Birds observations in Mali, August 2004, 2005 and 2006




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Birds observations in Mali, August 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Laurent Kergoat

8 rue de l'Obelisque,

31500

Toulouse, France


kergoat@cict.fr
Sites :

Most observations are from Agoufou 'field site' where I've been doing field work. The site is a grassland site dominated by annual grasses, forbes, with scattered trees (Acacia, Balanites, Combretum and Leptadenia).

The Agoufou village is on the 'goudron', 35 km after Hombori when driving toward Gao. There is a permanent pond next to the village. However, most data come from the grassland, which is representative of large areas of in the Gourma. In Hombori, most observations were made from Campement-Auberge Coli Sissoko, facing the Tondo Hombori.


Agoufou (village)

N 15,35989

W 1,47425

Agoufou (grassland site)

N 15,34458

W 1,47908

Observations made with binoculars 8.5x40. Field guide is Helm 'Birds of West Africa', by Borrow and Demsey' in 2005 and 2006. In 2004, I had 'Les oiseaux de l'Ouest Africain', Delachaux et Niestlé, by Serle and Morel, and 'Birds of East Africa', Collins field guide, by Williams and Arlott. I don't have much experience in African birds, but I have some experience with European species. There may be some errors in my data. In case of questionable data, I'd be happy to provide more information. I also have a few pictures.


---------------------------------------
2004 Trip :

Drive Bamako-Hombori on 14/08/04

Stay in Hombori, working in Agoufou (30 km north-east of Hombori).

Trip to Gourma-Rharous on 25 and 26/08/04. Invasion of locusts.

Walk to Hombori Tondo on 02/09/04.

Drive Hombori - Djenné on 03/09/04



Djenné-Bamako on 04/09/04
2004 list :

Long tailed cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus : 10 Tin Tadeni pond (between Gossi and Gourma-Rharous) 25/08/04.

Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis : common Hombori, Agoufou.

Hammerkop Scopus umbrella 1 one the road next to Djenné.

Abdim's stork Ciconia abdimii : 2 Gourma-Rharous, 25/08/04.

Spur-winged goose Plectropterus gambensis : 1 Agoufou, flying.

Hooded vulture Necrosyrtes monachus : a few birds in Hombori and along the Hombori/Agoufou road. Picture.

Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus : 1 ad. Hombori 02/09/04. Picture.

Ruppell's griffon vulture Gyps rueppellii : 10 Hombori Tondo 02/09/04. Picture.

Black (yellow-billed) kite Milvus migrans parasitus : common Hombori, Agoufou, Gourma-Rharous

African swallow-tailed kite Chelictinia riocourii : 3 regular Agoufou. Picture.

Shikra Accipiter badius : 2 Hombori 02/09/04.

Gabar goshawk Micronisus gabar : 1 between Gossi/Rharous, 25/08/04.

Dark chanting goshawk Melierax metabates: 1 Djenné, 04/09/04.

Grasshopper buzzard Butastur rufipennis : tens between Gossi and Rharous 25 and 26/08/04, catching locusts.

Fox kestrel Falco alopex : 10 regular at dusk Tondo Hombori, and cliffs between Douentza/Hombori

Lanner falcon Falco biarmicus : 1 Hombori.

Denham's bustard Neotis denhami : 1 between Gossi and Rharous 26/08/04. Film.

Senegal thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis 1 between Gossi and Gourma-Rharous.

Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus : 2 Tin Tadeni (one with white plastic ring, unread, probably from Italy or Spain)

Spur-winged lapwing Vanellus spinosus : 10 data on the road Hombori/Gossi, 25/08/05

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse Pterocles exustus : >20 Rharous/Gossi, 26/08/05. Pictures

Speckled pigeon Columba guinea : several, city of Djenné, 04/09/04.

Laughing dove Streptotelia senegalensis : Common. Pictures.

Namaqua dove Oena capensis : regular Agoufou. Picture.

Senegal parrot Poicephalus senegalus : > 5 near San, 14/08/04.

