Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Strangely, just two all trip, on a river near Freetown.
Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus
Two near Zimmi.
White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis
Widespread, we had up to 20 on several days.
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus
8 seen near Guma then 5 next day and 6 on Dec 29.
Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus
Seen on 5 days, the first near the East Freetown shanty, max 4 on Jan 5.
White-crested Hornbill Tockus albocristatus
One flew across the Moa R. as we were on the boat, and luckily I was able to call it back for a super perched view, what a strange bird this is and what a great voice. I only had a brief flight view in Semliki before.
Black Dwarf Hornbill Tockus hartlaubi
My penultimate African hornbill, a perched bird by a small mixed flock on Tiwai on Jan 5 gave super looks and was one of my birds of the trip. What a shame that we dipped on Brown-cheeked.
Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill Tockus camurus
I taped one in on Tiwai, a nice lifer for Joan and a favourite of mine, with fantastic voice and weird colouration.
African Pied Hornbill Tockus fasciatus
The commonest hornbill, seen throughout, sometimes in small flocks of 6-10 birds.
Piping Hornbill Ceratogymna fistulator
Fairly common in forest, max. 10 on Tiwai.
Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata
This big hornbill was a major want of mine and it was fairly widespread in forest. The first were 6 scoped and flying up at Guma Dam on Dec. 28, then 2 at Kambui North, and pairs on Tiwai.
Naked-faced Barbet Gymnobucco calvus
One by Guma Village on Dec 28, then 3 at Kambui South Dec. 31 and a flock of 11 in a fruiting tree at Kambui North on Jan. 1. Where oh where was the supposedly common Bristle-nosed Barbet?
Speckled Tinkerbird Pogoniulus scolopaceus
Widespread in small numbers, we saw 4 birds on 3 days
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus
Two at Kambui North on Jan. 1.
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird P. bilineatus
One seen at Guma Dam and one on the peninsula.
Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta
One at Tiwai on Jan. 3.
Little Green Woodpecker Campethera maculosa
One at Guma Dam on Dec 28 and a male at Bumbuna Dec. 30, a West African endemic.
Melancholy Woodpecker Dendropicos lugubris
A pair gave great looks by the entrance to the chimp sanctuary on Dec. 29, and there was a pair at Kambui North.
Fire-bellied Woodpecker Dendropicos pyrrhogaster
One was seen nicely and taped back at Tiwai on Jan 5.
Sand Martin Hirundo riparia
A few around Tiwai.
Barn Swallow H. rustica
Small nos. of this migrant were seen in the more open habitats. Still need H. lucida!
Red-chested Swallow H. semirufa
Just one seen on the very first day near Freetown.
White-throated Blue Swallow Hirundo nigrita
Two by the girder bridge on the river near Kenema en route to Zimmi, and a couple around Tiwai, all seen on rocks in the river. I walked 22 km for this one in Semliki!
Pied-winged Swallow Hirundo leucosoma
It reminded me of Pearl-breasted Swallow but with big white patches on the secondaries, a very striking species that seems very scarce; we only saw 3 on Dec 29 at a site near Regent Town.
Lesser-striped Swallow Cecropis abyssinica
Fairly common around Freetown area, max. 30 in one day.
Preuss's Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon preussi
Two over the savanna by the Pied-winged Swallows, with a probable seen the day before en route to Guma, and then one near Kenema.
Common House Martin Delichon urbica
Forty near Bumbuna on Dec. 30.
Square-tailed Saw-wing Psalidoprocne nitens
Two at Guma Dam on Dec 28 and 2 at Gola East.
Fanti Saw-wing Psalidoprocne obscura
A common bird, far more so than P. nitens, we saw 6 at Guma dam, 30 next day there, 10 at Bumbuna and 10 near Bo.
Blue Cuckoo-shrike Coracina azurea
A male at Gola East in poor light on Jan. 4, sat up for ages atop a tree.
African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp
Just a few on river rocks around Tiwai.
Yellow Wagtail M. flava
Singles at Bumbuna and Kenema.
Yellow-throated Longclaw Macronyx croceus
Two were at the Pied-winged Swallow site at Regent Town.
Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys
One near Guma Village and 4 near Bo.
Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus
Little Greenbul Andropadus virens
One at the prinia-site at Bumbuna and one at Tiwai, but often heard.
Little Grey Greenbul Andropadus gracilis
Greenbuls were the most numerous forest birds, especially Little A. virens, but were difficult to i.d. unless seen or heard well. This species was seen at Guma Dam, Bumbuna and Tiwai.
