Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NEW to Tanzania Rubeho Warbler Scepomycter rubehoensis

Just in case there was any doubt about the head colour of this bird in the Ukaguru Mts it is quite clearly


my thanks to Mike McEnery for supplying the beard.

by shear coincidence this comes in from Jon a few days after I sent out my photo of this bird.

Louis, do pass on my photo to Jon.

Jacob was not with us in the Ukagurus, it was Nnyiti !!!!, not sure where this comes from. The Oxford student group went there to follow up our original work. They recaptured our ringed Rubeho Akalat, must also put this photo to the group.

Anyway, this is all good stuff, now need ALL your new Udzungwa spp so we can include them in next years new TZ species list, at least let's have them when they are in press...

what next ???? this story far from over.
October issue of Ibis

Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 3:13 PM
Subject: FW: New Scepomycter paper out

Dear Neil and Liz
Finally, after a very slow refereeing process, the formal description of the Rubeho Warbler is now published.
Jon Fjeldså
Ibis (2009), 151, 709–719
Multilocus molecular DNA variation in Winifred’s
Warbler Scepomycter winifredae suggests cryptic
speciation and the existence of a threatened species
in the Rubeho–Ukaguru Mountains of Tanzania
1Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology, University of California

Eur. Bee-eaters in Ruaha

these records from Rob & Sue in Ruaha NP.

others must be seeing them as well ? send those records in please.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:09 AM
Subject: Bird arrivals

> Hello Neil,
> A short note to say that the European Bee eaters arrived here in
> Magangwe (RNP) on the 10th Sept. We thought we heard them on the 8th
> but it was very fleeting. Interestingly they arrived here last year
> on the 8th Sept so almost the same day! We were on Isunkaviola from
> the 10th - 14th and they suddenly appeared up there on the 14th.
> They are now around all day so guess they have arrived properly
> now.
> Also the White rumped swifts arrived back in camp on the 15th Sept.
> Last year they arrived back in camp on the 9th Sept. They leave us
> mid May every year..so where do they go?
> Love to you both Sue

Pale Chanting Goshawk Immature

This photo from Mkomazi to save alongside the imm Dark Chanting that Chris Schmelling sent in recently from Eyasi.

note the closer barring on the thighs and underparts.



Hi all

do keep an eye and ear out for these birds and report all sightings these next 4-6 weeks.



From: Brian Finch

Sent: Tuesday, 15 September, 2009 16:36:01

Dear All,
Just a quick note; I was queing outside of the US Embassy at Gigiri,
(today 15h September) when a party of Eurasian Bee-eaters came down,
but didn't stay long.
Best to all
Neil and Liz Baker, Tanzania Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 1605, Iringa, Tanzania.

Madagascar Bee-eaters

thanks Adam

any imms (= no long central tail feathers, duller plumage) among them ? or all bright spanking adults ?

any sense of the direction they were taking / coming from ?


a bird to look out for, ALL records please.



----- Original Message -----
From: Adam Kennedy
To: tanzaniabirdatlas
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 8:17 AM

Thanks for this Neil,

Also, 10 Madagascar Bee-eateer in camp this morning. A lifer for me. Smart birds.



Wahlberg's Eagle 3503D

Our driver saw the Wahlberg's Eagle I mentioned recently on the nest (It has been the same nest since 2006 from what I canb tell, maybe with yearly improvements) in the baobab in 3503D on 10 Sept. Only one bird was present.

Watch for Little Terns

we have been discussing this bird recently with respect to coastal records
among the many thousands of saundersi and the odd inland freshwater records
of albifrons.

this msg from Don Turner encourages EVERYONE to look carefully at any inland
little terns to ensure they are albifrons and not saundersi.

Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 12:51 PM
Subject: Little Tern

> Dear All; Further to comments re Little Tern migrations, it will be of
> interest to note that in recent years this has been a regular winter
> visitor to the Rusizi Delta near Bujumbura, Burundi at the north end of
> Lake Tanganyika.
> It would therefore seem more likely that most (if not all) of the EA
> inland records are of this rather than Saunders. Certainly something to
> be looked out for on all larger inland waters. A specimen from Lake
> Turkana would seem to be needed urgently.
> Don
> --
Neil and Liz Baker, Tanzania Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 1605, Iringa, Tanzania.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What birds do we have, where are they, why are they there, how many are there and what threats to they face?

The Birds of Tanzania: An Atlas of Distribution and Seasonality

The earliest handbooks did not include maps, just mention of the few localities from where specimens had been collected and these were often very few indeed. One of the earliest regional handbooks to incorporate maps was The Birds of the Belgian Congo (Chapin 1932) which used maps for some species to show continental as well as regional distribution. Museum specimens carried details of their origins and as collections were enlarged such data were used to create distribution maps by “joining up the dots”. Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1952-1973) used this method in their African Handbook of Birds, the maps being rather small and generally little more than thumbprints in the margins of the text. Meanwhile, in Europe mapping based on far larger collections was becoming more sophisticated, the first grid based book on bird distributions was The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland (Sharrock 1976) to which nearly 15,000 people contributed. The predecessor to this monumental work using amateur enthusiasts to collect records was an Atlas of the British Flora (Perring & Walters 1962). Although a handful of other flora had been mapped using grids by individual botanists working in limited areas.