Senegal coucal Centropus senegalensis : 1 Tin Tadeni pond, 25/08/04.

Barn owl Tyto alba : 1 regular Agoufou.

Common/pallid swift Apus apus/pallidus : regular Agoufou, Hombori possibly mostly apus but hard to tell.

Little swift Apus affinis : nest in Ségou, regular Hombori.

African palm swift Cypsurius parvus : regular Djenné, Ségou.

Mottled swift Tachymarptis aequatorialis : 1 Hombori Tondo, 02/09/04.

Blue-naped mouse bird Urocolius macrourous : 10 Gourma-Rharous, 26/08/04.

Northern carmine bee-eater Merops malimbicus : 1 near San, 14/08/04.

White-throated bee-eater Merops albicollis : common, nesting and feeding young, Agoufou.

Abyssinian roller Coracias abyssinicus : regular Agoufou, Hombori.

African grey hornbill Tockus nasutus : common Agoufou.

Red-billed hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus : 1 near San, 14/08/04.

Barn swallow Hirundo rustica ; a few regular in Hombori.

Cricket warbler Spiloptila clamans : common Agoufou.

Pied crow Corvus albus : common Hombori, Agoufou.

Brown-necked raven Corvus ruficollis : 1 Agoufou.

Neumann's starling Onychognatus neumanni : 2 Hombori Tondo, 02/09/04, mobbing shikras

Purple glossy starling Lamprotornis purpureus : common in fields, villages, Hombori, Agoufou...

Northern grey-headed sparrow Passer griseus : regular Hombori, cities (Djenné)

Sudan golden sparrow Passer luteus : numerous Gossi/Rharous. pictures.

Red billed firefinch Lagonosticta senegala : common, Hombori, Mopti, Djenné.

Cinnamon-breasted rock bunting Emberiza tahapisi : Hombori in cliffs and rocks.

Plus a number of unidentified birds (cisticola, owl, sparrow lark, weaver etc ...).


-----------------------------------------
2005 trip :

Drive Bamako-Mopti 03/08/05

Drive Mopti-Hombori 04/08/05

Stay in Hombori, working in Agoufou.

Drive Hombori-Sévaré 25/08/05

Drive Sévaré-Bandiagara. 26 and 27/08/05



Drive Djenne-Bamako.28/08/05
2005 list :

Black-crowned night heron Nycticorax nycticorax : a couple of birds heard at night/dusk over Agoufou

Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis : common, Hombori, Agoufou, in Bandiagara a breeding colony of ~3000 birds 27/08/05, most chicks fledged, some still non flying. pictures.

Abdim's stork Ciconia abdimii : > 10 Dogonland cliffs, 26/08/05. picture. Some seen from the car, road Ségou/Mopti.

White-faced whistling duck Dendrocygna viduata : 6 in flight over Hombori.

Knob-billed duck Sarkidiornis melanotos : 1 Hombori, in flight in the evening.

Spur-winged goose Plectropterus gambensis : 5 Agoufou.

Hooded vulture Necrosyrtes monachus : > 20 every day in Hombori. 10 in Bandiagara. Pictures.

Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus : 2 ad. Hombori (one moulting primaries).

Gyps sp. (Ruppell's or African gyps) : 7 in Hombori (Tondo). Some display flights.

Black (yellow-billed) kite Milvus migrans parasitus : common, tens at Hombori, Agoufou, Bandiagara.

Snake eagle sp. Circaetus sp. : 1 hunting Hombori.

African swallow-tailed kite Chelictinia riocourii : 1 Agoufou.

Shikra Accipiter badius : 1 regular Hombori, 1 Bandiagara (27/08/05), picture

Grasshopper buzzard Butastur rufipennis : 1 regular Agoufou.

Red-necked buzzard Buteo auguralis : 2 (1 pair) Dogonland, 26/08/05.

Tawny eagle Aquila rapax : 1 Hombori. Mobbed by black kites.

Common kestrel Falco tinnunculus : 2 regular Hombori.

Fox kestrel Falco alopex : 3 regular Hombori.