Ansorge's Greenbul Andropadus ansorgei
One was at Kambui North.
Slender-billed Greenbul Andropadus gracilirostris
Seen at Guma Dam, Gola East, and Tiwai.
Yellow-whiskered Bulbul Andropadus latirostris
Seen at Guma Dam and Kambui North, with a juv. being fed at the former site.
[Golden Greenbul Calyptocichla serina]
A single with a pinkish bill seen briefly at Kambui South was almost certainly this species.
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator
Two very responsive at Kambui South and one on Tiwai.
Spotted Greenbul Ixonotus guttatus
A single on Jan. 2, then 3 next day at Gola East.
Simple Greenbul/Leaflove Chlorocichla simplex
The first were two at Guma Dam on Dec. 28, then two birds were seen at Bumbuna and Tiwai and it was heard at Gola East.
Swamp Palm Greenbul Thescelocichla leucopleura
One from the boat on the Guma River, then 3 at Gola East.
Icterine Greenbul Phyllastrephus icterinus
Two at Kambui South on Dec. 31. I’ve seen the very similar Xavier’s Greenbul in Semliki.
Common (Red-tailed) Bristlebill Bleda syndactyla
One on Tiwai Is.
Green-tailed Bristlebill * Bleda eximia
Heard at Guma and Kambui South. If the Ugandan subspecies is split this becomes a tick.
Grey-headed Bristlebill Bleda canicapilla
The last tick of the trip was this West African endemic, at the chimp sanctuary woodland before we got evicted on Jan 7. Seen well as it foraged among the leaf litter.
Red-tailed Greenbul Criniger calurus
One seen nicely at Gola East.
Yellow-bearded Greenbul Criniger olivaceus
A single was at Guma Dam on Dec 28 with a feeding flock.
Western (Yellow-spotted) Nicator * Nicator chloris
Heard at Guma Dam.
Finsch's Flycatcher-Thrush Neocossyphus finschii
One at Guma Dam Dec. 28, then singles on two dates on Tiwai.
African Thrush Turdus pelios
One at Guma Dam and 4 near Regent Town, with two there later.
White-tailed Alethe Alethe diademata
Fantastic close views of two of this split from Fire-crested Alethe (A. castanea) at Guma Dam on Dec 28, the white in the tail being quite striking.
Brown-chested Alethe Alethe poliocephala
Two at Guma Dam, where sympatric with White-tailed Alethe, and one there Jan 7.
Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava
One at Bumbuna was it for the trip!
Sharpe's Apalis Apalis sharpii
Common by voice but only a few sightings as mostly high in canopy. My first were at Kambui North on Jan 1 when we saw 3 very well, and I saw males on Tiwai too.
Oriole Warbler Hypergerus atriceps
A great bird, one of the stars of the trip, the first time I’ve been in its range. It was singing like a thrush in bamboo by the stream at the East Freetown shanty. The white scaling on the bluish black head was quite well marked and it is a surprisingly large species.
Green-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura
One at Kambui North.
Moustached Grass Warbler Melocichla mentalis
One on the track near Bumbuna on Dec 30.
Senegal Eremomela Eremomela pusilla
A very nice look at this fairly striking Eremomela at Bumbuna on Dec 30. My first sighting since 1980.
Green Crombec Sylvietta virens
One at Kambui North on Jan. 1.
Green Hylia Hylia prasina
Commonly heard, and seen at Tiwai, Gola East and Guma Dam.
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Small numbers seen around Regent Town and Bumbuna, also at Tiwai.
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
One at Regent Town was a nice find of a species I’d not seen for ages.
Northern Black Flycatcher Melaenornis edolioides
One was at Bumbuna.
African Forest-Flycatcher Fraseria ocreata
One at Guma Dam was the only record.
White-browed Forest-Flycatcher Fraseria cinerascens
One from the boat on the Moa River in riparian fringing bushes gave good looks, an unexpected pick-up.
Ussher's Flycatcher Muscicapa ussheri
Two of this West African endemic at Guma Dam on Dec 28, perched high on dead snags, then two more on Jan. 2 at Gola East.
Cassin's Flycatcher Muscicapa Cassini
One on riverine rocks at the Kenema girder bridge and one at the Moa River.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
One at Bumbuna and 1 at Kambui North, were both female plumaged.
Snowy-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha niveicapilla
Two along the stream by the East Freetown shanty were our only record.
