During our recent field trip to Gola Transboundary Park in Liberia, I was fortunate enough to locate a flock of over 70 Timneh Parrots Psittacus timneh feeding in an abdandoned oil palm plantation deep within the forest after a night’s camping at ‘Thomas Camp’. This campsite, an abandoned former diamond mining camp, was reachable within a day’s trekking from our base camp.
The birds arrived to feed in the morning in groups of 2-16 – they were nervous as they started to gather on the oil palm. As well as counting the birds, I managed to take some decent photos – these appear to be some of the first photos of the species taken in the wild. By 11 am, the parrots were starting to disperse, flying back towards the Sierra Leone border.
This large group was unusual for the area. Six days of surveying by three teams produced only four other records. Groups of two birds and a singleton were seen flying over our base Camp Alpha, and two records each of two birds recorded along our Distance sampling line transects. One of these pairs were seen eating the fruits known locally as ‘Akusia’. I will be calculating a density estimate for the Gola area, which will be included in my PhD (funded by Loro Parque Fundacion). This estimate is likely to be very low, despite the large group seen at Thomas Camp.
|Timneh Parrot eating Oil palm fruit|
|Nauclea diderrichii, locally known as 'Kusia', a fruit eaten by Timneh Parrot|