April 2020: 100.000 records for the WABDaB, and more!28 Apr 2020 [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.
Edited: 2020-05-19 [JBr]