Older posts

September 2020-2: New species for Niger: Eurasian Black Vulture fitted with a transmitter in southern France!

2020-09-09 [JBr]

A young male Eurasian Black Vulture, fitted with a satellite transmitter in the Aveyron region of southern France in Augustus 2019, was found back along the Niger-Nigeria border in December 2019!  It is the first record of this species for Niger, and probably also for Nigeria.  See http://rapaces.lpo.fr/vautour-moine/xylophone-au-nig-ria and https://www.magornitho.org/2020/05/cinereous-vultures-wandering-africa/

September 2020: Unconfirmed records in general and Dunn’s and Kordofan Larks

2020-09-08 [JBr]

We feel it is useful to keep track on the WABDaB site of records that need further corroboration before being added to database itself.  Such records can alert other observers to keep an eye out for the species concerned near the location concerned.  Records to be confirmed can now be viewed via the Resources option in  the menu.  The list is not complete, older unconfirmed records need to be added.

A recent discussion brought to the fore again that separating Kordofan and Dunn’s Lark in the field, and sometimes even Singing Bush Lark, is not a straight forward matter.  For instance, all three species can have tri-coloured tails.  We have therefore moved to the new ‘To be confirmed’ file all the records of Dunn’s Lark and Kordofan Lark from outside areas where their presence has been confirmed via pictures or collections.  For Kordofan Lark this leaves only one record.  Opinions about the pictures attached to that record vary.  Further investigation may lead to that record to require further confirmation, too.

July 2020: 450th photo species for the WABDaB!

2020-07-06 [JBr]

The recently added first photos of Red-chested Swallow bring to 450 the number of species of which there is at least one image in the WABDaB.  Other recently added first photos were of Violet-backed Starling, Klaas's Cuckoo and Snowy-crowned Robin Chat.  Soon to be added: Heuglin's Masked Weaver!

May 2020: White Stork and Griffon Vulture recoveries in Niger and Chad

2020-05-16 [JBr]

Recent interesting ring recoveries include two White Storks and two Griffon Vultures, one each in Niger and Chad. 
           A White Stork with ring 8140, recovered near Tillabéri in December 2019, had been ringed as a nestling in Staphorst, The Netherlands on 25 July 2007.  A White Stork found dead on a bush in the Ouadi Rimé Ouadi Achim Fauna Reserve in central Chad late March 2020, ring 42P50 PLG, had been ringed as a nestling in Paprotnia, 40 km due west of Warsaw, Poland, on 29 June 2019.
           A Griffon Vulture fitted with a transmitter by the Israel Nature and Parks Organisation around August 2019  crossed into NE Chad south of the Ennedi Massif on 9 Ocober 2019 and probably died five days later right on the border with Sudan.  A Griffon Vulture named Uvac, wing-tagged as a nestling on the Island of Cres in Croatia on May 7 2019, was found in poor condition at Gougama, 50 km SE of Arlit just west of the Aïr, in October 2019.  Uvac was rehabilitated and released again by the authorities on 8 January 2020.
           Many thanks for these recoveries to Benoît Forget and a trustworthy local guide in Niger and Wim van Nee and Annemieke Enters of STORK, The Netherlands; Krazidi Abeye and colleagues in Chad and Izabela Fischer of the Polish Ringing Centre; Ohad Hatzofeh in Israel; Colonel Samaila Sahailou (national director) and major Illiassou (regional director Arlit) of the Department of Fauna, Hunting, Parks and Reserves of the Niger Ministry of Environment and Tomislav Bandera Anic (Beli Visitor Centre and Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures) and Goran Sušic (Institute of Ornithology, Beli) in Croatia.

April 2020: 100.000 records for the WABDaB, and more!

2020-04-28 [JBr]

We know it is not top priority in these complicated times but hope it is a welcome diversion.  On 19 April 2020 the 100.000th record was uploaded to the WABDaB!  A big thank you to all who have contributed over the years: some briefly, others year after year, some the day of their observations, others with records from tens of years back.  All very much appreciated!
            As a reminder of the size of the area covered by the WABDaB: the area covered by Niger+Chad+Burkina Faso  is equal to the area covered by Portugal +Spain +France +Germany +Belgium +Netherlands +Luxemburg +United Kingdom.  Or slightly larger than Texas +New Mexico +Arizona +California and almost one quarter of the 48 contiguous states of the USA.  Experience suggests that at any time in recent years there are less than ten contributors in Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso combined, so keep those observations coming in!
            The WABDaB now contains 61.000 records from Niger 35.000 from Chad and 5.000 from Burkina Faso.  Quite a few of the records include comments on numbers, behaviour, ecology etc. of the species concerned, or a description for unusual records.  All really useful.  New species have been added to the national lists as well, including more than fifty for Niger since Giraudoux et al. 1988, Malimbus 10(1).  And Greater Kestrel, Chestnut Sparrow and Red-throated Bee-eater ssp frenatus were firsts for all of West Africa.  There are now records of 573 species in total, with evidence of breeding for 239.  The WABDaB also holds 4700 photographs of 446 species, some of which are rarely found elsewhere.  Many thanks to all the photographers, too!
            For birders in Europe the pictures of Palearctic-bred migrants in very non-European circumstances may hold special interest, e.g. Eurasian Golden Orioles mixing it with brilliantly blue Abyssinian Rollers at a waterbowl in Niger.  For those of you in Africa the budding information on local bird names and stories may deserve special attention.  And for those with an interest in both Africa and Europe: ringing, satellite tracking and geolocator studies have helped show Niger to be connected by migratory birds to at least 94 other countries, almost all of Africa and Europe, from South Africa to Greenland/Iceland, perhaps even NE Canada (based on Northern Wheatear subspecies observation), and across to the east far into Siberia, including also the Caucasus and most of the Middle East (maps still to be put on the site).  The WABDaB contains some illustrated documents on how to separate more difficult species pairs as well.
            Over the years data and/or pictures from the WABDaB (with permission from the photographers) have been provided to many conservationists, researchers and private individuals.  See below for species involved.
            Much still to be discovered, to be done, to be published.  With your help we hope to keep soldiering on to expand the knowledge and conservation of birds in West Africa.  May birds continue to inspire you, too, wherever you are.

