DRC - Lubumbashi area

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10 years 10 months ago #4359 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: DRC - Lubumbashi area
Just back from a week working in the Lubumbashi area of the DRC. I went with high hopes of adding a few birds to my Africa list, as this area boasts some 450 species, 10% of which are not found south of the Zambezi.

A lot of my time was spent commuting to an exploration site some 90km from Lubumbashi on poor gravel roads, so the clouds of dust hanging in the air and coating all the roadside vegetation was not too conducive to good birding. Not that I would have been able to do much at 60-80kph anyway. One good sighting on one of these roads was an overflying Ross's Turaco, my second sighting of this colourful bird, the first in Tanzania some 10 years ago.

At the exploration site the presence of very noisy drill rigs was also a big deterrent and I got but fleeting glimpses of sunbirds, finches, bulbuls and warblers, those families with the most potential for new species.

My trip list for the week was a massive 22 species - due to a combination of the factors above and that I was of course working and had no time to do any birding. Those birds that I managed to see "on the run" were mainly very common Southern African species:

Dark-capped Bulbul
Yellow-fronted Canary
Pied Crow
Namaqua Dove
Cape Turtle Dove
Rock Dove
Long-crested Eagle
Common Fiscal
Crowned Hornbill
Tawny-flanked Prinia
House Sparrow
Northern Grey-headed Sparrow (even this wasn't new as I ticked it in Zanzibar 2 years ago)
Amethyst Sunbird
Copper Sunbird
Greater Striped Swallow
Common Swift
Ross's Turaco
African Pied Wagtail
Blue Waxbill
Red-collared Widow
Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah

The Waxbill caused the the most pain, as the area boasts both Blue Waxbill and Red-cheeked Cordonbleu. Try as I might I could find none with a red cheek, so had to settle for our Blousysie.

The Copper Sunbird was an "almost lifer", arriving in the bottle-brush tree next to me as I enjoyed a beer in the hotel garden late on my last afternoon in Lubumbashi. I say "almost lifer" as I photographed this bird in Lochinvar National Park in Zambia in 1974, long before I considered myself a birder and started keeping lists.

The last on the list was my only lifer of the trip. A flock of >50, including 6-8 males in breeding plumage, within a kilometre and five minutes of Lubumbashi International Airport on my way home!

Neil Gray

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10 years 10 months ago #4360 by Doug
Doug replied the topic:
Hi neil.

I know how frustrating it can be when you are in a country and to busy working to do any birding.

I did an extensive 5 months around west africa and added a grand 4 species to my global life list:
Veilot''s Black Weaver (Stunning breeding males building nests in the grounds of a hotel in Pointe Noire - Congo)
Bachlaflecht''s Weaver (in a small patch of forest behind the hotel on the island of Port Gentil - Gabon)
Rufous-bellied Paradise Flycatcher (also behind the hotel in Gabon)
Western Reef-heron (seen during a brief stay on the island of Zanzibar)
I thought I saw one of the plantain eaters while I was in Nigeria but we were on the highway and it was quite far of so a Go-away-type-bird with a whitish belly was not enough to conclusively ID it)

So many places, so many missed opportunities......

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