I. Species of special interest

The species of special interest are those birds which are either; Only recorded for Tanzania at Minziro many of which are G-C biome-restricted. Birds which where ringed in greater, or lesser numbers than expected and re-traps from 1987. Were recorded by observation in numbers greater or less than expected, or other notable behaviour. The numbers shown proceeding the name (#,#) refer to the Tanzanian checklist number (Tz, No), followed by the Britton number (Bno).

(95,97) Francolinus lathami, Forest Francolin

First recorded for Tanzania in 1987, this species has since been recorded at Minziro by Baker & Baker (1994) and Moyer (1999). Several sightings were made between 100m and 200m into the forest, the largest group being five individuals. A single adult male was caught and ringed (H2611), weight; 322gm, wing; 161mm, bill; 22.2, tar; 47.8mm, tail; 61mm.


(343,385) Cercococcyx mechowi, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo

First recorded for Tanzania in 1993 (Baker & Baker, 1994), this species has since been recorded by Moyer (1998) who noted up to five individuals calling at the same time in October. In August 2000, this species was recorded on call by L.McBride.


(409,467) Alcedo leucogaster, White-bellied Kingfisher

First recorded for Tanzania in July1987 when 20 birds were ringed of which 7 were immature (Baker, 1987 unpublished). Moyer (1998) recorded this bird in October, but it was not observed in November 1993 and August 2000. The distribution of this race; leopoldi ; Congo Basin to Western Uganda and NW Tanzania at Minziro. Fry et al (1988) states that this species is thought to be sedentary, however its absence during these months could suggest otherwise.


(410,468)  Alcedo quadribrachys, Shining Blue Kingfisher

First recorded for Tanzania in 1987 when a single bird was ringed. This individual was thought to represent a wanderer from the Kagera Valley in Rwanda where it is known to occur (Britton, 1980). This species has not been recorded from Malabigambo, in adjacent Uganda, nor has it been recorded in Minziro since 1987.


(411,478) Ceyx picta, Pygmy Kingfisher

An intra-African migrant, the east African race natalensis breeds south of 10ºS from September to April, migrating north ‘wintering’ to NE Zaire, S Sudan and West Uganda (Keith et al, 1988). During the period 27.7.00 – 2.8.00 14 adult birds were ringed of which 2 were in the last stages moult. A majority of the birds caught were in fresh plumage. The high numbers of this intra-African migrant would indicate that Minziro is an important wintering habitat for this species. Recent studies have indicated that long distance migrants have a high fidelity to their non-breeding destination. This would go some way to outlining the importance of Minziro as a wintering habitat to this and other intra-African migrants (Oatley, T pers comm).


(498,592) First record for Tanzania

Thripias xantholophus, Yellow-crested Woodpecker

First recorded for Tanzania on 23.07.00 feeding 30m above the ground on the underside of a dead branch. Several observations were then made by different individuals over a period of two weeks. Its characteristic ‘high speed’ drumming was recorded daily and indicated at least 2 individuals were in the immediate area. On one occasion an individual was observed at the forest edge for 5 minutes drumming and feeding. This species was recorded in the Sango Bay Forests by Friedmann & Williams (1969) and Matthews (Davenport & Howard, 1996), therefore its occurrence at Minziro is not surprising. The fact that this species was not recorded at this locality in July 1987 but was common July-August 2000 would suggest movement, possibly rainfall related, this being a dry year.

(537,628) IUCN Vulnerable Hirundo atrocaerulea, Blue Swallow

An intra-African migrant, this species leaves its breeding areas in upland grassland to winter in lowland areas such as Minziro and Ruma National Park in western Kenya. It is not known if these birds, wintering in Minziro are from south Africa or the southern highlands of Tanzania. However, it is more likely that these birds breed in the Iringa highlands, Kipengere range or Kitulo Plateau. What is known is that its breeding areas at Kitulo plateau and in areas of the Iringa Highlands are threatened by cultivation. Surveys were carried out in Ruma national Park during 1996 and 1997 (Nasirwa & Njoroge) and no birds were recorded. This park has however become fragmented and may no longer be a viable wintering ground for this species. In Minziro (1987) <20 individuals were recorded in 3 weeks; in Minziro (August 2000) four birds were recorded. Although these are low numbers, this would indicate that the grassland in and around Minziro Forest Reserve represents an important habitat for this declining species. At present, Blue Swallow is listed as vulnerable (Collar et al, 1994), although it is likely to be upgraded this year to endangered due to the continued destruction of both its breeding and wintering habitats.


(576,705) Andropadus virens, Little Greenbul

The most widespread forest Greenbul in Africa, this species occurs from extreme west Africa to the east African coast at Dar-es-Salaam (Keith et al, 1992). In total 7 birds were ringed, One re-trap first ringed as an adult in 1987 (J187930) indicating that this individual has a life span of at least 14 years. The previous longevity record for this species is 7 years 9 months (Mann, 1985). In addition this would confirm current opinion that this species is mainly sedentary.


(577,697) Andropadus curvirostris, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul

A predominately west African species, occurring in west and central Ugandan forests, Kakamaga, Nandi and Mt. Elgon in Kenya. Known only from Minziro in Tanzania. A total of 10 adult birds were ringed.


(579,699) Andropadus gracilis, Little-grey Greenbul

First recorded in Minziro by Moyer (1998), this is a bird of the west African forest belt, with populations in Uganda and a disjunct population in western Kenya at Kakamega (Keith et al, 1992). Several observations were

made of this species in the canopy and identifications confirmed on call by L.McBride.