Ulf, Tim and Joost

Over the years data and/or pictures (with permission from the photographers) from the WABDaB have been provided to organisations and individuals interested in Dwarf Bittern, Hamerkop, Glossy Ibis, African Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork, Yellow-billed, Saddle-billed,  Marabou, White and Black Storks; Eurasian Spoonbill; White-backed, Griffon, Rüppell's, Lappet-faced, Egyptian and Hooded Vultures, Shikra, Gabar Goshawk, African Fish Eagle, Booted Eagle, Pallid and Montagu's Harriers, Fox and Mountain Kestrel; Peregrine, Lanner and Saker Falcons; Arabian and Nubian Bustards, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Senegal Parrot, Rose-ringed Parakeet, European Turtle Dove; Jacobin, Levaillant's and Great Spotted Cuckoos, Barn Owl, European Nightjar, White-throated Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Northern Ground Hornbill, Singing Bush Lark, Lesser Striped and Barn Swallows, unidentified large pipits, White Wagtail, Savi's Warbler, Long-tailed Starling, House Sparrow and West Palearctic birds in general.  Also to national representatives of the Ramsar Convention and Convention on Biological Diversity.  And last but not least, to the Important Bird Area programme of BirdLife International and to the African Raptor Data Bank.

October 2019: Ten years of WABDaB!!

2019-11-02 [JBr]

Ten years and a week since the NiBDaB -now WABDAB- went on-line.  We feel we've come a long way since then, adding Chad and Burkina Faso to Niger as focal countries along the way.  Thanks to our many contributors, we are at almost 60.000 records for Niger now, and almost 30.000 for Chad.  And for the three countries combined at 4403 photos of 437 different species.  We can't name all the past observers but present regular contributions by Benoît Forget in Niger and by Elsa Bussiere en Tim Wacher in Chad are essential in keeping the WABDaB flame burning.  We should probably do more about publicity but as long as the WABDaB remains an all-volunteer effort finding the time to publicise our existence remains a problem.  All suggestions on publicity and funding are welcome!

September 2019: New species: possible sighting of Mediterranean Flycatcher in Niger

2019-09-03 [ULi]

Mediterranean FlycatcherSince the Mediterranean Flycatcher (Muscicapa tyrrhenica) has recently been split from the Spotted Flycatcher (M. striata), we checked the photos in the WABDaB, and are fairly sure that we found evidence of the occurence of this species in Niger through this observation.

We are of course very happy about this addition to the Nigerien bird fauna, and would also like to warmly encourage our users to keep a look out for this new species.  If you can, please take photos of the front and the back.

March 2018: Five species new to Niger

2018-03-19 [JBr]

Please excuse the long delay since the previous blog.  Recently just over 1.000 records by Robert Dowsett and Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire from Park W-Niger have been added, mostly dating from 2016 and 2017.  We are very grateful for these additions.  They include the first confirmed records for Niger of Narina Trogon, African Moustached Warbler, Moltoni’s Warbler, Yellow-breasted Apalis and Splendid Sunbird, all of them at one or more places along the Mékrou River in the very south-west of the country.  Their observations also include first records for the WABDaB of Palm-nut Vulture, Yellowbill, African Blue Flycatcher and Black-necked Weaver.

April 2017: Common Rock Thrush, new for Burkina Faso

2017-04-17 [JBr]

Two expeditions to study the relationships between birds and trees in the Sahel, especially palearctic migratory birds, visited Burkina Faso in Jan-Feb 2016 and Niger in Nov-Dec 2016.  The expeditions were executed on behalf of BirdLife The Netherlands by consulting firm Altenburg & Wymenga (Jan van der Kamp, Rob Bijlsma, Leo Zwarts and in Niger for the first half Housseini Issaka).  As a result 1122 records from Niger were added to the WABdaB, including four records of Eurasian Wryneck and five of Striped Kingfishers, which show that these species do indeed winter in the southern Niger.  The 237 records added for Burkina Faso include the first record for the WABDaB of Splendid Sunbird, and the first record for Burkina Faso of Common Rock Thrush (details are being sought).  One or more observations from 32 new blocks in Burkina and 3 new blocks in Niger were added.

