RFCG Receives an exciting new photo of the elusive and threatened Shelley’s crimsonwing

7 Jul
The world's second known photograph of a  Shelley's crimsonwing cockbird. Photo Colin Jackson

The world’s second known photograph of a Shelley’s crimsonwing. Photo Colin Jackson

Last week Colin Jackson made contact with the Rare Finch Conservation Group and informed us that he had photographed the Shelley’s crimsonwing, whilst on an expedition in the Mt Tsiaberimu area, in the DRC, in 1997. We informed him that the only other known photograph of the species in the world, taken in 2008 and sourced from the website http://www.gorilla.org, was also photographed in the Mt Tsiaberimu area in the Virunga National Park, DRC.

Colin Jackson who photographed the Shelley's crimsonwing in 1997 whilst on an expedition in the DRC

Colin Jackson who photographed the Shelley’s crimsonwing in 1997 whilst on an expedition in the DRC

This is what Colin Jackson shared with us ” Very interesting to hear of the story behind the other image of the crimsonwing – that it also came from Tsiaberimu…. We caught ours in the heart of the forest not far from where we first camped in nets going through the edge of bamboo and bordering an open area that included some swampy vegetation. The expedition was one of National Museums of Kenya staff, funded by the Berggorilla and Regenwald Direkthilfte and the Atlanta Zoo. A key objective of the expedition was to survey the surviving gorillas and Titus Imboma (whose hand is holding the bird in the image) and myself were taken along to do bird surveys.”

Ever since 2008 this has been the only known photograph of a Shelley's crimsonwing. Photo courtesy www.gorilla.org

Ever since 2008 this was the only known photograph of a Shelley’s crimsonwing in the world. Photo courtesy http://www.gorilla.org

The RFCG would like to sincerely thank Colin Jackson for sharing this exciting new photograph of the species, with the rest of the world.

This is what the authoritative Birds of Africa Volumn 7 by C Hillary Fry et al tells us about the species. General Habits : Inhabits closed moist understory in montane forest, low secondary growth at forest edge, clearngs with Sericostachys, mixed bamboo thickets; Sometimes in more open areas by streams. Singly or in pairs : forages on ground for seeds; associates with other crimsonwings ( Unconfirmed reports given to the RFCG is that they are normally Dusky crimsonwings : Senegali de Jackson ). Shy elusive, seldom seen ; when flushed flies rapidly for short distance and dives for cover, and does not reappear.

These exact same observations have also been shared with the RFCG by bird guides working in the Ruhija area in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. The breeding habits of the species are unknown. The IUCN Red data list classifies the species as Vulnerable ( A high risk of extinction )

The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is dependant on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za

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SEE – CONSERVE – ENJOY

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