at Manyara in February; this is the first time in many years that a count from this site has reached double figures and this record, together with recent ones from Burungi, indicate that the population continues to grow. A Spur-winged Lapwing at Ifakara, Kilombero floodplain, on 17 November represents the first record for this site. Single Common Redshanks Tringa totanus were reported from Seronera and Manyara in February; these are the southern limits of the wintering range of this Palearctic wader.

A Black-billed Barbet Lybius guifsobalito seen in the Grumeti strip, in western Serengeti National Park, on 23 February constitutes the first record for the park. Also in Grumeti, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul Andropadus latirostris was seen in February; this is only the second record of this presumed resident here. A (possible breeding?) pair of Golden-winged Sunbirds Nectarinia reichenowi was seen in the South Pare Mountains on 28 November. A sub-adult male or adult female Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus was found in the garden of Manta Reef Lodge, Pemba, on 20 November; this is apparently the first record for Tanzania of this species, which normally regularly winters as far south as Baringo, Kenya. Several male Fire-fronted Bishops Euplectes diadematus amongst an unspecified number of non-breeding / female Euplectes were seen at Nyumba ya Mungu reservoir, near Moshi, on 29 November. At least 40 Parasitic Weavers Anomalospiza imberbis were coming down to drink at Ifakara on 17 November. A Reichard's Seedeater Serinus reichardi was seen above Geiro, Ukaguru mountains, on 8 November.

In total, 930 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were counted on Nyumba ya Mungu dam, northern Tanzania, in February 2003 (compared to 863 in January 2001 and 726 in January 1995). House Sparrow Passer domesticus is no longer confined to the coast: males were seen in a village near Lake Manyara and along the road to Arusha in November 2002. Records from Zanzibar, from late November 2002, include the following. Several Variable Sunbirds Cinnyris venustus were present in gardens and scrub in the north-east of the island; this species is not listed in Pakenham's The Birds of Zanzibar and Pemba (1979). House Crow Corvus splendens was abundant and appeared to have replaced Pied Crow C. albus completely, while House Sparrow was present at coastal lodges of the north-east.

A Western Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus cinerascens was seen near Moshi on 13 November 2001; this is a rare bird in eastern Tanzania with a smattering of records near Iringa and singles along the Pangani Valley and near Dar es Salaam. Just a few months after two colonies of Chestnut-backed Sparrow Weavers Plocepasser rufoscapulatus were found in south-west Tanzania, the same observer discovered Black-necked Eremomela Eremomela atricollis in the Kalambo Falls Forest Reserve in the extreme south-west corner of the country.

Two additions to the Tanzanian list include an adult Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus, observed in the Rufiji Delta in December 2000 but only reported recently, and at least two small populations of Chestnut-backed Sparrow Weaver Plocepasser rufoscapulatus, discovered east of Mpanda along the road to Inyonga in July 2001 and found again in September.

An unusually large concentration of 10,000-30,000 European White Storks Ciconia ciconia were seen resting at Lake Ndutu, Serengeti National Park, on 14-15 January 2001; this constitutes c9 per cent of the world population. The pair of Taita Falcons Falco fasciinucha at Naberera were at their nest site from early February to at least mid-July, but absent in mid-September. An adult Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla at Mungushi, Kilimanjaro, on 20 October 2001, was the second record from this locality. A pair of Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus was south-west of Sumbawanga, where the species has not been reported for many years, on 25 June 2001. Sightings of Stierling's Woodpecker Dendropicos stierlingi from south-west Tanzania in September confirm records from November 1999; these represent a hitherto unknown population of this globally threatened species.

The first Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia of the season was ringed on 15 October 2001, some two weeks earlier than usual. A Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus was seen at Ndutu Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, in December 2000; this is a rare species in Tanzania. A pair of Little Rock-Thrush Monticola rufocinereus near the top of the escarpment south of Lake Manyara in July 2000 is well south of other known records. A loose group of 15-20 Banded Sunbirds Anthreptes rubritorques was observed frequenting fruiting trees at 570 m in Udzungwa Mountains National Park, on 25-28 July 2000. This species, which is listed as 'Vulnerable', is found in five areas of forest in eastern Tanzania, but it is only considered common in parts of the Usambaras. A female Pringle's Puffback Dryoscopus pringlii at 04°20'S on 14 July 2000 was the southernmost record for this species to date. A small flock of Sharp-tailed Starlings Lamprotornis acuticaudus in Mlele Game Reserve in July and several individuals in Ugalla Game Reserve in August are the first for Tanzania for many years. The race melanorhynchus of White-browed Sparrow-Weaver Plocepasser mahali continues its southward expansion into northern Tanzania, with new colonies being established as far south as Tarangire National Park and along the Pangani Valley.

A Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis reacted to playback of its call at Ruaha National Park, on 11 January 2001. Blue Swallows Hirundo atrocaerulea and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbirds Nectarinia johnstoni were observed at Kifanya, south-east of Njombe, in southern Tanzania, on 8 December 2000; the site is due east of the Livingstone Mountains, where the sunbird has previously been recorded. A pair of Blue Swallows was feeding three young in a nest under the eaves of a building at Maganga Farm, Mufindi District, at the end of December.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:56 -- abc_admin


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:55 -- abc_admin

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CORDEIRO, N.J. (1995) Rediscovering a lost treasure in the East Usambaras, Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 2(1) pp 39-40.

CORDEIRO, N.J. and GITHIRU, M. (1998) Avifauna of the Brachylaena woodlands in the Usambara lowlands. ABC Bulletin 5(1) pp 13-16.

CORDEIRO, N.J., POHJONEN, V.M. & MULUNGU, E. (2001) Is the endangered Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus (Artisornis) moreaui safe in the East Usambaras? ABC Bulletin 8(2) pp 91-94.

CORDEIRO, N.J. & GITHIRU, M. (2001) Birds of Mgambo Proposed Forest Reserve and the other East Usambara lowland sites. Scopus 22 pp. 37-47.

CORDEIRO, N.J. (2001) Noteworthy Tanzanian bird records from the Field Museum of Natural History. Scopus 21 pp. 60-62.

CORDEIRO, N.J., MULUNGU, E., MAINA, G.G. & LOVETT, J.C. (2004) Birds of the Kihansi Gorge, south-eastern Udzungwa Mountains. Scopus 24 pp. 11-20.

DINESEN, L. and BAKER, M. (2006) Status of Shoebill Balaeniceps rex in Malagarasi, Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 13 (1) pp 37-44.

DONALD, P.F. and COLLAR, N.J. (2011) Notes on the structure and plumage of Beesley's Lark Chersomanes [albofasciata] beesleyi. ABC Bulletin 18(2) pp 168-173.

EVANS, T., TYE, A., CORDEIRO, N.J. & SEDDON, N. (1997) Birding in and around the East Usambaras, north-east Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 4(2) pp 116-129.

GLEN, R., MTAHIKO, M., DE LEYSER, L. and STOLBERGER.S. (2006) Bird records from the Isunkaviola Hills of Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Scopus 25.

GOTTSCHALK, T. (2002) Birds of a Grumeti River Forest in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 9(2) pp 153-158.

HUNTER, N., CARTER, C. and MLUNGU, E. (1996) Recent observations in the Udzungwa and Uluguru Mountains, Central Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 3(2) pp 96-98.

JENSEN, F.P., TØTTRUP, A.P. and CHRISTENSEN, K.D. (2006) The avifauna of coastal forests in southeast Tanzania. Scopus 25.