March 2017: Common Crane new species for Chad

2017-04-05 [JBr]

The WABDaB received 923 new records this past month, more or less evenly divided between Niger and Chad.  Those from Niger include the first records of River Prinia and Greater Swamp Warbler from the Dallol Bosso.  Those from Chad include the first record for the country of Common Crane, among a group of Black Crowned Cranes in Zakouma NP, by Squack Evans on 2 March 2017.

February 2017 : Caspian Plover, White-tailed Lapwing and Nile Valley Sunbird, (almost) new for Chad

2017-02-10 [JBr]

My apologies for the long delay since my previous WABDaB blog of September.  Since then more than 3,000 records and more than 300, often very nice, photos have been added, mostly from Chad and thanks to Tim Wacher and Paul van Giersbergen.  These include Caspian Plover (new species for Chad), White-tailed Lapwing (second record for Chad), Brown-tailed Rock Chat (we are still sorting out some issues on this record) and Nile Valley Sunbird.  All four are new WABDaB species and the latter would be a new species for West Africa as a whole. 

We have been looking into reports of Nile Valley Sunbird and Pygmy Sunbird from northern Chad for almost a year now but Paul van Giersbergen's photo from the Ennedi in September 2016 clearly shows a male with a (not very wide) purple breastband similar to Nile Valley Sunbird.  Interbreeding of the two species in northern Chad is a possibility.  We will keep you posted of what we find out.

For Niger some 200 records were added, thanks to Enrico Leonardi, Sharmila Pillai and Tim and Barbie Kusserow.  The most remarkable record is of House Sparrows from the Diffa area, where the species is reported to be common now, also in Displaced Persons camps.

September 2016 : information from the WABDaB used for a new report and a new book

2016-10-06 [JBr]

Not much action on the new records front, with just 51 new observations and one nice new picture of a Rufous-crowned Roller from Niger.  However, information from the WABDaB has been used for

1. a status report on the European Turtledove for an EU-LIFE project and

2. Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East: an Annotated Checklist, due to be published later this year by Lynx Edicions.  The area described in the tile of the book is also known as the Western Palearctic and includes the very northern parts of Niger (Djado Plateau) and Chad (Tibesti).

August 2016 : A new species for the WABDaB - first photos - article on the Sahel and migrating birds

2016-09-01 [JBr]

During the past month the WABDaB received its first record of Meyer's Parrot.  First photos were received of Western Banded Snake Eagle, Brown-backed Woodpecker (both also first WABDaB records for Chad), Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Black Scimitarbill, Goliath Heron and African Scops Owl. A big thank-you for all the records and photos from two visits to Zakouma NP in 2014 and 2015.

A short illustrated article by David Kusserow has been uploaded to the literature list, on the difference between the green, welcoming Sahel in September-October, when migratory birds from Eurasia arrive, and the dry Sahel with litte to eat when the birds go north again in March-April.  Photos all on p.2, click here for the pdf.  If someone would like to translate it into French ...

June-July 2016 : new photo species for the WABDaB; correction to blog of December 2015

2016-07-23 [JBr]

Since the last blog 146 records from Niger and exactly 500 records from Chad were added.  For Chad first photos for 11 species were uploaded, including African Crake and Green-backed Eremomela, both also new photo species for the WABDaB as a whole.  There are also some beautiful close-ups of Four-banded Sandgrouse and Abyssinian Roller and an image of a Little Bittern stranded in the sand in the desert.  For those who like a challenge: count these very closely packed Red-billed Quelea at their roost at night!
            New images of Helmeted Guineafowl show that eastern subspecies meleagris occurs in central Chad and in Zakouma NP, while West African subspecies galeatus occurs at least as far east as Termit in eastern Niger.  Where exactly the boundary between the two species lies, and if they overlap, is still to be determined.  Subspecies meleagris in Chad looks to have a rather less pronouced helmet than is shown by  Borrow & Demey in their field guides.
            See also the correction to the blog of December 2015, in which the record of Caspian Plover from SW Niger is withdrawn because of insufficient detail in the description.

May 2016 : New records, some nice images, watch out for Barka Indigobird in Niger

2016-05-25 [JBr]

Over the past month 464 records from Chad have been added and 183 from Niger.  The records from Chad include the first record for the WABDAB of Winding Cisticola; many palearctic migrants on their way north, including Masked Shrike; and Chestnut Sparrows in non-breeding plumage.  New images include a shot by Tim Wacher showing why Red-billed Quelea are also called 'feathered locusts'.  The Niger records include nice images of Bearded Barbet and of Pearl-Spotted Owlet with eyes in front and in the rear of its head.  Note that Barka Indigobird has been observed by Bob & Françoise Dowsett in Benin near Pont Triple, only 50 m from the border with Niger.  Keep an eye out for it in W, it parasitises Black-faced Firefinch.

