Migratory bird conservation in Africa


This video says about itself:

3 December 2013

Kids in Botswana are very much engaged in the Spring Alive project and they can talk about it in a cheerful, energetic but yet informative way. See yourself how amazing these children are and how great Spring Alive is doing there.

From BirdLife:

Manuals for empowering Africa’s citzens to conserve migratory birds

By Obaka Torto, Wed, 24/09/2014 – 10:21

The wonder of migration has not ceased to captivate the minds of many as a science and a hobby, with records dating back to the 18th century, and even beyond to Aristotle’s Historia Animalium in 350 BC. Interest in bird migration in particular has increasingly gone up in most regions and Africa has not been left behind. To date, at least 14 countries in Africa, namely Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are actively participating in a project tagged Spring Alive that initially started in Europe in 2006. Spring Alive is a BirdLife International conservation education and action initiative targetted primarily at students, their teachers and then the wider community. The annual migration of these birds along the flyways is an ideal vehicle to illustrate the connectivity of sites, countries and continents on our dear planet Earth.

The five flagship species that have so far encapsulated the minds of the communities in Europe, Africa and Asia are the Barn Swallow, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, Common Cuckoo and the White Stork. While these birds are widely known for announcing spring in the European northern hemisphere, in the vast landscapes of motherland Africa, they represent the fruitfulness and vitality of seasonal change. Africa is home to these birds for many reasons, one being that they avoid the chilling temperatures that the northern hemisphere would be experiencing in winter. They start their journey from Europe into Africa in August, arriving from around the 1st of September every year. They inhabit the grasslands, rooftops, tree branches and can be seen soaring and circling through the air for a period of six months before they start their journey to Europe.

While the uptake of the Spring Alive project has been remarkable in Europe, Africa and Asia, more still needs to be done to engage more citizens in the conservation of habitats for migratory birds and to involve them in the fantastic exercise of observing them at different sites. The BirdLife Africa Secretariat in conjunction with BirdLife Poland recently adapted and launched an African teacher’s manuals for Grades 1-3 and 4-6.  The teacher’s manuals cover topics such as bird identification, bird behavior, the concept of migration and the challenges birds face along the routes. The manuals also provide interactive and interesting games for the children. These resources are meant to deepen the engagement of children with birds, inspire their young minds and cultivate interests about the natural world around them. These manuals can also be used by local community groups as well as wildlife/nature clubs.

The Spring Alive Project, whose details can be found at: www.springalive.net and similarly on the BirdLife Africa website contributes to achieving the objectives of wider BirdLife programmes, especially the Local Empowerment Programme and the Migratory Birds and Flyway Programmes. The 14 African Spring Alive Partners also have individual portals on the Spring Alive website that allows people to find out about local activities in each country. These activities include Spring Alive drawing and photo competitions, bird watching events and other information.

For further details about Spring Alive in Africa, please contact: Temidayo.osinubi@birdlife.org / wasro.intern@birdlife.org / obaka.torto@birdlife.org

Giraffes helped by photographers


This video is called Niger‘s Endangered White Giraffes (Full Documentary).

From Wildlife Extra:

Citizen science project launched to help the world’s giraffes

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with the support of the Polytechnic of Namibia has launched a project to develop an online citizen science platform for giraffes.

GiraffeSpotter.org is an easy to use web-based application that allows people to upload their photos of giraffes they have seen, together with the location where the image was taken and any other valuable information they can supply to help in conservation efforts, such as herd size, sex and age class of the giraffe.

With the help of GiraffeSpotter.org, GCF will be able to improve its understanding of giraffe ranges, distribution, numbers and ultimately the various species of giraffes’ conservation status across Africa.

At the same time, the charity hopes that the project will also engage people and raise awareness of the plight of giraffes in the wild.

North and South African vultures


This video from South Africa is called Lappet-faced, White-backed and White-headed Vultures.

From North African Birds blog today:

Eight vulture species live or have lived in the three Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), here is their complete list sorted according to their taxonomic positions. Of these eight species, 3 still breed in the region (Bearded Vulture, Egyptian Vulture and Griffon Vulture), 2 are former breeders and now extinct from the region (Cinereous Vulture and Lappet-faced Vulture), and finally 3 are accidental visitors from sub-Saharan Africa (Hooded Vulture, White-backed Vulture and Rüppell’s Vulture).

