Where to Watch Birds in Africa

Where to Watch Birds in Africa

Nigel Wheatley
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 432
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7ztm3d
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    Where to Watch Birds in Africa
    Book Description:

    Where to Watch Birds in Africais a field guide designed to help birders and general wildlife enthusiasts organize the most enriching trips possible throughout this great continent. From Morocco to Madagascar, this book presents over 200 bird-watching sites in detail and describes the species endemic to Africa. The traveler will find practical information on climate, transportation, accommodations, health, and safety as well as advice on a number of strategic questions: Where can we see birds that epitomize the continent? Which country supports the best cross-section of species and the most endemics? How many sites must be visited to see most of these birds? How much time do these trips take and when is the best time to go? Featuring over one hundred maps and fifty-one line drawings, this book is not only a guide but also a handy reference.

    Following a chapter on how to use the book, there is an introduction to the continent and its birds. The countries, archipelagos, and islands are then dealt with alphabetically. General introductions to each country are followed by site details, which include bird lists; a list of other wildlife present, if applicable; and the latest information on where to look for the best birds.

    Originally published in 1995.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6428-7
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-10)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. 11-11)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 12-18)

    My parents delighted me when, for Christmas 1975, they gave meThe Dictionary of Birds in Colour, illustrated with numerous superb photographs. There was one photograph, which is credited to A Weaving, that particularly stood out. It was of a sunlit Lilac-breasted Roller perched atop a dead snag. A birder for just nine months, I had barely stepped outside Gloucestershire in search of birds nor imagined there could have been any bird so exotic. That Lilac-breasted Roller conjured up all sorts of fantastic birding images in my mind. For many years I dreamt of seeing one of those fabulous birds....

  5. INTRODUCTION TO BIRDING IN AFRICA
    (pp. 19-28)

    Over 2,300 species have been recorded in Africa, 770 fewer than South America, but some 400 more than the Orient.

    Based onBirds of the World: A Check Listby James Clements, a total of 2,313 species have been recorded in Africa. Nearly 500 of these species also occur outside the continent, mainly in Eurasia (around 185 breed in the Palearctic and winter in Africa), leaving 1,767 species which are totally endemic to Africa and its satellite islands, including Madagascar. Over 1,500 species (1,528) are confined to the African mainland. Clements lists some 9,700 species for the world; Africa supports...

  6. CONSERVATION
    (pp. 29-30)
  7. GENERAL TIPS
    (pp. 31-32)
  8. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 33-33)
  9. MAPS
    (pp. 34-34)
  10. ALGERIA
    (pp. 35-38)

    In early 1995 the activities of Islamic fundamentalists persuaded most travellers and many expatriate workers to leave Algeria. If political stability is restored birders may find it surprisingly easy to see this country’s major avian attraction, the endemic Algerian Nuthatch*.

    At 2,381,741 sq km Algeria is Africa’s second largest country (after Sudan). It is 18 times larger than England and 3.5 times the size of Texas.

    Getting around is not difficult. Gettinginis the problem. Once customs have been negotiated, a basic knowledge of French is almost essential since very few people speak English. There are extensive, but often...

  11. ANGOLA
    (pp. 39-42)

    Angola boasts a fine selection of birds, including plenty of endemics and near-endemics. However, the lengthy civil war devastated the country and it is depressing to think what toll has probably been taken of the habitats and birds in the process. Thirteen threatened and 12 near-threatened species occur in Angola. Gaining entry to this huge country (at 1,246,700 sq km, nearly ten times the size of England and twice the size of Texas) is very difficult and travel inside once there is virtually impossible, although political problems seemed to be at a low ebb in early 1995. This is unfortunate...

  12. BENIN
    (pp. 43-45)

    Little is known about this small country, which lies between the Upper Guinea forest to the west and the Lower Guinea forest to the east in the savanna of what is known as the Dahomey Gap. There are few, if any, species here which cannot be seen more easily elsewhere.

    At 112,622 sq km, Benin is nearly the same size as England, and one sixth the size of Texas.

    Up to the mid 1990s, tourism was not encouraged, but Benin is likely to become more accessible in the future. Apart from along the coast and on the main north-south Malanville–Cotonou...