April 2016 : Old bird stories; old notebooks; Shikra vs Gabar

2016-04-19 [JBr]

Traditional bird stories are a way of generating interest in birds with people who were not interested before.  As society becomes less traditional such stories are in danger of disappearing.  These are two very good reasons for collecting these stories.  Four such stories, from the Gourmantché in the border region of Burkina Faso and Niger, have just been published, in English and in French.  See Malimbus 38:28-32 .  Please help collect traditional bird stories from Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, and other African countries if you like.  We will be happy to help you get them published.
            Peter Browne dug out his old notebooks to add 24 records from Ouaga from March 1984 and July 1987.  The 10 Fox Kestrels he saw at Ouaga airport are remarkable, as are the 30 Hooded Vultures.  A reminder of what once was, that last observation.  And of the importance of your efforts to help preserve West Africa's natural resources.  If you or someone you know has observations from Burkina, Niger and/or Chad in old notebooks, please do your best to get them uploaded to the WABDAB!  Ulf and Joost are always happy to assist with that.
            We have been working for sometime on an illustrated document explaining differences between juvenile Shikras and Gabar Goshawks.  It has now been uploaded.  For good measure it includes the adult birds as well.  Many thanks to all who contributed!  http://www.wabdab.org/db/viewdocument?key=DIFFICULT_SPECIES

March 2016 : Blue Rock Thrush, Marbled Teal and other species from northern Chad

2016-03-25 [JBr]

During the past month a further 365 records from central and northern Chad by Robert Schoenbrodt, from a trip to the Ennedi in 2008-2009, have been added to the WABDaB.  These include more Barbary Falcons; a Blue Rock Thrush (expected to occur during the dry season but there are only a few previous records from Chad); flocks of 40, 165 and 320 Marbled Teal on three different lakes in the far north; two records of the very local Neumann's Starling, including a new northern location in the Bahr El Gazel; and six records of Trumpeter Finch from the north, including a concentration of 35. 

February 2016 : How to sort records. A new species for Chad? Very cute coucal.

2016-03-03 [JBr]

Users of the WABDaB may want to sort the records that have been called up, for instance on day of the year to check the arrival and departure dates of migratory species.   To sort the records, click once on the heading of the column of interest.  To reverse the sorting order, click on the heading a second time.

            New records uploaded the past month include 238 records of 2011 from central and northern Chad by Robert Schoenbrodt.  Noteworthy are  three observations of Barbary Falcon (more common in the Sahel than records indicate), two of Marbled Teal, a Cape Teal with three almost grown young, and five records of House Sparrow, confirming that the latter really has become quite wide-spread in Chad.  A further 735 records from central Chad from August 2010 were added by  Tim Wacher and John Newby.  These include a Golden Eagle, of which Borrow & Demey (2014) only show one record from Chad, possibly the same record.  Large groups of Abdim Storks (800) and Yellow-billed Kites (1.000) were seen as well.  The milestones of 10.000 records and 50 breeding species for Chad are now well and truly rounded.  

            Don't forget to look at the very cute pictures of a very young Senegal Coucal at http://www.wabdab.org/db/viewspecies?type=species&species=Senegal+Coucal&speciesKey=18523&speciesId=18523 .

January 2016: a new species for West Africa found in Chad!

2016-01-17 [JBr]

On 15 September 2015, a team of the Sahara Conservation Foundation and the Zoological Society London, consisting of Tim Wacher and John Newby and their colleagues, discovered in Central Chad a group of nesting Chestnut Sparrows!  This is the first record of this species in West Africa, and an extension of its presence in western Sudan.  See the pictures at http://www.wabdab.org/db/viewspecies?type=species&species=Chestnut+Sparrow&speciesKey=115530&speciesId=115530

December 2015 : 4.404 records by Pierre Souvairan from SW Niger added, 3 new species for Niger

2016-01-17 [JBr]

correction 21 Juy 2016:
Pierre Souvairan was a Brother of Taizé who lived and birded near Makalondi in SW Niger 1968-1998.  Recently 4.404 of his records from the Makalondi area were added to the WABDaB.  These involved 311 species, of which 3 with no other records for Niger: Black-cap Babbler, Fanti Saw-wing and Many-coloured Bush-shrike.  Nesting records for 93 species boosted the number of proven breeding species for Niger in  the WABDaB by 37.  Souvairan's record of a Caspian Plover on 26 October 1980 ("Found dead in the bush: clearly identified with breast band, no wattles, brown forehead, etc.  Very skinny.") cannot be accepted because other Charadrius species cannot be excluded.

November 2015: WABDaB five years on-line!

2015-12-02 [JBr]

On 24 October it was five years since the WABDaB came on-line!  Starting out as the NiBDaB, the Niger Bird DataBase, the WABDaB now also covers Chad and Burkina Faso and contains more than 57.000 records of 523 species, with breeding records for 161 of those, as well more than 2.500 photos of 372 species.  Among the records are many first observations for Niger and Chad, backed by photos, as well as two first observations for all of West Africa: a Greater Kestrel in eastern Niger and (soon to be included) Chestnut Sparrows in central Chad.  Information from the WABDaB has been used to help e.g.

- improve and update maps in the field guide for West Africa by Borrow & Demey

- assess the Africa-wide conservation status of e.g. vultures, Secretarybird and parrots

- formulate species action plans for e.g. Eurasian Spoonbill

- assess the status of terrestrial and freshwater fauna in West and Central Africa by IUCN

- assess the effects of climate change on bird distribution in a project of BirdLife International.

Our sincere thanks to all who have contributed records or photos, without you the WABDaB wouldn’t be half the resource it is now.  You are too many to name individually, but we feel we  should make an exception for the Sahara Conservation Fund, who have provided almost all the records from Chad and from east-central Niger.

