• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Local patch in Cameroon (1 Viewer)

Hannes

Well-known member
This is my local patch in Cameroon (North-west), its not a protected area and therefore most natural forest has been cleared (I noticed a new logging site this morning :storm:), I have made an estimate, about 45% of the natural forest remains in this locality. Luckliy the hunting preasure seems to be almost none exstintence here.

This forest is located a 20 minute walk from our house, its what you would call a typical West African rainforest, consists mostly rainforest plants, mixed with secondary forest, I love walking here a couple of hours and just relax, just listen to the "natural" sounds. A large road or patch runs through the forest and thanks to that you can easily spot groundliving and undergrowth living species which often are found feeding or walking here, in the open habitat. A few, smalles stream rivers do also float here, but you rarely sees any species along these parts, if you are lucky, maybe a kingfisher or a hornbill

But despite the habitat losts this forest has suffered, it still harbour some rare species, and I cant stand the thought of this forest vanishing, I have birded here for years and would be very, very sad and depressed if loggers cut it down completely.

Birds seen here include

Green-backed heron
African cuckoo-hawk
Crowned eagle
Black Guineafowl
Scaly francolin
Double-spurred francolin
Cameroon Olive Pigeon
Blue-headed wood Dove
Great Blue turaco
Yellow-billed turaco
Frasers eagle-owl
Grey parrot
Speckled mousebird
Black-casqued hornbill
Piping hornbill
African pitta
White-bearded Greenbul
Violet-backed Hyliota
Bates paradise Flycatcher
Red-ballied paradise flycatcher
Orange-tufted sunbird
Yellow-breasted Boubou
Bronze-tailed Glossy starling
Brown-capped weaver
Red-headed malimbe
Yellow bishop
Dybowski twinspot
Pale-fronted Negrofinch
Black-crowned waxbill
Blue-billed firefinch

is just a few of many species which can be seen in this locality, altough I have noticed that some species have getting rare in recent years.

The mammal fauna is quite poor but a few ones which can be seen here is

Red-flanked duiker
Blue duiker
red colobus
Western tree hyrax
Putty-nosed monkey
red river hog
Bush bock
Baboon (unknown species)
at least 5 species of squirrel

I advice you to visit this place in a eventuelly visit to Cameroon, its a great place and few, unprotected forests still exist in Cameroon, but this forest will probably also soon vanish some day and replaced with grasslands or agricultural.

True sad about that as such a wonderful place as this forest should be protected as long there is time left.
 

Attachments

  • local patch in Cameroon 1.jpg
    local patch in Cameroon 1.jpg
    64.2 KB · Views: 168
  • local patch in Cameroon 2.jpg
    local patch in Cameroon 2.jpg
    79.7 KB · Views: 179

Steve G

RAINBIRDER
That's one hell of a local patch.
Crowned Eagles -one of my must see before I die birds. No chance of you opening up an eco-tourist hotel?? ;)
 

Hannes

Well-known member
Steve G said:
That's one hell of a local patch.
Crowned Eagles -one of my must see before I die birds. No chance of you opening up an eco-tourist hotel?? ;)


Hello Steve,

Yes the crowned eagle surely is a impressive bird, the most magnificent bird around here at least. :cool:

Ohhh I wish I had the money to open a hotel, but I dont. Some day maybe :-O
 

James Eaton

Trent Valley Crew
I notice African Pitta on your list on species. I assume they are very difficult!?

Cameroon has been one of those destinations I plan to get to one day, especially if there's a pitta on offer. 45% of forest still surviving is a good achievement on the global scale of current deforestation. How to protect it is always something that will be difficult, the locals want the good life like all of us, right? It would be great if they could get equal benefits by using conservation as a means of an income.

Try lobbying the local government for some form of formal protection keep on promoting the area, like you have done on birdforum. People will take notice, hopefully not before it is too late!

James
 

Hannes

Well-known member
James Eaton said:
I notice African Pitta on your list on species. I assume they are very difficult!?

