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Southern Cameroon tour: the enigmatic Bates’s Weaver?

August 13, 2013

Cameroon’s rarest endemic, the enigmatic Bates’s Weaver Ploceus batesi, only occurs in the area due south of Yaounde towards the Gabon border. Besides Bates’s Weaver, a whole mouth-watering array of rare lowland forest birds occur in Cameroon’s far south. To our knowledge, this area has never been part of a bird watching tour.

Long-tailed Hawk is a squirrel-eating special of African lowland forest and is possible on our Southern Cameroon extension tour.

You may as such not be surprised that our ornithological knowledge of the area is based primarily on the collections of Bates, who lived in the region for a period in the first half of the 20th century. A long time has passed since then and we seem to be none the wiser regarding the status of some of the rare birds Bates collected. Besides the rarely-seen weaver, other species Bates collected in this area include Yellow-capped Weaver, Grey Ground Thrush, Black-eared Ground Thrush, Eastern Wattled Cuckooshrike, Shelley’s Eagle Owl, Maned Owl, Sandy Scops Owl and Forest Penduline Tit.

In recent years access to the area has improved, with the main tar road to Gabon skirting the western edge of these interesting forests. To see what these forests might hold, we’ll run an exploratory trip from a reasonably comfortable base. Following our nose and what roads and forest we can see from satellite imagery, we’ll try our upmost to reach some of these special forests in hope of finding one or more of the special birds they hold. No doubt many other species will be seen, with goodies possibly including Gabon Batis, Gabon Coucal, Yellow-throated Nicator, Falkenstein’s Greenbul, Black-collared Lovebird and a host of more common lowland forest species.

This four day Birding Africa trip to Southern Cameroon’s lowland forest will run as a pre-tour extension of our main Cameroon tour and will be led by Michael Mills.

Cameroon Pre-tour Extension: Southern Lowland Forest
Dates: 25 to 28 February 2014 (starts in the morning at Douala and ends in the evening at Douala)
Price per person sharing a room: GBP 880
Single room supplement: GBP 90.

Cameroon: Picathartes, North & South
Dates: 28 February to 21 March 2014 (starts with the nights accommodation in Douala and ends in the evening at Douala)
Price per person sharing a room: GBP 4290 including local flights or GBP 3990 without local flights.
Single room supplement: GBP 330.

Please contact info@birdingafrica.com to enquire or join.

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