The project

Our knowledge of ecology of migrants in their wintering grounds is extremely poor and severely hampers our ability to explain these declines and conserve this group of species. We lack even basic information about when birds arrive, the habitats they use and how they move around Africa.

The aim is to understand how Palearctic-African migrants use and move around the different vegetation zones found in West Africa, ranging from the semi-desert Sahelian region in Burkina Faso to the lush tropical rainforest in southern Ghana, and whether habitat change may impact them on their wintering grounds.

During the temperate winter of 2009/2010, using point count methodology and mist-netting, we recorded migrants along a degradation gradient at five different stations on a north-south transect. In 2010/2011 we plan to re-visit these sites as well as roving further afield to get a broader picture of migrant habitat use.

Wednesday 02/11/2011 Hilltop greenbul conundrum

Above photo: male red-bellied paradise flycatcher

Chris O: Today saw our last chance to catch a glimpse of a wood warbler before heading back to Accra to meet Chas ‘n’ Chris. Our best efforts with our limited number of nets saw no migrants, even with wood warbler song being played back. Whilst waiting we did however have quite a taxing time sorting out the greenbuls we caught. With almost all of those previously caught being confidently identified as little greenbul, the first two out of the net today looked different. One was a Cameroon sombre greenbul, and the other a yellow whiskered, the latter having been heard calling from the forest cover most days, but in the hand without the yellow whiskers not so easy to identify! Subsequent catches yielded more of each, and a few little greenbuls for comparison. We think we’ve got them nailed now!

Above photo: Nick Japheth and Bee waiting for more birds

Above photo: Cameroon sombre (left) and juvenile yellow whiskered greenbuls

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