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Two at the Regent Town savanna scrub, one at Bumbuna and one near Kenema.
(Western) Forest Robin Stiphrornis erythrothorax
A nice view of one in the forest on Tiwai, taped in. Sinclair splits this from S. xanthogaster of Congo and Uganda, so might be a tick at some point.
African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus
A pair in forest, Western Peninsula on Jan. 7.
Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher (Vanga Fly.) Bias musicus
A male on the way to Kambui South on Dec 31.
Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea
One at Kambui North, 1 at Tiwai and a pair on the Freetown Peninsula.
Chestnut-capped Flycatcher Erythrocercus mccallii
2 at Kambui North on Jan. 1.
Blue-headed Crested-Flycatcher Trochocercus nitens
One male at Gola East.
Black-headed Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer
Singles at Guma Dam on two dates, one on Tiwai and 3 at Kambui North.
African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
Two at Kambui North.
White-necked Rockfowl Picathartes gymnocephalus
The reason we did the Sierra Leone trip, we saw 3 of this iconic species at about 1730 on the very first afternoon, after a 10-minute wait, at a nest site at Guma Dam. There were 3 old nests on the overhang walls, clay-mud cups attached to the rock face. The birds came hopping through and one sat preening in good view for some time, a bizarre large creature with a quite stout bill and yellow face patches on the white neck. I’d wanted to see one ever since I read “The Bafut Beagles” by Gerald Durrell, when I was aged about twelve. This was Joan’s final family, # 204 of 204 and we’d got 8 of the last ten on my trips, so the celebratory champagne was well deserved, the # 1 bird nabbed on day one. It was a great shame that we dipped at the very atmospheric Kambui hills site, very unlucky there I think. I wonder how long these birds will withstand this much pressure from visitors though? The protocols need to be carefully defined, especially as the nest sites seem to be where you have to go to see the birds.
Pale-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis rufipennis
Two skulking birds on Tiwai came in to tape eventually.
Blackcap Babbler Turdoides reinwardtii
Two birds seen very nicely in scrub at Bumbuna.
Brown Babbler * Turdoides plebejus
One party heard at Bumbuna.
Tit-Hylia Pholidornis rushiae
Joan saw one at Guma but I never got a clear look, so finding one feeding quite high in a tree at Gola East on Jan 3 was great. I was surprised at how bright the yellow underparts and rump appeared on such a tiny short-tailed species. This was one of my birds of the trip for sure.
Scarlet-tufted Sunbird Deleornis fraseri
One at Guma Dam on Dec. 27 and two there next day.
Mouse-brown Sunbird Anthreptes gabonicus
One in mangroves on the boat trip from Guma #1 River resort, the only one of the entire trip.
Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris
One at Gola East, and two probables at Guma on the last day.
Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris
These were quite common, seen at Guma Dam, Kambui North and Tiwai most days.
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird Cyanomitra cyanolaema
One male at Tiwai.
(Western) Olive Sunbird Cyanomitra (olivacea) obscura
Common in the understorey of forest throughout. A dubious split.
Buff-throated Sunbird Chalcomitra adelberti
A male at a flowering tree at the Kenema Pastoral Centre was the only one we saw!
Olive-bellied Sunbird Cinnyris chloropygius
One at a flowering tree on the Regent Town chimp track on Dec 29.
Johanna's Sunbird Cinnyris johannae
A male at Guma Dam Dec 27, and males at Gola East each day, with a female at Guma on the last day. A fine, striking and quite large sunbird
Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus
Seen at the Hotel Mariam, Guma, Regent Town and Bumbuna. The commonest sunbird.
African Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis
Seen at Regent Town and Kambui North.
Western Black-headed Oriole Oriolus brachyrhynchus
A couple of sightings at Guma Dam, and one at Kambui North.
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris
Three single sightings only.
Black-crowned Tchagra * Tchagra senegala
Heard at a couple of sites.
Turati's Boubou Laniarius turatii
At least 2 seen and others heard at Bumbuna.
Sooty Boubou * Laniarius leucorhynchus
Heard in farmbush at Gola East.
Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike Telophorus sulfureopectus
Two seen well at Bumbuna.
Chestnut-bellied Helmet-shrike Prionops caniceps
Parties of 6 seen well at Kambui North on Jan. 1 and 4 at Gola East on Jan. 3, a striking bird. Sinclair splits West African P. caniceps from P. rufiventris the Rufous-bellied Helmet-shrike, which is the one we hoped for in Semliki last year.
