Scientists 'Rediscover' Rare Angolan Birds
JOHANNESBURG The first ornithologists to visit northern Angola since the end of the country's civil war have "rediscovered" three species of bird not seen for decades, a conservation group said on Wednesday.
The six-day expedition at the end of January yielded sightings of the orange-breasted bush-shrike and the white-headed robin-chat, two small birds not been seen by scientists since 1957.
The group, comprised mostly of South African scientists, also spotted a single pair of black-tailed cisticolas. These are only found in Angola and neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo and had not been seen in the wild since 1972.
"These exciting rediscoveries are welcome news, but illustrate how poorly known the birds of Angola are," said Dr Stuart Butchart of BirdLife International, a UK-based conservation group.
"Further surveys are urgently needed in order to establish a more accurate picture of the species' true status and conservation needs."
Angola's civil war ended in 2002 after almost three decades of fighting which left much of the country in tatters.
Much of Angola's wildlife including its herds of elephant were wiped out by rampant poaching during the conflict. But the enforced absence of development left large parts of the country inaccessible and acted as a shield for many species.
The first photographs in decades of the rare giant sable, which is unique to Angola, were recently taken by remote cameras hidden in the bush.
Tropical Angola hopes to woo tourists in a bid to diversify its oil and diamond-reliant economy.