Cameroon has been one of those destinations I plan to get to one day, especially if there's a pitta on offer. 45% of forest still surviving is a good achievement on the global scale of current deforestation. How to protect it is always something that will be difficult, the locals want the good life like all of us, right? It would be great if they could get equal benefits by using conservation as a means of an income.

Try lobbying the local government for some form of formal protection keep on promoting the area, like you have done on birdforum. People will take notice, hopefully not before it is too late!

James

Hello James,

Yes the African pitta is quite rare here and you should be lucky to find a place in Cameroon were they are seen in large numbers and often, I assume its a species which prefers lowlands? and as this locality are a montane forest, they are not very common. I have seen it 4 times in the mentioned area, the forest patchs is almost the only places where you are able to spot this shy, ground living bird.

Yes all the poor people here is a main reason for the habitat destruction, its the only way for them to get somekind of a income, I often tries to talk with the younger loggers about what happens when they cut down the forests completely, most of them find their food in the forests and if the forests vanish so does their food. Its all a very fragile balance.

Eco-tourism start to be more and more common here in Cameroon and this area, Mt Kupe and Mt Cameroon I suppose are the most usually visited bird destinations in Cameroon, so there should be plenty of jobs for the locals, guiding tourists on birding expedtions.
 

Hannes

Well-known member
Had a 4 hours walk here today, and I didnt meet a single person, I think it was the first time ever.

A good and suprisingly cold day, perfect for birding in tropical and humid countires as birds are most active in the colder hours of the day. The conditons where so good that I recorded a species new to me, only the second lifer I have seen in this forest. :t:

Birds recorded today:

2 African harrier hawks
1 Brown snake-eagle
12 Helmeted Guineafowls
1 Black Guineafowl
7 African Green Pigeons
14 Lemon doves
9 Red-eyed doves
4 Black-collared lovebirds
1 Green turaco
2 African emerald cuckoos
3 Black-throated coucals *Lifer*
5 Yellowbills
1 Narina Trogon
2 African pied hornbills
9 Little bee-eaters
4 Black bee-eaters
1 Blue-breasted kingfisher
9 Little bee-eaters
7 Yellow-rumped tinkerbirds
1 Yellow-billed barbet
1 Tullbergs woodpecker
2 Brown-eared woodpeckers
2 Petit cuckoo-shrikes
Dozens Common bulbuls
3 Leafloves
2 Little bristlebills
4 African thrushes
1 Blue-shouldered robin chat
11 African yellow warblers
4 Rufous-crowned eremomela
Dozens Grey-backed camaropteras
2 Yellow longbills
Dozens Tawny-flanked prinias
6 Western violet-backed sunbirds
2 Olive sunbirds
5 Green sunbirds
8 Copper sunbirds
4 Black-crowned orioles
3 Pied crows
9 Splendid Glossy-starlings
2 Purple-headed Glossy starlings
Dozens Village weavers
6 Spectacled weavers
1 Dark-backed weaver *New species for this forest*
3 Crested malimbes
2 Red collared widowbirds
1 Black-winged bishop
9 Green twinspots
2 Grey-headed Negrofinches
Dozens Orange-cheeked waxbills
2 Zebra waxbills
Dozens Bronze mannikins
1 Pin-tailed whydah


Other wildlife seen was a 1m long Ornate monitor seen laying in the undergrowth and tried to blend in. Saw somekind of agam as well, a very big-eyed species.

The only mammals seen today was a group (9-10 animals) of loudly red colobus monkies which was feeding on some kind of fruit and saw somekind of a foot print from a large carnivore, my best guess is a juvenile leopard (which would be my first record of this species from this forest) or caracal.

A amazing day with some amazing birds, and for once, I seemed to be the "only" one in the forest, not getting disturbed when watching bird is always nice as most person which pass by me tends to scare away the birds. And as long as you tick some near-endemics, birdwatching cant be any other than enjoyable.
 

