If you’re interested in learning more about the birds of Equatorial Guinea, this article is for you! Learn about terns and skimmers, woodhoopoes and ground-hornbills, Indigobirds, and Storks.
Click on the pictures to learn more about the birds of Equatorial Guinea! Then, come back to this article to discover how to spot and identify these species.
What will I learn?
Laridae, terns, and skimmers
Laridae, terns, or skimmers, are medium to large seabirds that inhabit the oceans of Equatorial Guinea and southern Madagascar.
Among their distinguishing features are long bills, hooked bill and rhamphotheca complex with plates on their lower jaw.
They are seabirds that hunt fish or pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Some species of terns are among the longest-lived in the world, living for more than thirty years.
Some of the otters of Equatorial Guinea are flightless or extinct. Other otters include the slender, gray Rhea, and the black-throated Rooster, both of which have colorful, swollen bills.
In addition to these birds, the island is home to seven species of larks, which have elaborate songs and display flights. Among the large flightless Casuariidae, which have double-shafted feathers and stout legs, are flightless or extinct.
There are 368 species of titbirds in the tropics, including three subfamilies and two genera, with varying sizes and shapes.
The smallest of these species are the Sylvia, with its slender bill and unspotted juvenile plumage. The remaining families are composed of terns and skimmers, including the Cinclidae.
Here is the Video About: Bird Communities in Equatorial Guinea
Woodhoopoes and ground-hornbills
The wood hoopoe and ground-hornbill are medium-sized birds that breed on trees. They do not migrate and require tree cavities for nesting. They feed on arthropods and seeds of various species.
The wood hoopoe is similar to the ground-hornbill, but its plumage is more metallic. The two species are related, but woodhoopoes are more commonly found in the rainforest than the ground-hornbill.
This group includes a wide range of bird species, including a few endemic ones. Woodhoopoes and ground-hornbills are mainly found in forests, while storks and ground-hornbills live on grasslands. Many species of storks migrate, but the most notable ones are endemic to Africa.
Among the species found in this region, the Eastern Yellow-bellied Hornbill is black in color. Southern Yellow-bellied Hornbills have pinkish skin around their eyes.
Both species have a red bill, but the hornbill in Equatorial Guinea has a white-striped bill. The woodhoopoes and ground-hornbills of Equatorial Guinea are relatively common and easy to spot.
There are three stork species native to Equatorial Guinea. The Abdim’s Stork, the Saddle-billed Stork, and the Black-necked stork.
All three are endemic to the country, but the Abdim’s is the smallest. Both birds are known for their ability to catch and gorge on fish. Abdim’s is found throughout Africa, except in the southern and north-eastern regions.
The white stork is a migratory bird, ranging from 60 to 150 centimeters in height. They are a little smaller than their counterparts and are mostly found on roofs and trellises.
These birds breed in North Africa, but they do not migrate north or south of the Sahara. Their large wingspan allows them to reach greater altitudes. Their diets consist of fish, amphibians, and small mammals.
The African Openbill has an interesting bill, with a large gap at the end formed by the lower and upper mandibles. This gap enables the bird to maneuver large aquatic snails.
Similar to the Asian Openbill, this bird is mostly white, and is the smallest of the stork species in Africa. It nests in large colonies and mixes with many other waterbird species.
This stork family is endemic to Equatorial Guinea and neighboring countries, including Mozambique, Madagascar, and New Caledonia.
Suggested Reading: Birds of Jordan: What You Need to Know
The Indigobirds are tiny passerine birds with indigo and black plumage. Often found in village gardens, the male imitates the song of their host, the red-billed firefinch.
The female whydah learns to recognize the song of the male indigobird and chooses him as her nesting partner. Indigobirds mimic their host’s unique gape pattern.
The birdlife of Equatorial Guinea is understudied. When the country gained independence from Spain in 1968, ornithologists had barely begun systematic surveys.
After the country’s new capital city of Oyala was constructed, the region was ravaged by political instability and economic collapse. The oil companies returned in the 1990s after the country regained stability.
