BirdLife: The Magazine Jan-Mar 2018 - Page 60

BCI VOLUME 27 ISSUE 4 DECEMBER 2017 ISSN: 0959-2709 Bird Conservation International From the field The latest scientific breakthroughs from BirdLife’s quarterly peer-reviewed journal Published for BirdLife International by Cambridge University Press O N THE C O V ER Exploring the ‘African Galapagos’ A successful expedition into the forested interior of São Tomé Island, finding three Critically Endangered birds. T he Democratic Republic of São Tomé e Príncipe, off the west coast of central Africa, has been described as the ‘African Galápagos’. The island of São Tomé alone holds 20 endemic bird species, including the little known Dwarf Ibis Bostrychia bocagei, Newton’s Fiscal Lanius newtoni and São Tomé Grosbeak Crithagra concolor (all three Critically Endangered). In this issue of BCI, a team including colleagues from BirdLife Partners in Portugal (SPEA) and the UK (RSPB) describe the first comprehensive study of the distribution of these rare and elusive species – an amazing feat, given how mountainous and inaccessible much of the island is. They found all three species in previously unknown areas, and mapped their distribution throughout the core block of forest in the centre of the island, most of which is included in the São Tomé Obô Natural Park. Their findings highlight the need to improve the effectiveness of the park’s management in order to protect its unique biodiversity. n 60 Photo from expedition by Hugo Sampaio. Cover photo: Newton’s Fiscal (Lars Petersson) birdlife • Jan-Mar 2018