Birding trip report Gabon (Gamba area) 14-29 Sep. 2009

John van der Woude
1. text and photos  -  2. GPS waypoints, maps  -   3. Species list (this page) 
A narrower species list for your smartphone is here.
* = lifer, k = seen before in Kakamega forest (west Kenya) only
Pelecanus onocrotalus                    Great White Pelican    16 sep. one flying near airport
Anhinga rufa                                  African Darter    4 seen in Yenzi lake 28 sep., a few elsewhere (e.g. along rd to Colas)
Egretta garzetta                                Little Egret    22 sep. one at Nyanga estuary
Scopus umbretta                                     Hamerkop    grasslands sev. lone or pairs, also in Yenzi
Ciconia episcopus                        Woolly-necked Stork    grasslands sev. pairs
Bostrychia hagedash                              Hadada Ibis    often seen in Yenzi, less elsewhere
Pteronetta hartlaubii                        Hartlaub's Duck *  20 sep. 3 flying overhead just before Matsiegui lagoon NW of Gamba
Pandion haliaetus                                     Osprey    a few, like 17 sep. E of Yenzi lake
Milvus migrans                                    Black Kite    16 sep. one overhead W of Yenzi lake
Haliaeetus vocifer                        African Fish-Eagle    a few heard, one seen 24 sep. along rd to Colas
Gypohierax angolensis                       Palm-nut Vulture    seen daily across whole area, also juvenals
Dryotriorchis spectabilis                Congo Serpent-Eagle *  19 sep. briefly seen in bare tree top while calling; splendid scope views of two 28 sep. in open forest at start of Boua rd
Polyboroides typus                      African Harrier-Hawk    sev. seen closeby, diff. plumages, across grasslands/woodlands
Accipiter erythropus                 Red-thighed Sparrowhawk *  scope view of adult male in bare tree top W of Yenzi lake 16 sep.
Buteo auguralis                           Red-necked Buzzard *  sometimes on Yenzi compound, and W of Yenzi lake
Lophaetus occipitalis                     Long-crested Eagle    17 sep. one in flight across grassland Vera plains
Stephanoaetus coronatus                        Crowned Eagle    21 sep. in air above forest Bouda rd ('secret valley'), chased by Pied Crow
Falco biarmicus                                Lanner Falcon    19 sep. one seen hunting along coastal scrub at Colas
Francolinus squamatus                        Scaly Francolin *  21 sep. pair with two half-grown young on track in first open forest of Bouda rd.; later one again same place
Guttera plumifera                          Plumed Guineafowl *  24 sep. 4 on track and then in tree in Tondou forest
Podica senegalensis                          African Finfoot    19 sep. one female seen closeby along mangrove rd opp. airport, in dark puddle.
Actophilornis africanus                       African Jacana    the few ponds we saw nearly all had this bird
Burhinus vermiculatus                       Water Thick-knee    Yenzi and roads (night), also in coastal scrub and even on beach
Vanellus lugubris                            Senegal Lapwing *  occasionally in grasslands, once with young; first only on 24 sep. near comm. tower Vera plains; also named Lesser Blackwinged Plover
Charadrius hiaticula                    Common Ringed Plover    a few at Nyanga 22 sep.
Charadrius pecuarius                       Kittlitz's Plover    23 sep. one in muddy lagoon seaward of Matsiegui lagoon
Charadrius forbesi                            Forbes' Plover *  some pairs in grasslands; first on 20 sep. along laterite side rd to Sette Cama
Charadrius marginatus                   White-fronted Plover    22 sep. 3 at Nyanga; 23 sep. 4 at muddy lagoon seaward of Matsiegui lagoon
Numenius phaeopus                                   Whimbrel    22 sep. 3 in scope while flying S at Nyanga
Actitis hypoleucos                          Common Sandpiper    at beach, also on Yenzi lawns
Tringa nebularia                           Common Greenshank    several along coast
Arenaria interpres                           Ruddy Turnstone    22 sep. two at Nyanga beach
Calidris alba                                     Sanderling    group at Nyanga beach 22 sep.