Since the 1960s many countries (and far smaller units) across the world have created grid based bird atlases using a variety of scales to suit the size of the country, region or county being mapped and the number of observers available to meet the required target. Blakers et al. (1984) used 1 degree squares (approx 10,000km²) for their Australian Atlas while Webster (1997) used a 1km² grid for a far smaller area of less than 120km².

In Africa bird Atlases have been published as coarse as 1 degree for the Sudan (Nikolaus 1987) and as fine as 1/8th of a degree for Swaziland (Parker 1994). However, at the 5th Pan-African Ornithological Congress it was agreed that to ensure conformity across the continent the basic recording unit should be the 1/2º x 1/2º square (Ash & Pomeroy 1981). This recommendation has been followed by many countries and within the east-central Afrotropics atlases have been published for Kenya (Lewis & Pomeroy 1989), Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005), Malawi (Dowsett-Lemaire & Dowsett 2006 ) and Zambia (Dowsett et al. 2008) all based around the quarter degree square with local variations as different opportunities have arisen.

The East African Natural History Society established a mapping scheme for East Africa in the late 70s. It soon became apparent that coverage in Kenya was far in advance of Uganda and Tanzania and the emphasis shifted to efforts in individual

In Tanzania initial mapping was based upon the now standard quarter degree square but the first field cards designed in 1985 included for monthly data and an abundance code. The rational for the former was the requirement for seasonality records and that most observers were resident and thus able to contribute regular data. Gathering abundance data in such large areas is problematic but it was felt at the time that an effort should be made in this regard and this has proved useful in identifying sites of importance for waterbirds where conservation values relate to numbers (Wetlands International (2006).

Ideally an Atlas will cover a fixed time period to allow comparisons with future surveys, highlighting any population changes and establishing trends. By incorporating a year field the Tanzania Atlas allows for this and population trends in reporting rates have already been used for conservation purposes (Morrison 2008, Baker 2008).

The 1/2º x 1/2º square covers approximately 2,500km2, too large an area when trying to evaluate species ecological limits but covering even these 353 squares in Tanzania is a huge undertaking given the limited human resources available. Using a smaller unit such as the 1/4º x 1/4º would have been quite impossible. However the introduction of hand held GPS units in the mid 90s allowed far greater levels of accuracy and the use of altitude in helping to define the range of a species. Bird observations are now collected within 500m of a georeferenced point and where possible a vegetation profile is created that will allow useful analysis between bird species and preferred habitats. This will be especially useful as ground-truthed data for analysis with satellite derived variables at the scale of 1km².

Initially the locality field was used simply to define the square but this as evolved to allow site based species list for individual forests, lakes, protected areas etc. Creating species lists, abundancy codes and viability codes for protected areas has been further enhanced by adding a field to the database that allows ready access of data for any designated National Park or Game Reserve.

Initially no allowance was made for day dates but these have been added to allow analysis of migration patterns. No specific field for counts was incorporated in the early years of the project but these are now deemed of importance, especially for waterbirds (Baker 1996, Baker & Baker 2002, Delaney et al. 2009), adding yet another field to the database.

An example from the database and an explanation for each field is given in Table 1.

At the time of writing there are 862,000 records entered on the database. 30,699 of these are breeding season records and 9,842 are egg months, the ultimate goal for breeding season definition. These records have come from almost 500 contributors and include some literature data deemed accurate enough to place within an Atlas square.

Early maps were simple scattergrams using MSexcel (Baker 1996). However, since 2004 GIS maps have been produced in ARCGIS using 90m SRTM data to show elevation bands. More recent maps use the 30m SRTM data, providing new insights into altitudinal limits.

The example maps (Map1-7)used in this paper are based around the distribution of the Ashy Starling Cosmopsarus unicolor which is endemic to Tanzania yet often locally common and quite widespread. It is an easy bird to find and identify allowing some confidence when discussing NEGATIVE DATA.

MAP 7 : The western and north-eastern ecological limits of the Ashy Starling with respect to habitat and sister species.

MAP 7 : The western and north-eastern ecological limits of the Ashy Starling with respect to habitat and sister species.

Within its range the Ashy Starling has no close relative that could be seen as a competitor for such resources as food and nest sites. There are only 2 members of the genus Cosmopsaurus, the other being the Golden-breasted Starling C. regius (although both are sometimes lumped in the larger genus Lamprotornis, Fry & Keith 2000). The latter occurs in even drier country extending southwards from border regions of Ethiopia and Somalia through lowland eastern Kenya to its southern limits in NE Tanzania. It is not a common bird in Tanzania and has been subjected to much persecution by the trade in wild birds. Its ecological niche appears confined to the north-eastern fringes of the Masai Steppe and the drier parts of the middle Pangani Valley through Mkomazi NP into Tsavo West NP. There are only 3 georeferenced records in the Atlas database and one of these is quite recent from the Kitwei Plain where it is very close to the most easterly record of Ashy Starling, which is the only record east of 37º East. However the near presence of this potential competitor does not explain the very real eastern limits of Ashy Starling on the Masai Steppe.

