Kulikoro Firefinch in SE Senegal
Thanks to José María Fernández-García for this guest blog on the little known endemic of SE Senegal and SW Mali. It was one of a number of exciting bird finds by their team that support their proposed classification of Dindefelo, best known for its chimpanzees, as an Important Bird Area.
In 2011, several bird surveys were carried out in Dindefelo Natural Reserve, a community-managed reserve promoted by the Jane Goodall Institute (www.ecosenegal.org). These field surveys were intended to provide a first checklist of the reserve’s species, in order to assess natural values for conservation. Dindefelo is located in Kedougou region, some 700 km from Dakar. In fact, it lies at the foothills of the Fouta Djallon massif and is very close to the Guinean border.
On April 26, we mist-netted a firefinch, which was identified as a Kulikoro (Mali) Firefinch Lagonosticta virata. The notable features to tell this bird from other firefinches were the bluish bill and the black undertail coverts. The most similar firefinch is the Blue-billed L. rubricata, but our bird had a slender bill and less white spots on breast-sides. As the bird was examined in the hand, we also noticed that its outer primaries were broad, not emarginated. Guides and handbook, somewhat vaguely, describe the typical habitat as “scrubby rocky hillsides and thickets”, which in general terms suits the Dindefelo landscape.
This record is noteworthy because, to my knowledge, only two observations in Senegal have been published so far, both from the Southeast area between Tambacounda and Kedougou. The first one was an identification of a museum skin collected in 1966 (R. Payne, Malimbus 19) and the second a pair of birds observed on November 2009 (Bulletin of the African Bird Club). There is at least one more claimed observation, but the specific identification remains unclear.
Kulikoro Firefinch is a West-African endemic, as it is only known to occur worldwide in Southern Mali and Southeastern Senegal. This presumed limited distribution highlights the conservation concern for this species, and BirdLife International considers its presence as an indicator to classify “endemic bird areas”. Anyway, the geographic range, ecology and conservation status of the Kulikoro Firefinch are little known (R. Payne, Bulletin of the African Bird Club 12), so that “every record counts” to make a better picture.
Text and photos: José María Fernández-García and Nerea Ruiz de Azua
Search / Cherchez
Recent Posts / Article récents
Tag CloudAdamawa Turtle Dove African Grey Hornbill Allen's Gallinule Alpine Swift American Golden Plover Audouin's gull Baillon's Crake Baird's Sandpiper Bateleur Black-winged Stilt Blue Rock Thrush Bridled Tern Brown Booby Buff-breasted Sandpiper Cap Vert IBA Cinereous Vulture Colour rings Common Shelduck Cream-coloured Courser Crested Lark Delta du Saloum Desert Grey Shrike Djoudj Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Egrets Eurasian Griffon Flamingo Forbes's Plover Fork-tailed Drongo Franklin's Gull Gosling's Bunting Green-winged Pytillia Grey Phalarope Hooded Vulture Horus Swift hybrid Iberian Chiffchaff Identification Isabelline Wheatear Jack Snipe Kordofan Lark Lac Mbaouane Lac Rose Lac Tanma Lagune de Somone Laughing Gull Lesser Jacana Lesser Yellowlegs Little Grey Woodpecker Long-crested Eagle Long-tailed Skua Magnificent Frigatebird Mali Firefinch Meadow Pipit Mediterranean Gull migration Nearctic vagrants Ngor Niayes IBA Northern Wheatear Osprey Pallid Swift Palm-nut Vulture Pel's Fishing Owl Pelagic trip Peregrine Falcon Petite Cote IBA Popenguine Red-billed Tropicbird Red-footed Booby Red-necked Phalarope River Prinia Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Sabine's Gull Sahel Paradise Whydah Sanderling Seawatching Seebohm's Wheatear Shearwaters Short-eared Owl Short-toed Eagle Shrike Skuas Slender-billed Gull Square-tailed Drongo Standard-winged Nightjar Storm Petrels Technopole Turati's Boubou Vagrants Vultures Whimbrel White-fronted Black Chat Woodchat Shrike Yellow-legged Gull Yellow-throated Longclaw Yellow Wagtail Yene-Tode Zebra Waxbill
The defunct, twin volcanoes of Mamelles, in Dakar’s Ouakam arrondissement, with Cape Verde Shearwaters and Bottle-nosed Dolphins. The rocky coast of Dakar, forming the Cap Vert Important Bird Area, is an outstanding site for seabirds (photo: P. Robinson). Technopole and its numerous waders, herons, gulls, terns and other waterbirds (including Greater Flamingos when conditions are right) is one of the best sites for birds in the greater Dakar region, So is Iles de la Madeleine, and further afield the Saloum Delta at Palmarin (photos: B. Piot)
© The authors and Senegal Wildlife 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without permission from this blog’s authors is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Senegal Wildlife, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.