Grant’s Bluebill finch photographed in Central African Republic… a very rare sighting!!

28 May

Grant’s Bluebill finch cockbird photographed in Central African Republic by Lieven Devreese

The Rare Finch Conservation Group recently received an e mail from Lieven Devreese with a photograph of the impressive Grant’s Bluebill finch taken in the Central African Republic . These finches are not often seen and this is a rare photograph of the bird seen in this particular country . This is what Lieven Devreese shared with us
“I stayed at the Bai Hokou research site (2°51’34″N, 16°28’03″E) in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park for six months to conduct a study on the habituated group of agile mangebeys ((Cercocebus agilis)= Old World monkey of the white-eyelid mangebey group found in swamp forests of Central Africa )). The dominant habitat around Bai Hokou is tropical semi-deciduous forest composed primarily of mixed-species stands and smaller monodominant stads of Gilberiodendron dewevrei. The camp is located within such a Gilbertiodendron stand. I saw the finch species on three occasions at the camp site foraging on the forest floor. I never saw the bird elsewhere in the forest, but I have to admit that I didn’t especially look for birds when working in the forest.
This is not the first record of this finch species in the Central African Republic. The species was observed before in the Ngotto forest by Patrice Christy (ECOFAC project). Additionally the species was observed in two adjacent National Parks: in the Lobéké National Park in Cameroon (Marc Languy) and in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo (Bob Dowsett). Given the location of these findings, this first record for the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park is not unexpected, but nonetheless it was an exciting observation.
When I returned from the forest, I contacted Bob Dowsett about my observation. He also said that it is interesting enough to submit to the Recent Reports of the Bulletin of the African Bird Club.
In the meantime this species was also observed by more experienced birders like Rod Cassidy”
The RFCG would sincerely like to thank Lieven  Divreese for sharing his photograph and story with us and we trust that the Africa Bird Club will make full use of the valuable data.
The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit  organisation and all of its members contribute their skills on a voluntary basis . The RFCG has no full-time staff members and it is currently trying to raise funds to support its planned Phase 3 research field work on the threatened Shelley’s crimson wing finch in Uganda

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