Hannes

Well-known member
Back at my local path after a week in The Gambia, I was just out a couple hours and had with me a friend from work. He isn’t not very interest in birding and was bored after about 30 minutes

We visited a badly-explored part of the forest with very rough terrain and a part which remains almost undisturbed; we birded along the only large river which exist in this forest, it’s a river which origin from the slopes of Mt Kupe, the river is almost dried up in the dry season but this time of the year its wide and very stream. The river is surrounded by rocky outcrops and partly very dense forest

The day started with an immature African fish-eagle that soared in the sky as we entered the forest, a few African thrushes jumped around in the undergrowth and seemed to be feeding on seeds among the leafs we decided to stuck around the larger river as the chance of spotting anything would be best here. We heard a White-crested Tiger-heron calling but didn’t manage to locate it. Smaller groups of Grey parrots was regulary seen flying over the river and some found a fruit tree to feed in, a few dark-coloured ducks, which I assume were African black ducks was seen sitting on shady tree trunk. We waded over a shallow part of the river and continued walking on the other side. The forest was less dense here and we used some patches along the rocky shores, apparently well used by some kind of mammal (river hog or otters) as they were well walked. Groups of African green pigeons, Western Bronze pigeon, white-crested hornbills, white-chinned prinia as well as Green turacos were all seen around a large fruit tree. An adult black-crowned Night-heron was seen standing on a slippery rock in a stream part of the river, probably tried its fishing-luck, but it were more busy with holding on to the slippery rock, not a ideal place to fish on apparently. As we turned a round a smaller bend of the river bank we spotted the highlight of the day, on the other side we manage to get a glimpse of a small chimpanze family on 3-4 animals which quickly run into the safety of the forest as soon as they smelled us, a lot of stones and rocks and been bend up by the chimpanze in search after some delicious insects or maybe a small frog. Still thrilled about this very unusual (I didn’t even know that they still occurred here) and very rare sighting, it become calm in the forest for about some minutes, nothing was seen and just single birds was heard calling from inside the forest. A bird which looked very much like a female (White-spotted) fluff-tail was seen walking in the water edge joined by a couple of White-headed Lapwings. As we entered a part of the river bank which were dominated by high grassed vegetation, a mixed group with a few dozen Red-headed antpecker, Green twinspots and Red-faced crimsonwings was seen feeding in front of us. As we continue to walk we reached the Mbuko observation tower along the lower reaches of the river, built by local birders and children, the tower give you an excellent view over large plain-grassland, originally made by large herds of forest elephants. This grassland is also known to be among the best places in whole Western Cameroon to spot birds such Marsh owl, Vermiculated Fishing-owl, Freckled nightjar and Bar-tailed Trogon, although we didn’t see quite as exclusive and shy birds in our visit, but still, this place offers some great birds, a pair of Yellow-casqued hornbills nests (and has so done for years) just at the edge of the surrounding forest, and we got some terrific views of the male as he flew around catching food for the female, among the other highlights was a flock on 200-300 Grey parrots feeding on the mineral rich soil, Sabine spinetail, Hartlaubs duck , African harrier hawk, Rufous-vented paradise-flycatcher and Black-necked wattle-eye, a total 39 species of birds was seen here during the time we spend around the tower, both sitatunga antelopes, giant forest hogs and forest buffalos was observed feeding in the forest gap . After a pleasant day we headed home again.
 

Attachments

  • stream river.jpg
    stream river.jpg
    103.7 KB · Views: 137
  • stream.jpg
    stream.jpg
    58.6 KB · Views: 152
Last edited:

Hannes

Well-known member
birding in the outskirts

Today I had a lot to do at work, and just able to be at my local patch for one and a half hour, brought with me one of my older sons, which I tries to make aware of the important of the forest, so this was some what of a "education trip", as for a change I decided to bird in the outskirts of the lower parts of the forest, here the habitat destruction has badly affected the forest

This place has been under intensive logging for some 5-6 years and today it mainly consist of smaller bushes, undergrowth (which has grown exceptionally high), a few large introduced tree species, of the native trees, mostly younger trees (which are to small to be cut down) remains here, although a few or single larger trees of the native species can be observed. A few smaller stream/creek liked things also runs through this part.

These parts do only have some or single species of rainforest birds, most birds which depends on natural and dense forest has vanished and the grassland birds are starting to take over these lower hills.

