Birding Africa
    Birding tours from Cape Town to Cameroon and Madagascar, with the only African Birding Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Blog
    Cape Town Pelagics
    Cape Birding Route
     350 Photo Challenge

 

Name:


Email:


Enquiry:

 

 

Archer's Lark grasslands in Somaliland invaded by noxious Parthenium weed

June 2010

The rampant spread of the noxious American weed Parthenium hysterophorus in many parts of world (including Eastern and Southern Africa) is causing great concern as it is believed to significantly degrade grazing and agricultural lands. The Birding Africa expedition team to visit Somaliland (Michael Mills, Callan Cohen, Julian Francis, Clide Carter and Gus Mills) were disturbed to find on a recent survey that this weed has invaded the Wajaale clay plains adjacent to the town of Tog Wajaale on the Somaliland/Ethiopia border. The plains are the only known site for Archer's Lark, Heteromirafra archeri, not recorded with certainty since its discovery here in 1922.

The expedition team spent three days extensively surveying the Wajaale Plains in a study sponsored by the RSPB, the British Ornithologist's Union and Julian Francis. Their findings will be published in a peer-review journal. Parthenium weed is probably the dominant plant now over much of the plains, and is perhaps an indicator of the widespread degradation and destruction of the grasslands by large-scale agricultural schemes. Archer's Lark is closely related to Rudd's Lark, Heteromirafra ruddi, of South Africa and Liben (Sidamo) Lark, Heteromirafra sidamoensis, of Ethiopia.

Two years ago, Birding Africa part-funded a study evaluating the conservation status of Liben Lark, Heteromirafra sidamoensis. To see the report on the BBC website, click here.

Downloadable internet resources on Parthenium weed in the Horn of Africa include:
http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp/Publications/Thesis/Shashie.pdf
http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp/Publications/Meetings&Workshops/IPMAnnualMeet2008/Posters/Distribution%20as%20Mgt%20Control-Parthenium.pdf
Uganda: http://allafrica.com/stories/201003150441.htm

Bird and vegetation surveying on the Wajaale Plains, Somaliland © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com
Bird and vegetation surveying on the Wajaale Plains, Somaliland © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com.

Parthenium hysterophorus has invaded vast areas of the plains © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com
Parthenium hysterophorus has invaded vast areas of the plains © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com.

White-bellied Bustard among Parthenium weed in a disturbed area with maize fields © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com.
White-bellied Bustard among Parthenium weed in a disturbed area with maize fields © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com.

Golden Jackal in an area of grassland invaded by Parthenium weed © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com
Golden Jackal in an area of grassland invaded by Parthenium weed © Callan Cohen & Michael Mills www.birdingafrica.com.


About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.  We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

For feedback from our guests, please see our Client Comments. Please also browse our Latest News and Trip Reports.

 

This website is maintained by Birding Africa.
Copyright © 1997-2012 Birding Africa

Please do not use any text, images or content from this site without permission.
Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
© Birding Africa 1997-2012info@birdingafrica.com

[African Tailorbirding CC (CK2003/020710/23) trading as Birding Africa]
4 Crassula Way, Pinelands 7405, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Home and News - Tour Calendar - Trip Reports - Client Comments - Conservation - About Us - Contact Us or Book