As a means of increasing involvement of local populations, the WABDaB also includes, and actively collects, information on bird names in local languages and bird stories from local cultures.

Over the coming five years we hope to double number of records to more than 100.000, with special attention to Burkina Faso and Chad.  We will also continue to improve the ease of extraction of information from the WABDaB, and add new features (and countries?) as we find time to do so.  Putting the WABDaB on a sounder financial footing is will be a priority.  But above all, we hope to continue the pleasure of interacting with you all to achieve our mutual goal: improving the conservation of West Africa’s birds by increasing our knowledge about them. 

Ulf, Joost and Tim

September 2015: unusual breeding records Niger

2015-10-13 [JBr]

Lesser Striped Swallows were found breeding in a culvert near Galmi in August.  This constitutes not only a range extension for Niger to east of the Dallol Bosso, but also the first breeding record in Niger not in a natural rocky cavity.  Another uncommon breeding record is of African Cuckoo near Maradi in September, a juvenile being attended to, but not seen being fed by, a pair of Yellow-billed Shrikes.

August 2015: Esther Garvi

2015-08-16 [JBr]
The WABDaB team deeply regrets having to announce the death of Esther Garvi in a car accident in Niger.  Esther was a faithful supporter and contributor to the NiBDaB/WABDAB since 2010.  Her cheerful communications and her dedication to the people and environment of Niger will be sorely missed.  Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, and with the school children she so lovingly assisted.  May Esther rest in peace.

July 2015: new logo; new species Chad; new records wanted

2015-07-03 [JBr]

We are pleased to announce that we have a new WABDaB logo as shown on the web page header.  We happily acknowledge Nik Borrow's much appreciated contribution of the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill image for this logo.

Over the past six months four new species for Chad have been documented: Pel's Fishing Owl, Isabelline shrike (see the databse for both) as well as Watttled Starling and African Black Swift (to be added soon).  On two other new species we are still awaiting details.  More on this in the next issue of the Bulletin of the African Bird Club. 

All of you who read this, please submit to the WABDaB any bird records you have from Niger, Chad or Burkina Faso.  You can  enter them on-line on the website after a simple registration procedure that allows us to check back with you on any unusual sightings.  You can also send your records to me in an Excel file, for which I can sen you an example file and brief instructions.  Details on unusual sightings including descriptions, can be added in the Remarks field.  We are always willing to help you with uploading and identification problems.  It is records from people like you that make the WADaB a living conservation and research tool!! 

After a record has been included any associated images can be uploaded as well.  The photographers retain the copyright to any image uploaded.  The WABDaB is programmed to reduce uploaded images to files with 800 pixels along the longest side.  This makes the images easier to look at with a slow internet connection and also discourages unauthorised use.  Anyone interested in an image in the WABDaB can contact the copyright holder via the WABDaB administrators.

June 2015: Chad and Burkina added, cisticola corrected

2015-06-21 [JBr]

As our faithful followers will have noticed, the NiBDaB has changed its name to WABDaB, the West African Bird DataBase at www.wabdab.org (though www.nibdab.org still works, too).  in addition to Niger, records and images of birds from Chad and Burkina Faso are now also accepted.  Thanks to especially Tim Wacher of the Zoological Society Londonand the Sahara Conservation Fund, and also to Lorna Labuschagne of Africa Parks in Zakouma NP, the WABDaB already contains 6667 records of 336 species from Chad.  Tim has kindly agreed to be a WABDAB administrator for Chad.   We hope to get properly started on Burkina soon.

Upon further examination we have come to the conclusion that the cisticola photographed at Kellé on 31 July 2014 by the Sahara Conservation Fund is not a Red-pate Cisticola after all.  It is now considered to be in the Foxy/Shortwinged/Rufous Cisticola group, also new for Niger.  But what species precisely it is remains a mystery for now.  To be continued, we hope.  See also the pictures of Red-pate Cisticola from Chad.

We hope to introduce the new WABDaB logo later this month.

September 2014

2014-09-12 [JBr]

The Red-pate Cisticola photographed at Kellé on 31 July 2014 by the Sahara Conservation Fund is a new species for Niger and the 500th species to be included in the NiBDaB!  As old records are included the total number of species in the NiBDaB will increase to more than 530.

NiBDaB News May 2014

2014-05-27 [JBr]

We regret that the NiBDaB was again off-line for a couple of weeks, due to problems on the side of the service provider.  We hope there will be no further interruptions for a long time.

New photo species added this past month (no picture in the NiBDaB before) are Brown Babbler, Little Owl and Secretarybird.  The latter is an image from 1985, the last known record in Niger is from 2006.  The species may now be extinct in Niger. 

That Brown Babbler is a new photo species may surprise you, as it did us.  You can check in the Niger checklist (10th menu option on the left): species without a picture icon following their name have no image in the NiBDaB yet.  Do send us your pictures, also of common species: the more pictures we have of a species, the better the impression one can get of that species.

In addition to our usual faithful contributors we received more than 1,000 records from the Sahara Conservation Fund.  The NiBDaB is now 5 records short of 47,000.

