Working for birds in Africa

Important Bird Areas

Mon, 14/01/2013 - 13:31 -- abc_admin

The Comoro archipelago is classed as a single Endemic Bird Area (EBA) with 19 restricted-range species. 9 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified in total of which 4 are in UDC, covering some 35,000 ha, and 5 are on Mayotte, covering some 7,000 ha or 19% of the land area. Most IBAs are unprotected by law. The IBAs and the islands on which they are situated are as follows.

Mount Karthala Grande Comore
La Grille Grande Comore
Mohéli highlands Mohéli
Anjouan highlands Anjouan
Hachiroungou Mayotte
Mlima Combani and Mlima Mtsapéré Mayotte
Mlima Bénara Mayotte
Baie de Bouéni Mayotte
Mlima Choungui and Sazilé Mayotte

Mount Karthala is a large dome-shaped active volcano, characterised by a steep slope and with a huge caldera at the summit. It is 2,361 metres high and its landscapes are magnificent at the higher altitudes. The mountainous zone above 1,800 metres is still only relatively little influenced by man. Here, the landscape of tree-like heathers which can reach 6 to 8 metres in height, is more or less homogenous. The height of the vegetation lessens towards the summit and the caldera. Volcanic activities make life difficult for all kinds of animal life in the crater itself. Between 1,200 and 1,800 metres, one enters the zone of natural high-altitude forest. Other habitats are present in this range, in particular lava flows with caves. High altitude meadows exist in the areas where the atmosphere is more or less dry and cold. Up there, roaming cattle wander off the path and cause damage to the forest. The forest of Mount Karthala is dense and humid on the western and southern slopes and dry on the eastern side. Dense medium-altitude forest is found between 600 and 1,200 metres. This forest zone has been damaged in places or replaced by a secondary forest which nevertheless allows the existence of certain species of forest animals.

This site contains the complete community of forest birds on Grande Comore supporting the world population of Grand Comoro Scops Owl Otus pauliani, Grand Comoro Flycatcher Humblotia flavirostris and Mount Karthala White-eye Zosterops mouroniensis as well as most of the populations of Grand Comoro Brush Warbler Nesillas brevicaudata and Grand Comoro Drongo Dicrurus fuscipennis. Six other restricted-range species occur.

La Grille is the extinct volcano massif which dominates the northern part of Grand Comore and the site extends from an altitude of 800 m to the summit. The site includes nearly all the area used by the restricted-range bird species on the mountain. The birds are a subset of those on Mount Karthala and include Comoro Olive Pigeon Columba pollenii, Comoro Blue Pigeon Alectroenas sganzini, Comoro Bulbul Hypsipetes parvirostris, Comoro Thrush Turdus bewsheri, Grand Comoro Brush Warbler Nesillas brevicaudata, Humblot's Sunbird Cinnyris humbloti and Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima. Note that 4 of 5 Grand Comore endemics are not found at this site.

Mohéli highlands site comprises the central ridge and the upper slopes of the island of Mohéli occupying the interior of the western two-thirds of the island above 500 m. The site supports a unique forest bird community including the recently described Mohéli Scops Owl Otus moheliensis and Mohéli Brush-Warbler Nesillas mariae. In addition, 12 Mohéli endemic and 7 Comoro endemic subspecies are present along with the non-endemic Madagascar Marsh Harrier Circus maillardi. The local race of Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri temptator also breeds in forest at this site.

Anjouan highlands comprises the central highlands of the island. The endemic Anjouan Scops Owl Otus capnodes is frequent in both intact and underplanted forest. Comoro Olive Pigeon Columba pollenii is found although uncommon and 7 Anjouan and 8 Comoro subspecies are found. These include the rare and distinctive Cuckoo Roller Leptosomus discolor intermedius.

Hachiroungou comprises the massif in the north-west of Mayotte. The entire community of 14 species of forest birds found on the island are at this site. Populations are small in line with the forest fragments remaining although species are common. Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii is found only in forest and forest edge.

Mlima Combani and Mlima Mtsapéré is made up of the mountain massif in the north-centre of the island. All 14 forest species are found and because of its size, it may be the most important area for Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii.

Mlima Bénara is dominated by the peak at 660 m, the highest on Mayotte. All 14 forest dwelling birds on Mayotte are found here.

Baie de Bouéni comprises the coastal fringe of the large bay in south-west Mayotte. Most of the forest birds of Mayotte occur but the small population of Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima is of special importance. This is also a good site for shorebirds.

Mlima Choungui and Sazilé includes peaks which dominate the southern peninsula and the site contains the main block of forest of the peninsula. Most of the forest birds occur at this site although Mayotte Drongo Dicrurus waldenii is absent. There is also an important population of Red-headed Fody Foudia eminentissima.

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

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