LOVETT, J.C. & STUART, S.N. (2001) Avifauna and vegetation of the Shume Juniperus forest in the West Usambara mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 21 pp. 1-14.

MCENTEE, J., CORDEIRO, N.J., JOHO, M.P. and MOYER, D.C. (2006) Foraging observations of the threatened Long-billed Tailorbird Artisornis moreaui in Tanzania. Scopus 25.

MACLEAN, I.M.D, J. BRAY, D. ANDREWS, L. MLAWILA, K. KITALUTA and J. TIMOTHY (2012) The status and habitat preferences of birds associated with coastal forest and grassland in Kilwa District, southern Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 19(2) pp 144-159.

ROMDAL, T.S. (2001) Altitudinal distribution and abundance patterns of bird species in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 21 pp. 35-54.

ROMDAL, T.S. (2001) An ornithological survey of the Nguru Mountains, Tanzania. Scopus 22 pp. 49-62.

SEDDON, N., CAPPER, D.R., EKSTROM, J.M., ISHERWOOD, I.S., MUNA, R., POPLE, R.G., TARIMO, E. and TIMOTHY, J. (1996) Project Mount Nilo '95 Discoveries in the East Usambara and Nguu Mountains, Northern Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 3(2) pp 91- 95.

TØTTRUP, A.P., JENSEN, F.P. and CHRISTENSEN, K.D. (2006) The avifauna of two woodlands in southeast Tanzania. Scopus 25.

WILLIAMS, E.(1997) Birding in the Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. ABC Bulletin 4(2) pp 111-115.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:54 -- 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 recorders and checklist compilers

Neil and Liz Baker

Tanzania Bird Atlas

P.O. Box 1605




Clubs & NGOs

Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST)
P O Box 70919
Dar es Salaam


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:51 -- abc_admin

Tanzania has one of the highest percentages of protected areas in the world. It has designated National Parks, Game Reserves, Game controlled areas, Forest Reserves, Nature Reserves and Wildlife Management Areas which in total amount to between 30% and 40% of the total area of the country.

It is a signatory to a number of international agreements including Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection and Wetlands.

In common with many African countries, there are numerous environmental issues which include soil degradation, deforestation, desertification, destruction of coral reefs which threatens marine habitats, recent droughts which have affected marginal agriculture and threats to wildlife by illegal hunting and trade, especially for ivory. A recent gold rush in Tanzania is threatening nature and forest reserves in the Eastern Arc, including the Amani Reserve ­ ABC Bulletin Vol 11 No 2 August 2004 p 96. 

A countrywide waterbird count is planned in January 2005 covering areas counted in 1995. The count is organised by the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute in conjunction with the BirdLife partner, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania.

A study to estimate the population size of Loveridge's Sunbird Cinnyris loveridgei, endemic to the Uluguru mountains, eastern Tanzania, was conducted in September ­ December 2000. Using mist-netting data and a computer simulation, the population was estimated at between 21,000 and 166,000 individuals ­ ABC Bulletin Vol 11 No 2 p 96.

A large project, which aims to develop a conservation strategy for the globally important Eastern Arc mountains and finance a trust for long-term conservation in these mountains, was launched in June 2002 in Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian Forest Conservation and Management Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility and Danish International Development Aid, who committed close to US $40m.

The African Bird Club has awarded a small grant to permit forest habitat appraisal and baseline searches for globally threatened birds of the West Usambara mountains ­ ABC Bulletin Vol 11 No 2 p 101. 

Conservation News

12th May 2008: Tata withdraws Natron project ESIA Report

Tata Chemicals Ltd (TCL) has finally withdrawn the much discredited Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Report for the proposed Lake Natron soda ash plant. The development has been opposed by national NGOs in Tanzania, the Lake Natron Consultative Group (a consortium of 32 mainly East African NGOs), BirdLife International and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB; BirdLife in the UK), for posing serious threats to the survival of Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor and the livelihoods of local communities.

In an apparent response to these concerns, the company told a stakeholder meeting hosted by the World Bank in Dar es Salaam last week that they had asked the Tanzanian government to disregard the earlier report. Mr Rahul Singh, the new TCL Project Manager, said: “We have turned down the earlier ESIA report and we have requested the government to throw away the original report as we are working on new studies on the matter.”

During the meeting - attended by a wide range of donors, media, government personalities and the private sector - Lota Melamari, the CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST, BirdLife in Tanzania) presented a strong case for the complete abandonment of the project in a presentation entitled "Flamingos of Lake Natron, a Tanzanian Treasure". In his talk, Lota described Natron’s vast flocks of shimmering pink flamingos as one of the world’s greatest wildlife attractions. “This resource must not be destroyed”, said Lota. At the same meeting the Tourism Services Manager of the Tanzania Tourist Board, Ms Serena Shao, warned that Tanzania may not achieve its tourism targets if key attractions are destroyed. “The soda ash proposal must be critically analysed given that Tanzania currently earns over 1billion US dollars from tourism. Our dream of attracting one million tourists by 2010 may not be achieved if we damage key attractions like Lake Natron “, she said.

In response to the investor’s withdrawal of the project, the new Environment Minister of Tanzania (Dr Batilda Burhani) called a press conference on 1 May 2008 and issued a government statement in which she warned that while the investors were free to conduct a fresh ESIA, they should be aware that unless their report satisfied environmental and social concerns, no approval would be granted. Dr Burhani further said that a new ESIA must be preceded by the development of an Integrated Management Plan for the Lake Natron Ramsar Site which  would spell out the future conservation and development agenda for the area.

BirdLife International, the RSPB and the Lake Natron Consultative Group welcome the investor’s decision to withdraw the initial ESIA report submitted to NEMC. We also laud the new Minister’s quick response and commend her for being responsive to stakeholders in general on this matter. However, we hold the view that Tata Chemicals Ltd and its Tanzanian partner the National Development Corporation should have withdrawn the project altogether. Shifting the project 32 km away from Lake Natron does not amount to “mitigation” of the serious impacts the project is likely to pose to the Lesser Flamingos and the local communities. The project impacts are not limited to the operations of the plant alone but the whole process of brine extraction (including an intricate network of pipes and roads on the surface of the lake as is the case at Lake Magadi in Kenya), pumping and processing.

In a related development, the Lake Natron Consultative Group of which the BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat is a member, has stepped up its advocacy campaign to save Lake Natron following the investors' announcement that the project will be shifted to a new site. The Group held an International Press conference in Nairobi last week and declared that it was opposed to the plans by the investor to continue with plans for development of the soda ash plant by shifting the site 32 km away from Lake Natron. “The Group plans to engage the organs of the East African Community in debate to prepare them for possible discussion of the matter by the Council of Ministers and to lobby the Speaker and Members of the East African Legislative Assembly to support the Group’s position” said The Group’s Coordinator, Ken Mwathe.

BirdLife International’s position still remains that the risks posed by the proposed project are extremely serious in relation to the Lesser Flamingos breeding and therefore urges the Tanzanian Government to reject the project altogether.

Source: BirdLife International

28th January 2008: Lake Natron local people reject proposed soda ash development

Local people from Lake Natron voiced their concerns at a public hearing held on 24 January to the proposed soda ash plant there which would threaten the world's largest population of Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor. “There is no need to accept a project that will later destroy us”, said the traditional chief from Pinyinyi, 

one of the villages adjacent to Lake Natron. He likened the development to "taking a fish and throwing it into the bush".

