NiBDaB News April 2014

12 Apr 2014 [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

Edited: 2014-04-12 [JBr]