‘Birds know no borders’ – this oft-cited observation is especially pertinent in Europe, writes Dr. Ian Burfield and Anna Staneva in their introduction to BirdLife International’s latest publication ‘European Birds of Conservation Concern’. On a continent comprised of some 50, mostly small, countries and territories, that is home to around 540 wild bird species, it can be exceptionally challenging to identify which countries should take on most responsibility for conserving individual species.
The world's largest tropical lake spans three countries and nourishes both the rich wildlife and the impoverished communities that live around it. But its resources have also attracted less desirable attention - such as traffickers targeting iconic birds such as the Shoebill.
John Kinghorn is part of an association of young African based birders who aim to promote and grow the lifestyle/hobby/passion they love most in the African continent. Youth Africa Birding seeks to bring about a sense of youthfulness into the birding world, along with a new, passionate and enthusiastic energy into what some birders saw as somewhat of a khaki clad, sit-on-the-front-porch-with-a-cup-of-tea "old boys/girls" club.
The date for the next Annual General Meeting of the African Bird Club has been confirmed as Saturday 21st April 2018. It will again be in the excellent Flett Events Theatre at the British Natural History Museum. The full programme will be finalised at the next two Councll meetings in 2017 and announced as soon as we have it!
Beautiful. Inspiring. Under threat. Penguins are among the world’s most charming and recognisable birds, but from south pole to equator, a web of threats is seeing them slide ever-closer towards extinction. Next week BirdLife International will be sharing penguin stories from around the world to celebrate the launch of our upcoming global penguin campaign. Read the full story in their newsletter here.
BirdLife's Zimbabwean Partner has halted one of Harare's neighbouring wetlands from becoming a building site - a big win both for the capital's nature, and its people. Harare is a city on the rise. But as ever, growth comes at a cost. As Zimbabwe’s sprawling capital expands outwards, the wetlands that surround it are slowly but surely being lost to development, or tarnished with pollution. It’s a classic conflict - the need to build houses, versus the need to protect nature from unsustainable development.
The African Penguin population, once numbering in the millions, has been reduced to just 1% of its size in the 1900s. Historical egg collecting between 1900 and 1930 resulted in the removal of a staggering 13 million eggs from southern African islands. At the same time, the “white gold rush” for guano, harvested for fertiliser resulted in widespread habitat alteration. See the full story here.
John Kinghorn, newly arrived as a Trustee of the ABC Council & representing the voice of young birders everywhere, put a team together to compete in the Champions of the Flyway 2017 competition. His team,The Birding Ecotours Youth Africa Birders, raised the most money from sponsors. Well done guys, magnificent effort. See their story here.
BirdLife International is promoting a public consultation on a new draft Multi-Species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian Vultures, launched by the Coordinating Unit of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Raptors MOU, in collaboration with BirdLife International, Vulture Conservation Foundation and the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group. (The CMS Raptors MoU is the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia—an international, legally non-binding agreement to protect migratory birds of prey.).
The Royal Tern, Thalasseus maximus, previously thought to have two subspecies – ‘maximus’ (found in the Americas) and the ‘albididorsalis’ (found in parts of West Africa).
But wildlife conservation teams in The Gambia long-suspected that the West African birds were distinct, and now scientists at the University of Aberdeen have used DNA analysis to show they are not subspecies of the same bird but two distinct species.