African Bird Atlas Project

South Africa, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Uganda

a member of the African Bird Atlas Project

About us

André Marx (RAC Gauteng & Northwest - Vetting, SABAP2)

I was born in Stilfontein in what is today North West Province, but grew up in Zimbabwe and Natal, graduating at the University of Natal at Pietermaritzburg with a B. Comm. It was whilst at university that I was introduced to Gordon MacLean who at the time was researching a new edition of Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. My interest in birds grew as I went out on birding excursions with Gordon and other members of the Natal Bird Club. After university I started working in Pretoria and joined the Pretoria Bird Club in 1984, which today has evolved into BirdLife Northern Gauteng. Many years were spent on the committee of this great bird club, including a spell as chairman, and now I am in the honorary position as the President of the club. I watch birds wherever I go, be it on holiday to destinations like Malaysia, Thailand, Spain, Norway or wherever. The binoculars and camera go with as there are always birds to see. But it is our local birds that I have the greatest passion for. I lead many local bird outings and enjoy sharing my knowledge with other birders, particularly those who are discovering the joys of birding. I was a keen atlaser during SABAP1 and became involved with SABAP2 at the start of the project. I have always had an interest in rarities and have coordinated rarities reports for the Greater Gauteng region for a number of years.


Andrew Hester (RAC western Zambia - Vetting, SABAP2)

Andrew has always been a keen birder. When family and work commitments permit, Andrew still spends as much time as possible birding. Through his work and some extended holiday trips, Andrew has been fortunate to cover a few corners of the African continent. Some of his more memorable birding moments on the continent include landing armpit deep in raw sewage while trying to get a better view, narrowly avoiding arrest while looking at wheatears near a military base in Senegal and more recently being corrected on the identification of a hornbill by his 7-year-old son. Andrew’s contribution to the SABAP2 is to verify records from the western half of Zambia.


Anthony Kuria (Management team, Kenya)

Kuria is Director of the Tropical Biology Association African office in Nairobi and plays a key role in Kenya Bird Map dealing with administrative issues and liaison with NatureKenya. He holds a Masters' degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has 15 years capacity building expertise which has resulted in several cohorts of influential conservation managers in Africa. Kuria has co-authored several training manuals for conservation scientists, including the TBAs toolkit on scientific research.

Kuria has extensive experience in managing collaborative projects including those funded by the EU and Darwin Initiative. A recently completed EU funded capacity building project received the following evaluation from the EU A critical mass of environmental scientists has been created which should influence the research potential in Africa and policies. As a Research Associate with the National Museums of Kenya, Kuria coordinates the popular 'Fundamentals of Ornithology' course that has trained over 350 citizen birders since 1998. Kuria has experience in web-based mapping of birds and as a co-PI for the Kenya Bird Map project, Kuria hopes that past bird course trainees will actively engage and help generate atlas data. Kuria brings huge administration experience to the Management Team of the Kenya Bird Map and is also a member of the Bird Committee of the East Africa Natural History.

Ara Monadjem, Dr (RAC Eswatini - Vetting, SABAP2)

Ara Monadjem is an animal ecologist with particular interests in terrestrial systems. He is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) where he has been based for the past 26 years. He has worked on a wide range of research topics, including recently on the drivers of biodiversity in savanna systems. He is incredibly keen on vultures and has been studying their ecology and conservation for the past two decades.


Bod Medland (RAC Malawi - Vetting, SABAP2)

Bob is from the UK and has been birding since knee-high. Whilst living and working in Malawi 1984-1994 he carried out much of the fieldwork for the Malawi Bird Atlas project (published 2006). He started ringing in 1989 and published papers in Safring News. He has also supported the Ngulia migration ringing project in Kenya for several years and projects in Spain and Portugal. Returning to the UK he qualified under the BTO scheme and is now a ringing trainer, active in a seabird ringing group on remote North Atlantic islands and leads training courses nearer to home in Somerset. But he still misses the joy and interest of ringing Afro-tropical birds.[@]

Chris Brewster (RAC Botswana - Vetting, SABAP2)

Chris is originally from the UK but has lived in Botswana for many years. His interest in birding started on a visit to Bharatpur Bird sanctuary in India in 1976. He was involved in atlassing for the Bird Atlas of Botswana, then for SABAP1 and now for SABAP2. He has a keen interest in bird distribution in Botswana. He is now retired, based in Gaborone and is a board member of BirdLife Botswana.