About 80-100 people, including representatives from communities from around the lake, attended the meeting in Dar es Salaam Tanzania and convened by the National Environment Management Council of Tanzania (NEMC). There was strong opposition to the proposed development. People representing local communities from around the lake lamented the lack of consultation in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. They think that the proposed factory would not deliver jobs for themselves as the plant would need educated and skilled workers. They fear that instead it would endanger employment gained from tourism which benefits many locals, including women who make and sell beadwork.

This meeting added further opposition to the development which the BirdLife International Partnership has been working against over the past six months. “We strongly believe that the cumulative impacts from the proposed facility have a high risk of causing extreme detriment to the Lesser Flamingo population should the project be allowed to be developed in Lake Natron area” said Mr. Lota Melamari, the CEO of WCST (BirdLife in Tanzania) at the public hearing.

The Lake Natron Consultative Group, which the BirdLife Africa Partnership is part of, rejected the project at the hearing. “The local community will lose their sources of livelihoods owing to over-use of water by the factory and their livestock economy risks being destroyed; but what will they get in return?” The Group insist that the best way to use the natural resources of Lake Natron is to enhance ecotourism which is already thriving.

Many other stakeholders, including the Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania, the Lawyers Environmental Action team, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators and the Ilkisongo Pastoralists Initiative, oppose the development. A fine artist based in Arusha said he was willing to compensate Government with proceeds from his sale of paintings of Lesser Flamingos.

In a further recent development, WCST with representatives from the BirdLife International Secretariat and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife in the UK) briefed 22 of the 29 members of the Tanzania Parliamentary Committee on the Environment on Lake Natron. “This information will help us as we seek to understand the whole project and its implications and how to advise Government on the way forward” said the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee. The Committee also hopes to go to the site before giving their submissions to Parliament.

“It's our sincere hope that our Government will carefully analyse and hear all interested and affected stakeholders views before making a final decision on this issue” said Lota Melamari, CEO of WCST.

Source: BirdLife International

26th November 2007: Lake Natron chemical plant: region’s ecotourism “jeopardised”

The African Tourism and Travel Association has become the latest to voice concern over a huge chemical production plant proposed for Tanzania’s Lake Natron, the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) today report. Nigel Vere Nicholl, chairman of the African Tourism and Travel Association (ATTA), shares BirdLife’s concerns over the threat that the development poses to the region’s Lesser Flamingo and the growing ecotourism trade to which the birds are linked:

“Spectacular flocks of flamingos are one of the major attractions for tourists visiting the Great Rift Valley from all over the world. Given the massive contribution ecotourism makes to the East African economy, it just doesn’t make sense to jeopardise these wonderful birds and this very special and unspoilt place.  If this development goes ahead who knows what may happen next.” he said.

The number of tourists visiting Tanzania is expected to rise from 580,000 in 2004 to one million in 2010. Currently many are drawn to see the one million Lesser Flamingos that breed on Lake Natron each year – the so-called “greatest wildlife spectacle on Earth”.

Ecotourism in Tanzania and Kenya is worth US$2 billion annually while tourists visiting Lake Natron alone spend US$500,000 each year. Tanzania’s Lake Natron is the only East African site where the Lesser Flamingo nests successfully. Three quarters of the world’s population of this enigmatic bird breed there because food is plentiful, nesting sites abound and because the lake exists in almost total isolation, free from outside disturbance.

The announcement from the African Tourism and Travel Association forms part of what has become a global campaign opposing the proposed development. The campaign is supported by BirdLife Partners worldwide and influential voices like Sir David Attenborough.  “If Lake Natron is developed, East Africa will no longer be such a lure for tourists. But it is the whole of the world that will be the loser. This is much more than just the loss of a few birds.” said the RSPB’s Chief Executive, Graham Wynne.

Source: BirdLife

3rd November 2007: Flamingo threat put on temporary hold.

A temporary lifeline has been thrown to the one million Lesser Flamingos of Tanzania’s Lake Natron, threatened by huge industrial development on their most important breeding site in the world.

The plan to build a soda ash plant on the lake, in northern Tanzania in the Great Rift Valley, has been thrown out for now and the developers, Lake Natron Resources, have been ordered to produce a new and better environmental statement and consider other sites for soda ash extraction. The firm is jointly owned by the Indian company TATA Chemicals and the Tanzanian Government.

Dr Mike Rands, Chief Executive of BirdLife, said: “The proposal to develop Lake Natron for soda ash extraction is misguided and the decision today is a victory for conservation and for common sense.“The flamingos are not safe yet. The developers should choose another location for extracting soda ash and abandon their plans for Lake Natron”.

Groups reporting to Tanzania’s environment ministry called time early on today’s meeting to assess the developer’s obligatory environmental assessment for the soda ash plant. Of the 14 bodies present, including conservation groups, national parks and the EU, representing donors, most said the development should be rejected because of the risk of driving away the flamingos, harming other species and irreversibly damaging Lake Natron, which is protected by international law.

Lota Melamari, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, who was at today’s meeting said: 'The survival of the lesser flamingo must not be jeopardised.”

Source: BirdLife

30th October 2007: Lesser Flamingos - BirdLife’s urgent call to Think Pink.

Today sees the launch of BirdLife’s Think Pink campaign, a response to the growing and urgent threat facing a crucial breeding site for Africa’s Lesser Flamingos. Tanzania’s Lake Natron is the only East African site where the Lesser Flamingo nests successfully. Three quarters of the world’s population of this enigmatic bird breed there because food is plentiful, nesting sites abound and because the lake exists in almost total isolation, free from outside disturbance.

In recent months however, the Tanzanian Government and the Indian company Tata Chemicals have together put forward proposals to build a large-scale soda ash plant on the lakeside, internationally recognised as a Ramsar wetland site and Important Bird Area by BirdLife.

BirdLife International believes the development and associated infrastructure –as plans currently stand- could do irreversible damage to the global population of this, one of Africa's most charismatic birds. BirdLife is therefore fully opposed to the development, and is calling for supporters – members of BirdLife Partners, journalists or concerned members of the public- to lend their voice to the global ‘Think Pink’ campaign.

There isn’t much time to act: Lake Natron Resources Limited (a joint venture of the Tanzanian Government and Tata Chemicals) have now submitted a revised version of their Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) to Tanzania’s National Environment Management Council, who will in turn make recommendations to Tanzania’s Minister of State in the Vice-Presidents Office, for Environment. This is expected to take place on November 2nd 2007.

Source: BirdLife

30th October 2007: Vulture-killing drug now on sale in Africa

BirdLife's Council for the African Partnership has warned African BirdLife Partners that they need to be on high alert, following the discovery of the drug Diclofenac on sale at a veterinary practice in Tanzania. A survey by WCST (WildLife Conservation Society in Tanzania, BirdLife in Tanzania) is underway to establish the full facts.

Diclofenac, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID), has been found to cause gout and renal failure in vultures of the Gyps genus. In India, where Diclofenac was in widespread veterinary use, three Gyps species, formerly of Least Concern, have been pushed to Critically Endangered status, losing over 99 percent of their populations in just over a decade.

“This development could be absolutely catastrophic for vultures in Africa if it is not addressed immediately, to prevent this avian killer from becoming an established veterinary drug,” said Jane Gaithuma of the BirdLife Africa secretariat. “Research by BirdLife Partners has established that there are safe alternative drugs available, such as Meloxicam, so there is actually no need for Diclofenac at all.”

