Birding Africa

My Last Days in Tanzania

Thumbnail image for My Last Days in Tanzania by Rich Hoyer 31 January 2012

Rich Hoyer shares a few photos from the Udzungwa Mountains of east-central Tanzania.

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Rwanda Sunbird Confusion

Probable Stuhlman's Sunbird. Rich Hoyer by Rich Hoyer 26 January 2012

A gallery of sunbird photos from Rwanda illustrate an identification problem.

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Zanzibar Shorebird Quiz

Thumbnail image for Zanzibar Shorebird Quiz by Rich Hoyer 10 January 2012

Wow, we timed the tide  just right at the beach below our backpackers hostel south of Paje on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania last week. The photo above seems to contain five species, a relatively easy quiz given the location and time. To help out, I’ve excised the ones I found and uploaded them below: [...]

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Afromontane – A New World (and Word)

Thumbnail image for Afromontane – A New World (and Word) by Rich Hoyer 3 January 2012

I guess mountains are so rare in Africa, that an adjective has been coined to describe the forests found there. In the Neotropics, we say something more general, such as “tropical montane,” or  “cloud forest,” I guess assuming that anywhere you have mountains in the tropics you get a resulting forest type. It turns out [...]

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Gorillas in the Sunshine

Thumbnail image for Gorillas in the Sunshine by Rich Hoyer 27 December 2011

Rich Hoyer reports on seeing Mountain Gorillas in NW Rwanda

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Great garden birding

Thumbnail image for Great garden birding by DaleForbes 16 October 2011

As a birder we pretty much always have our eyes peeled for birds. It is in us. And we cannot escape it. In the parking lot of the local grocery store, from my office window, and even while watching TV (heard a Willow Warbler in CSI Miami a few days ago). And besides when we [...]

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Journal Club: The decline and fall of showy bustards

Thumbnail image for Journal Club: The decline and fall of showy bustards by Grrlscientist 10 August 2011

SUMMARY: intense early reproductive effort takes a toll on long-term survival of individual male houbara bustards by leading to early declines in fertility and early ageing Why do we get old and die? Why hasn’t natural selection “weeded out” those genes responsible for age-related declines? Several hypotheses have been proposed, with the most important pointing [...]

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The 50 best birds in Africa (part 1)

Thumbnail image for The 50 best birds in Africa (part 1) by DaleForbes 10 July 2011

Africa has tons of great birds to offer, from the reclusive Grey-necked Rockfowl, to the super-DIY Weavers, and the powerful and enigmatic Martial Eagle. But what qualifies a bird to be on a “best birds” list. In Susan Myer’s “ 50 best birds of Asia“, she focused on the birds that moved her in some [...]

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South Africa’s 8 Vultures

Thumbnail image for South Africa’s 8 Vultures by DaleForbes 5 June 2011

South Africa has 8 regularly occurring and breeding vulture species, from the southern African endemic Cape Griffon Vulture (Gyps coprotheres), to the wide-spread and wide-ranging African White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus). One of my favorite – and always a thrill to see – is the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetes barbatus). The Bearded Vulture evidently gets its strong, [...]

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Pilansberg National Park, South Africa

Thumbnail image for Pilansberg National Park, South Africa by DaleForbes 29 May 2011

Pilansberg Game Reserve (and National Park) lies just 1.5-2hrs drive west of Johannesburg/Pretoria and has received some measure of fame through the bordering Sun City and Lost City (luxury casino, golf and resort complexes). But it is also a rather nice big-game area within easy reach of Gauteng (the province in which Johannesburg is situated). [...]

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Reed Cormorant in Spain

Thumbnail image for Reed Cormorant in Spain by DaleForbes 22 May 2011

Spain’s only record of the Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus) is from a single cormorant collected in Catalunya in 1855, with no known records since. The large numbers of Pygmy Cormorants in Italy (particularly in the Po Delta in Northern Italy), their recent “overflow” trend to establish new satellite colonies (e.g. Neusiedlersee in Eastern Austria), Europe-wide [...]

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Digiscoping the African Wattled Plover (Vanellus senegallus)

Thumbnail image for Digiscoping the African Wattled Plover (Vanellus senegallus) by DaleForbes 8 May 2011

The African Wattled Plover (Lapwing)is found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and while it can be locally fairly common, it is typically not considered a common species. It is the largest lapwing in southern Africa and because of its crazy facial make-up always makes for a wonderful find. Whilst in the Hartbeespoort Dam area (just [...]

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A Drakensberg Good-morning

Thumbnail image for A Drakensberg Good-morning by DaleForbes 1 May 2011

The Drakensberg is a mountain range stretching some 1000km along the eastern side of South Africa, with its highest peaks being 3,482 metres (11,424 ft) above sea level. On our way up from the KwaZulu-Natal (eastern) coast up to the North-west Province, we decided to stop for a night at the Sterkfontein Dam / Oliviershoek Pass (1730m [...]

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Mannik(in) South African (birding)

Thumbnail image for Mannik(in) South African (birding) by DaleForbes 24 April 2011

We’ve been in south africa a week now and it has been rather manick – much to do and not much time. I would have loved to have spent more time along the coast fort he KZN coast and her forests lie close to my heart. But alas we have now returned to the beautiful [...]

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South African Shrikes

Thumbnail image for South African Shrikes by DaleForbes 10 April 2011

South Africa has 21 regularly occurring shrike species; including 3 skulking Tchagras, 6 colourful Bush-shrikes and 2 vociferous hoodlum Helmet-shrikes. The boldest of them all have got to be the Bush-Shrikes; characterized by bright yellow and green plumage. Typically singly or in pairs, their skulking manner can make Bush-shrikes often surprisingly hard to find; and [...]

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We’re going to South Africa!

Thumbnail image for We’re going to South Africa! by DaleForbes 3 April 2011

My boet (brother) is getting married so we are going down to South Africa for 10 days; and I am really looking forward to being in Africa again. I love Latin America (and the people); same for Europe; and southeast Asia; but nothing is like returning back to the drumbeat of Africa. To corrupt an [...]

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hornbills and other silly birds

Thumbnail image for hornbills and other silly birds by DaleForbes 9 January 2011

I heard a story once. It is probably a load of bull, but the story went that when the first naturalists brought toucans back from the new world, the academy (Sesselfurzer for want of a suitable English word) didn’t believe them and thought they were birds stitched together to command higher prices. Its probably an [...]

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Keen birders’ core literature: the checklists

Thumbnail image for Keen birders’ core literature: the checklists by Gyorgy Szimuly 31 December 2010

One of the potential split could be the American race of Whimbrel. © Gyorgy Szimuly At the end of each year everyone makes review of the birding highlights of the year behind. I am not any different. I love to watch birds as most of you do. I somehow can’t stand not to make a [...]

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African Christmas Colours

Thumbnail image for African Christmas Colours by DaleForbes 26 December 2010

Africa’s is not all zebras and lions, and steamy hot Christmases, but it also has some stunning colours to show off. Richard’s stunning Christmas Quetzal post got my (and probably your) feet itching to go explore far-away jungles. But Africa also has its fair share of Christmassy colours. The birds that spring to mind first [...]

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