République Démocratique du Congo (RDC) | Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

SUB-REGION
Central Africa

SIZE
2,344,860 km² (2nd largest country in Africa)

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity
Strongly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 1,150 recorded species (1st longest bird list of any country in the ABC region and 10th globally)

Doherty’s Bushshrike (Adam Riley)
Latham’s Francolin (Paul van Giersbergen)
Fraser’s Rufous Thrush (Paul van Giersbergen)

Endemics (E)
Congo Peacock (VU)
Congo Bay Owl (EN)
Prigogine’s Nightjar (EN)
Yellow-crested Helmetshrike (VU)
Grauer’s Cuckooshrike (LC)
Bedford’s Paradise Flycatcher (NT)
Prigogine’s Greenbul (EN)
Kabobo Apalis (VU)
Chapin’s Babbler (LC)
Prigogine’s Double-collared Sunbird (NT)
Rockefeller’s Sunbird (VU)
Lufira Masked Weaver (LC)
Yellow-legged Weaver (VU)
Black-lored Waxbill (DD)

Near-endemics (NE)
Sladen’s Barbet
Ituri Batis
Sassi’s Olive Greenbul
Grey-headed Sunbird
Golden-naped Weaver
Grant’s Bluebill

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE (1/2)
Nahan’s Francolin
Albertine Owlet
African Green Broadbill
Pale-olive Greenbul
Congo Martin
Black-tailed Cisticola
Oberländer’s Ground Thrush
White-headed Robin-Chat
Bocage’s Sunbird
Congo Sunbird
Katanga Masked Weaver
Bob-tailed Weaver
Jameson’s Antpecker
Landana Firefinch

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Eastern Black-billed Turaco
Neumann’s Coucal (NE)
Eastern Black Dwarf Hornbill (NE)
Northern Olive Woodpecker
Yellow-eyed Bristlebill (1/2)
Mangbettu Saw-wing (1/2)
Lendu Crombec (E)
Itombwe Flycatcher (E)
Rudder’s Forest Robin (E)
Upemba Masked Weaver (E)

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Plumed Guineafowl (ESS schubotzi)
Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk (ESS beniensis)
White-naped Pigeon
Rwenzori Turaco (ESS bredoi)
Maned Owl
African Barred Owlet (castaneum)
Zenker’s Honeyguide
Grey-headed Broadbill (ESS eurylaemus)
Rufous-sided Broadbill (budongoensis)
Rufous-bellied Helmetshrike (mentalis)
Albertine Sooty Boubou
Striped-breasted Tit (ESS kaboboensis)
Forest Penduline Tit (ESS ruthae)
Grey-olive Greenbul (ESS cerviniventris)
Yellow-streaked Greenbul (ESS graueri)
Square-tailed Saw-wing (ESS centralis)
Red-faced Woodland Warbler (ESS schoutedeni)
Chubb’s Cisticola (ESS marungensis)
Wing-snapping Cisticola | Ayres’s Cisticola (ESS itombwensis)
Black-collared Apalis (ESS murphyi)
Mountain Masked Apalis (ESS marungensis)
Black-capped Apalis (collaris)
Brown-headed Apalis (dowsetti)
Olive-green Camaroptera (ESS kamitugaensis)
Scaly-breasted Illadopsis (ESS albipectus)
Brown Parisoma (ESS prigoginei)
Green White-eye (ESS reichenowi)
Crossley’s Ground Thrush (ESS pilettei)
Black-eared Ground Thrush (graueri)
Forest Scrub Robin (collsi)
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher (ESS semicinctus)
Swamp Flycatcher (ESS lualabae)
Red-throated Alethe (ESS kaboboensis)
Archer’s Robin-Chat (ESS kimbutui)
Short-tailed Akalat | Alexander’s Akalat (ESS kaboboensis + schoutedeni)
Lowland Akalat (lopezi)
Blue-headed Sunbird (ESS kaboboensis + derooi)
Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird (ESS itombwensis)
Golden-winged Sunbird (ESS shellyae)
Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird (ESS chapini)
Red-crowned Malimbe
Red-bellied Malimbe
Shelley’s Crimsonwing
Black-headed Waxbill (ESS marungensis)

Spotted Greenbul (Paul van Giersbergen)
Weyns’s Weaver (Tadeusz Rosinski)