Without action by governments and veterinary associations to ban the use of Diclofenac for veterinary purposes, the drug is likely to be very difficult to control. Since the patent for the drug expired, it has been produced in generic form by hundreds of manufacturers worldwide, and is sold under dozens of different names. The manufacturer of the brand found in Tanzania exports the drug for veterinary use to 15 African countries spread across the continent.

Governments in the Indian subcontinent have belatedly taken action. At a meeting of the National Wildlife Board in March 2005, the Government of India announced that it intended to phase out the veterinary use of Diclofenac within six months. In 2006, the governments of India, Pakistan and Nepal all banned manufacture of Diclofenac, sending a very clear signal, and it is hoped that full retail bans will soon follow. But numbers are already so low that the future of White-rumped Gyps bengalensis, Indian Gyps indicus and Slender-billed Vultures Gyps tenuirostris now depends on captive breeding programmes. Gyps vultures take several years to reach sexual maturity, and a pair produces only one or two young every one or two years, so it will take decades before any of these species is likely to come off the Critical list.

Africa's vultures already face terrible pressures, and several species formerly of Least Concern were added to the 2007 Red List of threatened species. Veterinary use of Diclofenac in Africa could quickly put the Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres (VU) in even greater danger of extinction, and further threaten Rueppell's Griffon Vulture Gyps rueppellii (NT), White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus (NT) and Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus (LC). Gyps vultures are very wide ranging, and exposure to Diclofenac in a single carcass in any one of their range states could prove fatal to whole populations, threatening the more common species as well as the already rare ones. NSAID toxicity has been reported for raptors, storks, cranes and owls, suggesting that the potential adverse conservation impact of NSAIDs may extend beyond Gyps vultures, and could include Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus (EN), White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis (VU) and Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus (VU).

In contrast, there are no reported mortalities for Meloxicam, which has been administered to over 700 birds from 60 species, with safety tests carried out.

BirdLife Partners are called upon to work with relevant authorities and other conservationists to assess whether Diclofenac is in veterinary use in their country, and where this is the case to stop/ban it. In countries where Diclofenac is not yet in veterinary use, it will be important to work with government authorities and civil society to alert people of its danger and to ensure it becomes pre-emptively banned. All BirdLife supporters in Africa can play a part, by checking their local veterinary outlets to see if the drug is on sale, and by contacting the government and other authorities to call for a total ban.

Source: BirdLife

18th October 2007: Africa’s leading conservationists meet as chemical plant threatens three-quarters of world’s Lesser Flamingo.

Leading conservationists from 23 African nations have today met to sign a petition opposing the proposed chemical plant on the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Natron, which threatens 75% of the world’s Lesser Flamingo. The petition was signed by delegates of BirdLife’s Council for the Africa Partnership (CAP) in Nairobi and follows months of speculation and international outcry over the proposed salt ash development on Tanzania’s border with Kenya.

More than half a million pairs of Lesser Flamingos may nest at Lake Natron. The lake is the only reliable breeding site for the species' East African population – more than 75 per cent of the world’s total. Lake Natron's isolation and vast salt flats provide crucial safety from predators, while its alkaline waters, rich in cyanobacteria, and lakeside springs supply food and freshwater for parents and chicks. The lake supports the huge concentrations of Lesser Flamingos that feed and roost on other lakes up and down the Rift Valley, hailed as “the greatest ornithological spectacle in the world” and supporting a thriving tourist economy.

The proposed salt ash plant would pump 530 cubic metres of brine per hour and produce 0.5 million tons of sodium carbonate a year. The large-scale development would also include a sizable residential complex.

Delegates attending the BirdLife Council Meeting fear that the entire flamingo population could be lost if the development goes ahead, citing a number of reasons, including: likely changes in the chemical composition of the water (affecting the cyanobacteria on which the flamingos depend); disruption of nest sites; and expansion of surrounding infrastructure, a factor which could bring in new predators, particularly Marabou Stork – a species linked to mass nest desertions in breeding Greater Flamingo.

Much has been made of the Tanzanian government’s role in the final decision: “As a continent, Africa is making great strides towards conserving its immense biodiversity,” said the Head of BirdLife’s Africa Division, Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson. “Tanzania must think clearly of what this decision on Lake Natron says of its environmental credentials, and to the other twenty-four nations which are represented here at this meeting today.” "This is a clear opportunity for the Tanzanian government to continue showing moral and environmental responsibility in Africa by taking a decision not to proceed with the Soda Ash development." The petition, signed by conservationists from 23 African nations, will now be sent to the Tanzanian government and Tata Chemicals.

Source: BirdLife International

4th July 2007: Soda ash development threatens entire East African Lesser Flamingo population.

A proposed development near Tanzania’s border with Kenya, threatens the survival of the entire East African population of Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor. Lake Natron - the only East African site in which Lesser Flamingo has bred in the past 45 years – currently faces an uncertain future due to a proposed Soda Ash extraction and processing plant. Lake Natron is recognised internationally as a Ramsar site, and as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.

The proposed Soda Ash development will pump 530 cubic metres of brine per hour and produce and export 0.5 million tons of sodium carbonate a year. There may also be a 11.5 Megawatts thermal power facility using coal and petcoke, and a potentially sizeable residential complex, with 152 permanent and 1,225 construction staff members expected on site. In compliance with Tanzania’s environmental laws, in 2006 TATA Chemicals (on behalf of the proponent, Lake Natron Resources Limited) commissioned a consultant to carry out an Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) for the proposed development.

In addition to Tanzania, the consultant also carried out further consultations with interested and affected parties in Kenya, due to the project’s vicinity to the Kenyan border as well as the dependence of Lake Natron on Kenya's Ewaso Ngiro River.

The outcomes of these consultations are yet to be made public, although indications suggest that the first draft of the EIA will be presented at a workshop in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) on 12 July, 2007. Conservationists await the outcome; their main concern being that the EIA process, including scrutiny of the draft, should be made participatory and take in the views of all relevant stakeholders.

“It is important that whatever decisions are made do not jeopardise the survival of the Lesser Flamingo, a key component of the tourist experience in East African national parks,” said Mr. Lota Melamari, CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST, BirdLife in Tanzania), before highlighting how important it is for the EIA to be disclosed to all stakeholders interested.

In September 2006, experts met at the BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat office to start the process of drafting the International Lesser Flamingo Species Action Plan under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species and AEWA (the African-European Migratory Waterbird Agreement). At the time the experts involved declared: “the most critical threat to the survival of the Lesser Flamingo to be the loss and / or degradation of its specialised habitat through altered hydrology and water quality”.

According to a spokesperson from BirdLife's Africa Division: “Any declines in the breeding of Lesser Flamingos at this site could effectively push the species rapidly towards extinction.” “The Lesser Flamingo is globally classified as 'Near Threatened' in the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,” said Dr. Brooks Childress, Chair of the IUCN-SSC (Species Survival Commission); Wetlands International Flamingo Specialist Group. “Over 75% of the species’ global population occurs in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa. There appears to be very little interchange between this large sub-population and other smaller Lesser Flamingo regional populations.The East African sub-population has bred only on Lake Natron for the past 45 years, effectively making Lake Natron the only breeding site for over 75% of the global population. “The Lesser Flamingo is very sensitive to water levels and disturbance during breeding. Changes in water level, water chemistry or disturbance could easily cause the birds to abandon their breeding attempt.” he added.