Calidris minuta                                 Little Stint    23 sep. one in muddy lagoon seaward of Matsiegui lagoon, between Ringed Plovers and Curlew Sandp.
Calidris ferruginea                         Curlew Sandpiper    22 sep. two at puddle in Nyanga beach
Sternula balaenarum                              Damara Tern    sev. migrating along coast
                                                "Comic Tern"    22 sep. sev. at Nyanga beach & estuary ("Comic"= Common Tern or Arctic Tern)
Thalasseus maximus                                Royal Tern    sev. migrating along coast, and at beach Nyanga
Thalasseus sandvicensis                        Sandwich Tern    sev. at beach Nyanga 22 sep.
Rynchops flavirostris                        African Skimmer    group of c. 20 at beach Nyanga estuary 22 sep.
Columba iriditorques             Western Bronze-naped Pigeon *  26 sep. Tondou forest near entrance, flying around after playback
Streptopelia semitorquata                      Red-eyed Dove    common in all habitats
Turtur chalcospilos                Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove    sev. in forests, flying up from tracks etc.
Turtur afer                           Blue-spotted Wood-Dove    a few in forest, scope view to discern from more common Emer.sp.
Turtur brehmeri                        Blue-headed Wood-Dove *  18 sep. Bibonga forest seen on track at 8 a.m.
Treron calvus                           African Green-Pigeon    sev. groups (of up to 50 indiv.) along forest edge and in coastal scrub
Psittacus erithacus                              Gray Parrot *  dozens at Yenzi ( evening) and daily elsewhere
Tauraco macrorhynchus                   Yellow-billed Turaco *  heard at many sites (forest, woodland) and some seen well
Cuculus solitarius                        Red-chested Cuckoo    often heard, a few seen
Chrysococcyx klaas                             Klaas' Cuckoo    18 sep. one pair in scope (+sound) in open forest at start of Bouda road
Chrysococcyx cupreus                  African Emerald Cuckoo    heard everywhere in forest & woodland
Chrysococcyx caprius                          Dideric Cuckoo    often heard Yenzi, sometimes at other rather open places
Ceuthmochares aereus                              Yellowbill *  sev. seen in open forest/woodland, some in mixed spec. flocks
Centropus monachus                        Blue-headed Coucal *  sev. seen in disturbed forest/woodland, all large and with blue sheen; best 28 sep. Bouda rd (see photo)
Centropus senegalensis                        Senegal Coucal    sometimes heard
Caprimulgus fossii                    Square-tailed Nightjar    20 sep. one defending 2 chicks on ground next to car on P along asphalt rd to Colas; 26 sep. evening sev. heard along asphalt rd S
Telacanthura melanopygia                     Black Spinetail *  20 sep. one seen during 2 minutes in company of Cassin's Spinetail, see there
Rhaphidura sabini                         Sabine's Spinetail *  21 sep. two closeby in halfopen area near Mark's track R of Bouda rd, brillant views
Neafrapus cassini                         Cassin's Spinetail *  20 sep. two seen closeby along asphalt rd to Colas, near dead trees
Cypsiurus parvus                          African Palm-Swift    seen a few in Yenzi and coastal scrub
Apus apus                                       Common Swift    26 sep. one above Tondou forest
Apus affinis                                    Little Swift    common near buildings (Yenzi, airport, etc.), nesting
Alcedo quadribrachys                 Shining-blue Kingfisher *  one seen at pond near golf course (seen well, cheek and contrasting back), 15 sep.
Halcyon badia                    Chocolate-backed Kingfisher *  24 sep. pair in Tondou forest; later one again in Bibonga forest
Halcyon senegalensis                     Woodland Kingfisher    sev. heard and seen in woodlands (Yenzi etc.)