MAIN HABITATS
Montane forest, lowland forest, moist savanna

BIRD AREAS
Albertine Rift mountains Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
Eastern Zaïre lowlands EBA
Gabon-Cabinda coast Secondary Area (SA)
Lake Lufira SA
Upemba plains SA
West Zaïre and North Angola forests SA
19 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Itombwe Mountains, Mount Kabobo and Kahuzi-Biéga National Park (NP) for montane endemics
Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Ituri Forest and Lomako-Yokokala Faunal Reserve for lowland forest species
Mbandaka Town for Congo Sand Martin and Congo Sunbird

TIMING (Jul–Sep)
In moister, northern areas it is best to travel when it is dry and most forest birds breed (Jun–Aug), whereas in the south it is best immediately before the rains (Aug–Sep)
Avoid the main rains, which fall Mar–Apr and Oct–Nov in the north and Dec–Feb in the south

RESOURCES
Field guides
Birds of Africa South of the Sahara by Ian Sinclair & Peter Ryan (2010)
Birds of Western Africa by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2014) is better for most species

Sounds
African Bird Sounds Vol 2: West and Central Africa by Claude Chappuis

Site guides
Birding at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve by Marco Sacchi (1997)

Further reading
Birds of Katanga/Oiseaux du Katanga by Michel Louette & Michel Hasson (2012)
Democratic Republic of Congo: a Bird Checklist by Tommy Pedersen (2010)
Democratic Republic of Congo by Ron Demey & Michel Louette in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Les Oiseaux d’Afrique Centrale: Liste Faunistique by Patrice Christy & Jean Pierre Vande weghe (1999)
Avifauna of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Ituri Forest/Haut Zaïre: an Annotated Checklist by Marco Sacchi (1997)
Parc National de la Garamba: Checklist of Birds by Kes Hillman-Smith (1994)
Les Oiseaux du Zaïre by Leon Lippens & Henri Wille (1976)
Bushmeat: Culture, Economy and Conservation in Central Africa by Theodore Trefon (2022)
Articles in Malimbus, Bull. ABC, Afropavo (Democratic Republic of Congo Birding Association), etc.

Websites
UNESCO World Heritage List: Garamba National Park, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Salonga National Park and Virunga National Park

Blogs
Katanga Birding by Andrew Hester (2009)

Facebook groups
Birding the Democratic Republic of Congo

ORGANISATIONS

There is currently no BirdLife Partner in the DRC

Bird or conservation organisations active in the DRC include –
Amicale Congolaise pour la Conservation des Oiseaux et Leurs Habitats
Alliance Congolaise des Organisations de Conservation des Oiseaux
Organisation of Biodiversity Information and Conservation in Congo-Kinshasa (OBICOK)
Organisation Congolaise des Ecologistes et Amis de la Nature (OCEAN-RDC)
Biodiversité au Katanga (BAK)
Front Commun pour la Protection de l’Environnement et des Espaces Protégés (FCPEEP)
Réseau pour la Conservation et la Réhabilitation des Écosystèmes Forestiers (Réseau CREF)
Forêt pour le Développement Intégral (FODI)
Congo Basin Conservation Society (CBCS)
Horizon Nature
Centre d’Appui à la Gestion Durable des Forêts Tropicales (CAGDFT)
Groupe d’Appui à la Conservation des Ecosystèmes de Basankusu et Bolomba (GACEBB)
Réseau des Associations pour la Conservation Communautaire du Massif d’Itombwe (RACCOMI)
Itombwe Génération pour l’Humanité (IGH)
Voix de la Nature (VONA)
Solidarité pour la Promotion Rurale (SOPR)
Action Communautaire de Développement et d’Encadrement Social (ACODES)
Mbou Mon Tour (MMT)
Conserv Congo
Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS)
Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation (BINCO)
Protection de la Faune et de la Flore Endémiques d’Afrique Central (PROFFAC)
WCS DR Congo
WWF-DRC
Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
African Parks: Garamba
Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS): Lomami National Park
Forgotten Parks Foundation: Upemba National Park
Lukuru Foundation
Virunga Foundation

Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) is the public institution in overall charge of conserving and preserving the DRC’s exceptional natural heritage
The ICCN Office in Bukavu oversees the operation of Kahuzi-Biéga NP and also has jurisdiction over the Itombwe Massif

Ornithological research is carried out at Centre de Surveillance de la Biodiversité (CSB) of the University of Kisangani
Research staff at Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN), Lwiro, study the biological diversity of the southern Albertine Rift

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