West Africa

923,768 km²


Strongly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 920 recorded species (7th longest bird list of any country in the ABC region)

Ibadan Malimbe (Tasso Leventis)
Jos Plateau Indigobird (Tasso Leventis)
Anambra Waxbill (Thierry Helsens)

Endemics (E)
Ibadan Malimbe (EN)

Near-endemics (NE)
Anambra Waxbill
Jos Plateau Indigobird

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE (1/2)
Green-breasted Bushshrike
Mount Kupe Bushshrike
Yellow-breasted Boubou
Cameroon Greenbul
Grey-headed Greenbul
Bangwa Forest Warbler
Bamenda Apalis
White-throated Mountain Babbler
Mountain Robin-Chat
Bannerman’s Weaver
Rock Firefinch

Bamenda Apalis (Kevin Ravno)
White-throated Mountain Babbler (Tasso Leventis)
Rock Firefinch (Tasso Leventis)
Bannerman’s Weaver (Nik Borrow)

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2)
Cameroon Olive Pigeon
Western Greenbul
Cameroon Olive Greenbul
Black-capped Woodland Warbler
Green Longtail
White-tailed Warbler
Cameroon Sunbird
Shelley’s Oliveback

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Black-shouldered Nightjar
Verreaux’s Turaco
Western Piping Hornbill
Eastern Piping Hornbill
Western Little Hornbill
Eastern Long-tailed Hornbill
Eastern Yellow-spotted Barbet
Eastern Yellow-billed Barbet
Togo Yellow-billed Barbet
Plain-backed Woodpecker
Johnston’s Woodpecker (B2)
Brown-necked Parrot
Fanti Drongo
Glossy-backed Drongo
Western Square-tailed Drongo
Petit’s Saw-wing
Yellow-bellied Crombec
Brown-backed Cisticola (1/2)
Western Stout Cisticola
Western Buff-throated Apalis
Black-crowned Capuchin Babbler
African Scrub Robin
Volcano Sunbird (B2)
Neumann’s Weaver
Black-faced Quailfinch
Grey Firefinch
Cameroon Pipit (1/2)
Bannerman’s Pipit

