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Birds of the Lobéké Faunal Reserve, Cameroon, and its regional importance for conservation

  • F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett

Abstract

The Faunal Reserve of the Lobéké area of south-eastern Cameroon is an important area for forest conservation. One day, it is hoped, it will be part of an international unit, in association with two protected areas in neighbouring countries (Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Congo). With a view to assessing the status of its avifauna in particular, 24 days were spent in three short surveys from 1997 to 1999. The main forest type is semi-evergreen, with an open canopy; the only natural savannas are small saline swamps. The total of 305 species of bird recorded includes a forest nightjar not yet identified (but more likely to be the rare Itombwe Nightjar Caprimulgus prigoginei than a new species) and the Dja River Warbler Bradypterus grandis. The latter is a species confined to Rhynchospora swamps and had not been re-located in Cameroon since it was first collected in 1914 west of the Dja river; the extent of suitable habitat in Lobéké makes this site the most important to date for its conservation. Other rare or little-known forest species recorded include Olive Ibis Bostrychia olivacea, Sandy Scops Owl Otus icterorhynchus, Zenker's Honeyguide Meligomon zenkeri, Tessmann's Flycatcher Muscicapa tessmanni and Yellow-capped Weaver Ploceus dorsomaculatus. Barred Owlet Glaucidium capense is locally common in open-canopy forest: this population was only recently discovered in central Africa and its taxonomic relationships have yet to be determined. We include a brief comparison with the avifauna of adjacent Dzangha-Ndoki National Park and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. A feature of the Lobéké avifauna is the presence of a few species normally associated with forest at higher altitudes (such as White-headed Wood Hoopoe Phoeniculus bollei, Uganda Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus budongoensis, Black-throated Apalis Apalis jacksoni), and perhaps absent from lower-lying Nouabalé-Ndoki.

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Birds of the Lobéké Faunal Reserve, Cameroon, and its regional importance for conservation

  • F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. J. Dowsett

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