  13. BOTSWANA
    (pp. 46-51)

    This sparsely populated, wild country is famous for the Okavango, a vast inland delta surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. This waterbird paradise supports such gems as Slaty Egret*, but it is a very expensive place to visit. Fortunately for budget birders, all of the Okavango area specialities can be seen elsewhere, especially in neighbouring Namibia.

    At 581,730 sq km, Botswana is 4.5 times larger than England, and slightly smaller than Texas.

    Roads are rare in Botswana. The only way into the Okavango is via expensive charter flights from Maun, itself accessible by air from the capital, Gaborone, as well as...

  14. BURKINA FASO
    (pp. 52-55)

    Burkina Faso is a very poor, overpopulated and overgrazed country. However, the people are extremely friendly and the birds include a number of the arid savanna specialities such as Sudan Golden-Sparrow.

    At 274,200 sq km, Burkina Faso is twice the size of England, and less than half the size of Texas.

    There are few good roads and these are often dotted with endless but friendly military checkpoints. The ubiquitous bush taxis reach most places.

    Accommodation is sparse but quite cheap. However, it is not as cheap as camping, which is allowed anywhere away from towns. The people live on rice,...

  15. BURUNDI
    (pp. 56-60)

    Periodical political problems withstanding, Burundi is a fine country for birding, where a good selection of Central African specialities, including 18 of the 43 Albertine Rift endemics and papyrus-dwellers such as Papyrus Gonolek*, can be seen in a small area.

    At 27,834 sq km, Burundi is a tiny country which is just one fifth the size of England and 4% the size of Texas.

    The roads are good by African standards and plenty of modern buses run along them. There are no regular internal flights.

    Outside the capital, Bujumbura, there are missions, auberges and even lodges. The food is good...

  16. CAMEROON
    (pp. 61-76)

    Cameroon is the most accessible country in West-Central Africa and a top birding destination. Most of the speciality species, including the seven endemics, are concentrated in the forests of the south where there are a number of sites accessible by road and a fairly good selection of accommodation.

    At 475,442 sq km, Cameroon is nearly four times the size of England, and one third the size of Texas.

    Although car-hire (4WD recommended) is very expensive, the cheap and efficient bush taxis, which may take the form of cars, land-rovers or buses, cover much of the country. There are also express...

  17. CANARY ISLANDS, MADEIRA ISLANDS AND THE AZORES
    (pp. 77-83)

    The popular tourist destinations of the Canary and Madeira Islands sup port a handful of endemic landbirds and some rare seabirds, most of which can be seen with some ease thanks to modern infrastructure. The Azores have no endemics, but they support important numbers of breeding seabirds and attract North American vagrants.

    These three archipelagos comprise small islands, of which Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands is the longest (110 km).

    Good roads, tracks and paths make travelling around most of the main islands very easy. Car-hire is available on the main Canary Islands and Madeira.

    Most islands, especially the main...

  18. CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
    (pp. 84-85)

    The remote Cape Verde Islands, 500 km west of Senegal, support four endemics and some important seabird colonies. Most of the archipelago is accessible via an excellent internal air network and some boat services, but there are few roads on the islands themselves. A basic grasp of Portuguese helps, particularly in arranging boats with the friendly islanders. The two main islands, Sāo Tiago and Sāo Nicolau, have good accommodation. Immunisation against hepatitis, polio, typhoid and yellow fever is recommended. Birders travelling beyond Sāo Tiago would be wise to take precautions against malaria too. It is hot and dry all year...

  19. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
    (pp. 86-92)

    If the Central African Republic had something resembling an infrastructure, it would undoubtedly be a very popular birding destination. Unfortunately, this is a very poor country where ecotourism is not encouraged, and its great selection of little known birds remains inaccessible to all but the most adventurous.

    At 622,984 sq km, the Central African Republic is nearly five times larger than England, and only slightly smaller than Texas.

    The roads in the extreme west, near the capital Bangui, are quite good, but for the most part they are much, much worse. Buses are cheap and there are some internal flights,...