The southern limits are easily understood as this species occurs throughout the acacia zone on the Usangu Flats where these abut the volcanic uplands of the Mbeya Range and the Kipengere and Poroto Mts.

The western limits are also quite well understood in that the Ashy Starling does not occur in Miombo woodland. While not considered a competitor of Ashy Starling the White-winged Starling Neocichla gutturalis is endemic to Miombo and the georeferenced locations shown on this map clearly indicate a range quite separate to that of Ashy Starling. While these 2 species may never actually meet they could conceivably occur together when feeding on termite alles where acacia dominated floodplain habitat fringes on Miombo woodland, especially in the catchment of the Wembere Steppe.

In summary the Bird Atlas continues to provide new insights into our understanding of the distribution of birds throughout Tanzania. The data gathered by the volunteer observers continues to provide Government, International Agencies, Scientists, Conservation managers and others with useful and sometimes vital information on the status of many species.

The Atlas website, blog and email group provide a constant source of new data and are updated on a regular basis. www.tanzaniabirdatlas.com

Neil E. Baker
P.O. Box 1605


Ash, J.S. & Pomeroy, D.E. 1981. mapping schemes in the Afrotropical Region. Ibis No. 4. Vol. 123 : 552-553.

Baker, N.E. 1996. Tanzania Waterbird Count: the first coordinated count on the major wetlands of Tanzania, January 1995. Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.

Baker, N.E. & Baker, E.M. 2002. Important Birds Areas in Tanzania: a first inventory. Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.

Baker, N.E. 2008. The vultures of Tanzania: Distribution and reporting rates from the Tanzania Bird Atlas. 12th Pan-African Ornithological Congress. Cape Town September 2008.

Blakers, M, Davies, S.J.J.F. & Reilly, P.N. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Royal Australian Ornithologists Union. Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.

Carswell, M., Pomeroy, D., Reynolds, J. & Tushabe, H. 2005. The Bird Atlas of Uganda. British Ornithologists’ Union, Oxford, England.

Chapin, J.P. 1932. The Birds of the Belgium Congo. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. Vol LXV. 1932. New York.

Delaney, S., Scott, D., Dodman, T. & Stroud, D. (eds.) 2009. An Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Western Eurasia. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Dowsett-Lemaire, F. & Dowsett, R.J. 2006. The Birds of Malawi. Turaco Press & Aves a.s.b.l. Liège, Belgium.

Dowsett, R.J., Aspinwall, D.R. & Dowsett-Lemaire, F. 2008. The Birds of Zambia: An atlas and handbook. Turaco Press & Aves a.s.b.l. Liège, Belgium.

Fry, C.H. & Keith, S. 2000. Birds of Africa. Vol VI. Academic Press. London.

Lewis, A.D. & Pomeroy, D.E. 1989. A bird atlas of Kenya. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands and Brookfield. USA.

Mackworth-Praed, C.W. & Grant, C.H.B. (1952-1973) African Handbook of Birds. Series 1-3, 6 vols. Longmans, Green & Co. London.

Morrison, K. 2008. Trade in Grey (Balearica regulorum) and Black Crowned (Balearica pavonina) Cranes. ICF / EWT Partnership for African Cranes.

Nikolaus, G. 1987. Distribution Atlas of Sudan’s birds with notes on habitat and status. Bonner Zoologische Monographien, Nr 25. Zoologisches Forschungsinstitut und Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn,Germany.

Parker, V. 1994. Swaziland Bird Atlas 1985-1991. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland.

Perring, F.H. & Walters, S.M. 1962. Atlas of the British Flora. Botanical Society of the British Isles.

Sharrock, J.T.R. (compiler) 1976. The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. British Trust for Ornithology. Irish Wildbird Conservancy. T. & A.D. Poyser, Calton,. England.

Webster, M. 1997.Birds of Charnwood. Kairos Press, Leicester, England.

Wetlands International 2006. Waterbird Population Estimates – Forth Edition. Wetlands International. Wageningen, The Netherlands.

MAP 6 : Ashy Starling distribution in the Ruaha Gorge at the eastern limits of its range.

MAP 6 : Ashy Starling distribution in the Ruaha Gorge at the eastern limits of its range.

At an even finer scale the distribution limits become even more interesting. The main road through the Ruaha Gorge drops altitude rather gradually as it proceeds eastwards before turning through the hills towards Mikumi at the point where the river turns south to flow into Kidatu Dam. Before the road reaches this junction, Ashy Starlings drop out of the avifauna. Several visits are required to create a more exact limit than shown here and to establish any seasonality to these limits. In particular more breeding records are required and closer observations of any association with vegetation types, in particular the larger trees. The most easterly record is at an altitude of only 505m, the lowest this bird is known from.

MAP 5 : Ashy Starling distribution at the base of the Iringa Highlands

MAP 5 : Ashy Starling distribution at the base of the Iringa Highlands.

Although much of these data are related to records along roads the altitudinal limits of Ashy Starling are clearly shown. It is totally absent from the Iringa Plateau. Along the road north to Dodoma the highest record is just into the woodland on the escarpment at 1130m. Along the road west to Pawaga it occurs as high as 1345m where the drier woodland is at a higher altitude in the rain shadow of the Udzungwa Mts. At the base of the Kitonga Gorge it occurs no higher that 725m.