But for some reason mammals seems to be way more common here, or its maybe just easier to see them in this open habitat, and therefore it might seem so?

Birds seen here today:

Hooded vulture
Bat hawk
African hobby
Crested Guineafowls
African crake (only heard)
African Green pigeon
Blue-spotted wood-dove
Red-eyed dove
Red-headed lovebird
Klaas cuckoo
Didric cuckoo
Yellowbill
Senegal coucal
Little bee-eater
Blue-breasted bee-eater
Rufous-crowned roller
African pied hornbill
Speckled tinkerbird
Green-backed woodpecker
Yellow-crested woodpecker
Cardinal woodpecker
Grey woodpecker
Rufous-chested swallow
Common bulbul
Yellow-necked bulbul
Yellow-whiskered greenbul
Fire-crested alethe
White-browed robin chat
Brown-backed scrub robin
Tawny-flanked prinia
Green crombec
Black-capped apalis
Whistling cisticola
Red-faced cisitcola
African paradise-flycatcher
African blue flycatcher
Collared sunbird
Green-headed sunbird
Splendid sunbird
Common fiscal
Pied crow
Splendid Glossy starling
Northern Grey-headed sparrow
Village weaver
Black-chinned weaver
Red-headed quelea
White-breasted Negrofinch
Black-billed seedcracker
Black-headed waxbill
Bronze manikin
Cabanis bunting

A troup (5-7) of Spot-nosed guenons was spotted as walking on the patch, also heard from inside the undergrowth several times.

A single Grey-cheeked mangabey was observed feeding on fruits and leafs in a tall tree.

A female western tree hyrax together with a juvenile was climbing in a tree haning over the patch

A mongoose, which I assume was a Black-legged mongoose was laying sunbatching on the patch, run away into the undergrowth as we got closer

Bushbock was observed once, one shy male individual was seen grassing in tall-grass
 

Attachments

  • DSCF0348[1].jpg
    DSCF0348[1].jpg
    160.9 KB · Views: 158
  • forest[2].jpg
    forest[2].jpg
    229.4 KB · Views: 141

Hannes

Well-known member
After being two weeks in Liberia where I worked at a refuge camp together with the UN, I came back home to Cameroon again,


The rain season has now come to the Cameroon highlands and the only way to travel on my old, lovely patch is either to swim with is a bit risky, and the other way is to go up stream with boat, a few high elevated areas upstream usually stay rather dry, even during the rain season and usually don’t tend to get flooded, those few places is the main places for all the rainforest mammal to find food during the wet season as the rest of covered with water, the grasslands around Mbuko observation tower is such a place and among the most reliably sites, I have visited this place during the rain season the past two years and it have been the only place of the patch which has been suitable for bird watching, hundreds of bird come together at the grasslands below Mbuko observation tower during this time of the year, you see about 4 times as much bird this of the year than you do the rest of the year, the birds gather in larger groups and in a smaller area, grassland birds such weavers, sunbirds, sparrows and starlings can only bee seen in areas such this during the rain season.