  20. CHAD
    (pp. 93-95)

    Chad was explored extensively by ornithologists from the 1950s to the 1970s, but since the Libyans invaded the north in 1980, very few birders have visited this remote country. The poor infrastructure makes birding extremely difficult. However, there are few species occurring in Chad which can not be seen in more accessible parts of the continent.

    Chad is a big country, covering 1,284,000 sq km. It is ten times larger than England, and nearly twice the size of Texas.

    There are few paved roads and most roads and tracks are usually impassable during the normal wet season (Jun-Oct). There is...

  21. COMOROS AND MAYOTTE
    (pp. 96-98)

    This lovely archipelago, lying between Mozambique and Madagascar, supports an impressive 16 endemics, most of which are not too difficult to see so long as the four main islands are visited.

    Contact (in French) the tourist agency, Comores Tours, at BP 974, Moroni, Grande Comoro, before visiting and, once there, basic French greatly assists in getting around. Small boats connect the four main islands, all of which boast endemic species and good accommodation. Immunisation against hepatitis, polio and typhoid is recommended, as are precautions against malaria. The best time to visit is the dry season which lcists from May to...

  22. CONGO
    (pp. 98-102)

    Although Congo’s avifauna is similar to that of its more accessible neighbours, Cameroon and Gabon, some scarce species, such as Whitecrested Bittern and Vermiculated Fishing-Owl, seem to be easier to see here. Based in good accommodation at Pointe Noire on the west coast, it is possible to drive into the interior forest (with a 4WD) and look for such birds.

    At 342,000 sq km, Congo is 2.6 times the size of England, and half the size of Texas.

    There are no good roads beyond the capital, Brazzaville, only tracks, and most of these are impassable during the wet season (Oct-May)....

  23. CÔTE D’IVOIRE
    (pp. 103-114)

    Summary The Côte D’Ivoire is a popular holiday destination for the French, who also have a strong presence within the country. Consequently it is one of Africa’s most developed countries. Although most of the spectacular species present are widespread, and can be seen elsewhere in West Africa, the Côte D’Ivoire is the most accessible country in which to look for the Upper Guinea endemics: 14 of the 16 species confined to the region between Guinea-Bissau and Ghana have been recorded here.

    At 322,463 sq km, the Côte D’Ivoire is 2.5 times larger than England, and half the size of Texas....

  24. DJIBOUTI
    (pp. 115-118)

    Few birders have ventured to Djibouti, and those who do in the future will need an expensive 4WD to see the endemic francolin, the selection of northeast African specialities, and the impressive autumn raptor pas sage. That is, if the small civil war does not prevent entry to or exit from the capital.

    At 22,000 sq km this tiny country is one sixth the size of England, and only a fraction the size of Texas.

    An extremely expensive 4WD is essential to get around most of Djibouti.

    Accommodation is expensive and sparse away from the capital.

    Immunisation against hepatitis, polio,...

  25. EQUATORIAL GUINEA
    (pp. 119-120)

    Equatorial Guinea includes the island of Fernando Po (also known as Bioko), the island of Annobon (also known as Pagalu) and a small part of the African mainland, known as Mbini or Rio Muni. None are easy to get to. Fernando Po and Annobon both support single endemic species.

    The Gulf of Guinea island known as Fernando Po (2000 sq km) is rugged and volcanic. It is dominated by Mount Malabo, which rises out of the sea to 3008 m (9867 ft). There are some good roads on this island, where forest remains on the slopes of Mount Malabo and...

  26. EGYPT
    (pp. 120-128)

    Egypt is a popular destination for birders interested in adding a few species, which are more African than European, to their Western Palearctic lists. However, it is also a good country in which to see many of the Red Sea specialities. Together with the amazing archaeology, a birding trip to Egypt can be a rewarding experience, but be prepared for a certain amount of hassle.

    At 1,001,449 sq km, Egypt is nearly eight times larger than England, and 1.5 times the size of Texas.

    The bus, mini-bus, taxi and train networks are cheap and relatively efficient, although timetables are not...

  27. ETHIOPIA (AND ERITREA)
    (pp. 129-139)

    Ethiopia is not the famine-stricken and war-torn country most people imagine. On the contrary, it is, on the whole, stable and friendly, with a good infrastructure. Although it holds fewer species than Kenya, there are 30 endemics, 20 of which are fairly easy to see, fewer tourists and, owing to the absence of dangerous animals, it is possible to bird on foot in many places.