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Western Crested Guineafowl
Latham’s Francolin
White-throated Francolin
Ahanta Spurfowl
Double-spurred Spurfowl
Scaly Spurfowl (squamatus)
Pennant-winged Nightjar
Cassin’s Spinetail
Bates’s Swift
Great Blue Turaco
Guinea Turaco
Black-throated Coucal
Western Bronze-naped Pigeon
Blue-headed Wood Dove
White-spotted Flufftail
Brown-chested Lapwing
Egyptian Plover
Grey Pratincole
West African Crested Tern
Western Reef Heron
Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle
Long-tailed Hawk
Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk
Red-thighed Sparrowhawk
Forest Wood Hoopoe
West African Pied Hornbill
Congo Pied Hornbill
Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill
White-thighed Hornbill
Yellow-casqued Hornbill
Blue-throated Roller
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher
African Dwarf Kingfisher
White-bellied Kingfisher
Shining-blue Kingfisher
Black-headed Bee-eater
Black Bee-eater
Rosy Bee-eater
Bristle-nosed Barbet
Hairy-breasted Barbet
Vieillot’s Barbet
White-headed Barbet (adamauae)
Double-toothed Barbet
Cassin’s Honeybird
Willcock’s Honeyguide
Least Honeyguide
Buff-spotted Woodpecker
Fire-bellied Woodpecker
Brown-backed Woodpecker
Red-headed Lovebird
Rufous-sided Broadbill
West African Batis
Chestnut Wattle-eye
Brown-throated Wattle-eye
Red-cheeked Wattle-eye
Fiery-breasted Bushshrike
Many-colored Bushshrike
Yellow-crowned Gonolek
Red-billed Helmetshrike
African Shrike-flycatcher
Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike
Blue Cuckooshrike
Yellow-billed Shrike
Emin’s Shrike
Sharpe’s Drongo
Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher
Rufous-vented Paradise Flycatcher
Forest Penduline Tit
Square-tailed Saw-wing
Fanti Saw-wing
Pied-winged Swallow
White-bibbed Swallow
Preuss’s Cliff Swallow
Grey-headed Bristlebill
Joyful Greenbul
Simple Greenbul
Honeyguide Greenbul
Western Bearded Greenbul (ESS ansorgeanus)
Little Grey Greenbul
Ansorge’s Greenbul
White-throated Greenbul
Red-tailed Leaflove
Baumann’s Olive Greenbul
Crested Lark
Kemp’s Longbill
Grey Longbill
Lemon-bellied Crombec
Green Hylia
Tit Hylia
Greater Swamp Warbler
Lesser Swamp Warbler (neglectus)
Chattering Cisticola
Black-backed Cisticola
Red-winged Prinia
Black-capped Apalis
Oriole Warbler
Yellow-browed Camaroptera
Olive-green Camaroptera
Rufous-crowned Eremomela
Brown Illadopsis
Pale-breasted Illadopsis
Blackcap Illadopsis
Puvel’s Illadopsis
Blackcap Babbler
Purple-headed Starling
Lesser Blue-eared Starling
Chestnut-winged Starling
Narrow-tailed Starling
Finsch’s Rufous Thrush
White-tailed Ant Thrush
Grey Ground Thrush
Fire-crested Alethe
Fraser’s Forest Flycatcher
White-browed Forest Flycatcher
Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher
Grey Tit-Flycatcher
Gambaga Flycatcher
Swamp Flycatcher
Cassin’s Flycatcher
Little Grey Flycatcher
Dusky-blue Flycatcher
Sooty Flycatcher
Brown-chested Alethe
Grey-winged Robin-Chat
Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat
Red-capped Robin-Chat
Orange-breasted Forest Robin
Short-tailed Akalat | Alexander’s Akalat (granti)
Heuglin’s Wheatear
White-fronted Black Chat
Mangrove Sunbird
Little Green Sunbird (minor)
Grey-chinned Sunbird
Pygmy Sunbird
Reichenbach’s Sunbird
Buff-throated Sunbird
Carmelite Sunbird
Green-throated Sunbird (crossensis)
Tiny Sunbird
Superb Sunbird (nigeriae)
Bates’s Sunbird
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver
Slender-billed Weaver
Olive-naped Weaver
Orange Weaver
Heuglin’s Masked Weaver
Chestnut-and-black Weaver
Vieillot’s Black Weaver
Yellow-mantled Weaver
Maxwell’s Black Weaver
Compact Weaver
Red-vented Malimbe
Blue-billed Malimbe
Red-headed Malimbe
Red-bellied Malimbe
Crested Malimbe
Green Twinspot
Chestnut-breasted Nigrita
Pale-fronted Nigrita
Locust Finch
Western Bluebill
Black-bellied Seedcracker
Red-winged Pytilia
Yellow-winged Pytilia
Brown Twinspot
Bar-breasted Firefinch
Jambandu Indigobird
Barka Indigobird
Wilson’s Indigobird
Quailfinch Indigobird
Cameroon Indigobird
White-rumped Seedeater
West African Seedeater
Cabanis’s Bunting

Rosy Bee-eater (Lionel Sineux)
Brown-chested Lapwing (Marc Languy)

National bird
Black Crowned Crane (EW in Nigeria)

Lowland forest, montane forest, savannas, Guinea woodlands
Cameroon and Gabon lowlands Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
Cameroon mountains EBA
Lower Niger valley Secondary Area (SA)
South-west Nigeria SA
27 Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