Clara Cassell (RAC Liberia - Vetting, Liberia)

I was introduced to the Bird Atlas program in the course of my Conservation Biology master’s degree at the A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) in Jos, Nigeria, where the Nigerian Bird Atlas Program was born. Since then, and continuing after my successful completion of the degree program and return to Liberia, I have been captivated by the bird atlas program as a way to increase people’s interest in Biodiversity, document avian biodiversity, collect data for research, and keep the birding community up to date on the bird life of Liberia. This has been made extensively possible by my work in several national parks and rural areas with Fauna & Flora International, where I serve as the Biomonitoring Assistant for the Sapo Project.



Colin Jackson, Dr (Management team, Kenya)

Colin has been birding in Kenya since growing up in Nairobi and has a passion for enthusing Kenyans about the rich diversity of birds in our country. He is the Director of Science & Conservation for A Rocha Kenya, a Christian conservation organisation and is also a Research Associate with the Ornithology Section, National Museums of Kenya where he was a full time research scientist for four years prior to founding A Rocha Kenya in 1999. Whilst at the museum, Colin started the Nairobi Ringing Group and the annual Fundamentals of Ornithology Course for enthusing and training citizen birders and continues to teach on it together with other members of the Management Team for KBM. Colin's involvement in the South African Bird Atlas Project 2 through time he has spent at the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town, has been key to the development of the Kenya Bird Map. Colin is also a member of the Rarities Committee of East Africa.


Colin Summersgill (RAC KZN - Vetting, SABAP2)

I started life in Creighton, southern KZN, then halfway through school moved to north of Greytown, KZN. Completed a degree in Pietermaritzburg and have not moved since. My interest in birds (and maps) came from my father, though he did tend to only regard vultures, corvids and really striking birds as birds. I got hooked on atlasing while still at school, contributing to SABAP1. This really developed my birding and what better activity for someone interested in birds and maps? I then went through a bit of a post-atlas slump, but used the time to get married and start a family. As a family we tend to end up at birding destinations and (more than) a fair time is spent atlasing. A favourite holiday spot is certainly Mkhuze.



Dawie de Swardt (RAC Free State, South Africa - Vetting, SABAP2)

I grew up in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga where I also studied Gurney's Sugarbirds there already for more than 30 years. I am currently a Museum Ornithologist at the National Museum, Bloemfontein and HOD of the Department. Mt functions includes collection management of bird collections and did research on various groups of birds such as Northern Black Korhaan, Drakensberg and Karoo Prinias, Gurney's Sugarbirds and song vocalizations in African Rock Pipit. Also SAFRING bird ringer since 1987 and involved in SABAP1, Birds of Reserves Project and other ADU projects. My special place is Paardeplaats on Long Tom Pass outside Lydenburg.


Tel:+27(0)51 447 9609

Dorcas Sosu (RAC Ghana - Vetting, Ghana)

Mrs Dorcas Sosu is my name, a Conservationist and an Ornithologist from the A. P Leventis Ornithological Research Institute and University of Cape Coast. I am currently managing Cape Coast Bird Club to map the distribution of birds in Ghana.



Duncan McKenzie (RAC Mpumalanga - Vetting, SABAP2)

Based in the Lowveld city of Mbombela, Duncan works as a consulting Terrestrial Ecologist, performing biodiversity assessments all over Africa. He also lectures on birds for various training institutions and has been involved in the Mpumalanga SABAP2 RAC since 2010.


Ernst Retief (Steering Committee member, Birdlife South Africa, SABAP2)

Ernst works at BirdLife South Africa and is responsible for implementing data and spatial planning projects as well as the analysis of data for conservation planning. He is also a keen citizen scientist who have participated in various citizen science projects and has also presented numerous SABAP2 workshops.