    At 1,023,500 sq km, Ethiopia is nearly ten times larger than England, and nearly twice the size of Texas.

    Many of the roads are in poor condition and getting around without a 4WD can be...

  28. GABON
    (pp. 139-153)

    Gabon would undoubtedly be a major world birding destination if getting there and getting around was less expensive, and the infrastructure was more modern away from the main towns. Ecotourism is almost unheard of in this country where stunning birds abound and mammals such as chimpanzee and gorilla are still quite widespread.

    At 267,667 sq km Gabon is almost exactly twice the size of England and less than one third the size of Texas.

    There are few good roads in Gabon and these are mainly restricted to the west of the country. Car-hire and public transport, including the internal air...

  29. GAMBIA
    (pp. 153-164)

    By mid 1995 Gambia appeared to be politically stable, after the bloodless coup of 1994, and the country looks set to become a very popular destination once again. Birders can expect a select band of spectacular species which includes bee-eaters, rollers and the fabulous Egyptian Plover, for the price of a package holiday.

    At just 10,689 sq km, Gambia is barely one tenth the size of England, a fraction of the size of Texas, and easily the smallest mainland African country. Although merely a sliver of land, this country is 400 km long and it takes seven hours to reach...

  30. GHANA
    (pp. 164-166)

    With tourism now being encouraged, Ghana deserves to be a popular birding destination. However, all of the Upper Guinea endemics present occur in neighbouring Côte D’Ivoire, whilst most of the more eastern species can be seen in Cameroon and Gabon.

    At 238,537 sq km, Ghana is nearly twice the size of England, and a third the size of Texas. The infrastructure is well developed and good value by West African standards. The bus network is particularly sound. Immunisation against hepatitis, polio, typhoid and yellow fever is recommended, as are all precautions against malaria. November to March is the driest time...

  31. GUINEA BISSAU
    (pp. 167-168)

    Only the important coastal wetlands of Guinea Bissau have been thoroughly explored by ornithologists in recent years, so very little is known about the landbirds, a situation not helped by the difficulties involved in getting around this very poor country.

    Guinea Bissau is a tiny country (36,125 sq km), just a quarter of the size of England, and one twentieth the size of Texas. Getting around is very difficult and depends greatly on the state of the tides since ferries are virtually unavoidable. Accommodation is, at best, thin on the ground outside the capital Bissau and, where present, it is...

  32. GUINEA CONAKRY
    (pp. 169-172)

    Bumbling bureaucracy and a poor infrastructure have long deterred birders from visiting this country, but any improvements may encourage Upper Guinea endemic hunters to consider a visit since species such as White-necked Rockfowl* are not that difficult to find, at least in the few forests that remain.

    At 245,857 sq km, Guinea Conakry is nearly twice as large as England, and a third the size of Texas.

    This is a hard country to get around owing to the poor roads. Buses and mini-buses are quite expensive and car-hire isveryexpensive. The internal air network could be improved. Beware of...

  33. KENYA
    (pp. 173-199)

    Kenya is a birder’s paradise. Habitats and birds change quickly here, and the amazing avifauna is ably supported by many mammals and dramatic landscapes. Surprisingly, after many years as one of world’s major birding destinations, there is still no decent field guide (although at least two are in the pipeline). However, this is a minor drawback. Go now and prepare to be overwhelmed.

    At 582,646 sq km, Kenya is 4.5 times larger than England, and slightly smaller than Texas.

    Public buses and matatus (bush taxis) are cheap and fairly wide-ranging. The efficient trains are also cheap and the major rail...

  34. LIBERIA
    (pp. 199-203)

    The vicious civil war, which began in 1990 and was still going strong in mid 1995, has left Liberia out of bounds to most birders, which is unfortunate because 25% of the remaining Upper Guinea forest is in Liberia, along with all but two of the Upper Guinea endemics (14 out of 16).

    At 111,369 sq km, Liberia is nearly as large as England, but one sixth the size of Texas.