This map also shows it absent along the shore of Mtera Dam where at low water the open grassland covers several km². Interestingly at this scale it is also shown absent from the rice fields near Pawaga although it occurs in the dry acacia country on the fringes of the rice.

MAP 4 : The Kibaya Ridge, a barrier to the movement of Ashy Starlings

MAP 4 : The Kibaya Ridge, a barrier to the movement of Ashy Starlings

The high groundjavascript:void(0) of the Crater Highlands flows south through the Mbulu Plateau towards Singida with an offshoot of hills SE through Kibaya on the very edge of the Masai Steppe. This high ground above 1400m is currently (we do not know what the situation was even a few hundred years ago let alone hundreds of thousands of years ago) a significant barrier to the movement of Ashy Starlings and effectively creates 3 isolated populations. In this finer scale map the Kibaya Ridge is seen as an effective barrier but it is possible that further fieldwork in the lower altitude reaches of the ridge will provide evidence of movement, at least seasonally, such as post breeding dispersal. It is also possible, even likely, that historically the range of this bird extended further east around the eastern base of these hills and that the isolation of the NE population is quite recent.

MAP 3 : Georeferenced data for ALL sightings combined with georeferenced data for Ashy Starling

MAP 3 : Georeferenced data for ALL sightings combined with georeferenced data for Ashy Starling.

The use of georeferenced data, all species observed within 500m of a GPS location, has revolutionised the quality of data being collected for the Atlas. Combined with altitude and vegetation profiles this data will provide accurate habitat usage within the range of the species. Understanding this area of occupancy for any species is of the utmost importance in defining status, trends and threats. Using this ground-truthed data with satellite derived variables will enable computer modelling of species habitat requirements. Essential for understanding the ecological requirements of the rarer, most threatened species.

The yellow circles on this map represent all the GPS data entered in the Atlas. Some of these locations are for single records of single species (all sightings of diurnal raptors are georeferenced) so some care and analysis is required to present these spots as NEGATIVE DATA for Ashy Starling. At this scale the spots are far larger than the actual data collection parameter of a radius of 500m and often blend together to obscure potentially important information. Fortunately ARCGIS with the latest 30m SRTM data allows the use of finer scales that reveal movement barriers for species with restricted altitudinal distributions.

MAP 2 : The standard grid based Atlas distribution of Ashy Starling and Yellow-vented Bulbul.

MAP 2 : The standard grid based Atlas distribution of Ashy Starling and Yellow-vented Bulbul.

The Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus is the most widespread species in Tanzania. It occurs in every square in every month. Lack of data for this species in any month in any square is indicative of poor / no coverage. The presence of this species in any month in any square is indicative of a visit to that square in that month.
When combined with presence for a well known species such as Ashy Starling the data produces a map that suggests NEGATIVE DATA for the species one is concerned with. As the Atlas database continues to grow and eliminates all the YvB month gaps the reliability of this NEGATIVE DATA will increase.

MAP 1 : The standard grid based Atlas distribution of Ashy Starling.

MAP 1 : The standard grid based Atlas distribution of Ashy Starling.

Within each atlas square the 12 dots represent the months of the year from January to December (there is also a month 13, the explanation for which must wait). Thus, at a glance, the reader can see the quality of coverage for the square. In resident species such as this starling this only shows coverage. In migrant species it is indicative of seasonality. The orange dots represent breeding season and the red dots months with eggs in the nest. Combined these show the extent of and the peak (or indeed, peaks) in the breeding season. The table shows seasonality with the total number of records per month.

This map shows well the range of the species and the quality of coverage BUT THAT IS ALL IT SHOWS. This then was the basic aim of the Atlas when it was conceived in the late 1970s.

However, there is far more valuable information to be gained from long term monitoring, the use of georeferenced data and the use of NEGATIVE DATA. All would agree that it is far easier to record the presence of a species than its absence especially if one is not so far away from where the species is known to occur.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wahlberg's Eagle on the Arusha/Babati road

There was a Wahlberg's Eagle on the baobab on the Arusha/Babati road between Magugu and Mbuyu wa Mjerumani when I passed there on 28 Aug. That isT 35D 48' 48.7" -3D 54' 15.6" 985m. The eagles have nested there in 2006 and 2007 but I didn't see them there last year. This bird was not in the nest.

VS: [tanzaniabirds] Mackinder's Eagle Owl and Moorland Chat

From: Brian Finch [birdfinch@gmail.com]
Sent: 2009-09-10 18:36:51 CEST To: tanzaniabirds@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [tanzaniabirds] Mackinder's Eagle Owl and Moorland Chat

Hi All,
After posting this about Mackinder?s Eagle Owl, I received an email
from Darcy Ogada. Together with Paul Muriithi, they have been studying
some 18 pairs around Mweiga, and taken a good sample of the calls, but
none of this published. They are preparing a paper for Scopus.

An amusing error in the brief write-up on Moorland Chat has the birds
waiting for an electrical storm before they stop singing, This of
course should read ?lightening in the sky,? not lightning!!!!