Emerald Forest Reserve for Ibadan Malimbe
Niger Delta for Anambra Waxbill
Jos Plateau for the indigobird and Rock Firefinch as well as Stone Partridge, Freckled Nightjar (ESS pallidogriseus), Adamawa Turtle Dove, Forbes’s Plover, Sun Lark, Red-capped Lark (ESS rufipecta), Anteater Chat, Rock-loving Cisticola, Long-tailed Glossy Starling, Neumann’s Starling, Lavender Waxbill, Black-rumped Waxbill, Black-bellied Firefinch and Gosling’s Bunting
Obudu Plateau and Mambilla Plateau for the other 1/2 and B2 species listed above as well as Horus Swift, Lemon Dove, White-crested Turaco, Bar-tailed Trogon, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Western Tinkerbird (coryphaea), Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Grey Cuckooshrike, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Mackinnon’s Shrike, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Black-collared Apalis, Black-throated Apalis (bambuluensis), Grey Apalis, Banded Prinia, Forest White-eye, Grey-chested Babbler, Waller’s Starling (preussi), Crossley’s Ground Thrush, Brown-backed Scrub Robin, African Dusky Flycatcher (poensis), White-bellied Robin-Chat (roberti), African Stonechat (salax), Sooty Chat, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Spectacled Weaver (crocatus), Black-billed Weaver (melanogaster), Dark-backed Weaver (tephronotus), Brown-capped Weaver, Yellow Bishop (phoenicomerus), Marsh Widowbird, Red-faced Crimsonwing (reichenovii), Grey-headed Oliveback, Black-crowned Waxbill, Dybowski’s Twinspot, Oriole Finch and Thick-billed Seedeater (burtoni)
Cross River National Park (NP) for lowland forest species including Black Guineafowl, Sabine’s Spinetail, Fernando Po Swift, Afep Pigeon, Nkulengu Rail, Congo Serpent-Eagle, Sjöstedt’s Barred Owlet, Bare-cheeked Trogon, Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Gabon Woodpecker (reichenowi), White-spotted Wattle-eye, Pink-footed Puffback (boydi), Lühder’s Bushshrike, Eastern Wattled Cuckooshrike, Grey-necked Rockfowl, Forest Swallow, Golden Greenbul, Yellow-lored Bristlebill, Sjöstedt’s Greenbul, Eastern Bearded Greenbul, White-bearded Greenbul, Xavier’s Greenbul, Fraser’s Rufous Thrush, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Lowland Akalat, Johanna’s Sunbird and Rachel’s Malimbe
Chad Basin NP for arid savanna species including Clapperton’s Spurfowl, Golden Nightjar, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, African Collared Dove, Quail-plover, Black-headed Lapwing, Scissor-tailed Kite, Blue-naped Mousebird, African Green Bee-eater, Yellow-breasted Barbet, Grey-headed Batis, Grey-backed Fiscal, Sennar Penduline Tit, Red-pate Cisticola, Cricket Warbler, Buff-bellied Warbler, Chestnut-bellied Starling, Black Scrub Robin, Sudan Golden Sparrow, White-billed Buffalo Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver and Sahel Paradise Whydah
Yankari Game Reserve for Standard-winged Nightjar, Violet Turaco, Savile’s Bustard, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Beaudouin’s Snake-Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, Black Scimitarbill, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue-bellied Roller, Red-throated Bee-eater, Bearded Barbet, Fine-spotted Woodpecker, Fox Kestrel, Senegal Parrot, Yellow Penduline Tit, Dorst’s Cisticola, Rufous Cisticola, White-crowned Robin-Chat, Bronze-tailed Starling, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Sahel Bush Sparrow, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah and Brown-rumped Bunting

TIMING (Oct, Mar–Apr)
The north is probably best after the rains (Oct–Dec) and the south in the dry season (Feb–Apr)
Avoid the main rains (May–Sep)

Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

Field guides
Birds of Western Africa by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2014)
Common Birds of IITA by Taiye Adeyanju, Ulf Ottosson & Shiiwua Manu (2012)

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

Nigerian Bird Atlas Project (NiBAP), a member of the African Bird Atlas Project

Further reading
Discovering Birds: an Introduction to the Birds of Nigeria by Anne Nason (1992)
The Birds of Nigeria: an Annotated Checklist by J H Elgood, J B Heignham, A M Moore, A M Nason, R E Sharland & N J Skinner (1994)
Comments on the Ornithology of Nigeria, including Amendments to the National List by Robert J Dowsett (2015)
Nigeria by Augustine U Ezealor in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Critical Sites for Biodiversity Conservation in Nigeria edited by Augustine U Ezealor (2002)
Kagoro Forest Conservation Study: Forest Outliers in Jema’s Division, Kaduna State, Nigeria by Roger Wilkinson & Roger Beecroft (1988)
A New Ornithological Institute in Nigeria by Juliet Vickery & Peter Jones (2002)
Articles in Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society), The Nigerian Field, Bull. ABC, etc.

Finima Nature Park

NiBAP Articles

Facebook groups
Nigerian Bird Atlas Project is the official Facebook group for NiBAP


The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is the BirdLife Partner in Nigeria

Ibadan Bird Club and Lekki Bird Club were both started by NCF and are just two of many more active bird clubs across Nigeria which are initiatives of NiBAP

The A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI), an autonomous field station of the University of Jos, is the foremost ornithological research and conservation training centre in West Africa

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Nigeria include –
Nigerian Field Society (NFS)
Nigerian Environmental Study Action Team (NEST)
Better Earth Foundation
Biodiversity Preservation Center
Mbe Mountain Conservation Initiative (MMCI)
Savanna Conservation Nigeria (SCN), formerly Yankari Initiative
Centre for Environmental Resources and Sustainable Ecosystems (CERASE)
Niger Delta Wetlands Centre (NDWC)
Centre for Education, Research & Conservation of Primates and Nature (CERCOPAN)
Eden Creation Care Initiative (A Rocha International)
Africa Nature Investors (ANI) Foundation (Nigeria): Gashaka-Gumti
WCS Nigeria

The IITA Forest Center at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture headquarters in Ibadan also has a focus on birds

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