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Sunday 6th March - Saturday 2nd April 2011

Nik Borrow

The much-wanted Quail Plover showed well again in 2011

The much-wanted Quail Plover showed well again in 2011

Cameroon may not be a tour for those who like their creature comforts but it certainly produces a huge bird list and if one intends to only ever visit one western African country then this is surely an essential destination. Our comprehensive itinerary covers a superb and wide range of the varied habitats that this sprawling country has to offer. Despite unexpectedly missing some species this year, perhaps due to the result of the previous rainy season coming late with the result that everywhere was greener but somehow inexplicably drier we nonetheless amassed an impressive total of 572 species or recognisable forms of which all but 15 were seen.

These included 26 of the regional endemics; Cameroon Olive Pigeon, Bannerman’s Turaco, Mountain Saw-wing, Cameroon Montane, Western Mountain, Cameroon Olive and Grey-headed Greenbuls, Alexander’s (split from Bocage’s) Akalat, Mountain Robin Chat, Cameroon and Bangwa Forest Warblers, Brown-backed Cisticola, Green Longtail, Bamenda Apalis, White-tailed Warbler, Black-capped Woodland Warbler, Banded Wattle-eye, White-throated Mountain Babbler, Cameroon and Ursula’s Sunbirds, Mount Cameroon Speirops, Green-breasted and Mount Kupe Bush-shrikes, Yellow-breasted Boubou, Bannerman’s Weaver and Shelley’s Oliveback. This year we once again found the recently rediscovered Chad Firefinch and the restricted range Rock Firefinch (first discovered in the country in 2005 by Birdquest). We found several Quail-plovers and a male Savile’s Bustard in the Waza area as well as a wonderful Green-breasted/African Pitta, Black Guineafowl and Vermiculated Fishing Owl in Korup National Park. Many other specialities including much-wanted species such as Hartlaub’s Duck, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle, Fox Kestrel, White-throated and Clapperton’s Francolins, Egyptian Plover, Grey Pratincole, Forbes’s Plover, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Violet Turaco, Fraser’s Eagle Owl, Sjöstedt’s Owlet, Standard-winged Nightjar, Bates’s Swift, Bare-cheeked Trogon, White-bellied Kingfisher, Blue-bellied Roller, Yellow-casqued Hornbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, Bristle-nosed, Vieillot’s and Bearded Barbets, African Piculet, Tullberg’s, Gabon and Elliot’s Woodpeckers, Grey-headed Broadbill, Sun Lark, Square-tailed and Petit’s Saw-wings, West African and Forest Swallows, Preuss’s Cliff Swallow, Bannerman’s and Long-legged Pipits, Sjöstedt’s Honeyguide, Yellow-necked, Xavier’s, Eastern Bearded and White Bearded Greenbuls, Lesser Bristlebill, Gabon Forest Robin, White-bellied, Grey-winged and White-crowned Robin Chats, African Scrub Robin, Heuglin’s Wheatear, White-fronted Black Chat, White-crowned Cliff Chat, Chattering, Red-pate, Dorst’s and Rufous Cisticolas, River Prinia, Cricket Warbler, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Black-collared and Masked Apalises, Oriole Warbler, Fraser’s Forest and Yellow-footed Flycatchers, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Rufous-vented and Bates’s Paradise Flycatchers, Black-necked Wattle-eye, West African Batis, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Spotted Thrush Babbler, Yellow Penduline Tit, Spotted Creeper, Reichenbach’s and Orange-tufted Sunbirds, Forest White-eye, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Neumann’s, Chestnut-bellied and White-collared Starlings, Rachel’s and Red-bellied Malimbes, Red-headed Antpecker, Brown and Dybowski’s Twinspots Black-headed Waxbill and White-rumped Seedeater. We did well with mammals too recording 45 species that included great looks at Giraffe, Topi, Roan Antelope and even Serval Cat in Waza National Park and an absolutely amazing and unexpected Leopard in Bénoué National Park.