A group of concerned organisations and stakeholders within the region, including WCST and NatureKenya (both BirdLife Partners), have joined hands with other conservation groups in pushing for the EIA outcomes to be disclosed to all stakeholders and for a full participatory process. Lesser Flamingo breeding in such enormous numbers has been referred to as the “greatest ornithological spectacle in the world” by the renowned artist and naturalist Roger Tory Peterson. The local extinction of Lesser Flamingo at the site is therefore predicted to have a devastating impact on the tourism industry that has become the backbone of local economy in the two countries.

Source: BirdLife International News

23rd March 2007: Uluguru Bush-Shrike found over the limit

Until January this year, a single doubtful record from 1981 was the only evidence for the presence of Critically Endangered Uluguru Bush-Shrike Malaconotus alius in the Uluguru South Forest Reserve, which was believed to be above its normal altitudinal limit. Repeated surveys had failed to find it.

Now a team from Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST, BirdLife Partner in Tanzania), having repeatedly sighted the bird in the Uluguru South Forest Reserve, has evidence that suggests the bush-shrikes are breeding there.

In 1999-2000, a census supported by WCST estimated a population of 1,200 pairs. The bulk of the population is in the 84 km2 Uluguru North Forest Reserve and an adjacent area, which still holds a good tract of flat forest at 1,200-1,500 metres.

The Uluguru North and South Forest Reserves are separated by the Bunduki Gap (1.5km), thought by many to be a potential obstacle to movements of Uluguru Bush-Shrike, a canopy-reliant bird. Jasson John of WCST, who led the survey team, says that on 24 January 2007 at 8:25 am, a pair of bush-shrikes was attracted by playback of their calls to a census point at an altitude of 1,739 metres. "The area is the nearest part of Uluguru South to the Uluguru North Reserve, and has almost the same forest structure as that within Uluguru North. This was about 3.4 kilometres from the nearest record of the Uluguru Bush-Shrike in Uluguru North."

Later that morning the team heard another Uluguru Bush-Shrike about 400 metres from the first pair.  "This time it was the highest record of our survey in terms of altitude, at 1,885 metres." Between 23 and 28 February, Jasson, with WCST’s Elias Mungaya, returned to Uluguru South at the same census point.  "We were aiming to catch the original pair, so we put mist-nets up in the tree canopy, and attracted the birds by playing back their calls." But they refused to be caught. "On two occasions one flew into but bounced back out of the mist-nets, and on another occasion one was trying to attack a Loveridge's Sunbird, another of Uluguru's endemics, that was caught in the nets."

The pair rarely came to the playback together. A month before, the birds had always been seen together. Jasson has an explanation: "we think the female was probably sitting on a nest." The team from WCST was supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

Source: BirdLife International

23rd October 2006: The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST, BirdLife in Tanzania) organised two birdwatching expeditions to the North Uluguru Mountains and Pugu Forests Important Bird Areas (IBAs), as part of the World Bird Festival celebrations.

The Uluguru team was lucky to see Uluguru Bush-Shrike Malaconotus alius, a Critically Endangered species endemic to the Uluguru Mountains. “These expeditions will help raise conservation awareness amongst local people in the Uluguru Mountains and Pugu Forests," said Elias Mungaya, a participant on the Uluguru trip. "Both places are suffering from human encroachment,” he added.

Source: Birdlife International news

4th May 2006: Record bird numbers slip towards extinction

BirdLife's annual evaluation of how the world's bird species are faring shows that the total number considered threatened with extinction is now 1,210. When combined with the number of Near Threatened species this gives a record total of 2,005 species in trouble – more than a fifth of the planet’s 9,799 total species.

A species now regarded as Critically Endangered is the Uluguru Bush-shrike Malaconotus alius, from the Uluguru Mountains of Tanzania. Repeated surveys in the 1990s found that the species is restricted to the small Uluguru North Forest Reserve, which is suffering from ongoing habitat degradation. Loveridge's Sunbird Nectarinia loveridgei, also only found in the Ulugurus, has also been uplisted (to Endangered) to reflect its continuing decline.

Source: BirdLife International News

23rd February 2006: Tanzanian Government endorses conservation projects. 64 projects launched to protect Tanzania and Kenya's threatened forests and species.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and four East African organisations today announced the launch of a portfolio of conservation projects in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests. These projects aim to significantly improve the conservation of Kenya and Tanzania’s rich natural resources.

During the launch, the Government of Tanzania's Forestry and Beekeeping Division signed an important Memorandum of Understanding with Conservation nternational, which administers CEPF. The Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Government of Tanzania are the owners of over 200 forest reserves in the Eastern Arc and Coastal forests of Tanzania. The agreement outlines how CEPF's investment can contribute information and training to support the Forestry and Beekeeping Division's management of these reserves.

"This agreement is an important step towards ensuring that the results of CEPF's investment are properly integrated into management decisions for Tanzania's forests," stated Nike Doggart from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group.

Source: BirdLife International News

Books & Sounds

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:50 -- abc_admin

The Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Stevenson and Fanshawe is extremely useful for this part of Africa and covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The first edition was published in 2002 and a second edition is due later in 2012.

In addition, the Zimmerman et al is very good but only covers Kenya and those additional species which are also found in northern Tanzania. However, make sure to choose carefully between the hardback and more portable (and revised) paperback version. The hardback version is not one to carry in the field but the softcover does lack some detail!

Birds of Africa south of the Sahara also covers all the species found in the East Africa region.


Book image: 
Book info: 
Field Guide to Birds of East Africa, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe, Poyser, Softback.
Book description: 

Helm Field Guide covering Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The first complete guide to this region. 3400 images of 1388 species illustrated on 287 superb new colour plates by Brian Small, John Gale and Norman Arlott. The text plus distribution map and the illustrations for each species are on facing pages. 632 pages.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania, Zimmerman, Turner & Pearson, A&C Black, Softback.
Book description: 

Designed specifically for use in the field, this is a portable version of the highly-acclaimed Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania. This updated edition covers 6 additional species.

"Birders visiting Kenya have been waiting a long time for a really good identification guide to the rich avifauna of this incomparable country. They need wait no longer. This magnificent book is everything one could wish for." - British Birds.

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 image: 
Book info: 
Photographic Guide to Birds of East Africa, Dave Richards, New Holland, Softback.
Book description: 

Field identification guide, with the text highlighting the diagnostic features for each species. For those species that are sexually dimorphic, have both breeding and non-breeding plumages, or in which the juvenile plumage differs markedly from that of the adult, more than one photograph has been included. A thumbnail silhouette and a distribution map are given for each species. 144 pages.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Important Bird Areas in Tanzania, Elizabeth & Neil Baker, RSPB, Softback.
Book description: 

80 sites detailed with maps and many line drawings. Essential information for locating Tanzania's special birds. 303 pages.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Bird Song of Kenya & Tanzania, J Hammick, Mandarin Prodns., CD.
Book description: 

Vocalisations of 99 common species, each indexed but not announced.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:46 -- abc_admin

Birding tours

Birding & BeyondBirding AfricaBirding Ecotours, Birdquest, LimosaNature's Wonderland Safaris, Rockjumper, Safari Consultants, Safariwise and Sunbird organise tours to Tanzania.