    Cheap bush taxis reach most communities, but the roads are terrible, especially during the very wet rainy season (Apr-Nov). Missionary and mine company flights are the best mode of...

  35. LIBYA
    (pp. 203-204)

    Little visited and little known Libya has a similar avifauna to Morocco and Egypt, and fortunately there are no species here which cannot be seen with considerably more ease in one or other of the latter two countries.

    At 1,759,540 sq km, this is a big country, nearly fourteen times larger than England, and over twice the size of Texas. The northern coastal road is well served by buses, but a 4WD is recommended for getting around the rest of the country. Accommodation and food are expensive. Immunisation against hepatitis, polio, typhoid and yellow fever is recommended. Except for the...

  36. MADAGASCAR
    (pp. 205-219)

    Madagascar is an island-continent with a very high degree of endemism. Although there are far less bird species here than in nearby mainland countries, half of the regularly breeding species are endemic. Although seeing most of these unique birds and the equally exciting lemurs can be time consuming or rather expensive, Madagascar is a ‘must’ for most of the keenest birders.

    This is a big island: 1600 km from north to south, and up to 550 km from west to east. At 587,041 sq km it is 4.5 times the size of England, and nearly as large as Texas.

    Most...

  37. MALAWI
    (pp. 220-229)

    With its relatively modern infrastructure, short distances, pleasant lake, fine landscapes and excellent avifauna, including plenty of birds which are hard to see elsewhere, one would expect Malawi to be a more popular birding destination than it is. Combined with a visit to part of adjacent Zambia, a trip to this part of Africa should produce a fine selection of birds and mammals.

    At 118,484 sq km, Malawi is a small country, just 900 km from north to south. It is slightly smaller than England, and one sixth the size of Texas.

    Road conditions in Malawi vary, but are generally...

  38. MALI
    (pp. 229-232)

    As well as the Niger floodplain, a very important wintering ground for migrant Palearctic waterfowl and shorebirds, Mali also supports a fine selection of spectacular African species such as Egyptian Plover, some arid-savanna specialities, and an endemic firefinch. Birders visiting Mali will find a good infrastructure for a West African country, but accommodation and travel is a little expensive.

    This is a big country. At 1,240,000 sq km, Mali is nearly ten times the size of England, and almost twice the size of Texas.

    Apart from the Bamako-Mopti-Gao road, which runs across the south of the country, most of the...

  39. MAURITANIA
    (pp. 233-235)

    Remote Mauritania is more renowned for its important numbers of wintering Palearctic shorebirds than its African avifauna. However, birders who overcome the problems of long distances, poor roads, virtually no accommodation and the desert sun, could see a fine selection of species, including some arid-savanna specialities.

    At 1,030,700 sq km, Mauritania is eight times larger than England, and 1.5 times the size of Texas.

    Local transport in the form of shared cars is expensive, where it exists, and keen birders will need a 4WD and a compass for any serious exploration off the two main roads that cross the country....

  40. MAURITIUS, RÉUNION AND RODRIGUEZ
    (pp. 236-240)

    These three Indian Ocean islands, to the east of Madagascar, are all easily accessible, the best time to visit being October to March. A basic knowledge of French is useful in getting around. Immunisation against hepatitis, polio, typhoid and yellow fever is recommended, as are precautions against malaria, although this disease appears to be absent from Réunion.

    Together these three islands support 20 of the 175 Malagasy endemics, 18 of which occur only here. One of the 18 ‘endemics’, Barau’s Petrel*, occurs around all three islands; three species occur on both Mauritius and Reunion, and 14 are present only on...

  41. MOROCCO
    (pp. 240-251)

    Morocco boasts the richest avifauna north of the Sahara, the only known regular wintering site in the world for Slender-billed Curlew*, a regional field guide, a variety of superb landscapes, and an excellent infrastructure. All this makes it is a very popular birding destination.

    At 446,550 sq km, Morocco is over three times the size of England, and one third the size of Texas.

    Most of the major roads are surfaced, although some of the best birding sites are accessible only on gravel tracks, especially in the south. There are plenty of cheap buses but they do not reach many...