Some of you may have already noted a new feature: dates are now presented in two columns, day of the month and year.  This allows quick sorting on time of year, which is of interests for the arrival and departure of  migrants, and for determining breeding seasons.  Sorting on one column can be done on screen, by clicking on a column heading.  Click again to get the reverse order.  For sorting on more than one column, e.g. first on breeding (yes/no) and then on time of year, first use the function for downloading the data of interest in an Excel file.  Use of this function has already shown the following

- Yellow-billed Kites (only 5 breeding records!) seem to start breeding well into the dry season (Nov or later) and have big young by June. 

- Mourning Doves (only 8 breeding records!) seem to nests most of the year, having been observed carrying twigs in Feb (2x), Aug, Oct, Nov (2x) and having eggs in June.

- Speckled Pigeons seem to breed all year round , though for June-August we only have one breeding record.

Enjoy your birding,

Joost and Ulf

brouwereac AT online.nl

NiBDaB News April 2014

2014-04-12 [JBr]


Joost Brouwer and Ulf Liedén

Now that the NiBDaB is back on-line it is high time to give you some news about its contents and its utilisation by others.  Various studies have shown that projects like the NiBDaB are useful for conservation:
People recording everyday sightings of birds, even the most common species, could help limit future extinctions, a study suggests.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/10206710 >
A review of more than 230 ?citizen science? projects says the involvement of volunteers offers ?high value to research, policy and practice?;.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/science-environment-20445296 >

At present the NiBDaB stands at 45.758 observations of 498 species in 190 half-degree blocks, with proof of breeding for 153 species.  And 1628 photos of 315 species.  Quite a lot of records have come in since our previous news message, too many to name individual observers and organisations.  MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED AND KEEP THOSE RECORDS AND PHOTOS COMING IN!! 

In March 2012 the Termit-Tin Toumma Nature Reserve was gazetted.  At 97,000 km2 it is the largest single protected area in Africa.  Congratulations to the Niger government, the local inhabitants, and all others involved in its establishment.  And best wishes for its successful management.  http://www.saharaconservation.org/?-News-


Data from the NiBDaB have been used in the assessment of the conservation status of
- Hooded Vulture (now considered Endangered)
- all other vultures (in Niger Lappet-faced Vulture, African White-backed Vulture, Rppell?s Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, White-headed Vulture, Palm-nut Vulture); almost all vultures are doing very poorly
- Secretarybird (Critically Endangered west of Cameroon)
- Northern Ground Hornbill
- Sooty Falcon
- Saker Falcon.
- all parrots (in Niger Senegal Parrot, Rose-ringed parakeet and Red-headed Lovebird).
Information on all these species is extra welcome, especially on trade in life birds and/or body parts for traditional medicine (gri-gri).

In addition information was provided for a situation analysis desk study by IUCN on status of vertebrate fauna in West and Central Africa

Information was also given to the AfricanBirding and TanzaniaBirds list servers and to individuals on
- Lanner Falcon
- Woodland Kingfisher
- breeding of Wahlberg?s Eagle in West Africa
- Yellow-billed Oxpecker and the large mammals it has been found on in Niger
- White-rumped Swift,

Some pictures from the NiBDaB have been submitted for use in a book on the waterbirds along the Atlantic coast of Africa, in consultation with the photographers of course.

The NiBDaB received ? 1.806 (GBP 1500,-) from BirdLife International for the use of 37,000 records in its examination of the effects of climate change on certain bird species in protected areas.  Of this ? 1.061 has been used for a study on local bird names and stories.  The remainder was used to pay the annual fees for the server that hosts the NiBDaB.


A new feature since our last news message is the section on bird names and stories in languages and cultures from Niger.  See the bottom of the menu on the left hand side of the NiBDaB homepage.  An anthropologist in Niger told us that, with the spreading of solar panels and television, the heritage of local bird names ans stories is disappearing, the knowledge is not transferred to the next generation the way it used to.  HELP PRESERVE THIS CULTURAL HERITAGE.  Anyone can contribute, see the files on the webiste for the kind of information we are looking for and for the background information that is very useful to record, too.


The African Raptor DataBase (http://www.habitatinfo.com/ardb/ ) was founded following the Pan African Ornithological congress in Tanzania in 2012.  Its aims are to further the knowledge and conservation of raptors Africa-wide.  It contains more than 2,000 raptor records from Niger, all pre-2007, mostly Joost?s.  We would like to send them further raptor data from the NiBDaB.  The ARDB will only use those records for its own purposes and not forward them to others without checking with the NiBDaB administrators first.  Protected information in the NiBDaB (details of vulture and large falcon observations are only avialbel through the administrators) remains protected in the ARDB.  IF YO DO NOT WANT YOUR RAPTOR RECORDS FROM THE NIBDAB TO BE FORWARDED TO THE ARDB, PLEASE LET US KNOW IMMEDIATELY.  IF WE HEAR NOTHING THE RECORDS WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE ARDB IN TWO WEEKS? TIME..


Analysis of ringing, satellite-tracking and geo-locator data show that Niger is linked to at least 93 other countries.  Latest additions include Liberia (a Honey Buzzard from Finland) and Luxembourg (a common cuckoo from the UK).