James Wolstencroft

Birdman of Arusha



A member wrote the following in September 2012.

Martin James SMS +255 -7861-08-086

"Martin has lived, worked and guided 'for birds' around Amani in the East Usambara Mountains for many years. He also knows all the seeable birds of the West Usambaras. His 'ears' are, one might say, outstanding and his eyesight is definitely second to none! Quite simply he is the best guide there is in the mountain forests. Anyone interested in seeing the mountain endemics should take the opportunity to use his high quality and remarkably inexpensive services."


Independent birders can fly from Europe to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro Airport or Nairobi. Dar can also be reached easily from other major African cities such as Nairobi, Cairo and Johannesburg. Travel from the United States will almost certainly require a change in Europe, say in London or Amsterdam. There is a metalled road with regular and fast bus services which connects Dar to Moshi, Arusha and Nairobi, and from Dar to Tanga and Mombasa. Kilimanjaro airport is situated between Moshi and Arusha. Trips to the northern reserves can be organised in Arusha and to Kilimanjaro in Moshi. Access to the Selous, Uluguru and Udzungwa is easier from Dar and probably best organised from there. There are regular boats between Dar and Zanzibar and to Pemba and there is a local airline which connects Dar, Tanga, Pemba and Zanzibar. Accommodation is available in the major centres ranging upwards to high quality hotels and accommodation in the reserves varies from basic campsites to upmarket safari lodges in some areas such as Ngorongoro and Serengeti.


US State Department and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office contain important safety information.

Safety issues encountered in Tanzania are similar to those in any other African country. Guidebooks, travel companies and the above websites provide much of the advice one needs, but some key points warrant repetition here. (1) be aware of the risk of malaria, 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 under-estimate the danger of being in the sun too long. Ensure you use sun-block and drink plenty of water, and wear a hat. (4) The incidence of Aids is high (5) Ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including a supply of hypodermic needles. In addition, if you are camping on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater or on Mount Kilimanjaro, even though you are on the equator, the nights can be bitterly cold so ensure that you have suitable clothing and sleeping bags. A final point worth mentioning is that you are not allowed to photograph government property so take care when you are using cameras and binoculars.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:44 -- abc_admin

Male Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Image Credit: 
Stein Nilsen

There are so many places in Tanzania to find interesting birds that it is hard to know where to begin. Many birders will visit the northern National Parks and Game Reserves. Others may be tempted to try and find the specialist birds of the Usambara, Uluguru and Udzungwa mountains. Then there is the possibility of combining a holiday on Zanzibar with some birdwatching and perhaps a visit to Pemba Island to try and locate the endemic species. All we can hope to do here is mention a few of our favourite locations and stimulate the interest of our readers. Wherever you go, remember to take your binoculars with you because you will find interesting birds.

The first visit to Tanzania for many people is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. There is a steady stream of tourists many of whom fly to Nairobi and continue by bus to Marangu via Arusha and Moshi. Marangu is one of the main entry points to the National Park. The path from here to the Mandara Hut at about 3,000 m above sea level goes through forest. Hartlaub's Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi and primates can be seen from this path but in order to see and identify many of the smaller forest species such as greenbuls and warblers, it is necessary to sit quietly away from the busy main track. The Mandara hut is above the dense forest and birdwatching becomes a little easier with the possibility of Abbott's Starling Pholia femoralis,  Hunter's Cisticola Cisticola hunteri and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni whilst higher still Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba can be found above the giant heather zone and in the Alpine zone Hill Chat Cercomela sordida can be found. Red-fronted Parrot Poicephalus gulielmi is possible on the western and northern slopes of the mountain.

Arusha is the gateway to the northern National Parks and Game Reserves and independent travellers should be able to join a trip here although it is likely to focus on mammals rather than birds. However, within a 1.5 hr drive of Arusha is Arusha National Park, where diversity of habitats allows observations of a plethora of birds (over 400 species recorded), including water birds, forest dwellers, savannah species and grassland specialists. Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor, Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa, Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus, Nyanza Swift Apus niansae, Horus Swift A. horus, Hunter's Cisticola Cisticola hunteri, Kenrick's Starling Poeoptera kenricki, Abbott's Starling Pholia femoralis and Sharpe's Starling P. sharpii are all possible.

Tarangire National Park is often the first stop to the west of Arusha and is well known for its large herds of elephants. Ashy Starling Lamprotornis unicolor, a Tanzanian endemic can be surprisingly easy to see around the campsite and White-headed Buffalo-Weaver Dinemellia dinemelli and Red-and-yellow Barbet Trachyphonus erythrocephalus are common at picnic spots. Areas of grassland are good for Red-necked Spurfowl Francolinus afer and Yellow-necked Spurfowl F. leucoscepus and there are ponds and streams which hold herons, spoonbills and ibis.

Lake Manyara is en route to the Ngorongoro and Serengeti and although less well known than its more famous neighbours, is well worth a visit and has a list of over 450 species because of its range of habitats. Birding is good around the campsite where Square-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus fossii has been found roosting in ground-water forest. The Reserve itself holds a good selection of pelicans, storks, waders, ducks, kingfishers, hornbills and raptor and vulture density is extremely high. The number of water birds seen is dependent on the water level in the lake and when the levels are high, good birdwatching spots such as the hippo pool can be flooded and not accessible. It is well worth spending time birdwatching in the ground-water forest, where if lucky, Crested Guineafowl Guttera pucherani may run across the road. The Acacia woodland from Msasa River to the extreme southern end of the park offers numerous raptors and open-country species.

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places to see huge herds of Zebra and Wildebeeste as well as Black Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus and Elephants. Birding is excellent and the endemic Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficauda is easy to find. The lakes within the crater hold Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor as well as a good selection of waders and ducks. There are many species of vultures, raptors and storks. Forest birds along the crater rim include some montane specialities like Hartlaub's Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi and Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris mediocris. With a list of over 500 species, even the most discerning birder should be well satisfied.

The Serengeti is a vast area with a chance of spotting Lion and Cheetah and a host of other mammal species. There is a good chance of finding the endemic Grey-breasted Spurfowl Francolinus rufopictus, the near endemic Hildebrandt's Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti, Fischer's Lovebird Agapornis fischeri, as well as Yellow-throated Sandgrouse Pterocles gutturalis, Silverbird Empidornis semipartitus, Grey-backed Fiscal Lanius excubitoroides and a variety of other species. See the article, Birds of a Grumeti River forest in Serengeti National Park in ABC Bulletin, Vol 9 No 2 2002 pp 153 ­ 158 by Thomas Gottschalk or at Serengeti Grumeti River.

Many visitors to Tanzania will enter at Dar es Salaam and with over 400 species recorded in the vicinity, birding can start right here. The Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania has its offices in a spot that is both convenient for hotels and for the coast and runs a regular birdwatching walk around Dar early on Saturday mornings (check with WCST for latest information). A walk along the seafront should produce a good selection of wader species such as Crab-plover Dromas ardeola, Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea and Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, and as well as Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Dimorphic Egret Egretta dimorpha, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Grey Heron A. cinerea, Black-headed Heron A. melanocephala, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus and Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus. Pugu Forest Reserve is only about an hour's drive from the city and harbours some unique coastal forest species like Southern Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus fasciolatus, Crested Guineafowl Guttera pucherani, African Broadbill Smithornis capensis, East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi, and Red-capped Robin-Chat Cossypha natalensis.

