As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Species on the brink: saving the endangered Taita birds of Kenya

Published by surfbirds on February 28, 2020 courtesy of BirdLife International, surfbirds archive

Across the expansive Taita Plains in Southern Eastern Kenya, rises a majestic densely forested hilly outcrops straddling the skyline near the historic town of Voi. These hilly outcrops, famously known as the Taita Hills occupy an area of about 250 square kilometers.

In addition to being an important biodiversity hotspot and water tower, the densely forested hills form an important ecosystem consisting of a number of forests, home to various animals and rare bird species. Some of these endangered birds include the Endangered Taita White, Taita Thrush, and the Critically Endangered Taita Apalis, one of the rarest birds in the world with only 150 birds remaining in the wild.

Contributing to the decline of these endangered bird species is severe habitat loss, as a result of human activities. Increasing human settlement has adversely affected the forests and bushes where the birds live. “Over the years, Taita Hills’s forested areas have fragmented with about 98% of the original forest being destroyed. This severe habitat loss has put enormous pressure on these endangered birds,” notes Paul Kariuki, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Africa.

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