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SIERRA LEONE

Tuesday 15th January - Tuesday 29th January 2019

MARK VAN BEIRS

We were treated to some awesome views of the African Bird No. 1 White-necked Rockfowl (Mark Van Beirs)

We were treated to some awesome views of the African Bird No. 1 White-necked Rockfowl (Mark Van Beirs)

The delicate Sierra Leone Prina, the exquisite Gola Malimbe, the rarely-seen Turati’s Boubou, the very smart Emerald Starling, the jewel-like Crimson Seedcracker and the extraordinary White-necked Rockfowl (or Yellow-headed Picathartes) were without a doubt the most favoured birds of our January 2019 Sierra Leone tour. Searching for Upper Guinea Forest endemics in this much maligned country is more difficult than in Ghana, due to the much less developed roads and tourist infrastructure. Most of the highly desired species require some hard work, but a number of these endemics can only be seen in Sierra Leone. The country is one of the poorest countries in the world, and is in the West mainly known through the brutal civil war of the nineteen nineties, the frightening Ebola crisis of 2014-2016 and its infamous blood diamonds. But Sierra Leone has several beautiful, well-preserved National Parks and protected areas and our local outfitter took very good care of us. We had a terrific time birding the diverse habitats of this little-known country and some of the other highlights of our tour included Hartlaub’s Duck, Blue Quail, White-backed Night Heron, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Red-necked Buzzard, African Finfoot, Forbes’s Plover, Great Snipe, Blue-headed Wood Dove, Great Blue, Guinea and Yellow-billed Turacos, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Brown Nightjar, Blue-throated Roller, Chocolate-backed and Blue-breasted Kingfishers, Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Black Bee-eater, Brown-cheeked, Yellow-casqued and White-crested Hornbills, Fire-bellied and Melancholy Woodpeckers, Timneh Parrot, Black-collared Lovebird, West African Wattle-eye, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Western Bearded Greenbul, White-bibbed and West African Swallows, Oriole Warbler, Finsch’s Rufous Thrush, White-tailed Alethe, White-browed Forest and Ussher’s Flycatchers, Forest Robin, Grey-chinned (Yellow-chinned) and Buff-throated Sunbirds, Red-vented Malimbe, Yellow-winged Pytilia, Dybowski’s Twinspot, Cameroon Indigobird and Gosling’s Bunting. Mammals were regularly encountered and our encounters with Potto, Campbell’s, Diana, King Colobus and West African Red Colobus Monkeys will long be remembered. 269 bird species and mammals were recorded.

The exquisite Black-Bee-eater is always a favourite (Mark Van Beirs)

The exquisite Black-Bee-eater is always a favourite (Mark Van Beirs)