(590,719) First record for Tanzania

Phyllastrephus baumanni, Toro Olive Greenbul

First recorded for Tanzania on 27.07.00. Single adult male caught and ringed (A96226); weight; 24gm, wing; 80mm, bill; 18.2mm, tar; 22.7, tail; 81.5mm. The bird was at the end of its moult; RW PP 1-8=new, 9=4,10=old. SS 1-6=new. TT 1-3=new. Several parties were observed in a single area and sound recordings made by L.McBride. This species was not observed or heard at other areas of Minziro Forest (other than the ringing site) over the following month, although efforts were made to find it (McBride pers comm).


(592,725) Phyllastrephus icterinus, Icterine Greenbul

A predominantly west African species, it was first recorded for Tanzania at Minziro in 1987. In total 7 adult birds were ringed. Observations were limited as it is difficult to distinguish this bird in the field from P.xavieri however mixed parties were observed in the mid-strata.


(593,731) Phyllastrephus xavieri, Xavier’s Greenbul

A predominately west African species, in Tanzania, only recorded from Minziro. 9 adult birds were ringed. Mixed parties of xavieri and icterinus were observed in the mid-strata.


(597,708) Bleda notata, Yellow-lored Bristlebill (Green-tailed Bristlebill)

A bird of west, central Africa, W and S Uganda, in Tanzania only at Minziro (Keith et al , 1992).Recently split from B.eximia (Green-tailed Bristlebill) by Chappuis and Erarad, (1993). In total 12 birds were ringed, of which 2 were re-traps from 1987, (A 35188, A 40760). Both re-captures were Adult birds caught at the same location indicating sedentary behaviour and a life-span of at least 14 years. Previous longevity record for this species was recorded as 10 years (Keith et al, 1992).


(602,773) Neocossyphus rufus, Red-tailed Ant Thrush

Nominate race occurs in forest and moist woodland, from coastal lowlands to 900m. In Tanzania, recorded in Pugu, Ulugurus, East Usambaras. Single record October 1998 (Moyer). Not recorded in Sango-Bay Forests, Uganda, although may occur.


(605,790) Stizorhina fraseri, Rufous Thrush (Rufous-Flycatcher Thrush)

A bird of west-central Africa, S.Nigeria to Minziro in NW Tanzania (Keith et al,1992). Two adult birds were caught of which one was a re-trap from 1987 (A40781). The re-trap was ringed as an adult at the same location in 1987. This would indicate sedentary behaviour and a life-span of at least 14 years. Previous recorded longevity is 8 years (Keith et al, 1992).


(615,734) Alethe diademata, Fire-crested Alethe

33 individuals were ringed of which 16 were immature and 17 were adult birds. This ratio of adults to immature birds would indicate a successful breeding season. Of the 17 adult birds processed, 12 were in moult indicating the end of the breeding season in this area. A single re-capture from 1987 indicates the known life-span of this species to be at least 13 years. The previous known longevity for this species was 8 years (Keith et al, 1992).


(812,675) Illadopsis fulvescens, Brown Illadopsis

The race ugandae is found in CAR, Congo (now Zaire), S Sudan, Kenya and Western Tanzania (Mackworth-Praed & Grant, 1973), it  is predominately a bird of dense forest undergrowth. Six adults and one immature bird were caught of which one was a 1987 re-trap (J187955). The longevity of this species is unknown, but the re-trap suggests at least 14 years. As with other retraps from 1987 this indicates not only longevity in tropical forest avifauna but sedentary behaviour as well.


(916,1009) IUCN Near-threatened

Laniarius mufumbiri, Papyrus Gonolek

Endemic to Papyrus swamps from 1100m – 1600m along the north shore of Lake Victoria and swamps in western Kenya and Uganda (Britton, 1980). No birds were recorded in August 2000, however this species was recorded in 1987 near Kagera Sugar factory. It is likely to occur in low numbers along the river in Minziro FR. It is important to note that following the de-gazettment of 66% of Kagera national park in Rwanda, the papyrus on which this bird depends is unprotected over much of the Kagera eco-system.

 Black-throated Apalis Apalis jacksoni


I. Other Taxa recorded



Taxonomic order and nomenclature follow Kingdon (1997)

Colobus polykomos, Western Pied Colobus

The race; adolphi-frederici (Kagera Valley), montane and lowland forest (Kingdon, 1997). Groups of 4 to 8 were recorded in different areas in the western part of the forest reserve.

Lophocebus albigena

Grey-cheeked Mangabey

Recorded twice at the ringing site in groups of 2-5. Once on the road just south of Minziro village.

Cercopithecus (c.) ascanius

Red-tailed Monkey

The race Schmidti (Uganda and western Kenya) Recorded daily.

Otolemur crassicaudatus montieri,

Greater Galago

Angola to Tanzania (badius in central Tanzania). Recorded daily, calling at 19.30 onwards.

Nycteris spp, (One of 10 species known)

Slit-faced Bat

One Individual caught in the net late evening.

Heliosciurus rufobrachium

Red-legged sun squirrel

Recorded once on the forest edge.

Lophuromys spp, ( One of 9 species known)

Brush-furred Mouse

Several individuals caught in mist nets in both the grassland and forest edge.


Praomys spp, ( One of 9 species known)

Soft-furred Mouse

One individual caught in the bottom rung of the mist net inside the forest. Measurements taken; Length: 130mm, Tail: 100cm, Weight: 44gm.

Dendrohyrax dorsalis

Western Tree Hyrax

Common and vocal at varying times of night within forest.

Tragelaphus scriptus, Bushbuck

Recorded twice inside the forest during the middle of the day and once on the forest edge at sunset. Alarm call heard regularly.

Cerphalophus sp, Duiker sp

A single sighting which was believed to be callipygus, Peter’s Duiker due to large size and colouring.