Tanga is the second largest town in Tanzania situated in the north-east of the country and on a fast bus route from Dar to Mombasa in Kenya. Tanga itself and the coastal area from there south to Pangani is surprisingly underwatched and holds much of interest as well as some good hotels and campsites away from the main tourist trails. Birding can start along the coastal road in Tanga itself with African Openbill Stork Anastomus lamelligerus, Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus, Yellowbill Ceuthmochares aereus, Green Wood-hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus, Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul Andropadus importunus and Winding Cisticola Cisticola galactotes. The coastal area near Peponi Beach with mudflats and mangrove swamps is good for Green-backed Heron Butorides striata, African Fish Eagle Haliaaetus vocifer, Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis, Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia. Shikra Accipiter badius, Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus, Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis, Madagascar Bee-eater Merops superciliosus, Northern Carmine Bee-eater M. nubicus, Common Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas, Yellow-throated Longclaw Macronyx croceus and Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus may be seen in the fields in the surrounding areas and along the road itself. Towards Pangani, there are some coastal swamps where Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae, African Jacana Actophilornis africanus, Fischer's Greenbul Phyllastrephus fischeri and Zanzibar Bishop Euplectes nigroventris can be found.

The East Usambara mountains are accessible from Tanga and the area to aim for is around Amani Reserve and higher up the mountains. The town of Amani itself has good birds and it is possible to see the following from the centre of town ­ the area near the medical centre gives good views over the surrounding countryside ­ Wahlberg's Eagle Aquila wahlbergi, Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis, Mottled Spinetail Telacanthura ussheri, Green-backed Honeybird Prodotiscus zambesiae, the endemic Banded Sunbird Anthreptes rubritorques and Magpie Mannikin Spermestes fringilloides.

The forested areas hold Southern Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus fasciolatus, African Goshawk Accipiter tachiro, Lemon Dove Columba larvata, Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri, Usambara Eagle Owl Bubo vosseleri, Trumpeter Hornbill Bycanistes bucinator, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill B. brevis, Green Barbet Stactolaema olivacea, at least 6 greenbul species, White-chested Alethe Alethe fuelleborni, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher Elminia albonotata, Green-headed Oriole Oriolus chlorocephalus and Red-headed Bluebill Spermophaga ruficapilla. Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus moreaui is difficult but possible to find at the forest edge in the Amani area, the only known place for this species in Tanzania.

See the following article in the ABC Bulletin Vol 8 No 2 2001 pp 91 - 94 Is the endangered Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus moreaui safe in the East Usambaras? By Norbert J Cordeiro, Veli M. Pohjonen and Elia Mulungu or at Long-billed Tailorbird. See also Birding in the Usambara Mountains, Tanzania by Eddie Williams in ABC Bulletin Vol 4 No 2 1997 pp 111 ­ 115 and Birding in and around the East Usambaras, north-east Tanzania by Tom Evans, Alan Tye, Norbert J Cordeiro and Nathalie Seddon in ABC Bulletin Vol 4 No 2 1997 pp 116 ­ 129.


Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:41 -- abc_admin

Grey-breasted Spurfowl Francolinus rufopictus, endemic to northern Tanzania, Ndutu Lodge, Serengeti, Tanzania

Image Credit: 
Stein Nilsen

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 Tanzania 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.

Endemic species

Grey-breasted Spurfowl Francolinus rufopictus
Udzungwa Forest Partridge Xenoperdix udzungwensis
Pemba Green Pigeon Treron pembaensis
Fischer's Lovebird Agapornis fischeri
Pemba Scops Owl Otus pembaensis
Usambara Eagle Owl Bubo vosseleri
Usambara Akalat Sheppardia montana
Iringa Akalat Sheppardia lowei
Rubeho Akalat Sheppardia aurantiithorax
Mrs Moreau`s Warbler Bathmocercus winifredae
Banded Sunbird Anthreptes rubritorques
Loveridge`s Sunbird Cinnyris loveridgei
Pemba Sunbird Cinnyris pembae
Moreau's Sunbird Cinnyris moreaui
Rufous-winged Sunbird Cinnyris rufipennis
Pemba White-eye Zosterops vaughani
Uluguru Bush-Shrike Malaconotus alius
Ashy Starling Lamprotornis unicolor
Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficauda
Kilombero Weaver Ploceus burnieri
Usambara Weaver Ploceus nicolli
Tanzania Seedeater Serinus melanochrous

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

Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri
Hartlaub's Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi
Sokoke Scops Owl Otus ireneae
Red-faced Barbet Lybius rubrifacies
Mombasa Woodpecker Campethera mombassica
Sterling's Woodpecker Dendropicos stierlingi
Friedmann's Lark Mirafra pulpa
Sokoke Pipit Anthus sokokensis
Pangani Longclaw Macronyx aurantiigula
Swynnerton's Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni
Sharpe's Akalat Sheppardia sharpei
East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi
Kretschmer's Longbill Macrosphenus kretschmeri
Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus moreaui
African Tailorbird Orthotomus metopias
Hunter's Cisticola Cisticola hunteri
Black-lored Cisticola Cisticola nigriloris
Churring Cisticola Cisticola njombe
White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa
Chapin's Apalis Apalis chapini
Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae
Little Yellow Flycatcher Erythrocercus holochlorus
Forest Batis Batis mixta
Sharpe's Pied Babbler Turdoides sharpei
Northern Pied-Babbler Turdoides hypoleuca
Spot-throat Modulatrix stictigula
Dappled Mountain-Robin Arcanator orostruthus
Red-throated Tit Parus fringillinus
Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes neglectus
Amani Sunbird Hedydipna pallidigastra
Long-tailed Fiscal Lanius cabanisi
Fulleborn's Boubou Laniarius fuelleborni
Grey-crested Helmet-Shrike Prionops poliolophus
Kenrick's Starling Poeoptera kenricki
Hildebrandt's Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti
Abbott's Starling Pholia femoralis
Swahili Sparrow Passer suahelicus
Taveta Golden-Weaver Ploceus castaneiceps
Tanzania Masked Weaver Ploceus reichardi
Zanzibar Bishop Euplectes nigroventris
Fire-fronted Bishop Euplectes diadematus
Mountain Marsh Widowbird Euplectes psammocromius
Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni
Southern Grosbeak-Canary Serinus buchanani

Threatened species

Cape Gannet Sula capensis Vulnerable
Madagascar Pond Heron Ardeola idae Endangered
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex Vulnerable
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus Vulnerable
Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga Vulnerable
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca Vulnerable
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni Vulnerable
Udzungwa Forest Partridge Xenoperdix udzungwensis Endangered
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus Vulnerable
Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis Vulnerable
Pemba Green Pigeon Treron pembaensis Vulnerable
Pemba Scops Owl Otus pembaensis Vulnerable
Sokoke Scops Owl Otus ireneae Endangered
Usambara Eagle Owl Bubo vosseleri Vulnerable
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea Vulnerable
Sokoke Pipit Anthus sokokensis Endangered
Uluguru Bush-Shrike Malaconotus alius Critical
Spotted Ground-Thrush Zoothera guttata Endangered
Swynnerton's Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni Vulnerable
East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi Vulnerable
Usambara Akalat Sheppardia montana Endangered
Iringa Akalat Sheppardia lowei Vulnerable
Dappled Mountain-Robin Arcanator orostruthus Vulnerable
White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa Vulnerable
Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae Vulnerable
Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus moreaui Critical
Mrs Moreau's Warbler Bathmocercus winifredae Vulnerable
Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis Endangered
Papyrus Yellow Warbler Chloropeta gracilirostris Vulnerable
Usambara Hyliota Hyliota usambarae Endangered
Amani Sunbird Hedydipna pallidigastra Endangered
Banded Sunbird Anthreptes rubritorques Vulnerable
Rufous-winged Sunbird Cinnyris rufipennis Vulnerable
Abbott's Starling Pholia femoralis Vulnerable
Kilombero Weaver Ploceus burnieri Vulnerable
Usambara Weaver Ploceus nicolli Endangered

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.