Literature added to the NiBDaB site include
- a publication by Adam Manvell, A Contribution to the Ornithology of Northern Gobir
- a paper by Thomas Rabeil and Tim Wacher on the first record for West Africa of Greater Kestrel (closest know location of occurrence is 3000 km away in South Sudan!)
- a paper by Tim wacher and colleagues of the Sahara Conservation Fund on vultures of Niger and Chad
- and a report and paper on the ecology of the Saker Falcon in Niger by Housseini Issaka and Joost Brouwer


Three papers were presented, on the NiBDaN it self; on names and stories in local languages and cultures of Niger, and on how migratory birds have been shown to link Nigfer to at least 93 other countries, from Portugal and the Shetland islands east to Siberia, south via Kazakhstan, the Kaukasus, and the Middle East down to Madagascar and South Africa, including almost all African countries.


Information on separating the following species pairs and trio has been added:
- Savile?s Bustard and Black-bellied bustard
- Arabian Bustard, Denham?s Bustard and Nubian Bustard
- Wahlberg?s Eagle and Booted Eagle (pale forms)
In preparation:
- European Roller vs Abyssinian Roller without long tail feathers
- Juvenile Green-backed Heron vs juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
- Juvenile Gabar Goshawk and juvenile Shikra

Till next time, Joost and Ulf

Public profile pages, photos on location map, latest observations on start page

2012-01-17 [ULi]

Dear all,

there has recently been more new features introduced on the NiBDaB. Usually we don't inform about all new updates, but this time there has been a change in how the data of our users is displayed on the internet, so we decided to inform about the most important changes.

  1. Profile pages are now publicly accessible. Earlier it was necessary to log in to be able to see the user profile pages (most easily accessed through the User statistics). To promote the community and make the NiBDaB a bit more open, the profile pages are now publicly available without log in. However, the profile fields "City" and "Registered since" are only displayed to other registered NiBDaB users.
  2. It is now possible to browse the photos taken at a certain location on the location map. If you follow the "Locations" menu item, you see a map of Niger. If you zoom in on a certain area, the locations are displayed as different coloured markers. You can also jump to a certain location by starting typing it's name, choose it's name in the suggestion list that occur, and click "Go". Clicking a location marker will open an info bubble with some location information. If there are photos available at that location, some thumbnails are showed in the info bubble. If you click the thumbnails, a page is opened, displaying all photos taken at that location. Interesting locations to try this out are "Inselberg hills Torodi road" and "Saga irrigation area".
    In a future release, the markers for locations with photos will look different, to indicate the presence of photos.
  3. By default, the observations listed on the start page are the observations that where entered most recently into the system. Since both Joost and I are entering backlog observations, there will sometimes be observations at the top of the list that where actually observed years ago. If you prefer to see the observations that where made the most recently, you can now toggle the display of the observation list between the last entered and the last observed observations through a drop down list labeled "Display" just up to the right of the observation list.
    (Tip: If you always want to see the latest observations in the list on the start page, bookmark this link: http://www.nibdab.org/db/?sort=od)

All the best, and happy birding!

Ulf & Joost

Get in contact!

2012-01-11 [ULi]

Dear all,

hope you had a nice Christmas and that the New Year has started well! 

The update of the NiBDaB web site, which was announced by Joost in his NiBDaB newsletter, is now in place.

The most important change is that you can now let other registered NiBDaB users send you messages through the web site. By default, no one can send you any messages, but if you tick the "Contact allowed" checkbox in your registration details (which you find if you click "My profile"), other registered users will be able to send you messages through a "Send e-mail" link on your profile page as well as on the page of each observation you entered. Please note: Your e-mail address is never displayed on the web site. 

Other novelties are:

  1. You can store the name and the internet address (URL) of your own home page in your registration details. If you do so, this link will be displayed on your profile page. 
  2. Now all your uploaded photos are displayed on your profile page, not just the most recent ones. The photos can be sorted according to entry date (default), taxonomic order and popularity (number of views).

To see and edit your personal registration details, visit "My profile".

To see an example of the "Send e-mail" link and display of the homepage link, visit Ulf's profile page

The profile pages of all users who have entered observations are most easily accessible through the "User statistics".

We wish you all the best for the New Year 2012, and a lot of memorable birding moments. 

Ulf and Joost

NiBDaB news

2011-11-23 [ULi]

Dear all,

The NiBDaB's first anniversary as a public database was four weeks ago.  Time for a NiBDaB update.


When we went public on 23 October 2010 we wrote

At present the database holds 25,900 records of 456 species from 130 half-degree blocks in Niger.

We can now write

On 18 November 2011 the database held 37,015 records of 476 species from 170 half-degree blocks in Niger, with breeding records for 135, as well as 611 photos of 230 species, all taken in Niger.

We are very pleased with this addition in one year of 11.000 records that cover 40 new blocks.  The photo gallery has been particularly successful, thanks to Ulf's foresight.  Please note that there are often pointers on identification included in the captions to the pictures.  Please keep adding records, with and without photos, and encourage others to do so, too!

Note that it is now also possible to comment on records without photos.  Just click on the "i" symbol at the end of the record concerned.  As for the photos, the submitter of the record will be notified if any comments is added.

Use of NiBDaB information by others

We are pleased that BirdLife International has asked to be allowed to use the NiBDaB records in a project to investigate possible effects of climate change on bird distributions in protected areas in West Africa.  The fee that BirdLife will pay will be used to pay for the server and to expand the NiBDaB.