Fleur Ng’weno (Management team, Kenya)

Ms. Ng’weno is a naturalist, writer and editor, and has been involved in environmental issues in Kenya since 1963. In 1971, she founded the Wednesday morning bird walk from the Nairobi National Museum, coordinated by Nature Kenya – the East Africa Natural History Society. Fleur has led most Wednesday bird walks since then, and many of the Sunday Birdwatch outings. For many years Fleur was the editor of Rainbow Children’s magazine, and has written several children’s books, countless magazine articles and a book chapter in Ethno-Ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Society, published by Earthscan. For Nature Kenya, she wrote Community Guide to Forest Conservation, and is co-author of Learning for Sustainable Living in Kenya, Marine Manual for Coastal Schools, and a book for children, Being a Bird. Fleur represents NatureKenya on the KBM Management Team and brings a lot of experience with making birding projects 'user friendly' for the birder on the street.

Garret Skead (RAC Western Cape - Vetting, SABAP2)

I have loved nature from a young age, but since 2005 I have been crazy about birds and all things birding. I am a pathologist by trade, and spend most of my spare time outdoors. I have no formal qualifications in ornithology, but I am a fanatical hobbyist, and I travel as often as possible for birding. I hope to see at least half of the bird species that occur in the world in my lifetime, and I have a particular love for searching for rare, localised and endemic species. My travels have taken me to Peru, Ecuador, Thailand and Ethiopia, and I have explored extensively within South Africa, and the subregion. I have occasionally assisted with the running of the Southern African Rare Bird News. I am passionate about atlassing, and contributing to the growing SABAP2 database. I believe that some of the most fascinating discoveries are to be found right on our doorsteps, in our home pentads. I am looking forward to playing my part in the SABAP2 programme through the Western Cape Regional Atlassing Committee.


Hazell Shokellu Thompson, Dr (RAC Sierra Leone - Vetting, Sierra Leone)

Hazell Shokellu Thompson, Ph.D
Sierra Leonean Ornithologist and Environmental Consultant
Visiting Lecturer, A.P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute, University of Jos
Former Global Director at BirdLife International for Partnership and Capacity Development
Former Head of the BirdLife Africa Programme



Holger Kolberg (RAC Namibia - Vetting, SABAP2)

Holger is a born and bred Namibian. He has studied at the University of Cape Town and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology in Kent. He currently works as a conservation scientist for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia.


Ian G Gordon (RAC KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa - Coordination, SABAP2)

Farm grown in Zululand, and birding since junior school. A conservation forester by occupation, i.e. worked in indigenous forests and other woody systems. Currently residing in Pietermaritzburg. I have three adult children, of which my son is sort of interested in birds! My slogan is, "One Life - Bird It".


Tel:+27(0)83 570 6782

Ian Riddell (RAC Zimbabwe - Vetting, SABAP2)

Ian has an all-round interest in conservation, having spent a life in the bush. From being a Senior Ranger in Zimbabwe’s Dept. of National Parks he moved into tourism as a Professional Safari Guide, and operates mainly as a bird guide. He is involved in BirdLife Zimbabwe on various projects and at many levels, including the production of Honeyguide (BLZ journal) and The Babbler newsletter.


Jeff Curnick (RAC Eastern Cape - Vetting, SABAP2)

Born and bred in Gonubie in the Eastern Cape, my interest in birding started at the age of 9 after a family holiday to Ndumo Game Reserve (what a place to begin!). My introduction to “birding with a purpose” started with the Birds in Reserves Project (BIRP) in the early 2000’s and it was a natural progression into atlassing once SABAP2 started in 2007. Currently living in the UK but still very much involved with local birding in South Africa and the Eastern Cape specifically.


Joe Grosel (RAC Limpopo - Vetting, SABAP2)

Joe is based near Polokwane in the Limpopo Province from where he runs an ecological consulting company specialising in biodiversity and wildlife management related projects. Joe also heads up a specialised eco-tour operation conducting excursions across sub-Saharan Africa and presents advanced training for nature guides throughout Southern Africa. His post graduate qualifications lie in the fields of ecology, range management and zoology/ornithology. Joe’s involvement with bird mapping projects stems from the days of SABAP 1 and he has been part of the SABAP 2 team since 2010.