  42. MOZAMBIQUE
    (pp. 252-257)

    Mozambique is well off the beaten birding track. A few birders did visit the southern half the country in the 1970s, revealing the presence of many near-endemics, most of which are easier to see in neighbouring countries. However, now the civil war has subsided somewhat adventurous birders may be tempted to return, and even venture to the north of the country, one of the few areas of Africa where it remains remotely possible to discover new species.

    The infrastructure is poor, with virtually no accommodation and frequent food shortages. At 801,590 sq km, Mozambique is six times larger than England...

  43. NAMIBIA
    (pp. 257-271)

    Thanks to its excellent infrastructure, remarkable landscapes and superb selection of birds and mammals, Namibia has become a very popular birding destination in recent years. Birders contemplating a trip to Botswana or South Africa should remember that many of the southern African specialities, including those whose ranges are centred in the Okavango, can be seen in Namibia.

    At 824,292 sq km, Namibia is six times the size of England and slightly larger than Texas.

    It is very difficult to get around Namibia without personal transport as public transport is virtually non-existent and birding on foot is not allowed in some...

  44. NIGER
    (pp. 272-275)

    Despite possessing a relatively good infrastruture for a West African country, and two wild and superb national parks, one alongside the River Niger in the southwest and the other in the southern Sahara, few birders have ventured to Niger. This is probably because most of the best species can be seen more easily elsewhere, but adventurous birders in search of little-known species such as River Prinia* may be tempted to make the trip in the future.

    Niger is a big country: at 1,267,080 sq km it is nearly ten times larger than England and twice the size of Texas.

    The...

  45. NIGERIA
    (pp. 276-281)

    Although Nigeria has one of the most diverse avifaunas in Africa, and plenty of mammals, including gorillas, no one in their right mind would recommend birders to take a trip to this country, until violence and corruption are stamped out, and the infrastructure is greatly improved. If the authorities would recognise the fact that their country is full of natural wonders, and make it possible for ecotourists to see them, then Nigeria would undoubtedly be a very popular destination.

    At 923,768 sq km, Nigeria is seven times larger than England, and 1.3 times the size of Texas.

    Travelling around Nigeria...

  46. RWANDA
    (pp. 281-286)

    Before the horrendous tribal war broke out in 1994, Rwanda was a very popular destination for people in search of birds and gorillas. However, since then it has not been advisable to consider visiting Rwanda, even though the avifauna includes Shoebill* and 25 of the 43 Albertine Rift endemics.

    This tiny country (26,338 sq km) is one fifth the size of England, and only a fraction the size of Texas.

    The roads were pretty good before the war, and plenty of modern minibuses used them to reach most communities. There also used to be a fairly extensive internal air network....

  47. SÃO TOMÉ AND PRINCIPE ISLANDS
    (pp. 287-290)

    These two small islands, which lie 250 km west of Gabon in the Gulf of Guinea, support an amazing 25 endemics, the fourth highest total of endemics for any offshore archipelago or mainland country in the Afrotropical region. Although tourism is in its infancy here, these tropical islands seem set to become a popular destination for birders in the future.

    Sāo Tomé and Principe can be reached on regular flights from Portugal and Gabon. The few roads, most of which remain in good condition, were built to service the now abandoned cocoa plantations, leaving the steeper slopes, where primary forest...

  48. SENEGAL
    (pp. 291-297)

    Most birders prefer Gambia to Senegal. Most of the spectacular avian attractions, such as Egyptian Plover, occur in both countries, but there are some differences which account for this preference. For example, Arabian Bustard and White-headed Lapwing, which can be seen in Senegal, are both very rare in Gambia, whilst Swallow-tailed Bee-eater and Blue-bellied Roller, which can be seen with some ease in Gambia, could be missed in Senegal. Since Gambia experienced a minor coup in 1994, Senegal, which does support more arid-savanna specialities compared to Gambia, may become more popular, although budget birders will have to camp where there...

  49. SEYCHELLES
    (pp. 298-303)

    These truly tropical islands, 1500 km east of the African mainland, complete with palm-fringed beaches, have long been a favourite with birders, thanks to their breeding seabirds and eleven endemics. However, birding the Seychelles remains a dream for budget birders because accommodation, food and transport between the individual islands, are all very expensive.