Halcyon malimbica                   Blue-breasted Kingfisher    sev. heard and seen calling high over forests/woodland, esp. along mangrove rd opp. airport
Megaceryle maximus                          Giant Kingfisher    heard a few, one seen well
Ceryle rudis                                 Pied Kingfisher    22 sep. one hovering at Nyanga estuary; also at Yenzi lake
Merops variegatus                    Blue-breasted Bee-eater *  common in open habitat, like Yenzi and grassland borders; at home, seen feeding young
Merops breweri                        Black-headed Bee-eater *  almost daily seen at forest edges
Merops malimbicus                             Rosy Bee-eater *  abundant at forest edges and over neighbouring grasslands; often groups perched in bare tree tops
Eurystomus gularis                      Blue-throated Roller *  17 sep. two in scope at end of first open forest of Bouda rd.; later again there
Tockus albocristatus                  White-crested Hornbill *  22 sep. crossed track in front of us during frantic drive near Nyanga beach, later also 2 Totou rd
Tockus camurus                     Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill *  often heard (and sev. seen) in forests, in mixed species flocks
Tockus fasciatus                       African Pied Hornbill    many seen at forest edges or emerging trees
Ceratogymna fistulator                       Piping Hornbill *  common, mostly in flight between forest blocks
Ceratogymna albotibialis              White-thighed Hornbill *  20 sep. scope view at forest edge of 4th plain behind P of nightjar
Ceratogymna atrata                    Black-casqued Hornbill *  sev. groups seen in forest, also pairs; roost flights of in total 65 indiv. near start of Bouda rd 17 sep.
Gymnobucco bonapartei                   Gray-throated Barbet k  group W of Yenzi lake 16 sep, scope view, in bare tree top; a few elsewhere
Gymnobucco calvus                         Naked-faced Barbet *  group seen in scope in bare tree tops open forest start of Bouda rd 17 sep; only sporadically elsewhere
Pogoniulus atroflavus                  Red-rumped Tinkerbird *  often heard in woodland and forest; 18 sep. briefly seen in Bibonga forest
Pogoniulus subsulphureus          Yellow-throated Tinkerbird *  many heard in woodland and forest
Buccanodon duchaillui                  Yellow-spotted Barbet k  28 sep. scope view at start of first open forest Bouda rd
Tricholaema hirsuta                    Hairy-breasted Barbet *  28 sep. first open forest Bouda rd (same tree as Grey-ch Sunbird pair), subsp. flavipunctata, scope view during song (1.2 per second)
Campethera cailliautii               Green-backed Woodpecker *  24 sep. in Tondou forest near stream, one pair foraging high in tree but well visible and later lower
Campethera caroli                     Brown-eared Woodpecker *  24 sep. Tondou forest, better view for J on 28 sep. in Bibonga forest
Dendropicos xantholophus           Yellow-crested Woodpecker k  17 sep. one at start of Bouda rd in open forest, bare tree & in flight; 24 sep. Tondou forest 1
Pseudochelidon eurystomina              African River Martin *  hundreds seen along asphalt rd to Colas, and sev. high in the air elsewhere; see main text & photos; first ones only at 20 sep.
Psalidoprocne nitens                   Square-tailed Sawwing *  26 sep. plantation forest before Tondou forest, one resting near Fraser's Forest-Flycatchers
Pseudhirundo griseopyga                  Gray-rumped Swallow *  common above grasslands
Riparia cincta                                 Banded Martin    some pairs above grasslands; first only on 21 sep. along Bouda rd
Hirundo rustica                                 Barn Swallow    a few singles migrating
Cecropis abyssinica                   Lesser Striped-Swallow    some near buildings and bridges
Cecropis semirufa                     Rufous-chested Swallow *  23 sep. two closeby (dark cheek) at grassland of Totou rd
Cecropis senegalensis                         Mosque Swallow    20 sep. two seen flying around us along asphalt rd to Colas; light cheek seen well; in grassland near woodland
Anthus pallidiventris                      Long-legged Pipit *  everywhere on grasslands
Macronyx croceus                    Yellow-throated Longclaw    some on grasslands
Pycnonotus barbatus                            Common Bulbul    common in open woodland, not abundant
Andropadus virens                            Little Greenbul    often heard (a few seen) in woodland and forest; 23 sep. Bouda seen well
Andropadus curvirostris                       Plain Greenbul k  23 sep. along Totou rd sandy side rd; also called Cameroon Sombre G
Andropadus latirostris             Yellow-whiskered Greenbul    sev. heard (a few seen) in woodland and forest
Calyptocichla serina                         Golden Greenbul *  seen two or three times, first 17 sep. two in tree top start of Bouda rd.
