Lark grasslands in Somaliland invaded by noxious Parthenium weed
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,
Two years ago, Birding Africa part-funded
a study evaluating the conservation status of Liben Lark,
To see the report on the BBC website, click here.
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
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We've even written two acclaimed guide
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