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.

9th February Mannikins and Ant-lions

Vicky writes:

Ringing at Pepease at the Alice’s Tringle sub site today. After an invigorating dose of classical music in the car on the way to the ringing site we arrived to find the air was thick with smoke. It was hard to breathe when walking in denser areas of vegetation. As the day progressed the smoke cleared somewhat and we had a modest catch of 3 species of Greenbuls: Little, Cameroon Sombre and Little Grey. Other birds included another 2 African Pygmy Kingfishers, a flock of Black-and-white Mannekins, a Speckled Tinkerbird, a pair of Chestnut-breasted Negrofinches and a scruffy Common Bulbul. Chris introduced us to an ant lion which catches its victims in a similar method to how the cavernous open drains in the towns work: it digs a hole and waits as its only a matter of time before an unsuspecting visitor falls in!

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