The government has begun expanding its infrastructure, with President Teodoro Obiang recently winning a sixth seven-year term.
Historically, the country has welcomed a small number of foreign workers, primarily Chinese. This is largely due to the Portuguese who brought enslaved Africans from the Congo and other areas of Africa.
The population of Equatorial Guinea is mostly Asian, with a few Indians and Chinese. Some foreign workers have remained to this day, including enslaved Africans. Regardless of their origin, the Indigobirds of Equatorial Guinea are fascinating to watch.
The Herons of Equatorial Guinea are a magnificent sight to behold, and their habitat is understudied. When the country gained independence from Spain in 1968, ornithologists had barely begun to conduct systematic surveys.
But after the country suffered economic collapse, political instability, and a coup d’etat in 1979, the situation stabilized, and oil companies began returning.
Now, President Teodoro Obiang has been re-elected for a sixth seven-year term, and he is pushing for massive infrastructure expansion.
Although Equatorial Guinea ratified the U.N. Convention on Corruption and established an anti-corruption commission in 2019, the country’s progress toward democracy has been slow.
The country’s ruling clan controls the vast majority of the nation’s extreme resources and a relatively small voting population, and the real opposition is either marginalized or masquerading as civil society actors.
And the nation’s diaspora has yet to build significant political clout in the country.
The country of Equatorial Guinea is located in southern Africa near the Gulf of Guinea and lowland Congolian forests.
The country is small but remarkably biodiverse – it is home to the last gorilla, chimpanzee, and elephant population in Africa. Although scientists know a great deal about the mammals found in this area of Central Africa, little is known about its birds.
In fact, some researchers believe that the country’s current bird list represents only half of the species in the country.
Despite being understudied by ornithologists, the country’s avian species are a fascinating and under-appreciated aspect of the country’s diverse wildlife.
When the nation gained independence from Spain in 1968, ornithologists had barely begun their systematic surveys. After the country experienced political instability, oil companies began to return to the country.
Today, the country’s president, Teodoro Obiang, is pushing for massive infrastructure expansion to support its oil industry.
Trending Article: Birds of French Guiana: Explore the Avian Wildlife of French Guiana
The call of the honeyguide can be used by the Yao to summon the birds. This chirp is similar to a ring-necked dove’s song.
Despite being a common bird sound, the honeyguide’s trill-grunt is unique and attracts the winged helpers. Hunting for honey with honeyguides is considered a cultural activity in northern Mozambique.
Human-honeyguide cooperation is a centuries-old practice that has been around for thousands of years, possibly as far back as 1.5 million years ago.
It has evolved through natural selection, but this relationship is dwindling as the population grows and human habitats deteriorate.
A study in the journal Conservation Letters outlines some ways to conserve this unique human-wildlife relationship.
In addition to the Yao, humans and dolphins still interact in the Niassa National Reserve, which is also a conservation priority.
Honeyguides are small birds that are often found in forest habitats. They help humans harvest honey by approaching them, flying toward wild bees’ nests, and encouraging people to follow them.
The human honey-hunter then subdues the bees with smoke, but the female honeyguide feeds on beeswax and their larvae. Honeyguides are known to be brood parasites.
The mousebirds of Equatorial Guinea are gregarious, rodent-like birds that are found in light wooded regions. They build nests in trees in which they lay their eggs, which hatch into altricial young.
The young grow rapidly, and they leave the nest before they reach adulthood. Their distribution and abundance in Africa makes them important conservation and research topics. There are six species of mousebird in the region.
The avifauna of Equatorial Guinea contains 835 species, with three of these rare. The nomenclature follows the conventions of Clements’ 5th edition, with family accounts and species counts reflecting the taxonomy of Equatorial Guinea.
It is important to note that accidental species are included in the count. Additionally, tags are used to distinguish between endemic and non-native species.
Kingfishers are large wading birds with stout bills and long bodies. They are mute, but their bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at their nests.
Some species of storks are migratory and reproduce in different regions of the country. These large, insectivores make up the sub-Saharan family of birds, and most species are found in Africa.