The Bee-eaters of Africa

10,000 Birds

The wonderful family Meropidae contains 27 dazzling species, of which Africa is endowed with no less than 20 species, the balance occurring across Asia and with one as far afield as Australia. The best locations for finding this beautiful bird is over Kakum National Park in Ghana (non-breeding) and Loango National Park in Gabon for breeding birds. The most reliable and accessible site for this bird is also Loango National Park in Gabon.

Picathartes – Africa’s strangest birds

10,000 Birds

The family Picathartidae consists of two very unusual birds; White-necked or Yellow-headed Picathartes , endemic to the Upper Guinea forests of West Africa; and Gray-necked or Red-headed , restricted to Lower Guinea forests of Central Africa. They diverged at approximately the same time as the rockjumpers (two quite unique bird species endemic to Southern Africa and now in their own family), and as a result for a while were even placed in the same family.

The Ole’ Bucket List

10,000 Birds

They are Ecuador for the Galapagos, Gabon for the bais, Madagascar, New Guinea and New Caledonia for everything. Given that they are a family of obscure deepwater whales that are very hard to see, I would imagine this is a contender for one that will never leave my list. Well, this time next week I’ll be winging my way to Cape Town via Auckland and Singapore (air transport is weird sometimes), so this is my last beat post of the year.

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Africa’s Barbets

10,000 Birds

Originally they were all placed in the family Capitonidae , but over time taxonomists have determined that actual relationships between these barbets are far more complex. In the Neotropics the barbets have been placed into two families, the original Capitonidae (New World Barbets) with 14 species and Semnornithidae (Toucan Barbets) with 2 species (Toucan and Prong-billed Barbet). Gray-throated Barbet is one of the plainer members of the African Barbet family.