We are also pleased that Nik Borrow has asked if he and Ron Demey can use the distribution information from the NiBDaB in the upcoming revised edition of their Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa.

The latest new species for Niger

The latest new species for Niger, both with pictures, are African Black Swift (Gouré) and Wattled Starling (Mainé-Soroa).  The East seems to be where the action is!  It is in any case even less explored ornithologically than Niamey and surroundings.

Accessibility to information on threatened species in the NiBDaB

This accessibility has been changed.  For Hooded Vulture, White-headed Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Rüppell's Griffon Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Black-crowned Crane, Arabian Bustard, Denham's Bustard and Nubian Bustard, only an overall distribution map is shown, without indication of breeding and with only one size symbol, irrespective of the number of observations in a block.  Individual records, breeding maps and breeding records are only made available on special request and to trusted individuals and organisations.

Difficult species pairs

We thought it would be useful to add a section on separating species that look very similar.  See the menu under documentation.  We hope to add in the next few weeks information Yellow-billed vs Black Kite and on Booted Eagle pale morph vs Wahlberg's Eagle pale morph.

Local bird names and bird lore

A first version has been made of a file that will include information on bird names in Haussa, Zerma, Sonray, Gourmantché, Tamashek, Kanuri, Arab and Toubou.  Also included will be local sayings and stories involving those birds.  We hope to put the file on the website before the end of the year.  That way you can see what is known and, just as important, what knowledge is still missing and perhaps for you to add!

Look out for colour-ringed Spoonbills

Csaba Pigniczki, coordinator of Hungarian Spoonbill Colour-ringing Project, sent the following message on 17 November 2011:
You may know, we Central European ornithologists run a Spoonbill colour-ringing project. It is possible, that some of our ringed Spoonbills will occur South of the Sahara with colour rings. I would like to ask you, to ask birdwatchers in Niger, and the neighbouring countries, to check the legs of Spoonbills, and try to read rings, and take pictures about the ringed individuals, and send for the project manager those data.  Detailed description and photos about ringed birds are given the links below.
Thanks for your help in advance
If you have relevant information, please contact Csaba at csaba.spoonbill@gmail.com.  Of course we expect you to enter all sightings of Spoonbills, European or African, in the NiBDaB!

Trip to Niger

Joost had the pleasure to go on an ornithological mission to the Termit Massif with the Projet Antilopes Sahélo-Sahariennes (projet ASS) in September.  Of the total of 78 bird species seen - very high for a 150 mm rainfall area -, more than 40 were migrants from Europe, just arrived after crossing the Sahara.  We hope that being able to see so many of "their own" birds in such different surroundings will eventually lure eco-tourists to the region.  And of course we hope that the Termit-Tin Toumma reserve, which qualifies as an Important Bird Area, will be gazetted soon.

On 11 October Projet ASS and the Saharan Conservation Fund organised a very enjoyable grand evening on the exceptional biodiversity of Niger.  Present were, among others, the ministers of Environment, Agriculture and Animal Production.  In addition to a presentation and documentary on Termit-Tin Toumma, there was a presentation on the value of birds in general and the value of the NiBDaB to Nigeriens in particular.  We hope that the seeds planted at the meeting will soon sprout and lead to additional interest in, and growth of, the NiBDaB

During his trip Joost also had the pleasure to meet a number of you residing in Niger.  All going well that number will be increased on his next trip from 25 November to 14 December.  It is hoped that ties with the Club Aves in Niamey will be strengthened then too.

Getting in touch with other contributors to the NiBDaB

A number of you have expressed interest in getting in touch with, and in being got in touch with, other NiBDaB users. Ulf is working on a messaging service on the NiBDaB that will allow logged-in users to send a message to another user.  In your registration details, under "My profile", there will be a checkbox titled "Contact". This checkbox won't be checked by default, but if you tick it, other users will be able to send you a message from your profile page on the NiBDaB.  You will be sent an explanatory message when this service is available.

As a part of this we also propose to add places of residence to the list of sources that is publicly accessible on the NiBDaB: we would add the country for those living abroad, and the town for those living in Niger.  Let us  know if this is alright by you.  We can also add the names and residence of those who are registered users but have not yet added any records to the NiBDaB.  If you would like that, please let us know.

Comments on this message are very welcome, as are of course further contributions to the observations and photo sections of the NiBDaB.

Happy birding, Joost and Ulf

New NiBDaB query interface

2010-11-27 [ULi]

We are constantly working to improve the NiBDaB, trying to make it a powerful and yet easy to use tool for scientists and amateur birders alike. Therefore we are happy to announce the launch of a new and more sophisticated query interface.

Under the "Observations" menu item you can now search for observations matching almost any field in the data base. You can now not only display all observations of a certain species, but also select all observations for a particular period or source. Do you want to know which species have been seen breeding in the rainy season of 2008? Just enter the appropriate start and end dates, choose "yes" in the breeding select box, and hit the "Apply" button. The search result can then with a single click be exported to a spreadsheet which you can download for further analysis.

Enjoy and happy birding!   

Add your own photos

2010-05-25 [ULi]

Want to verify a questionable observation, document an interesting species, or just share a special moment with others? Do so by uploading your own photos! Just follow these simple steps. We are looking forward to seeing your photographs!