Ibadan Bird Club Meeting 30 June 2018

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The Ibadan Bird Club (IBC) continues to grow from strength to strength. Our last meeting on Saturday 30 June 2018 was the 28th since the club was re-launched in February 2016, and the 2nd to be held outside the campus of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria. The meeting, which attracted 49 members (29 males and 20 females; Fig. 1), including nine children (IBC Juniors), was held at the Old Farm of the University of Ibadan (UI). Adewale Awoyemi, Manager of the IITA Forest Center and IBC Coordinator welcomed members and explained the activities of the club. Thereafter, he requested Taiye Adeyanju (PhD), a lecturer at the Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, UI, to lead the bird watching. Adeyanju, who was assisted by Awoyemi and other Forest Center staff, promised that the outing would be rewarding despite the inclement weather. The farm plots (birding site) were dominated by maize Zea mays, cassava Manihot esculenta and weeds, interspersed with some exotic tree species (Leucaena leucocephala, Gmelina arborea and Tectona grandis) and snags.

The first bird to be recorded was the Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina, which attracted the attention of members by its rasping call (song). Adeyanju explained the ecology of the species, saying “it is a partial migrant, which is only present within the UI campus at certain periods of the year”. Two closely related species, Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis and Blue-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon malimbica occur in the birding site, and during the expedition, both were calling (singing) simultaneously, allowing Awoyemi to explain how to differentiate the species by songs and plumage colours. A pair of the Woodland Kingfisher was later sighted on a snag containing hollows. Kingfishers are among the groups of birds that breed in hollows of both live and dead trees.

Another outstanding record was the observation of five individuals of the Grosbeak Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons (2 males and 3 females), an uncommon species within the UI and IITA campuses. For Awoyemi, the Grosbeak Weaver was the “Bird of the Day” but not for others: Elsa Bresson preferred the Woodland Kingfisher while Olaoluwakiisa Olowookere liked the Western Grey Plantain-eater Crinifer piscator due to the colour of its bill, which she keenly watched with the telescope.

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