Shining Drongo Dicrurus atripennis
Seen well at Guma Dam Dec. 28 and very vocal there, again also on Jan 7. In good light the very shiny plumage was visible and tail has only a shallow fork.
Fork-tailed Drongo D. adsimilis
Just two in Gola East.
Velvet-mantled Drongo D. modestus
I thought I saw one at Guma on Dec. 27; the tail seemed too well forked for Shining Drongo.
Pied Crow Corvus albus
Common, and seen almost very day.
Emerald Starling Lamprotornis iris
Scope views of one of this beautiful dark eyed and emerald green Upper Guinea endemic at Bumbuna on Dec 30, but just one bird only.
Copper-tailed Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis cupreocauda
Just three of this Upper Guinea endemic seen at Kambui South in a fruiting tree on Dec. 31.
Violet-backed (Amethyst) Starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
Two females at Bumbuna.
Black-necked Weaver Ploceus nigricollis
A pair at Regent Town at a flowering tree in the chimp sanctuary scrub.
Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus
Common, and seen most days.
Yellow-mantled Weaver Ploceus tricolor
A single was with the feeding flock on Tiwai.
Vieillot's Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus
Four sightings of single birds, one at Bumbuna appeared to be the regular black form with the yellow eye, but the one at Gola east was of the chestnut and black race castaneofuscus which was amazingly distinctive. This same subspecies was also seen at Regent Town.
Maxwell's Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha
A single male was in forest at Tiwai with the Black Dwarf Hornbill feeding party, the rather small size, white eye and grey nape being distinctive. Pleasing as I had an almost tickable one in the scope in Congo on the Semliki R. but the view was just too brief.
Red-vented Malimbe Malimbus scutatus
Three males and a female seen in the Bumbuna area.
Gray's (Blue-billed) Malimbe Malimbus nitens
Three sightings of two birds each time, the first in mangroves along the Guma R. where old nests of this species were frequent. Also seen at Regent Town and Kambui North.
Red-headed Quelea Quelea erythrops
A male in breeding dress in the savanna scrub at Regent Town was unexpected.
Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita bicolor
One at Kambui North was rather unobliging.
Grey-headed Negrofinch Nigrita canicapilla
Seen at 4 sites, including Guma Dam, Gola East and Tiwai.
Crimson Seedcracker Pyrenestes sanguineus
A pair and a juv. at the stream by the shanty town in East Freetown and one male at the Regent Town chimp scrub, feeding on the track.
Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala
Four seen at the East Freetown shanty site.
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
Two seen at the Bumbuna prinia site. Orange-cheeked Waxbill is supposedly common in SL, yet we saw none and this species still eludes me.
Bronze Mannikin Spermestes cucullatus
Small flocks at Bumbuna and Tiwai.
Black and White Mannikin Spermestes bicolor
Four at Bumbuna and 2 at Gola East.
Village Indigobird Vidua chalybeata
A pale-billed male indigobird at Bumbuna was presumably this species? I did not note the leg colour.
Pin-tailed Whydah Vidua macroura
Two males at Bumbuna.
Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus
Two at Regent Town.
Grey-headed Sparrow Passer griseus
Widespread in small numbers.
I had hoped for Pygmy Hippo on Tiwai, but the night boat trip got unilaterally
cancelled by Kenneth as one of his money saving schemes, much to my annoyance. Chances of seeing the hippo are small but it would be worth a try.
Green Vervet Monkey Chlorocebus (aethiops) sabaeus
One in mangroves at Guma River, a split from Vervet Monkey C. aethiops.
Sooty Mangabey Cercocebus atys
One on Tiwai on Jan. 5.
Diana Monkey Cercopithecus diana
This was a rather beautiful species that I saw on Tiwai, with a buffy-white chest and red hind thigh. Endangered.
Western Red Colobus Piliocolobus badius
12 seen on Tiwai on Jan. 5, and quite vocal there, this is a different species to the Ugandan Red Colobus P. tephrosceles. Endangered.
Western Black and White Colobus * Colobus polykomos
Noisy on Tiwai but stayed out of sight, a different species to the Ugandan and Kenyan ones.
A strange sandy linsang-type beast was spotlit in the trees one night on Tiwai, identity still a mystery.
Bush Squirrel sp.
A species with a barred tail was at Guma, and one with an unbarred tail was quite common around Bumbuna, Kenema and Gola East.
© Phil Gregory, Kuranda March 07.