Important Bird Areas

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 23:37 -- abc_admin

White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Image Credit: 
Stein Nilsen

Tanzania is a very important country ornithologically. It has one of the largest species lists of any African country, over 1,000 of which over 800 species are resident and nearly 200 are regular migrants. 56 species are of global conservation concern of which 21 are endemic to Tanzania and a further 43 species occur in only one or two other countries.

Tanzania holds parts of several Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs): the Tanzania ­ Malaŵi mountains with 32 of its restricted range species occurring in Tanzania; the Albertine Rift mountains; the Serengeti plains with all 6 restricted range species; the Kenyan mountains with 5 of the 9 restricted range species; the East African coastal forests with 5 of the 7 restricted range species and Pemba with 4 restricted range species. In addition, there are three secondary endemic bird areas: south-west Tanzanian swamps; Kilombero flood-plain; and Dry woodlands west of Lake Victoria.

Parts of 6 biome restricted areas occur in Tanzania: Guinea-Congo Forests of which 56 of its restricted range species have been recorded; the Lake Victoria basin with 11 species; the Afrotropical Highlands with 91 species; the Somali ­ Masai with 77 species; the East African coast with 26 species; and the Zambezian biome with 40 species.

Tanzania's 80 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) cover a total of more than 167,000 km2 or about 18% of the land area with sites varying in size from 3 hectares to 5 million hectares. Only a small number of the better known IBAs are documented here but the total list of sites can be found at the references at the end of this section.

Mount Kilimanjaro is forested between 1,500 m and 3,000 m with the National Park lying above 2,700 m. It holds a range of forest species including Olive Ibis Bostrychia olivacea and alpine species such as Hill Chat Cercomela sordida and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni. It is also well known for Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus and Abbott's Starling Pholia femoralis.

Ruaha National Park is one of the driest protected areas in Tanzania and has a list of over 400 species. It holds important populations of two Tanzanian endemics Ashy Starling Lamprotornis unicolor and Yellow-collared Lovebird Agapornis personatus.

The Serengeti National Park is one of the best known National Parks in Africa lying between Lake Victoria and the Eastern Rift Valley and adjacent to Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve and bordering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Park holds three Tanzanian endemics Grey-breasted Spurfowl Francolinus rufopictus, Fischer's Lovebird Agapornis fischeri and Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficaudus. Many large flocks of African and Palearctic migrants are easily observed in the Serengeti during peak migratory periods.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is part of the crater highlands and varies in altitude from 1,700 m at the crater floor to some 3,000 m at the rim. Over 500 species are known from this site including the largest known population of Fischer's Lovebird Agapornis fischeri. Several important wetlands lie within the site which is important for both Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor. Large mammals, including the endangered Black Rhinoceros, are cradled in this scenic caldera.

Selous Game Reserve lies in the south-east of Tanzania and with an area of 50,000 km2 is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. There is no official species list for this site but numerous miombo endemics occur here and Rufigi River is excellent for water-birds such as African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris.

Dar es Salaam coast includes tidal mudflats, river inlets, saltpans, mangroves, thickets and offshore islands which create a diverse habitat with a remarkable list of over 450 species. It is of major importance for migratory waders including Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, Little Stint Calidris minuta and Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea. 

Lake Natron is a shallow soda lake on the floor of the Eastern Rift valley and extends 58 km south from the Kenyan border. It is the most important breeding site for the majority of the world population of Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor and its arid surrounding habitat, especially if one traverses across country toward Mt. Longido and West Kilimanjaro plains,  offers unique opportunities for Buff-crested Bustard Eupodotis gindiana, Spike-heeled Lark Chersomanes albofasciata etc. It is also excellent for mammals such as Gerenuk, Steenbok and occasionally Lesser Kudu.

Lake Victoria has four IBAs which are important for cormorants, egrets and herons and one of which Rubondo Island National Park holds Sitatunga and Spotted-necked Otters.

Kitulo Plateau National Park is one of the best places to see Denham's Bustard Neotis denhami and Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea as well as amazing ground orchids.

Mkomazi Game Reserve holds a number of species which are found at the southern limit of their range, extending to the southern base of the South Pare Mountains. These include Friedmann's Lark Mirafra pulpa, Pygmy Batis Batis perkeo, Three-streaked Tchagra Tchagra jamesi, Shelley's Starling Lamprotornis shelleyi and Pringle's Puffback Dryoscopus pringlii.

Zanzibar has two IBAs which are important for waders and terns including non-breeding populations of Crab-plover Dromas ardeola. In addition, the Jozani Forest Reserve on Zanzibar contains the only remaining forest on the island and holds endemic races of Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri, Little Greenbul Andropadus virens and Grey Sunbird Cyanomitra veroxii. East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi can be found as well as a number of interesting mammal species such as Zanzibar Red Colobus, Ader's Duiker and Pemba Flying Fox.

Udzungwa mountains to the south-west of Dar es Salaam have forest reserves which hold species such as Udzungwa Partridge Xenoperdix udzungwensis, Dappled Mountain-Robin Arcanator orostruthus, Sharpe's Akalat Sheppardia sharpei, Olive-flanked Robin-Chat Cossypha anomala and White-chested Alethe Alethe fuelleborni. The area can be reached from a variety of places but best is the ascent to the spectacular Sanje waterfalls from the base of the Udzungwa National Park HQ at Mangula.

The Uluguru mountains are situated about halfway between Udzungwa and Dar and are the only locality for Uluguru Bush-Shrike Malaconotus alius and Loveridge's Sunbird Cinnyris loveridgei as well as 5 endemic subspecies. If lucky, Abbott's Duiker, one of the rarest  African antelopes may be seen.

East Usambara mountains is one of the most important areas on the African mainland for the conservation of globally threatened species. Usambara Eagle Owl Bubo vosseleri, Sokoke Scops Owl Otus ireneae, Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus moreaui, Dappled Mountain-Robin Arcanator orostruthus, Swynnerton's Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni and Usambara Weaver Ploceus nicolli all occur here. The West Usambara mountains have been less studied outside the Lushoto area but are none the less important for species such as Usambara Akalat Sheppardia montana, Banded Sunbird Anthreptes rubritorques, Sharpe's Starling Pholia sharpii and Usambara Weaver Ploceus nicolli, the best locations to  find this species regularly being Mazumbai and Magamba.

Lindi District Coastal Forests are important for coastal forest birds such as Southern Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus fasciolatus, East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi, Spotted Ground-Thrush Zoothera guttata and other specialities like Livingstone's Flycatcher Erythrocercus livingstonei.

Pemba Island lies 55 km off the mainland and holds 4 endemic species, Pemba Green Pigeon Treron pembaensis, Pemba Scops Owl Otus pembaensis, Pemba Sunbird Cinnyris pembae and Pemba White-eye Zosterops vaughani.

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


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