Best to all


> Comments from Brian Finch from a recent visit to Mt. Kenya. Both relevant to
> us.

Mackinder's (Cape) Eagle Owl occurs on Mt Meru and should be on Kili. It
also occurs in the Natron Rift and should be in the Gols and on Gelai &

Interesting about the chat not being recorded before, many thousands of
people must have heard it singing on Kilimanjaro.
Mackinder's Eagle-Owl
Heard at night at the bandas. The call was recorded, and this possibly
for the first time ever. All references to the calls of Mackinder's in
Owl. Our bird is lumped with this by many authors.
The Mackinder's Eagle Owl called noisily; a very hoarse and throaty
"cook.coooo-kuk" and this continued without much variation at about
twelve second intervals.
The call suggests that in spite of its treatment, that this bird is
not the same species as Cape Eagle Owl. We are waiting on response
from some expertise we have sought.

Moorland Chat
Very common in moorland, especially around the bandas. Amazingly in
spite of how common this bird is where found, the song has never been
recorded nor described. The birds commenced singing at 5-00am, and
ceased just before it became light. Individuals chose prominent
perches from which to sing, the ends of protruding bamboo stalks,
roofs of the buildings or bare lateral branches of Hagenia trees.
Maybe it is because the birds only sing in the dark, that the song has
not been identified, as it is the most prominent songster of the
pre-dawn chorus. The only competitors being Mackinder's Eagle Owl,
Montane Nightjar and before the Chats finish their repertoire, Streaky
I taped quite a lot of the song, sadly over the first recordings of
the full song of Abbott's Starling!
The Handbook states "Not Tape-recorded" and "Song not known," only
quoting Moreau stating that they were "silent creatures." This is so
very far from the truth. Accordingly they can only list "a pleasant
chirping" and "a sibilant alarm." Zimmermann and Turner state " a
metallic piping" and "a soft chirping." Sinclair and Ryan, is word for
word Z&T. When I wrote the text for the vocalisations of the species
in Stevenson and Fanshawe, it was based on the recordings that I had
personally taken, and this mainly on a sub-song given by a bird at the
Met Station above Naro Moru. This I put down as ". formless and
unattractive series of various sparrow-like chirps, interspersed with
squeaks." During daylight hours these birds are extremely quiet.
We have not done this bird justice. The song has a distinct pattern
(form), and is both loud and attractive. The complexity of the refrain
is certainly not just "chips" and "squeaks." The sequence lasts three
to four seconds with two second breaks between each delivery. There is
variation in the individual phrases, and the song continues for very
long periods, ceasing when there is an indication of a lightning of
the sky. The song has a peculiar hurried quality, a scratchy but
pleasant and obviously chat-like variable "weet-tit
tcherr-ti-chit-ti-churr" sometimes ending on a lower note, or at times
with a higher inflection. The bird reacts to playback, finding another
perch close by to challenge the intruder, but usually returning to the
favoured perch. (All in the dark!).
Interestingly the song is totally different from the other two members
of the genus found in Kenya, and far more complex.


VS: [tanzaniabirds] Fw: Simmering in Katavi [1 Attachment]

Simmering in Katavi

> and Paul Oliver just about to arrive so save some for him.
> this is an early Broad-billed Roller (I think) a good bird for everyone to keep an eye out for these next 2 months.
> Barn Swallows also passing through Iringa in low numbers, 11 yesterday evening
> Neil
> Hi Neil et al.,
> Just a few notes from Katavi from the past few days...
> Rufous-bellied Heron - 5th Sept, one past camp, late pm
> Secretary Bird - 7th Sept, one seen in front of Katuma Camp by our guide Apollo and two guests (it had gone by the time I got the news)
> Barn Swallow - 9th Sept, 6 birds past camp am
> Broad-billed Roller - 9th Sept, 2 birds near camp
> Southern Carmine Bee-eaters - 10th Sept, over camp am
> I also caught up with my first African Moustached Warbler on 9th Sept - about time!
> Topped it all off with a 3-hour Leopard encounter yesterday - all good here!
> Cheers
> Adam
> ps - find LATE Scops image showing wing formula
> Neil and Liz Baker, Tanzania Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 1605, Iringa, Tanzania.
> Mobiles: 0776-360876 and 0776-360864.
> http://tanzaniabirdatlas.com
> Subscribe to: tanzaniabirds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

Grey-capped Warbler (high altitude call)

> Hi Claudien
> Thanks for that interesting info about the Grey-capped Warbler call which
> seems well above altitudinal range ? not another bird possibly mimicking?
> Would definitely be worth following up ? did you get GPS co-ordinates on the
> spot where you heard it? I could then add this to the atlas as ?pending?
> till we can confirm. I?ve just been going through my records and the
> highest record I have of it is at 2531m on the slopes of Sabinyo.
> Neil ? what do your records say on altitude on the Grey-capped Warbler?
> Claudien, could you please let me get the co-ordinates on the Olive Thrush
> sighting as well ? would be good to see how much info we could get onto the
> atlas on this species. I see Neumann 1908 (as per Don Turner?s message)
> recorded Turdus olivaceus bambusicola commonly in the Hagenia belt between
> 3200-3400 but also had records up to 3800m on Karisimbi.
> Regards
> Marcell
> Marcell Claassen