Lanner falcon Falco biarmicus : 1 regular Hombori, 2 seen Agoufou (hunting quelea), 1 Bandiagara.

Red-necked falcon Falco chicquera : 1 Bandiagara 27/08/05.

Senegal thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis 1 Agoufou, on the paved road.

Grey pratincole Glareola cinerea : 2 Agoufou 23/08/05, on the road along Agoufou pond. Pictures.

Cream-coloured courser Cursorius cursor : 2 Agoufou.

White-headed lapwing Vanellus albiceps : 2 Agoufou.

Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos : 1 Agoufou (pond), 2 Dogonland 26/08/05 (river banks).

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse Pterocles exustus : 4 (2 road kills) Agoufou.

Speckled pigeon Columba guinea : 2 on the road between Douentza and Sévaré.

African collared dove Streptotelia roseogrisea ; 2 regular Agoufou.

Laughing dove Streptotelia senegalensis : common (every village/city, savannahs and fields)

Namaqua dove Oena capensis : common in Agoufou (>10 every day).

Rose-ringed parakeet Psittacula krameri : 2 Bamako.

Senegal coucal Centropus senegalensis : 1 Bandiagara, 27/08/05 (river bank).

Barn owl Tyto alba : 1 regular Agoufou.

Common/pallid swift Apus apus/pallidus : regular Agoufou, Hombori.

Little swift Apus affinis : nesting in Ségou, regular Hombori, Dogonland

African palm swift Cypsurius parvus : regular Dogonland, Djenné, Ségou, 1 Hombori

Mottled swift Tachymarptis aequatorialis : regular Hombori, 5 Agoufou. Note : common/pallid and mottled swifts numerous in front of squall lines, mixed groups of hundreds gathering at Hombori Tondo.

Pied kingfisher Ceryle rudis : 2 Djenné, 2 Bandiagara 27/08/05.

White-throated bee-eater Merops albicollis : common in Agoufou (groups > 20, nesting), regular Hombori.

Abyssinian roller Coracias abyssinicus : regular Agoufou, Hombori, Dogonland.

Hoopoe Upupa epops : 1 singing Hombori. ssp senegalensis.

African grey hornbill Tockus nasutus : common Agoufou (groups of several tens), regular Hombori.

Red-billed hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus : 1 Hombori

Grey woodpecker Dendropicos goertae : 1 Hombori.

Barn swallow Hirundo rustica : a few regular in Hombori.

Red-rumped swallow Hirundo daurica : 5 Hombori.

Cricket warbler Spiloptila clamans : common Agoufou.

Beautiful sunbird Cinnyris pulchellus : 1 seen twice in Hombori.

Woodchat shrike Lanius senator : 2 Agoufou.

Southern grey shrike Lanius meridionalis : 2 Agoufou (one is begging, courtship display or young bird ?)

Pied crow Corvus albus : common Hombori, Agoufou (nest with young in a Balanites) Bandiagara.

Brown-necked raven Corvus ruficollis : 2 south of Agoufou, 23/08/05.

Purple glossy starling Lamprotornis purpureus : common in fields, villages, Hombori, Agoufou.

Yellow-billed oxpecker Buphagus africanus : 1 Dogonland, 26/08/05.

Chestnut-bellied starling Lamprotornis pulcher : 4 Hombori.

Northern grey-headed sparrow Passer griseus : regular Hombori, cities (Djenné)

Red billed quelea Quelea quelea ; numerous (tens of thousands) Agoufou. heavy damages to millet crops reported in the fall.

Northern red bishop Euplectes franciscanus : 1 Djenné.

Red billed firefinch Lagonosticta senegala : common in villages, cities (Hombori, Mopti, Bandiagara ...).

Village indigobird Vidua chalybeata : 5 Bandiagara 27/08/05. Picture.

Cinnamon-breasted rock bunting Emberiza tahapisi : 1 Agoufou, common in Dogonland (26 and 27/08/05) in cliffs and rocks.

A number of unidentified birds (cisticola, nightjar, weaver, doves ...)