The total number of species in the list of each country: 6 species for Algeria, 8 species for Morocco and 4 species for Tunisia.

The species that still breed in each country are as follow: Algeria (Egyptian Vulture & Griffon Vulture), Morocco (Bearded Vulture & Egyptian Vulture) and Tunisia (Egyptian Vulture).

International Vulture Awareness Day, 6 September


This video says about itself:

International Vulture Awareness Day, 2011, Kenya

Kenya celebrates the International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) by showing the diversity of species, illustrating their critical role in the environment and focusing on their main cause for their widespread decline, poisoning with pesticides.

Dr Richard Leakey makes a personal statement regarding his own experience in witnessing the decline of vultures and highlights the need for governments to tackle poisoning issues seriously, otherwise the future of vultures is certain. IVAD is a global event with awareness campaigns in the Americas, throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and the far East. Vultures have declined as much as 95% over South Asia and India because of the side-effect of diclophenac, a pharmaceutical drug meant to relieve pain in livestock.

Wind turbines and electricity lines are proving to be another serious hazard for vultures all over the world. Habitat removal and disturbance also play major roles in their declines. Vultures are one of the most beneficial animals due to their “clean-up” work and removing carcasses that would otherwise rot and encourage disease. In Kenya vultures play a vital role in not only wildlife health but in the pastoral livestock rearing lands and in community public health. Join us in celebrating the vulture!

Saturday 6 September is not only World Shorebirds Day. It is also International Vulture Awareness Day.

From North African Birds blog today:

Looking at the International Vulture Awareness Day website, we can see that two regional organisations are celebrating the event this weekend (open the link and search, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Tunisia and see for yourself):

- The Association “Les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO) – BirdLife in Tunisia, and

- GREPOM BirdLife Morocco

The country with more vultures than the others, Algeria, is not participating (so far).

Vultures in Africa and Europe could face extinction within our lifetime warn conservationists: here.

African penguin language, new research, videos


This video is called African Penguins go for a swim – Mountain of the Sea – BBC.

From Salon.com:

Thursday, July 31, 2014 05:12 PM +0200

How to talk to African penguins, in 6 simple videos

Researchers identified distinct calls used to express loneliness, anger, hunger and ecstasy

Lindsay Abrams

After 104 days of careful observation, researchers at the University of Turin, in Italy, think they’ve finally figured out what African penguins are “talking” about. Based on the sounds and behaviors of a colony of 48 captive penguins at the Zoom Torino zoo, the team identified six distinct vocalizations used by adults and juveniles to express just about everything that needs saying: from loneliness, to anger, to mutually experienced ecstasy.

“Vocal communication allows us to understand the many different aspects of the biology of this species,” lead author Livio Favaro explained to the Guardian. “Penguins have less sophisticated vocal mechanisms compared to song birds, but they have very sophisticated mechanisms to encode information in songs.”

The findings, written up in the journal PLOS ONE, are accompanied by a set of videos illustrating the calls. Watch them a few times, and you, too, can become fluent in the endangered species‘ language.

Contact calls are emitted by individual penguins when out of sight from their colony or partner:

The agonistic call is often emitted during fights or as a warning for other penguins to stay away. The birds stand up and stretch their necks out toward the target of their aggression:

In the ecstatic display song, the longest and loudest of African penguin calls, the birds spread their feet, stretch their neck and face upward and hold their wings out horizontally to advertise their availability to potential mates. It kind of sounds like a donkey, the researchers note, which is how the African penguin earned the nickname “jackass”:

The mutual ecstatic song is sung when mates finally get together. Partners, the researchers observed, “often emitted this call simultaneously, overlapping in a duet” — and are known to make the sound when others attempt to intrude on their twosome:

Begging moans, a newly described call, are only emitted by juveniles, and only until they’re either fed, or their parents go away:

The youngest of penguins, those under 3 months old, will emit long series of these high-pitched begging peeps for minutes on end until their parents regurgitate some food for them:

All penguin species are continuing to be at risk from habitat degradation and loss a new study finds: here.