Dawn chorus in the DRC

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8 years 9 months ago #10437 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Dawn chorus in the DRC
I awoke this morning about half an hour before sunrise to the call of a Fiery-necked Nightjar somewhere on the hillslope behind the camp. As I lay in my tent listening, the dawn chorus started up, first some Fork-tailed Drongo and Dark-capped Bulbul, then some duetting Black-headed Oriole and Tropical Boubou, followed by Schalow's Turaco, White-browed Coucal and Pale-billed Hornbill.

As soon as it was light enough I was out onto the camp's perimeter road, ostensibly a fire-break for the dry season but right now at the height of the rains a good bird-viewing platform, since to venture off into the waist-high dew-sodden grass is not a good idea - snakes amongst other potential nasties! <!-- s:shock: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_eek.gif" alt=":shock:" title="Shocked" /><!-- s:shock: --> From this vantage I was able to see a large flock of Meyer's Parrot, and a 20-30 strong mixed party of White and Retz's Helmetshrike. The road itself turned up trumps, with Black-backed Barbet, Orange-winged Pytilia and my first really reliable sighting of Blue-spotted Wood-Dove all putting in an appearance.

Yesterday afternoon I was alerted by the camp cook to some amazing activity actually inside the camp. At one corner there is a large ancient termite mound with a creeper-covered large tree sprouting from its top. From this perch Black-headed Oriole, Fork-tailed Drongo, Dark-capped Bulbul, Red-headed Weaver, Amethyst Sunbird, Chinspot Batis, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher and Black-backed Puffback were making repeated forays to catch unseen but obviously numerous flying insects, while overhead a wheeling mass of Common Swift joined in. This was not an activity that I associated with the Weaver or the Puffback, but they seemed just as adept at the job as the others.

We have a nesting pair of Familiar Chat, with hungry youngsters in the nest, under the apex of the grass thatch roof over one of the tents and as a result the local moth population is being severely thinned out.

In three days of not venturing beyond the camp or its perimeter road I have so far chalked up the following 63 species seen and/or heard ([color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Those not found in RSA in red,[/color:3d5zpwux] [color=#0000FF:3d5zpwux]those very localised in RSA in blue[/color:3d5zpwux]):

[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Bishop, Fire-crowned[/color:3d5zpwux]
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Barbet, Black-backed[/color:3d5zpwux]
Barbet, Black-collared
Bateleur
Batis, Chinspot
Bee-Eater, European
Bishop, Yellow
[color=#0000FF:3d5zpwux]Boubou, Tropical[/color:3d5zpwux]
Bulbul, Dark-capped
Bunting, Cinnamon-breasted
Bunting, Golden-breasted
Buzzard, Lizard
Chat, Familiar
Cisticola, Red-faced
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Cisticola, Trilling[/color:3d5zpwux]
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Coucal , White-browed[/color:3d5zpwux]
Crombec, Long-billed
Cuckoo, Diederik
Cuckooshrike, White-breasted
Drongo, Fork-tailed
Eagle, Wahlberg's
Firefinch, African
Fiscal, Common
Flycatcher, Spotted
Francolin, Coqui
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Greenbul, Cabanis's[/color:3d5zpwux]
Helmetshrike, Retz's
Helmetshrike, White-crowned
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Hornbill, Pale-billed[/color:3d5zpwux]
Mannikin, Bronze
Nightjar, Fiery-necked
Oriole, African Golden
Oriole, Black-headed
Paradise-Flycatcher, African
Parrot, Meyer's
Prinia, Tawny-flanked
Puffback, Black-backed
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Pytilia, Orange-winged[/color:3d5zpwux]
Roller, Lilac-breasted
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Sparrow, Northern Grey-headed[/color:3d5zpwux]
Sparrowhawk, Ovambo
[color=#0000FF:3d5zpwux]Spinetail, Bohms[/color:3d5zpwux]
[color=#0000FF:3d5zpwux]Spurfowl, Red-necked[/color:3d5zpwux]
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Starling, Miombo Blue-eared[/color:3d5zpwux]
Sunbird, Amethyst
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Sunbird, Miombo Double-collared[/color:3d5zpwux]
Swallow, Barn
Swift, Common
Tchagra, Black-crowned
Thrush, Groundscraper
Tinkerbird, Yellow-fronted
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Turaco, Schalow's[/color:3d5zpwux]
Wagtail, African Pied
Warbler, Willow
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Waxbill, Fawn-breasted[/color:3d5zpwux]
[color=#0000FF:3d5zpwux]Weaver, Golden[/color:3d5zpwux]
Weaver, Red-headed
White-Eye, African Yellow
Whydah, Pin-tailed
Widowbird, Red-collared
[color=#BF0000:3d5zpwux]Widowbird, Yellow-mantled[/color:3d5zpwux]
[color=#0000FF:3d5zpwux]Wood-Dove, Blue-spotted[/color:3d5zpwux]
Woodpecker, Bennett's


Neil

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