---------------------------------------

2006 Trip

Hombori/Agoufou August 9-September 2


2006 list :

Great egret Egretta alba : 1 from the car near Mopti (8/08/06)

Green-backed heron Butorides striata, 1 Agoufou pond.

Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis : common, Hombori, Agoufou.

Abdim's stork Ciconia abdimii : 2 flying over Agoufou, then a group of 10 foraging (pictures).

White-faced whistling duck Dendrocygna viduata : 2 in flight Agoufou pond.

Spur-winged goose Plectropterus gambensis : 1 Agoufou, flying.

Hooded vulture Necrosyrtes monachus : 1 flying over Agoufou, 2 over Hombori. not a lot ...

Gyps sp. in Tondo Hombori cliffs.

Black (yellow-billed) kite Milvus migrans parasitus : common Hombori, some flying over Agoufou.

Montagu's harrier Circus pygargus : 2 Agoufou (1 ad male, 1 imm. or fem.)

Beaudouin's snake eagle Circaetus beaudouini : 1 imm. Agoufou.

Black-shouldered kite Elanus caeruleus : group of 4 regular Agoufou.

African swallow-tailed kite Chelictinia riocourii : 1 Agoufou.

Shikra Accipiter badius : 1 Hombori.

Gabar goshawk Micronisus gabar : common Agoufou, hunting and catching quelea. Imm. + adults.

Grasshopper buzzard Butastur rufipennis : 1 regular Agoufou. Picture.

Common kestrel Falco tinnunculus : 1 Hombori.

Fox kestrel Falco alopex : regular at dusk Tondo Hombori.

Lanner falcon Falco biarmicus : common Agoufou, hunting quelea. Sometimes two birds hunting together.

Red-necked falcon Falco chicquera : 1 Agoufou, hunting quelea.

Helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris : 2 Agoufou.

Quail-plover Ortyxelos meiffrenii : regular Agoufou (took me some time to identify !)

Senegal thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis 1 Agoufou.

Temminck's courser Cursorius temminckii : 1 Agoufou.

Spur-winged lapwing Vanellus spinosus : 2 Agoufou pond.

Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos : 3 Agoufou pond.

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse Pterocles exustus : 4 Bangui Mallam (15 km north of Agoufou), 2 Agoufou.

Speckled pigeon Columba guinea : small group regular in Hombori rocks.

African collared dove Streptotelia roseogrisea : regular Agoufou.

Laughing dove Streptotelia senegalensis : Common.

Namaqua dove Oena capensis : common Agoufou in early August, regular late August.

Great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius : 2 Agoufou 01/09/06 (at least 1 imm.), picture.

Senegal coucal Centropus senegalensis : 1 Hombori pond.

Greyish eagle owl Bubo africanus : 1 Hombori.

Common/pallid swift Apus apus/pallidus : regular Agoufou, Hombori.

Little swift Apus affinis : regular Hombori.

African palm swift Cypsurius parvus : 2 Hombori.

Mottled swift Tachymarptis aequatorialis : some flying over Agoufou.

Alpine swift Tachymarptis melba : 1 Agoufou

White-throated bee-eater Merops albicollis : common Agoufou.

Abyssinian roller Coracias abyssinicus : regular Agoufou, Hombori.

Hoopoe Upupa epops : 2 Agoufou. ssp senegalensis.

African grey hornbill Tockus nasutus : common Agoufou, very common late August.

Red-billed hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus : 1 Agoufou.

Chestnut-backed sparrow lark Eremopterix leucotis :

Barn swallow Hirundo rustica : a few Hombori.

Cricket warbler Spiloptila clamans : common Agoufou.

Desert cisticola Cisticola aridulus : common Agoufou. (although not on distribution Map of Borrow-Demey).

Beautiful sunbird Cinnyris pulchellus : Hombori.

Woodchat shrike Lanius senator : regular Agoufou.

Pied crow Corvus albus : common Hombori, Agoufou.

Brown-necked raven Corvus ruficollis : 2 Agoufou.