I visited the Mbuko observation tower three hours last Friday; I hadn’t planed to bird this day but I meet some French people earlier during the day in my home village they was on a missionary trip in West Africa and planed to settle down in Cameroon, they had told a friend of mine that they wanted to go “birding in the jungle”, but as he cant even id a sparrow he recommended they to search u me if they wanted to go for some birding later that day. We headed out in the early afternoon but it took some 2 hours to reach Mbuko observation tower because you have to travel up stream and on the way make sure you don’t get hit by to many large tree trunks or get stuck on some large rocks, this time of the year millions of insects start to fly every where, especially around rivers and we got some hundreds or so in the eyes, ears, in the hair, yes everywhere, we felt quite a relief, or at least the French couple, when we finally reached the grasslands surrounding Mbuko observation tower. To my surprise it was quite “crowded” this day and we meet no less than 7 tourists on our way up to the tower, the first birds we spotted was a flock of Cameroon and Green-throated sunbirds which was feeding on some flowers in a few small bushes, the French couple first thought it was a couple of hummingbirds as the thought the bill was very familiar to the ones of hummingbirds, but I told them that we don’t have any hummingbirds in Africa. The couple got terrified by the next bird which showed up, a Senegal coucal which took of from the long grass surrounding the narrow patch and perched itself in a tree they had apparently thought that the bird was trying to attack them, I started to think to myself how this day would end, as we had planned to spend some three hours at the tower and they got terrified as soon as they saw a bird larger than a sparrow. But we didn’t seen any more birds on the way to the tower and that made me “happy”, it was also quite crowded up in the tower and a huge tourist large group of 30 Germans was there to watch butterflies and goliath bugs and to add to that there was probably another 10-12 people in the tower, I have never seen such a number of people in this tower before, and this time of the year? I got really confused by that. However we still found a very good spot in the crowd, the first thing I noted was a red-collared widowbird and flocks of Grey parrots as usually was present, but this time the number was about three times as large as it use to be, the flocks easily numbered several thousand birds, once again the French couple got surprised, they had apparently owned a Grey parrot a few years ago but they never believed that this bird was found in the wild, in the small mineral rich lakes, large number of ducks had gathered to feed on seeds, insects and maybe just take a swim, ducks usually tends to stay away from this habitat during the wet season as there is plenty of “newly” created lakes and rivers all over the forest, but Egyptian goose (my first ones in Cameroon for the year), African pygmy duck, African black duck and Hartlaubs duck were all present, although in various number, many Egyptians and black ducks but few African pygmy ducks, white-headed lapwing, Forbes plover, Purple heron and Black-crowned Night-heron was other water birds present. Far away, almost on the opposite side of the tower a small group of Woolly-necked storks was feeding in the muddy ditches or just took some time to clean themselves, I also recognized a dull grey bird in the flock with woolly-necks; I assume it was a juvenile Yellow-billed stork. Hadada ibis was heard several times from the forest, right behind the tower, but we never got a glimp of it, I spoke to a British guy who had been at the tower since very early in the morning, he had apparently seen both spot-breasted Ibis and Ayres hawk-eagle in the early hours of the morning. Got very jealous on that, but we sure would get our amount of raptors that day (something that I didn’t knew by then). A Chocolate-backed kingfisher took some short trips out of the forest and scoped over the small lakes to find out if they hold any nice fish, while both shining-blue kingfisher and woodland kingfisher were present almost the whole time, both making some failed attempts to catch fish. Bronze manikin, Northern Grey-headed sparrow and Pied crow (a few birds are resident here) where all inhabiting the tower itself, the French couple didn’t dared to approach any of the small birds in fear of getting bird flue, despite I said it was unlikely that any of the birds here, deep in the rainforest had been affected. We got a few fast glimpse of the beautiful Fiery-breasted bush-shrike as an adult male was feeding in a tree just at the forest edge together with a few black-winged orioles. The first bird which really caught the interest of the French was groups of Purple-headed glossy starlings which had come out of the forest to feed on insects, the small birds jumped around at the base of the tower and really shined like jewels as the sun hit them, a bare-cheeked trogon wasn’t bad either but seen at far distance. Weavers are among my favourites and they are nesting all around the grassland in Mbuko, as many as 13 different species of weaver was recorded in and around Mbuko by a Dutch guy in 2003. I have never seen more than 8 species here but today I got my first sighting of a species I have only seen a couple of times before, the Black-billed weaver, ohhhh what a beauty it is, in a large colony of village weavers I noted a few nests which didn’t look quite like the ones of the village, I watched the colony for a long time, I didn’t get much exept a few female village weavers which repaired