> Rwanda Bird Atlas: rwandabirdatlas@gmail.com
> Blog: http://rwandabirdingguide.blogspot.com/

> Hi Marcell and All,
> Today, Faida and I while correcting data in the common bird monitoring
> work, we have seen an Olive Thrush on Mihabura side at 3100m and
> surprisingly heard a call of Grey-capped Warbler at 3000m! Do you find this
> normal?
> Regards
> Claudien Nsabagasani
> Ornithology Researcher, Karisoke Research Center

> From: rwanda_burundiBirds @yahoogroups. com
> [mailto:rwanda_burundiBirds @yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Marcell Claassen
> Sent: 14 August 2009 07:57
> To: rwanda_burundiBirds @yahoogroups. com
> Cc: tanzaniabirds@ yahoogroups. com
> Subject: [rwanda_burundiBird s] Olive Thrushes
> Yesterday at the perimeter of the Volcanoes National Park I came across a
> very dark Olive Thrush with very little orange on the flanks and the bill a
> deep orange. The orange eye-ring was also quite prominent. This was at 2575m
> altitude. Interestingly almost identical in appearance to an Olive Thrush I
> had photographed earlier the year in Karen, Nairobi.
> http://www.flickr. com/photos/ marcell_claassen /3576307161/
> A week ago, and only 500m south (2550m alt) from this point was an Olive
> Thrush with much lighter undersides and the lighter orange bill. The orange
> on the flanks were more extensive. This is also similar to the Olive Thrush
> regularly observed in Ruhengeri town and which I've photographed at my
> house. http://www.flickr. com/photos/ marcell_claassen /3707538326/
> Anybody have more info on these East African races of Olive Thrush and
> whether this is linked to altitudinal preferences in distribution?
> Marcell Claassen

Narina Trogon at Eyasi

> Nice one Chris, neat birds, always fun to handle as they loose their body feathers at the slightest touch.
> Wonder where this one came from, gallery forest on the Rift perhaps.
> I'll put a new map together
> Neil
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Chris Schmeling
> To: tanzaniabirdatlas
> Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 12:31 PM
> Subject: Narina Trogon at Eyasi
> Dear Neil,

> it is a good time for us, we keep seeing amazing birds. Today Nani found a Narina Trogon close to our spring in a thicket. Unfortunately the photo is poor quality, but I think clear enough to show. Also had our first lesser masked weaver that we ever saw here.
> Best,

> Chris

ABC Bulletin contents

> From: John Caddick [John.Caddick@care4free.net]

> ABC Bulletin 16(2) is available and is being posted to members. The table of
> contents can be found on the ABC website at
> http://www.africanbirdclub.org/bulletin/16-2.html.
> The page at http://www.africanbirdclub.org/bulletin/bulletin.html provides
> links (just click on the image of the cover) to the contents of all previous
> ABC Bulletins.
> Kind regards
> John Caddick
> African Bird Club
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Exhausted Scops Owl in Katavi today

Exhausted Scops Owl in Katavi today
> no, not a large hand, a small owl.
> the hardback version of ZTP is the book to use, far more text and in this case actual diagrams of the wings just in case you are ever lucky enough to see / find a European Scops Owl.
> the very short 10th primary and the relatively short 9th, well short of the wing tip, identify this as an African Scops Owl.
> this bird can be very common, occurring at high densities in both Acacia and Miombo woodlands.
> Neil
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Adam Kennedy
> To: Neil and Liz Baker
> Sent: Sunday, September 06, 2009 4:55 PM
> Subject: Exhausted Scops Owl in Katavi today
> Hi Neil,
> See attached images of a Scops that flew into our main dining room at 10:15am today and promptly passed out, showing all the signs of a very tired migrant. The bird is currently sleeping in my tent until sunset.
> We do have a resident pair of Scops here that we hear often but rarely see but they are usually roosting at this time of day.
> As I only carry F&S with me (I know it's not popular but I had no space for other books!), I'd be grateful if you can tell me the best way to differenciate Eurasian from African Scops owls in the hand, just in case this is a migrant Eurasian. It would be a shame to miss an opportunity!
> In case you think this might be a Eurasian (despite date and location!), you can call me on 0789 718169 so we can talk through biometrics etc.
> Cheers
> Adam
> Neil and Liz Baker, Tanzania Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 1605, Iringa, Tanzania.
> Mobiles: 0776-360876 and 0776-360864.
> http://tanzaniabirdatlas.com
> Subscribe to: tanzaniabirds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Skua to identify

