African Bird Club
Birding Ecotours is a Gold sponsor of the African Bird Club because of this club’s solid track record of helping to conserve the continent’s birds. African bird conservation is something we as a company are very passionate about. For a sobering blog about the dire situation this continent’s birds find themselves in, kindly see http://birdingecotours.com/blog//?cat=bird-conservation – this clearly shows why NGO’s such as the African Bird Club (ABC) need support. Birding Ecotours owner Chris (http://birdingecotours.com/staff/chris-lotz) is also the South African representative of the ABC.
The African Bird Club (http://www.africanbirdclub.org) was formed in 1994. It is a registered charity based in Cambridge, UK and provides a nexus for those with an interest in African birds. From its small beginnings it has grown to a membership of more than 1,000 in 70 countries.
Resources for use by birders
These are truly brilliant (and we really mean this) – do take a look. The Club offers four principal resources:
1. Bulletin of the African Bird Club: The focus on Africa is provided by the biannual Bulletin of the African Bird Club, which is now considered to be one of the foremost publications on African ornithology. It presents unrivalled coverage of the region with a mix of current news and high quality notes and papers.
2. Web based resources: The Club website is constantly updated with news, events, membership options (see section below), conservation projects, information about trips offered by our Corporate Sponsors, and much else. There is a specific page for each African country, including species checklists. An extensive library of images of African birds is offered where you can find more than 22,500 photographs of 2,136 species contributed by 193 photographers, and sound recordings ( from Xeno-canto ) which contains 8,962 recordings of 1,517 African species contributed by 147 recorders).
3. Annual Members’ Day (AGM): Currently held each April in London, at the Museum of Natural History, the meeting offers members the chance to meet and enjoy an outstanding programme of talks by a faculty of expert invited speakers covering a wide variety of topics on African birds and their habitats.
4. British Birdwatching Fair (BBWF): The Club has a stand each year at this premier event in the worldwide birding calendar. This provides a focus for the many international visitors to meet Council, other fellow and prospective members, to exchange news, views and suggestions about the Club, renew membership and browse the Club’s merchandise.
African conservation projects
The Club’s main operational objective is to raise finds for African-based conservation projects. Here is a summary of some of the things we have achieved:
Since 1996 a major role of the Club has been to raise funds for its Conservation Fund. Funding sources include our respected panel of Corporate Sponsors, private donors and various events. Grant applicants (see the website for details) submit applications that are peer reviewed by the Conservation Committee against scientific and organisational criteria. Successful applicants are awarded grants of up to £3,000 for conservation projects, the results of which are reported formally back to the Club. To date, the Club has raised over £200,000 to support more than 175 projects in 38 countries – for more details go to http://www.africanbirdclub.org/conservation-fund-awards
In 2014 the Club funded 18 projects at a cost of £32,645. These were mainly undertaken by African conservationists and researchers and included studies on Red-shouldered Vanga, Ethiopian Bush-crow, White-tailed Swallow, Mauritius Cuckoo-shrike, Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher, Aquatic Warbler, Cape Verde Warbler, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Aberdare Cisticola, Uluguru Bush-shrike, Anambra Waxbill, Maccoa Duck and Mt Cameroon Francolin.
Major land lease project in 20th Anniversary Year – joint project with Nature Kenya, World Land Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the Taita Hills of SE Kenya
To mark the ABC’s 20th anniversary, ABC has negotiated a 20-year lease for a parcel of recently discovered forest fragment, supporting Critically Endangered and endemic species in the Eastern Arc Forests of the Taita Hills, Kenya (2 birds, Taita apalis and Taita thrush, one mammal, the Taita shrew and one amphibian, Sagalla caecilia). This has been a jointly funded project with the World Land Trust and the RSPB, in conjunction with Natural Kenya.
The site is a privately owned and unprotected forest fragment, which was discovered through an African Bird Club supported survey undertaken by Luca Borghesio, Lawrence Wagura and Mwangi Githiru in late 2011, and was under serious pressure from deforestation. The site management will be delivered through the local community Site Support Group, supported and developed by Nature Kenya. The Kenya Forest Service will be a key partner in enhancing forest protection. ABC, World Land Trust and the RSPB will build partnerships with county government and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to secure protection and improvement of conservation value of purchased land.
This is a major project for the ABC demonstrating its ongoing commitment to practical conservation projects in Africa involving African ornithologists and local communities, for the further benefit of African bird populations.
The African Bird Club offers several categories of membership. As well as Individual Membership and Family Membership, there is the opportunity to purchase Supporting Membership to support an African national who might not be able to pay the full rate. Student Membership is offered at a greatly reduced rate, and Life Membership is available for the really committed!
Membership may be purchased and renewed by credit/debit card and PayPal via the online shop at http://www.africanbirdclub.org/shop/membership
Anyone experiencing difficulty making a purchase in this way should contact the Membership Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Members with a UK bank account may set up a Direct Debit for annual subscriptions and UK tax payers can make their money work harder for conservation by Gift Aiding their subscriptions and donations. There is also the option of paying by cheque or cash at the AGM and at the British Birdwatching Fair. Residents of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Uganda may pay in local currency. For further details of the different payment options or to download a Membership Leaflet, go to http://www.africanbirdclub.org/club/join
Birding Ecotours is thus (understandably) proud to be associated with this high class African bird conservation organisation.
White-chested Alethe (Hugh Chittenden) was one of the many specials we found on our last African Bird Club/Birding Ecotours bird conservation tour