Working for birds in Africa

ABC Annual General Meeting, Saturday 1st April, 2017

Date posted: 
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Doors open at the Natural History Museum at 10.15 am on Saturday 1st April 2017.

Grey-crowned Cranes, Kwazulu-Natal, November 2016

Image courtesy of Phil Hyde

2017 Meeting Programme

10.15 Doors Open   Tea, coffee and ABC sales

10.50 Chairman’s Introduction – Richard Charles

11.00 The search for the Liberian Greenbul: lost and found?Dr. Lincoln Fishpool

The Liberian Greenbul is only known from the unique type specimen and some field observations dating from the mid-1980s.  Its validity as a good species has been questioned and it is a mystery why it has never been seen since.  This talk reports on an expedition in 2013 to the type locality, in part supported by the ABC, to try to rediscover the species and on subsequent molecular analyses that at last seem to have resolved the problem.

11.35 Impact on birds of rapid land re-distribution in Zimbabwe – Dr Stephen Pringle.

Increasing human population pressures leading to land-use transformation are impacting on biodiversity on a global scale. This study of avian species richness, abundance and assemblage composition across three habitat types transformed into subsistence farms gives an insight into the responses of African savannah birds to habitat change.

12.10   Developing capacity for bird and biodiversity conservation in Africa; theory and practiceDr. Hazell Thompson, Director – Partnership and Regions, BirdLife International

This talk will examine efforts to develop capacity for conservation and ornithology across the African continent in the past two decades, and review achievements, barriers and challenges. Possible avenues for improving the current situation will be discussed.

12.45   Lunch Drinks and sandwiches available

13.45   Annual General Meeting

14.30 Every little helps: How small projects contribute to African bird conservation - Dr Chris Magin, RSPB.

The ABC's Conservation Fund awards small grants to students, researchers and local communities to increase our knowledge and enhance the conservation of the region's bird species (around 257 of which are globally threatened) and 1,247 Important Bird Areas. I will highlight some of the 224 diverse projects that the Conservation Fund has supported since its inception. To date awards have totalled more than £275,000.

15.00 Ornithology in Africa: current status and future prospects - Dr Colin Beale, Lecturer in Ecology, York Univ.

Studies of African birds have a very long history. This process continues today, with knowledge growing continuously. Studies of ecology, demography and behaviour are focused on applied conservation goals. I review recent African literature, showing that growth hides important taxonomic and geographic bias. Research has shown trade as a threat for many species. There is a disjunction between unpublished reports and the literature on African birds. I identify barriers limiting the impact of African ornithological work

15.40   Tea/Coffee

16.20 Safeguarding the cranes & wetlands of Africa – Dr Richard Beilfuss, President/CEO, International Crane Foundation (ICF).

African wetlands & savannahs support 6 of the world’s 15 species of cranes: Grey Crowned, Black Crowned, Wattled, & Blue Cranes, & wintering Demoiselle & Eurasian Cranes. GC Cranes are in serious decline due to capture for illegal trade & loss of vital wetlands, while Wattled Cranes are at risk from dams and floodplain degradation. The ICF & Endangered Wildlife Trust are collaborating to support programs for saving cranes & important wetlands in Africa.

17.00   Closing Remarks - Richard Charles

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