Welcome to Birdquest
Sunday 4th March - Saturday 31st March 2012
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. We started our tour at the end of an unusually early period of heavy rain that ceased soon after our arrival and the weather stayed dry throughout the month only resuming at the very end of our stay. This somewhat strange weather pattern certainly had some effect on the birds but nonetheless we amassed an impressive total of 620 species or recognisable forms of which all but 18 were seen. We also recorded 49 species of mammal.
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 nailed Red-headed Picathartes on our very first day at a new and easily accessible site and watched them for around two hours over two afternoons and counted up to 15 individuals hopping all around us. We had incredible views of a male Golden Nightjar in the far north where once again we found the restricted range Rock Firefinch (first discovered in the country in 2005 by Birdquest) and the recently rediscovered Chad Firefinch. Small numbers of Quail-plovers and a male Savile’s Bustard were relatively easy to see this year in the Waza area and both the beautiful Sjöstedt’s Owlet and Vermiculated Fishing Owl put on great performances in Korup National Park.
Many other specialities including much-wanted species such as Hartlaub’s Duck, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Fox Kestrel, Latham’s Forest, White-throated and Clapperton’s Francolins, Red-chested Flufftail, Arabian Bustard, Egyptian Plover, Bronze-winged Courser, Grey Pratincole, Brown-chested Lapwing, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Adamawa Turtle Dove, Red-fronted Parrot, Violet Turaco, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo (heard only), Gabon (heard only) and Black-throated Coucals, Fraser’s Eagle Owl, Standard-winged Nightjar, Bates’s Swift, Bare-cheeked Trogon, White-bellied Kingfisher, Yellow-casqued Hornbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, 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, Cameroon, Bannerman’s and Long-legged Pipits, Sjöstedt’s Honeyguide, Yellow-necked, Xavier’s, Eastern Bearded and White Bearded Greenbuls, Lesser Bristlebill, Yellow-throated Nicator (heard only), 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 Apalis, Oriole Warbler, Violet-backed Hyliota, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Dusky Crested Flycatcher, Rufous-vented and Bates’s Paradise Flycatchers, White-spotted and Black-necked Wattle-eyes, West African Batis, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Spotted Thrush Babbler, Sennar Penduline Tit, Spotted Creeper, Brown, Reichenbach’s, Orange-tufted and Bates’s Sunbirds, Forest White-eye, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Neumann’s, Purple-headed Glossy, Chestnut-bellied and White-collared Starlings, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Cassin’s, Red-vented and Blue-billed Malimbes, Pale-fronted Negrofinch, White-cheeked Oliveback, Yellow-winged and Red-winged Pytilias, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Brown and Dybowski’s Twinspots, Black-faced Firefinch, Black-headed Waxbill, Sahel Paradise Whydah, and White-rumped and West African Seedeaters. We did well with mammals too recording XX species that included great looks at Drill on Mount Kupe and West African Giraffe, Korrigum and Roan Antelope in Waza National Park.