Birds of Rio Muni

Matthew Shirley

Equatorial Guinea has been under extreme political turmoil throughout the latter half of the century. Due to instability, researchers have not been able to enter the continental part of the country to document species and assess conservation needs. The project will conduct these assessments using standard avifaunal census techniques in order to document under-studied, biodiversity-rich habitats so they can be recognized and conserved. Surveys will determine distribution and status of West African birds in the montane rainforest Monte Mitra and the mangrove estuary of Rio Muni, two important habitats that are in critical need of biotic surveys. Both are likely to meet BirdLife International’s criteria for IBA status. Based on the only published survey of Monte Alen, a neighbouring peak, there is reason to believe that Monte Mitra harbours many threatened and endemic montane species once thought to occur only in the Mt. Cameroon range. Likewise, Rio Muni estuary is likely to be important for many species of waders and shorebirds during both seasonal migration and breeding. By researching the conservation needs of a specialized sect of fauna such as birds, the project ultimately hopes to raise awareness for the conservation needs of other important and endangered species in Equatorial Guinea.