their nests, but then suddenly, there it was, two males black-billed weavers sitting in a high tree some 100m away from the tower, the bird got everyone’s attention and they also seemed to enjoy it as they sat on the branch for a long time before they vanished in the leaflet, in hunt for food probably. Later the day I also manage to get compact weaver which seems curiously scarce this year (the two following years I have counted them in dozens in Mbuko), Black-necked weaver, the second most abundant here, Maxwell black weaver quite common, Yellow-mantled weaver and Golden-backed weaver which both was scarce as they normally inhabits more low-elevated habitat but visits the highlands during wet-season and also breeds in some numbers. Weavers are easily located just at the forest edge and 4 of the weavers nested just around the tower so you could get some excellent views of them, black dwarf hornbill was an unusual visitor and you can’t expect to find it here, Black-winged bishop and Fraser’s and Olive sunbird was shortly noted. We then took a short lunch together with the Germans which told us how they had travelled around half Africa the past 7 months and that they worked for some university in Kenya, they told us lot of interesting stories originating from all of Africa, and some stories were really amazing. Then suddenly a guy shouted that some kind of raptor had entered the grassland, it took some time to locate it as it flew back and forth over the forest and sometimes flew out of our eye site, but I got at least a few glimpse of the bird and from what I could figured out it must have been a Congo serpent-eagle, the way if flew also reminds me of the serpent-eagle, this is not a very rare species but surely among the birds of the West African rainforest which is most hard to locate, they hide in the forest canopy during most of them day, often very high up and a few times each day it flies around in search for a prey and also then high above the forest canopy and rarely enters open habitat as its main prey small monkies and tree hyraxes which both stays in the canopy, this is just the third time I see this species and my first time I see it in Cameroon. We had seen a lot of duikers, red river hog and sitatunga antelopes most of the day and they aren’t very hard to see as they tends to stay around this kind of habitat all year around, but the really surprise came when a heard of six elephants run out of the forest, it what seemed to be three young ones and three adult females, they then took a short walk on the other side of the grassland, they were probably aware of us and kept a very large distance all the time, they just had a short walk in the open before they vanished inside the cover of the forest again, this is the first time I see elephants in West Africa and they surely are extremely rare now, Cameroon might hold as few as 150 of these forest elephants today, and most of them occur in this western part, but if they are extremely rare, they are even more shy, I spoke to a local down in the village when we come back and he told me that no elephants had been sighted anywhere near Mbuko the last 5 years. So an important record for sure, but they were gone in just a minute and we started to watch the birds again, which at least were quite resident. The first swifts of the day was seen in the mid afternoon when the sun became less intensive, and the wind increased, mixed flocks with Mottled spinetail and a few Bates swifts was for some time flying over the grassland feeding on insects, the only egret which was seen during the day was a single Great egret which had company with two hamerkops, the hamerkops acutely came as a surprise as I have only rarely seen them here before, but they visits these highland grasslands during the rain season has they harbour 4 times as much food as the lowlands during this period of the year. A Olive long-tailed cuckoo was heard from inside the forest and its special sound was easy to note, some Grey-headed negrofinches, by the time a few red-fronted parrots has joined the Grey ones, African emerald cuckoo, Yellowbill, African green pigeon, Blue-headed wood dove and Bronze-naped dove where all numerous around the tower where they was feeding on fruits, berries and insects together with weavers, Crested Guinea fowl was also starting to move out of the forests as the temperature got colder, but they mainly stuck to the forest edge, so did a nervous black crake. The incredible beautiful white-crested hornbill had by the time slowly start to move out of the forest, another forest bird which you mostly cant expect to see here, hairy-breasted barbet, a buff-spotted woodpecker was the first and only woodpecker noted, it climbed at an old trunk just above the roof of the tower and we didn’t see it before it made some sounds. A common bulbul was at the other hand seen sitting just a few inches from me and also that one was the first bulbul of the day. Buff-throated apalis, short-winged ciscitcola, Dusky flycatcher, Chestnut wattle-eye and African thrush was some of the smaller birds which was being found in the forest edge, a few forest white-eyes and Johanna sunbirds was brave enough to enter more open habitat to feed. The French started to get tired and we planned to start heading back to the village, a last glimpse of Long-crested eagle and a Red-billed Helmet-shrike seen flying rapidly above us on the way to the boat made the day complete
 

Attachments

  • 01081672[1].jpg
    01081672[1].jpg
    39.1 KB · Views: 145
  • 01126956[1].jpg
    01126956[1].jpg
    29.5 KB · Views: 161
  • 01126959[1].jpg
    01126959[1].jpg
    36 KB · Views: 150

Users who are viewing this thread

Top