Baeopogon indicator                      Honeyguide Greenbul *  20 sep. one followed long time with playback in light woodland behind P of nightjar but did not show well; later sev. heard elsewhere
Ixonotus guttatus                           Spotted Greenbul *  sev. groups in forest, forest edges (and even in Yenzi)
Thescelocichla leucopleura                    Swamp Greenbul *  some groups at Yenzi wet woodland, and mangrove road near airport
Phyllastrephus icterinus                   Icterine Greenbul *  many groups in forest, in mixed species flocks
Bleda syndactylus                     Red-tailed Bristlebill k  28 sep. inside Bibonga forest, mixed flock, seen well 3 times, at eye level.
Bleda notatus                             Lesser Bristlebill *  group of 4 in forest along golf course 16 sep., later some elsewhere, like 28 sep near Red-t Britslebill
Nicator chloris                              Western Nicator *  singles seen on sev. occasions in half open forest
Criniger calurus                         Red-tailed Greenbul *  24 sep Tondou forest and 28 sep Bibonga forest, in mixed species flocks, hence large size seen well (not heard)
Neocossyphus fraseri                Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush *  17 sep. one above us at 8 m, near plantation in forest block before Tondou forest; 24 sep. also 2+1 in Tondou forest
Turdus pelios                                 African Thrush    mainly at Yenzi gardens
Alethe diademata                         Fire-crested Alethe *  24 sep. at only 5 m in undergrowth in Tondou forest
Cisticola anonymus                      Chattering Cisticola *  scope view on 16 sep. in rural area W of Yenzi lake, later some heard elsewhere
Cisticola juncidis                         Zitting Cisticola    rather common on grasslands
Camaroptera brevicaudata             Grey-backed Camaroptera    often heard in woodland and forest edge
Sylvietta virens                               Green Crombec *  25 sep. in (rare!) savannah woodland near Totou rd, small group with young being fed
Macrosphenus flavicans                       Yellow Longbill *  18 sep. Bibonga forest seen well at 7 m, crawling along branches; later some heard elsewhere
Macrosphenus concolor                          Gray Longbill *  sev. heard in forest/woodland, after 18 sep. Bibonga forest (reacts strongly to playback but does not show well)
Fraseria ocreata                  Fraser's Forest-Flycatcher *  some small groups (of 2 to 3 ind.) in clearings; first 23 sep. along laterite rd near Totou rd
Muscicapa striata                         Spotted Flycatcher    26 sep. just outside Tondou forest in lone tree
Stiphrornis erythrothorax                       Forest Robin *  21 sep. splendid view on log in dark Bibonga forest; is like fig. 1d but completely orange-red below
Platysteira cyanea                 Brown-throated Wattle-eye    23 sep. pair in dry forest next to muddy lagoon seaward of Matsiegui lagoon
Platysteira castanea                     Chestnut Wattle-eye k  24 sep. in flock Tondou forest at only 7 m, 1 ad. + 1 juv
Terpsiphone rufiventer       Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher    sev. singles in forest (mixed species flocks)(also called Black-headed P-F)
Terpsiphone rufocinerea    Rufous-vented Paradise-Flycatcher *  23 sep. female at puddle in woodland track next to muddy lagoon seaward of Matsiegui lagoon
Anthreptes rectirostris                 Grey-chinned Sunbird k  28 sep. first open forest of Bouda rd, pair in tree top
Hedydipna collaris                          Collared Sunbird    a few seen; first a female 21 sep in woodland in strongest dip in Bouda rd
Anabathmis reichenbachii               Reichenbach's Sunbird *  common in woodland and at forest edges, very vocal too
Cyanomitra verticalis                   Green-headed Sunbird k  sev. seen at forest edge; first 21 sep. Bouda rd. scope view
Cyanomitra obscura                     Western Olive Sunbird *  24 sep. Tondou forest at 5 m, quietly perched, long bill; later heard elsewhere
Chalcomitra fuliginosa                     Carmelite Sunbird *  common at woodland edges, clearings etc.; brilliant views at Yenzi and golf course
Cinnyris chloropygius                  Olive-bellied Sunbird *  two males seen well (long bill, etc.) at golf course 15 sep.