> one that got away
> this same tour group had what was most possibly a Wilson's Storm Petrel on
> the same day off Mantra Reef Hotel on the northern tip of Pemba.
> with no one looking we miss many pelagics off our coast, esp of Pemba that
> actually juts out into real ocean.
> Neil
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Hi Neil,
> As much as I would love to be able to assist with identifying a new species
> for East Africa, I would think we would be hard pressed to put a definitive
> name to this bird based on this photo. Personally, I don't believe it is
> identifiable from this photo, but perhaps there is someone out there who is
> braver than I am...:)
> Kind regards
> Trevor
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "tanzaniabirdatlas" <tzbirdatlas@yahoo.co.uk>
> To: "John Graham" <jmgraham@iafrica.com>
> Cc: "trevor hardaker" <hardaker@mweb.co.za>; "trevor hardaker 2"
> <trevor@zestforbirds.co.za>
> Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 10:27 PM
> Subject: Fw: Skua
> > OK guys
> >
> > is this identifiable ?? if it's a Brown it's new for East Africa.
> >
> > cheers
> >
> > Neil
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Nik Borrow" <n.borrow@btinternet.com>
> > To: "tanzaniabirdatlas" <tzbirdatlas@yahoo.co.uk>
> > Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 4:48 PM
> > Subject: Skua
> >
> >
> >> Hi Neil,
> >>
> >> here is the skua pic........any ideas on id?
> >> Best wishes
> >> Nik
> >>
> >> n.borrow@btinternet.com
> >>
> >> website
> >> http://web.mac.com/nikborrow
> >
> > Neil and Liz Baker, Tanzania Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 1605, Iringa, Tanzania.
> > Mobiles: 0776-360876 and 0776-360864.
> > http://tanzaniabirdatlas.com
> > Subscribe to: tanzaniabirds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fwd: [tanzaniabirds] Fw: flufftail ID mistake [1 Attachment]

[Attachment(s) from tanzaniabirdatlas included below]
not sure why but this was not forwarded to the group when Louis sent it through.
Streaky-breasted Flufftail
breeding in dambos in Miombo woodland and a nocturnal migrant through the Udzungwa Mts but from where to where is anyone's guess for now.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2009 12:44 PM
Subject: flufftail ID mistake

Dear wonders in the south!

Out of church (or Neil out of the pub)?

Ready for an apology? I do think that I send you ringing data for a Sarothrura rufa – but having "studied" additional photos and books – I have come to the conclusion it "must" Sarothrura boehmi. See attached photo (keept in small 800x600 and 100kb) – do you concur?


Neil and Liz Baker, Tanzania Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 1605, Iringa, Tanzania. Mobiles: 0776-360876 and 0776-360864. http://tanzaniabirdatlas.com Subscribe to: tanzaniabirds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Attachment(s) from tanzaniabirdatlas

1 of 1 Photo(s)

Fwd: [tanzaniabirds] imm chanting goshawk to ID [2 Attachments]

Videresendt melding:

[Attachment(s) from tanzaniabirdatlas included below]
Hi all
these photos in from Chris at Eyasi.
that barring on the thighs looks good for Dark Chanting but what do you think and why ?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2009 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: August list
Dear Neil,
many thanks for your feedback, much appreciated. Lizard Buzzard is good for you, it's not really a dry country bird.
Dark Chanting Gos is very good for you. I assume you know Pale Chanting quite well. Dark occurs in the coastal lowlands and the Lake Victoria basin just about reaching Olduvai so not too far away from you but PCG should be your common one.
crack on

Attachment(s) from tanzaniabirdatlas

2 of 2 Photo(s)

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Taita Falcon in Ruaha NP

From: Furaha Mbilinyi

It is very exciting to hear about the Taita Falcon in Ruaha NP.
They might be breeding there may be need to be checked if
there is any sign of nest on the rocks.
> > phone call from Rob Glen this afternoon.
> >
> > He and Sue just watching a Taita Falcon mobbing Verreaux's Eagle at Mpululu
> > Mt. The latter with a young bird.
> >
> > As far as I am aware this is only the second record of Taita from Ruaha,
> > the first being in the 60s.
> >
> > A rather special bird that is surely more common than we understand.
> >
> > Neil
> >
> > Neil and Liz Baker, Tanzania Bird Atlas, P.O. Box 1605, Iringa, Tanzania.
> > Mobiles: 0776-360876 and 0776-360864.
> > http://tanzaniabirdatlas.com
> > Subscribe to: tanzaniabirds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Finfoot on the Wami

> From: tanzaniabirdatlas [tzbirdatlas@yahoo.co.uk]
> Although we have only seen one twice from the main Chalinze-Segara road bridge the Wami is obviously a good river for this bird.
> this pic from Sean just in, waddling along the sand like a goose, superb !!!
> Sean, sunbird sounds like an imm male Collared. I would have thought Banded Green simply not possible in that location. Nobby, your thoughts on this one please. Plain-backed occurs but no metallic colour. Presume it had the short bill of an Anthreptes or whatever they are these days.
> lat-longs as DD.DDDDD please but we use geocalc and can convert.
> good stuff
> Neil
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Sean Lues

> Hi Neil
> Think you saw the email from Jackie Barbour at Kisampa (just south of Saadani).
> We had a great weekend there and managed to get a little birding in.
> Two very exciting ones for me - African Finfoot (see attached photo - so this is 100% confirmation) in the Wami river;
> The other being a Banded Green Sunbird - I am confident in what I saw, apart from the fact that it did not have the red band of the male, instead it had a red wash across the breast(I have seen this happen before to Yellow-vented bulbuls when feeding on combretum microphylum, which was in flower while were there ...?) Otherwise - iridescent green over the top of head and mantle, extending down to the rump, but not sure about tail. No green on throat. Pale greyish underneath, including vent. The other problem is that it is not supposed to occur there? Altitude of app70m and away from any of the mountains. Was about 10metres up, feeding in a good mixed bird party.
> Will get the full list and co-ordinates asap (I forget - what system do you use?), but in the meantime I have a lot of work to catch up on!
> Regards
> Sean.