Mark Anderson (Steering Commitee member, BirdLife South Africa, SABAP2)

Mark Anderson is the CEO of BirdLife South Africa. He worked for two decades as a nature conservation scientist in the Northern Cape and during this time was involved with SABAP1 and the planning of SABAP2. He is a committed conservationist, and regarded as an authority on the biology and conservation of raptors, vultures, and flamingos.


Michael Brooks (Information Systems Specialist, SABAP2)

Based at the ADU, Michael is responsible for all the IT and software development for SABAP2. Although trained as a nature conservator, my interest in computers and IT lead me to design and develop environmental software applications.

He is an avid photographer, and is a registered bird-ringer



Peter Lawson (RAC Mpumalanga - Vetting, SABAP2)

Now retired but previously a professional bird and wildlife tourguide and tour operator with my own tour company. Editor of the BirdLife Lowveld newsletter, The Hornbill. In retirement conduct bird surveys and write bird and wildlife articles for various magazines.


Peter Njoroge, Dr (Management team, Kenya)

Peter Njoroge is the Head of the Ornithology Section and Senior Research Scientist in Zoology Department of the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). He has vast research experience on threatened species having worked in the past to conserve the Seychelles Magpie Robin and Hinde’s Babbler among others. He completed his PhD studies at the University of Reading (UK). He is currently running projects on eco-agriculture and ecosystem services as incentives for conservation in Central Kenya, as well mentoring young and upcoming researchers at the Ornithology Section. Njoroge represents NMK on the Kenya Bird Map Management Team and the Ornithology Section hosts the KBM Office.



Peter Ryan, Prof (Steering Commitee Chair, South Africa, SABAP2)

Peter Ryan graduated from the University of Cape Town, researching the impacts of ingested plastic on seabirds (MSc) and the evolutionary ecology of buntings in the Tristan archipelago (PhD). After a post-doc at the University of California he was appointed academic Coordinator of the Masters Programme in Conservation Biology at the Fitztitute in 1993. Although he mostly works on seabirds and their conservation, he has wide-ranging interests in avian biology, and still maintains an interest in plastic pollution, especially in marine systems. He has served as the President of BirdLife South Africa and is an associate editor of Antarctic Science and Bird Conservation International. He has been an honorary Conservation Officer at Tristan da Cunha since 1989, and is a member of Tristan’s Biodiversity Advisory Group. Peter has spent more than a year on Inaccessible Island, studying the island's endemic buntings as well as conducting surveys of threatened birds and conducting control programmes against alien plants. He is a keen birder and believes in the importance of promoting amateur involvement in ornithology. He has written several books about birds and their identification, and is scientific advisor to African Birdlife, a popular magazine about birds produced by BirdLife South Africa.



Robert Thomson, Dr (Steering Committee member, FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, SABAP2)

Robert has a broad interest in bird ecology, but is especially interested in between-species interactions. He comes from Pretoria, and grew up birding and ringing in the bushveld areas. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria, studying mixed species bird flocks for his BSc Hons. These studies led to him being a field assistant in northern Finland. This stint became his MSc thesis at the University of Oulu, which tested the heterospecific attraction hypothesis that migrant songbirds attract to resident songbirds during their habitat selection decisions. He continued with his PhD in Oulu, further investigating the positive associations in Boreal bird communities, but incorporating the interplay of negative, predation and competition, interactions. He defended his thesis in 2006, and moved to southern Finland to take up a post-doc position at the University of Turku investigating various aspects of raptors and their impact on songbird community structure.


Sam T. Ivande, Dr (Project Manager, Nigeria)

Sam is based at APLORI and is responsible for the daily management of the activities for the Nigerian Bird Atlas project. Although already a lover of the outdoors, a love for birds was kindled during his 2nd year of undergraduate studies and has continued to develop since. Sam has remained involved in activities mainly through APLORI which aim to promote biodiversity conservation and understandably with a bias for birds. He has recently completed a PhD from the University of St Andrews where he worked on the distribution ecology of Palearctic migrants in Nigeria, West Africa. The PhD and other aspects of his work have allowed him to travel across much of the Nigerian landscape as he continues to work towards improving understanding of the distribution ecology of birds in Nigeria and indeed the region.



