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Gabon

Western Bluebill Spermophaga haematina ©Jonathan Rossouw Website

Gabon is a country in west central Africa, located on the equator sharing borders with the Gulf of Guinea to the west, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, and Cameroon to the north, with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. Its size is almost 270,000 km² with an estimated population of 1,500,000. The capital and largest city is Libreville. 

It has an equatorial climate with an extensive system of rainforests covering 85% of the country, there are also grasslands, savannas, large rivers and coastal lagoons.

There are three distinct regions: the coastal plains (ranging between 20 to 300 km from the ocean's shore), the mountains (the Cristal Mountains to the northeast of Libreville, the Chaillu Massif in the centre, culminating at 1575 m with Mont Iboundji), and the savanna in the east. Gabon's largest river is the Ogooué which is 1200 km long.

Gabon has three karst areas where there are hundreds of caves located in the dolomite and limestone rocks. Some of the caves include Grotte du Lastoursville, Grotte du Lebamba, Grotte du Bongolo, and Grotte du Kessipougou. Many caves have not been explored yet. A National Geographic Expedition visited the caves in the summer of 2008 to document them (Expedition Website). Gabon is also noted for efforts to preserve the natural environment.

In 2002, President Omar Bongo Ondimba put Gabon firmly on the map as an important future ecotourism destination by nominating more than 11% of the nation's territory as National Park (13 in total), which may be the largest area of nature parks in the world. Natural resources include: petroleum, magnesium, iron, gold, uranium, and forests.

Wildlife includes forest elephants, African elephants, buffalo, various antelope and monkey species, sitatungas, leopards, three species of crocodiles, chimps and gorillas, as well as several marine turtle species which nest along the coast.

There are around 750 species of birds none of which are endemic, but some, such as the Ja River Scrub Warbler, Gabon Batis, African River Martin, and Black-chinned Weaver are restricted to Central Africa and have only small ranges. The Grey-necked Rockfowl (Picathartes) and Loango Weaver are classed as vulnerable species by the IUCN.

Contributor

Wikipedia

GNU Free Documentation License

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabon

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 777

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

A Birders Checklist of the Birds of Gabon

D Sargeant 1994 ?5.95

ISBN: 25305

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Western Africa: An Identification Guide

Nik Borrow and Ron Demey Series: CHRISTOPHER HELM IDENTIFICATION GUIDE SERIES 832 pages, 147 col plates, 1100 dist maps. Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713639598

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Coastal Waterbirds in Gabon

Edited by FJ Schepers and ECL Marteijn Series: WIWO REPORT SERIES 41 293 pages, maps, figs. Foundation Working Group International Wader Group

ISBN: 9090067760

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa

Nik Borrow and Ron Demey Series: HELM FIELD GUIDES 496 pages, 150 col plates, 1300 maps. Christopher Helm See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 0713666927

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Guide des Oiseaux de la R?serve de la Lop

Patrice Christy & William Clarke [c.400 species from this reserve in Gabon. In French but with English and scientific species names.] 1994 Paperback ?23.95

ISBN: 51627

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Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

Please note that we arrange Gabon tours by request. Contact us for further details. Birding Ecotours aims to provide world-wide birding experiences of superb quality, while contributing to environmental conservation and disadvantaged communities. Please contact us for detailed information, queries and quotations as we are happy to help you in every aspect of planning your birding holiday.

Mistral Voyages

Tour Operator

Discover tourism and ecotourism in the National Parks of Gabon…

Patrice Christy

BP 2240 Libreville, Gabon. Fax + 241 775534 / 732345 / 747780

Trawling a number of trip reports etc. I found the address above for Patrice Christy who seems to be an authority on birds in Gabon and has guided visitos… I do not know if the address is current.

Tropical Birding

Tour Operator

Occassionally run trips to Gabon…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2010 [08 August] - Christian Boix

Report

The main highlights included: White-crested Bittern, Hartlaub’s Duck, African Finfoot, Bat Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Ayre’s and Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Pel’s and Vermiculated Fishing Owls, Hottentot Buttonquail, Finsch’s and Latham’s Forest Francolin…

2011 [08 August] - Peregrine Bird Tours

Report

…Prior to breakfast the following morning, we went birding in a large area of grassland, which also had a large pond in the middle of it, which was adjacent to our hotel. New birds for the tour included a Long-tailed Cormorant, lots of Striated Herons, a good number of both pale and dark morph Western Reef-Herons, a single Common Moorhen, a delightful pair of Sao Tome Kingfishers and a large flock of out of plumage Golden-backed Bishops….

2013 [07 July] - Nik Borrow

Report PDF

…During our time in Gabon, we were fortunate to see many of the most spectacular of all Western African birds including the delightful Grey Pratincole, a pair of Vermiculated Fishing Owls, Sjöstedt’s Barred Owlet, Brown and Bates’s Nightjars, Bare-cheeked Trogon...

2016 [09 September] - David Hoddinott - Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe

Report PDF

Our 2016 birding adventure of Gabon and the offshore islands of Sao Tome and Principe kicked off with our pre-tour extension of the islands.

Organisations

African Bird Club

Website

Despite being politically stable, sparsely populated and possessing large tracts of undisturbed habitat, Gabon is far from realising its potential and deserved status as a premier birding and wildlife destination. Perhaps its three most prohibitive qualities are (i) the paucity of information on travelling in Gabon, (ii) the cost of travelling there - Gabon targets almost exclusively high-end tourism, with no official campsites in the entire country - and (iii) the fact that it is completely Francophone, a deterrent to many English-only speaking birders…

West African Ornithological Society

Website

The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society, which was founded in February 1964. Its object is to promote scientific interest in the birds of West Africa and to further the region’s ornithology, mainly by means of its journal Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society). This journal is biannual and bilingual, a unique feature in Africa.The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society, which was founded in February 1964. Its object is to promote scientific interest in the birds of West Africa and to further the region’s ornithology, mainly by means of its journal Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society). This journal is biannual and bilingual, a unique feature in Africa.

Reserves

Important Bird Areas

Website

The Cameroon and Gabon lowlands Endemic Bird Area (EBA) covers much of central Gabon. The distribution of Loango Weaver Ploceus subpersonatus defines the Gabon-Cabinda coast secondary EBA…

Other Links

Checklist

Website

Gabon Birding - on Worldtwitch

Website

The coast of Gabon is characterized by a Maze - huge lagoons and rivers. Access is limited to flying in and boat travel and accommodations are very basic. In the 5 days I had there I had little time for extensive birding. However, I still managed to tally more than 100 species of bird, 15 species of mammal and 3 species of crocodile.

Gabon Birds

Website

Despite being politically stable, sparsely populated and possessing large tracts of undisturbed habitat, Gabon is far from realising its potential and deserved status as a premier birding and wildlife destination. Perhaps its three most prohibitive qualities are (i) the paucity of information on travelling in Gabon, (ii) the cost of travelling there - Gabon targets almost exclusively high-end tourism, with no official campsites in the entire country - and (iii) the fact that it is completely Francophone, a deterrent to many English-only speaking birders.