Cinnyris minullus                               Tiny Sunbird *  24 sep. male + 2 fem in 'cecropia-like' tree near stream in Tondou forest; bill very short and bird very small
Cinnyris johannae                          Johanna's Sunbird *  20 sep. female (spiderhunterlike!) along asphalt rd to Colas, near pool, in woodland
Prionops rufiventris             Rufous-bellied Helmetshrike *  18 sep. two seen well at 10 m above us in Bibonga forest
Dicrurus modestus                      Velvet-mantled Drongo *  sev. in forest; first at end of open forest at start of Bouda rd 17 sep.
Corvus albus                                       Pied Crow    nesting in Yenzi, not often seen elsewhere
Lamprotornis splendidus             Splendid Glossy-Starling *  some at clearings, and many in roost flights, esp. at airport
Lamprotornis purpureiceps      Purple-headed Glossy-Starling *  17 sep. two in tree top E of airport, scope view
Onychognathus fulgidus              Chestnut-winged Starling *  17 sep. Tondou forest, scope view of 2 in tree top
Malimbus cassini                            Cassin's Malimbe *  scope view, foraging in tall tree W of Yenzi lake 16 sep.
Malimbus erythrogaster                   Red-bellied Malimbe *  21 sep. along forest edge Bouda rd, scope view (red belly)
Malimbus nitens                          Blue-billed Malimbe *  26 sep. Tondou forest 10 m above us, bill and black-red pattern seen well; 28 sep. also in Bibonga forest
Malimbus rubricollis                      Red-headed Malimbe k  24 sep. Tondou forest high in tree clambering on thick branches, seen well; 28 sep. first open forest Bouda rd
Ploceus subpersonatus                          Loango Weaver *  19 sep. Colas coastal scrub group of male and fem; seen well + sound; a restricted-range species!
Ploceus nigricollis                      Black-necked Weaver    two in bush along rd E of Yenzi lake 17 sep.
Ploceus nigerrimus                   Vieillot's Black Weaver k  best seen 16 sep. W of Yenzi lake, colony, scope view
Ploceus cucullatus                            Village Weaver    common in Yenzi, sev. colonies
Quelea erythrops                           Red-headed Quelea *  a few groups in open habitat; first was fem. closeby W of Yenzi lake; group of 40 in coastal scrub at end of mangrove rd opp. airport
Nigrita canicapillus                     Gray-headed Nigrita    14 sep. two foraging in palm on Yenzi grounds; 28 sep first open forest Bouda rd
Nigrita bicolor                    Chestnut-breasted Nigrita *  21 sep. at eye-level at 12 m seen well, at deep stream across Bouda rd
Estrilda melpoda                      Orange-cheeked Waxbill *  sev. groups in open areas with some bushes
Spermophaga haematina                       Western Bluebill *  (J only) 17 sep. at 5 m in bush in woodland E of Yenzi lake, small side rd
Pyrenestes ostrinus                Black-bellied Seedcracker *  19 sep. juv seen well while foraging in bush along mangrove rd opp. airport
Ortygospiza gabonensis              Black-chinned Quailfinch *  20 sep. sev. small groups along first kms of laterite rd to Sette Cama
Spermestes cucullatus                        Bronze Mannikin    a few small groups at Yenzi etc.
Spermestes bicolor                  Black-and-white Mannikin k  group of 12 in top of small tree W of Yenzi lake 16 sep.
Vidua macroura                             Pin-tailed Whydah    27 sep. well seen Yenzi near weaver colony
Emberiza tahapisi                  Cinnamon-breasted Bunting    19 sep. female in coastal scrub near end of mangrove rd opp. airport