Sanjo Rose (Project Communications, SABAP2)

Sanjo is keenly interested in urban ecology, human-wildlife relationships and avian conservation. Her background includes working on urban Black Sparrowhawks in Cape Town, mammal rehabilitation in Vancouver and Cape Parrot research in Hogsback. As a research assistant at the FitzPatrick Institute she is very involved with building and maintaining relationships with citizen scientists and data curating. She hopes to pursue a career in biological conservation within an suburban setting.



Shiiwua Manu, Dr (Director APLORI, Nigeria)

Dr Shiiwua got involved with APLORI from its early beginning, just after completing his PhD at Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology (EGI), Oxford University, UK. He began at APLORI as the scientific director responsible for teaching field and ecological techniques to the masters’ student and other trainees at the institute as well as the coordination and supervision of quality research at the institute. He recently assumed the position of the Director of APLORI which entails day to day administration and management. He has a lectureship position with the University of Jos as a Senior Lecturer. His research interests include forest bird ecology with keen interest on the effects of deforestation and fragmentation on forest species. More recent interests also include intra-African migration, especially of the rain dependent Abdim’s Stork – a candidate species for investigating the effect of the changing climate on its behaviour and migration. As a consultant ornithologist, he also works with other government and private agencies on a range of avian related projects including; the possible role of wild birds as bridge species in the transmission of Avian Influenza, bird pest management in agricultural environments and IBA monitoring, etc.



Shomboro Dauda (Remote sensing expert, Nigeria)

Shomboro did his Master in Conservation Biology at APLORI. He is now employed at The National Centre for Remote Sensing. Here he, in collaboration with APLORI, is carrying out his PhD on the influence of habitat variables for the distribution of birds on a local and/or regional scale using point counts of birds and vegetation parameters from satellite images. Shomboro is a very good and experienced bird watcher with vast knowledge of Nigerian birds.



Sidney Shema (Project Manager, Kenya)

Sidney plays the important role of coordinating the day-to-day activities; including field atlassing events, publicity, website updates, trainings, vetting records and fundraising. He is a passionate birder and has been atlassing and submitting bird records to the Kenya Bird Map since he joined as an observer in July 2014. One of his most exciting birding moments was when he documented the first ever breeding record of Hinde's Babbler (a Kenyan endemic species) in Nairobi on 12 June 2017. He has a keen research interest is in raptors (birds of prey) and works closely with the National Geographic Society, Zoological Society of London, The Peregrine Fund and other organizations on various raptor research projects. He is also a member of the Nairobi Ringing Group, and the Bird Committee of the East Africa Natural History Society.



Talatu Tende, Dr (Assistant, Nigeria)

Talatu is a molecular and wildlife biologist. She has conducted series of ecological research on birds and mammals both in Europe and sub-Saharan African countries. With deep interest in conservation Biology she employs the use of non-invasive method together with molecular techniques (DNA, PCR, sequencing etc.) to provide answers to ecological questions such as population size estimate, home range and dispersal as well as genetic diversity. She has a very good knowledge of Nigerian birds after travelling and working in all of its main biomes and habitats.



Ulf Ottosson, Dr (Co-ordinator, Nigeria)

Ulf has a dedicated interest for nature, particularly birds that began as a young born which has given him a firm naturalistic base. He is a Freelance Ecologist based in Luxembourg. On completion of his PhD from Lund University, Sweden in 1997 he has worked as a freelance on different projects such as breeding biology in birds (Sweden), bird migration ecology (Canada, Nigeria, Russia and Senegal) and one more applied project. He has worked as a part time Senior lecturer at APLORI since 2003. Apart from my scientific training at the University he have got a lot of experience in running and maintaining projects on expeditions, projects to the arctic and to the tropics on four different continents, mostly on different aspects of Avian Ecology.


Tel: +352 621367769

Vincent Parker (RAC Northern Cape, South Africa - Vetting, SABAP2)

Statistician by profession, explorer by nature. MSc in Statistical Sciences (UCT). Compiled the Swaziland Bird atlas, the Atlas of the Birds of Sul do Save, southern Mozambique, the Atlas of the Birds of Central Mozambique and co-edited SABAP1. Currently retired from formal employment, travelling and atlassing in the Northern Cape (the parts where no-one else goes).[@]


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