Mar 19, 2018

Rie Jensen's MSc thesis on Taita apalis foraging

One of the possible causes of the steady decline of Taita apalis (it decreased by 50-70% in the last 15 years) is that some change in the availabilty of its preferred food might have occurred inside its tiny range.

Rie Jensen, a Danish student from Copenhagen University, visited the Taita hills during the 2016-2017 breeding season to study Taita apalis' foraging in different forest fragments. Rie's work was supervised by Professor Anders P. Tøttrup and by me.

Rie (second from left in the photo) has recently successfully defended her thesis, and is now working on publishing her results. Congratulations, we all look forward to reading the very intersting papers that she will publish!

One short synopsis of Rie's work can be found here

Feb 28, 2018

One step closer to extinction

Journalist Rupi Mangat tells about Taita apalis and how it is now one step closer ot extinction

Jan 16, 2018

Visit them before is too late...

An article on the Taita hills has just been published on the Saturday Magazine of the Daily Nation newspaper, and guess who is the bird in the photo?

Oct 1, 2017

Vanishing birds of the Taita hills

Our recent article one the birds of the Taita hills published on the webpage of the Society for Conservation Biology

Apr 9, 2017

Long time ago in Ethiopia...

A short piece that I wrote for the online newsletter of the Society of Conservation Biology.
It is quite long time ago now, but I still have vivid memories of my adventures in Ethiopia in search of Prince Ruspoli's turaco, for sure one of the most beautiful and charismatic birds of Africa, and one whose discovery is tied to the name of an Italian explorer who died in the earth of Africa at the end of the 19th century.

Mar 20, 2017

Critically Endangered Long-billed tailorbird stable or slightly increasing in its only stronghold

Since 2006, I have collaborated with Norbert Cordeiro and BirdLife Tanzania on an ambitious conservation project focusing on the many globally threatened birds of the East Usambara mountains, in Northern Tanzania. Here is the latest update on our work published on BirdLife international's webpage

Sep 1, 2016

Taita Critically Endangered birds project updates

Some updates on our Taita hills Critically Endangered Birds project activities on the webpage of the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund that has repeatedly funded our work.

The Taita Critically Endangered birds project is a collaborations between me, Dr Mwangi Githiru (BirdLife Species Guardian), and Nature Kenya (BirdLife in Kenya). Many persons are involved in the activities in the field, among which Lawrence Wagura and James Maina Gichiah

Dec 24, 2015

Nature Kenya launches appeal to save the Taita Apalis from extinction

Prompted by the results of our research, Nature Kenya, one of oldest environmentalist organizations as well as the BirdLife partner in Kenya, has launched an appeal to save Taita apalis. Let's hope that the appeal will meet with success, because Taita apalis is really on the brink of extinction.
While we wait to see the results of NAture Kenya's appeal, our field research continues, to try and understand why Taita apalis has decreased by more than 60% in just ten years: its global population might not be less than 200 individuals!


Sep 1, 2015

Race is on to save the rare Taita Apalis

Taita apalis featured in a recent newspaper article by journalist Rupi Mangat, who summarizes the latest research findings from our work and the initiatives to try and save this unique bird from extinction.

Here is the link to Rupi's article

Mar 1, 2015

Teaching Conservation in the Taita Hills

Taita apalis survives in just 3 small forests and nowhere else!
The Taita hills in southern Kenya are one of the key area for the conservation of biodiversity in East Africa. Many species are endemic to these small mountains - that is, they only exist here and nowhere else in the world. Some species, such as the Taita apalis and the Taita thrush are restricted to a range of less than 500 hectares, which is more or less the same area as Central Park in New York. This is an extremely tiny range! For these reason, the IUCN and BirdLife International consider these two birds "Critically Endangered" which means an extremely high risk of extinction within less than 10 years.

Lawrence leading primary school pupils in the Taita forest
For many years, we have been involved in research and conservation activities in the Taita Hills. One of the key goals in conservation is increasing awareness, that is, making everybody know about the importance of conserving biodiversity. We must conserve it because these unique species are the common heritage of the entire world, and if we loose them, nobody will be able to to resurrect them.

Lawrence Wagura, one of the members of the Taita hills team, has been very active in teaching about conservation in primary and secondary schools in the Taita hills.

With support from the African Bird Club, Lawrence has recently embarked in an ambitious project that has involved more than 700 pupils from primary and secondary schools in the Taita. Lawrence visited the schools, and taught the students about biodiversity,, first in the classrooms, and then in the field, leading the students in a walk through some of the most interesting forests of the Taita hills. The students have been able to hear about the endemic birds, insects, plants and herps, and have even been able to see some of them with their eyes. For many of them, it was the first time, even though they all live in the Taita hills!

You can read more about Lawrence's project here.