Cameroon and Gabon lowlands

Country/Territory Cameroon; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Nigeria
Area 280,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 1000 m
Priority high
Habitat loss moderate
Knowledge poor

General characteristics

The Lower Guinea forest is one of the world's great lowland rain forests, and together with the Upper Guinea forest (EBA 084) constitutes the Guineo-Congolian Region of White (1983). The restricted-range birds of this EBA are confined to the north-west part of the Lower Guinea forest, in south-east Nigeria, southern Cameroon, northern and central Gabon and continental Equatorial Guinea. The Cameroon mountains (EBA 086) lie adjacent, but the restricted-range birds of that EBA generally occur at higher altitudes in montane forest, although a few of them occur locally in lowland forest, e.g. on the southern slopes of Mt Cameroon.

Restricted-range species

Bradypterus grandis is found in contact zones between forest and more open areas such as savannas and river borders, but otherwise the restricted-range species of this EBA are all found in lowland rain forest. Their distributions are generally poorly understood (see Brosset and Erard 1986, Erard and Colston 1988, Ash 1990, Rodewald et al. 1994). Bradypterus grandis and Batis minima are known only from a few localities in southern Cameroon and Gabon, and Ploceus batesi is only recorded from southern Cameroon. The other three species are relatively widespread within the EBA, but appear to be localized; the distribution of Picathartes oreas, for example, is closely related to the availability of rock faces in forests suitable for nesting (Ash 1991).

Species IUCN Red List category
Gabon Batis (Batis minima) LC
Grey-necked Rockfowl (Picathartes oreas) NT
Dja River Swamp-warbler (Bradypterus grandis) NT
Forest Swallow (Atronanus fuliginosus) LC
Bates's Weaver (Ploceus batesi) EN
Rachel's Malimbe (Malimbus racheliae) LC

Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
Country IBA Name IBA Book Code
Cameroon Bakossi mountains CM022
Cameroon Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary CM017
Cameroon Campo Ma'an complex CM031
Cameroon Dja Faunal Reserve CM029
Cameroon Korup National Park CM019
Cameroon Lobéké National Park CM033
Cameroon Mbam Minkom - Kala CM028
Cameroon Mont Manengouba CM021
Cameroon Mont Nlonako CM023
Cameroon Mount Cameroon and Mokoko-Onge CM027
Cameroon Mount Kupe CM025
Cameroon Mount Rata and Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve CM024
Cameroon Nki CM032
Cameroon Yabassi CM026
Central African Republic Dzanga-Ndoki National Park CF008
Equatorial Guinea Monte Alen National Park GQ004
Equatorial Guinea Nsork Highlands National Park GQ005
Gabon Gamba Protected Areas Complex GA001
Gabon Ipassa Strict Nature Reserve GA003
Gabon Lopé Faunal Reserve GA002
Gabon Minkébé Forest Reserve GA004
Nigeria Afi River Forest Reserve NG005
Nigeria Cross River National Park (Oban Division) NG007
Nigeria Cross River National Park (Okwangwo Division) and Mbe Mountains NG010

Threat and conservation

The major pressures in this EBA are forest loss and hunting. Large areas of forest have already been cleared or degraded, logging is reported to be continuing at an alarming rate in southern Cameroon, and there are plans for further exploitation (see, e.g., Webb 1995). However, extensive tracts of virgin forest still exist, particularly in sparsely populated Gabon and the Lake Lobeke region of south-east Cameroon (Thiollay 1985, P. Rodewald in litt. 1993). Two of the restricted-range birds are threatened, including Picathartes oreas which is under pressure from hunting as well as from habitat loss. Bradypterus grandis and Batis minima are classified as Data Deficient because of the paucity of records and the uncertainty about their susceptibility to habitat loss and degradation.

There are nine protected areas within the EBA (IUCN 1992b), but many of them have seen little or no ornithological investigation. Large reserves which are known (or believed) to be important for the restricted-range species are Dja and Campo Faunal Reserves and Korup National Park (Rodewald et al. 1994) in Cameroon, Cross River National Park in Nigeria and Lope Faunal Reserve and Wonga-Wongué Presidential Reserve in Gabon (P. D. Alexander-Marrack in litt. 1993, P. Rodewald in litt. 1993). Bradypterus grandis was recently recorded in the La Lopé-Okanda Reserve in central Gabon, and several of the restricted-range species are recorded from Park of Monte Alen in Equatorial Guinea (J. Pérez del Val in litt. 1993). Several of these species, including Ploceus batesi, have been recorded in the lowland forests on the lower slopes of Mt Kupe in Cameroon where BirdLife International initiated a forest conservation project (Bowden and Bowden 1993, Bowden and Andrews 1994) which is now managed by WWF. Important new protected areas have been proposed to the north-east of Makokou in Gabon (P. D. Alexander-Marrack in litt. 1993) and in the south-east corner of Cameroon (P. Rodewald in litt. 1993), while in south-east Nigeria the proposed Obudu and Boshi-Okwangwo National Parks are contiguous with Cross River National Park (J. S. Ash in litt. 1993).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Cameroon and Gabon lowlands. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/eba/factsheet/82 on 11/12/2023.