    Although only 280 sq km, the 90 islands of the Seychelles form an extensive archipelago.

    There are ferries and a good internal flight network connecting the major islands. Buses are available on Mahe and Praslin, and it is possible to hire bikes on the larger islands.

    The...

  50. SIERRA LEONE
    (pp. 304-308)

    Few birders have been to this small West African country, for although it supports 15 of the 16 Upper Guinea forest endemics, all of these but one also occur in more accessible Cōte D’lvoire. However, one of these regional endemics, the superb White-necked Rockfowl*, is widespread in Sierra Leone, but localised and difficult to see in Cōte D’lvoire.

    At 71,740 sq km, Sierra Leone is approximately half the size of England, and just a tenth the size of Texas.

    There are plenty of bush taxis, known locally as ‘poda podas’, as well as some ‘express’ buses, but petrol shortages can...

  51. SOCOTRA ISLAND
    (pp. 309-309)

    Politically part of Yemen, this remote, rustic island (110 km x 30 km), situated off the northeastern tip of Somalia, is more African than Arabian. Six species are endemic to Socotra, and a few more are near-endemic, so it is a potential birding hotspot. However, the presence of human cavedwellers reflects the fact that Socotra is still one of the least ‘developed’ places on earth, and getting there is very difficult, especially since the recent conflict in Yemen, the only country from which to reach Socotra.

    There arenoroads, only tracks, and although it is theoretically possible to hire...

  52. SOMALIA
    (pp. 310-314)

    If Somalia were free from political strife and possessed a good infrastrucure it would be a popular birding destination, thanks to its fine selection of birds, which includes many northeast African specialities and ten endemics. Meanwhile, birders can only live in hope that one day they will be able to enjoy a birding trip to this little known country.

    At 637,657 sq km, Somalia is five times larger than England and almost as large as Texas.

    There are few roads, but most of the numerous tracks are passable with some ease from January to March A 4WD is recommended at...

  53. SOUTH AFRICA (INCLUDING LESOTHO AND SWAZILAND)
    (pp. 315-335)

    The world rejoiced when apartheid ended in April 1994, and although many birders sampled the avian delights of South Africa before, it seems likely that even more will do so in the future. Although no where near as rich in terms of sheer variety as East Africa, the southern third of the continent boasts well over 100 endemics, and many of these can be seen in South Africa. As well as a superb selection of mammals, South Africa also boasts 34 endemic birds, the highest number for a mainland African country.

    At 1,184,827 sq km, South Africa is ten times...

  54. SUDAN
    (pp. 336-342)

    Sudan’s continuing civil war has seriously affected access to the country’s most interesting birding areas, including the Sudd and its Shoebills*. However, Khartoum, where Egyptian Plovers are still quite common, would make an interesting stopoveren routeto the more popular countries further south.

    At 2,505,813 sq km, Sudan is Africa’s largest country. It is twenty times the size of England, and nearly four times the size of Texas.

    Sudan is a very difficult country to get around. Roads are few and far between, but the main routes, such as Khartoum–Kassala–Port Sudan and Khartoum–Kosti, are served by...

  55. TANZANIA
    (pp. 342-358)

    Tanzania used to have a reputation for bumbling bureaucracy and fuel shortages, but since the early 1990s the situation has improved greatly. However, whilst the famous sites in the north such as the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater are on a par with Kenya as far as accessibility is concerned, looking for the rarer endemics and the many specialities of the central mountain ranges, and exploring the much wilder national parks of the south, still requires patience, energy and an expensive 4WD. Nevertheless, those who like logistical problems will probably enjoy Tanzania.

    At 939,762 sq km, Tanzania is seven times...

  56. TOGO
    (pp. 359-361)

    Tiny Togo lies in the ‘Dahomey Gap’, the area of savanna which separates the Upper Guinea forests to the west from the Lower Guinea forests of Nigeria and the Congo Basin to the east. Only one of the Upper Guinea endemics is present. Political instability in the early 1990s has led to some safety problems in Togo, and birders should check the situation before considering a visit.

