São Tomé & Príncipe

Central Africa

São Tomé and Príncipe are the two main islands of an archipelago in the Gulf of Guinea, also consisting of several associated islets, with a total land area of 1,001 km²



Strongly Afrotropical avifauna, but with a high level of endemism on a par with the Galápagos Islands
Approximately 100 recorded species on São Tomé (ST), 80 on Príncipe (P), including vagrants

Sao Tome Paradise Flycatcher (Paul van Giersbergen)
Sao Tome Grosbeak (Tasso Leventis)
Sao Tome Ibis (Pete Morris)
Sao Tome Scops Owl (Tasso Leventis)
Sao Tome Green Pigeon (Paul van Giersbergen )
Sao Tome Oriole (Paul van Giersbergen )

Endemics (E)
Sao Tome Ibis | Dwarf Olive Ibis (ST) (CR)
Sao Tome Olive Pigeon | Maroon Pigeon (ST) (EN)
Sao Tome Green Pigeon (ST) (EN)
Sao Tome Scops Owl (ST) (VU)
Sao Tome Spinetail (ST, P) (LC)
Newton’s Fiscal | Sao Tome Fiscal (ST) (CR)
Sao Tome Oriole (ST) (VU)
Sao Tome Paradise Flycatcher (ST) (LC)
Sao Tome Prinia (ST) (LC)
Dohrn’s Warbler | Dohrn’s Thrush-Babbler (P) (LC)
Principe Speirops (P) (LC)
Black-capped Speirops (ST) (LC)
Principe White-eye (P) (EN)
Sao Tome White-eye (ST) (NT)
Principe Starling (P) (LC)
Sao Tome Thrush (ST) (LC)
Principe Thrush (P) (CR)
Principe Sunbird (P) (LC)
Newton’s Sunbird (ST) (LC)
Giant Sunbird (ST) (VU)
Principe Weaver (P) (LC)
Giant Weaver (ST) (NT)
Sao Tome Weaver (ST) (LC)
Sao Tome Short-tail (ST) (VU)
Principe Seedeater (ST, P) (LC)
Sao Tome Grosbeak (ST) (CR)

Sao Tome Short-tail (Tasso Leventis)
Giant Sunbird (Paul van Giersbergen)
Newton’s Sunbird (Pete Morris)
Principe Sunbird (Paul van Giersbergen)

Near-endemics (NE)
Island Bronze-naped Pigeon (ST, P)

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Sao Tome Lemon Dove (ST E)
Principe Scops Owl (P E)
Sao Tome Kingfisher (ST E)
Principe Kingfisher (P E)
Principe Drongo (P E)
Sao Tome Chestnut-winged Starling (ST E)
Principe Seedeater (P E)
Sao Tome Seedeater (ST E)

Principe Thrush (Paul van Giersbergen)
Sao Tome Thrush (Lionel Sineux)
Dohrn’s Warbler (Pete Morris)
Giant Weaver (Pete Morris)
Sao Tome Olive Pigeon (Pete Morris)
Sao Tome Prinia (Pete Morris)

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Harlequin Quail (ST ESS histrionica)
Brown Noddy
Black Noddy
Sooty Tern
White-tailed Tropicbird
Band-rumped Storm Petrel
Brown Booby
Olive Ibis (P ESS rothschildi)
Western Reef Egret
Lemon Dove (P ESS principalis)
African Green Pigeon (P ESS virescens)
Western Barn Owl (ST ESS thomensis)
Blue-breasted Kingfisher (P ESS dryas)
Grey Parrot
Olive Sunbird (P obscura)
Southern Masked Weaver (ST ESS peixotoi)
Common Waxbill (ST ESS sousae)

Sao Tome White-eye (Pete Morris)
Principe Spierops (Pete Morris)
Sao Tome Spierops (Pete Morris)

Forest, moist savanna

Príncipe Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
São Tomé EBA
6 Important Bird Areas

Lagoa Amélia and Monte Carmo on São Tomé for forest species
The surrounds of Santo António town and remote southern forests on Príncipe
Ilhas Tinhosas for breeding seabirds

TIMING (Dec, Jun–Jul)
Best when it is driest (Jun–Aug, Dec–Jan)
Avoid the main rains (Feb–May, Sep–Nov)

Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

Field guides
Birds of Western Africa by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2014)
As Aves de São Tomé e Príncipe: um Guia Fotográfico/The Birds of São Tomé e Príncipe: a Photoguide by A P Leventis & Fábio Olmos (2009)
Guide des Oiseaux de São Tomé et Príncipe by Patrice Christy & William V Clarke (1998)

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

Site guides
A Birder’s Guide to the Gulf of Guinea Islands of São Tomé and Príncipe by Dave Sargeant (1992)

Further reading
A Revised Bird Checklist for the Oceanic Islands of the Gulf of Guinea (Príncipe, São Tomé and Annobón) by Ricardo F de Lima & Martim Melo (2021)
The Birds of São Tomé & Príncipe with Annobón: an Annotated Checklist by Peter Jones & Alan Tye (2006)
São Tomé and Príncipe by Patrice Christy in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
The Collection of Birds from São Tomé and Príncipe at the Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical of the University of Lisbon (Portugal) by Miguel Monteiro, Luís Reino, Martim Melo, Pedro Beja, Cristiane Bastos-Silveira, Manuela Ramos, Diana Rodrigues, Isabel Queirós Neves, Susana Consciência & Rui Figueira (2016)
Les Oiseaux d’Afrique Centrale: Liste Faunistique by Patrice Christy & Jean Pierre Vande weghe (1999)
Les Oiseaux des Îles du Golfe de Guinée (São Tomé, Príncipe et Annobon)/As Aves das Ilhas do Golfo da Guiné (São Tomé, Príncipe e Ano Bom) by René de Naurois (1994)
A Study of the Birds, Small Mammals, Turtles and Medicinal Plants of São Tomé with Notes on Príncipe edited by P W Atkinson, J S Dutton, N B Peet & V A S Sequire (1994)
A Survey of the Avifauna of São Tomé and Príncipe by Peter J Jones & Alan Tye (1988)
São Tomé et Príncipe: Balade sur Deux Jeunes Iles du Plus Vieux Continent by Lucienne Wilmé (2000)
Articles in Malimbus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Gulf of Guinea Conservation Group
São Tomé and Príncipe Tours – Ashanti African Tours


There is currently no BirdLife Partner in São Tomé & Príncipe

Bird or conservation organisations active in São Tomé & Príncipe include –
Fundação Príncipe
Associação dos Biólogos Santomenses (ABS)
Associação Monte Pico
ONG MARAPA – Mar, Ambiente e Pesca Artesanal
Movimento de Defesa das Florestas de São Tomé e Príncipe
Associação de Guias Turísticos do Príncipe
Oikos – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento
Gulf of Guinea Biodiversity Center (GGBC)/Centro de Biodiversidade do Golfo da Guiné (CBGG)
Fauna & Flora International (FFI)

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