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New sightings of the Ibadan Malimbe

…in Nigeria's newest proposed IBA

Surveys of the Ifon Forest Reserve, Nigeria, in November 2007 and March 2008 provided confirmed sightings of Endangered Ibadan Malimbe Malimbus ibadanensis, which is endemic to south-west Nigeria. These and earlier sightings have led Ifon Forest Reserve to be proposed as Nigeria's newest Important Bird Area.

"The sighting of the Ibadan Malimbe in Ifon Forest Reserve indicates an extension of the earlier range, and have raised interesting research questions about the distribution of Ibadan Malimbe in south-western forests", said Ademola Ajagbe of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF, BirdLife Partner Designate in Nigeria).

Ibadan Malimbe was known only from a small area circumscribed by Ibadan, Ife, Iperu and Ilaro in south-western Nigeria. In December 2006, the species was first discovered in Ifon Forest Reserve of Ondo State, where six sight records were obtained during a ten-day survey. Foraging pairs were seen on two separate occasions and lone males were recorded twice. Records of this species from Kakum National Park, Ghana, in February 2002, September 2004 and February 2005 are yet to be confirmed.One male was identified during the eight-day survey in 2007, while two males were identified at two different locations during the eight-day 2008 survey in the central and northern portion of the reserve. It was difficult to ascertain the presence of female Ibadan Malimbe during the 2008 survey as the males were observed in the company of several Red-headed Malimbe M. rubricollis pairs.

Widespread forest clearance for subsistence agriculture is cited as a possible cause of the Ibadan Malimbe's decline since the 1970s, and human pressure on forests within its range is ongoing. Most of the forest patches within the species' current range are community-owned forests and their preservation is dependent upon local communities.

NB NCF was commissioned in 2006 to serve as Technical Partner to develop a management plan for the Ifon Forest Reserve in Ondo State. A biodiversity survey of the Reserve was carried out as the first phase of this project. The result of the survey has led the government to ban all illegal activities in the Reserve. The government of Ondo State is also set to promote the tourism potentials of the Forest which is expected to create avenues for income generating activities for the local communities, as well as the state government. NCF has secured international funding for further conservation activities within the Reserve.

4th July 2014