    Togo (56,785 sq km) is less than half the size of England, and one twelfth the size of Texas. By West African standards, Togo has an excellent infrastructure, with good roads, private taxis,...

  57. TUNISIA
    (pp. 361-366)

    Although Tunisia is not as rich in avian terms as Morocco, it supports most of the North African specialities, including Moussier’s Redstart, and still attracts the occasional Slender-billed Curlew*. A short trip is worth considering, especially for birders who have been to Morocco and missed a couple of ‘target’ species.

    At 163,610 sq km, Tunisia is a little larger than England, and one quarter the size of Texas.

    Although cheap buses reach most places, serious birders with limited time are advised to hire a car.

    Accommodation is basic but cheap away from the major resort areas such as Tunis and...

  58. UGANDA
    (pp. 366-375)

    In terms of size, Uganda is the richest country for birds in Africa. With an excellent infrastructure, a great diversity of wetland, savanna and forest birds, including 29 of the 43 Albertine Rift endemics, as well as gorillas and chimpanzees, Uganda could soon rival Kenya as the most popular destination on the continent. After the end of many years of brutal dictatorship, ecotourism is being positively encouraged.

    At 236,578 sq km, Uganda is twice the size of England, and one third the size of Texas.

    Uganda has reasonable road and bus networks, although many roads are unsurfaced. There are no...

  59. ZAÏRE
    (pp. 376-387)

    Zaïre is Africa’s Amazonia, where vast expanses of remote lowland rainforest still exist. Although the greater part of this wonderful wilderness is still largely inaccessible, it is possible to see some of its avian inhabitants in extreme east Zaïre, which just happens to be where all 43 of the Albertine Rift endemics and most of Zaïre’s endemics occur as well. However, the mass influx of Rwandan refugees in 1994 may have affected travel to this exciting part of Africa.

    At 2,345,409 sq km, this huge country is 18 times larger than England, and 3.4 times the size of Texas.

    Apart...

  60. ZAMBIA
    (pp. 387-394)

    Zambia supports one of the best selections of large mammals in Africa as well as some splendid birds, which include Shoebill* and a handful of species otherwise confined to Angola and Zaire; and yet, compared to East and southern Africa, it attracts relatively few tourists or birders. This is because it is a difficult country to cover thoroughly in a short time without a 4WD. However, it is possible to visit (with some ease) one of the best parts of Zambia, the Luangwa Valley, from adjacent Malawi.

    At 752,614 sq km, Zambia is six times larger than England, and roughly...

  61. ZIMBABWE
    (pp. 395-407)

    Zimbabwe does not support as many species as the East African countries or South Africa, but its modern infrastructure, plentiful mammals and avian specialities, which include Taita Falcon* and African Pitta, make it a worthy destination, especially for experienced African birders in search of somewhere new.

    At 390,624 sq km, Zimbabwe is three times as large as England and around half the size of Texas.

    A traffic-free modern road network makes travelling around Zimbabwe by car a delight. With considerable patience and time it would be possible to reach most birding sites by bus, but they are few and far...

  62. ISLANDS AROUND AFRICA
    (pp. 408-410)

    This island in the mid Atlantic supports 16 resident species, including the endemic Ascension Island Frigatebird* (unidentified frigatebirds off Sāo Tomé and Principe islands may well be this species). Although the frigatebirds breed only on Boatswainbird Islet, they can be seen all round Ascension, harrying the other seabirds, which include Bandrumped Storm-Petrel, Red-billed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Masked, Red-footed and Brown Boobies, Sooty Tern, Brown and Black Noddies and Common White-Tern. A further 40 species are regarded as vagrants.

    There are relatively few birds on the main island thanks to the thoughtless introduction of cats and the accidental introduction of rats,...

  63. REQUEST
    (pp. 411-411)
  64. CALENDAR
    (pp. 412-412)
  65. USEFUL ADDRESSES
    (pp. 413-414)
  66. USEFUL GENERAL BOOKS
    (pp. 415-416)
  67. BIRD NAMES WHICH DIFFER BETWEEN CLEMENTS AND SOUTHERN AFRICAN FIELD GUIDES
    (pp. 417-418)
  68. INDEX TO SPECIES
    (pp. 419-432)