> Sean Lues,
> Group Operations Manager.
> Beho Beho - www.behobeho.com
>gt; Mikumi Wildlife Camp
>> The Oyster Bay - www.theoysterbayhotel.com
>> Tel: +255 22 26 00 352/3/4
>> Mobile: +255 7 84 82 35 35

VS: [AfricanBirding] Birdlife release : Lake Natron faces renewed threat from soda-ash mining

> From: Raymond Katebaka [raymond.katebaka@gmail.com]
> Sent: 2009-08-26 14:36:06 MEST
> To: keith_betton [keith_betton@hotmail.com]
> Cc: AfricanBirding@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [AfricanBirding] Birdlife release : Lake Natron faces renewed threat from soda-ash mining
> Things are getting out of hand for our neighbors in Tanzania Keith! I
> recall in the last year such information was circulated to most of us
> conservationists who signed against that development. However, I am not sure
> if the government of Tanzania environmental agency has approved or certified
> the development by the time the advert was posted. If it did then they
> should have based on EIA provided. Apparently it?s hard for people who are
> not on ground to judge. Nevertheless what does the Environmental Management
> Plan (EMP) say? Was the assessment done in favor of the developer? Has the
> EIA contained the TEV of both direct and indirect? Does it consider
> offsetting incase of net loss? Is there anything like EIA national
> regulations, policies, acts etc?
> I think this is cross boarder issue that Tanzania government doesn?t have to
> decide alone. I would want to understand the involvement of the multilateral
> institutions such as World Bank. Soda ash I imagine is non renewable
> resource. How long will it last if extraction starts? If it?s short period
> of time fine, but say 40 years the biological diversity of the area will be
> affected significantly. So, does the EIA spell out this properly? Does the
> new team of experts contain neighboring countries? Surprisingly if the new
> EIA has not been produced how then there is speculation of Tanzanian
> Government Agency is seeking to buy mining equipment for large-scale soda
> ash extraction from Lake Natron?
> Let?s work together to conserve the flamingos
> On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 2:23 PM, keith_betton <keith_betton@hotmail.com>wrote:
> >
> >
> > Lake Natron faces renewed threat from soda-ash mining
> > 26-08-2009
> > BirdLife has learnt that a Tanzanian Government Agency is seeking to buy
> > mining equipment for large-scale soda ash extraction from Lake Natron ? the
> > most important breeding site for Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor [Near
> > Threatened] in the world. "This is worrying indeed", said Lota Melamari -
> > the CEO of Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST-BirdLife in
> > Tanzania).
> > "An advert for the supply of mining equipment, and a recent announcement of
> > the expansion of the railway and building of new port at Tanga to handle
> > soda ash all point to deliberate efforts to keep alive the intention of
> > mining Lake Natron's soda ash", added Lota Melamari.
> > The Tanzania Investment Centre, a Tanzanian Government Agency, is inviting
> > interested parties to quote for the "Supply of machinery and equipment, as
> > well as trucks in a greenfield soda ash/caustic soda processing plant". The
> > advert was placed on behalf of KDCL Minerals (T) Ltd - a private company
> > which states that the $US 125 million project at Lake Natron in Northern
> > Tanzania will produce approximately 200,000 tonnes of soda ash annually.
> > Three-quarters of the world's population of Lesser Flamingo live in East
> > Africa ? and all depend on Tanzania's Lake Natron as a breeding site. The
> > development and associated infrastructure could permanently prevent the
> > birds from nesting at Lake Natron, spelling doom for the region's
> > spectacular flamingo flocks.
> > In opposition to development proposals of 2007, BirdLife launched its
> > `Think Pink' campaign. At the same time the Lake Natron Consultative Group -
> > a coalition of 49 mainly African institutions - was formed to urge the
> > Tanzanian Government to abandon the project. "Through campaigns like Think
> > Pink, the world, local communities, Tanzanian NGOs and ordinary citizens
> > have said a big `No' to the project - this will not change", warned Ken
> > Mwathe of BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat and Coordinator of Lake
> > Natron Consultative Group.
> > Earlier plans for mining Lake Natron involved Tata Chemicals Ltd. and the
> > governmental National Development Corporation. BirdLife welcomed the
> > withdrawal last year of an initial, inadequate and inappropriate
> > Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), and is awaiting a new
> > ESIA to be produced and reviewed by a competent team of experts. "The
> > Tanzanian Government has promised, and consistently maintained, that no new
> > ESIA would be conducted before having in place an Integrated Management Plan
> > for the Lake Natron Ramsar Site, and this process is still ongoing",
> > concluded Lota.
> >
> >
> >
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> ------------------------------------
> *******************
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