Yellow-billed oxpecker Buphagus africanus : 1 Agoufou, on cattle.

Purple glossy starling Lamprotornis purpureus : common in fields, villages, Hombori, Agoufou.

Northern grey-headed sparrow Passer griseus : regular Hombori Agoufou.

Speckle-fronted weaver Sporopipes frontalis : small groups common Agoufou.

Village weaver Ploceus cucullatus : a few, Agoufou, Hombori.

Red-billed quelea Quelea quelea : large groups (tens of thousands) leaving mid-August. Pictures.

Red billed firefinch Lagonosticta senegala : common, Hombori, 1 Agoufou village.

African silverbill Euodice cantans : common Agoufou (took me some time to identify).

Cinamon breasted rock bunting Emberiza tahapisi : 1 Agoufou, 1 Hombori.

Still unidentified species : lark sp. (Kordofan ?), warbler sp, doves, nightjar ...



Qualitative overview of Agoufou grassland birds in 2006 compared to previous years (2004, 2005).

Compared to past experiences, presence during the day (as opposed to the night in 2004 and 2005) plus a little bit of experience now allow me to have a more precise idea of bird species. The obvious features in 2006 was the abundance of Quelea quelea, which had been there since August 2005, attracting falcons and hawks. I got impressive views of falcons flying low over the grass, then a big noise of hundreds of quelea flying to the nearest tree, the falcon circling around the tree. In case of Accipiter, the swarm of quelea try to escape by gaining height (but not fast enough...), while the bee-eater are flying over the scene and escorting the hawk. The queleas almost disappeared by mid-August (maybe just a short range movement, but definitely a relief for local farmers). Also, 2006 was a late but rather good rain season, with ample rains starting 15 July, resulting in a dense grass layer. I have the feeling that locusts and grasshoppers appeared rather late (e.g. compared to 2004). This, together with the fast growth of the grass layer, was perhaps the reason for an observed change a species during August: Early August in Agoufou was full a Quelea quelea and Namaqua doves, with some chestnut-backed sparrow larks, lanner falcons, gabar goshawks, almost no African grey hornbill or cattle egrets. Late August was full a grey hornbills, cattle egret, some Abdim's storks made a stop to feed (on locusts ?).

With the small experience I have now, I can say that 2004 (a very poor rain season, with lot's of grasshoppers and 'criquet migrateur' invasion) was remarkable by the presence of swallow tail kites, Namaqua doves and very few other species (mostly grey hornbill, cisticola sp., and cricket warbler) whereas 2005 (good rain season) was a 'quelea quelea' year with much more bird diversity, as was 2006.
In 2006, I was able to identify some species I had seen but left "sp." in 2004 and 2005 like silverbills, quail-plover and desert cisticola (although I still have to check the songs of cisticolas to be 100% sure). In 2006, observations in early September added some West-Palearctic migrants to the Agoufou list (Montagu's harrier, great spotted cuckoo, hypolais warbler sp.). I still don't know the species of lark (kordofan maybe ?).

In Hombori, I was surprised by the quasi-absence of hooded vultures in 2006, compared to 2004 and 2005 (where 20 were sitting in the rocks just above the village). I just saw one or two. I don't know if this is related to a change in the animal slaughter house, in other food resources, or some destruction.




White-throated bee-eater (Agoufou)







Grasshopper buzzard (Agoufou)





Laughing doves (Hombori Tondo)




Black (yellow-billed) kite (Hombori)









Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (near Gourma-Rharous)








Pied crow (Hombori)


Grey pratincole (Agoufou pond)





Great spotted cuckoo (Agoufou)













Shikra (Bandiagara) and African swallow-tailed kite (Agoufou)





Group of red-billed quelea (Agoufou)





Abyssinian roller (Agoufou)







Egyptian vulture (Hombori Tondo)






Hooded vulture







Indigo bird (Bandiagara)



Sudan golden sparrow (near Gourma-Rharous)





African grey hornbill (Agoufou)






Abdim's storks at nest (Dogon cliff)






Abdim's stork (Agoufou)





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