Birding in Cameroon
With Rod Cassidy
Cameroon, lying a little north of the Equator in the `armpit’ of Africa combines some of west and central Afrotropic’s best birding. With over 900 species recorded, the highest total of any west African country and with a total of 26 endemics, this is a must for any world birder. The narrow nethermost region of northern Cameroon stretches into the Sahel region, the southern extremity of the vast Sahara desert and abuts on the shores of Lake Chad. This scrub and semi arid region is a haven for unusual dry country birds and we will stay a few days in this area. From here we wander south to the more moist regions in the Guinea Woodland belt for a few days before heading even further south to the crater lakes, grasslands and forests of the Adamawa Plateau. We will have a chance to explore a few stretches of lowland rain forest on coastal Cameroon and spend a few hours on the lower slopes of Mt. Cameroon. We will travel to the higher regions of Bamenda, the area immortalised in the Gerald Durrel books, The Bafut Beagles and The Overloaded Ark, though sadly only small remnants of the forest he describe remain. From here we will travel deep into the heart of mountainous western Cameroon to explore Mt. Kupe and the Bokossi mountains.  
 
 
Day 1 The tour begins with a direct flight to Douala – where we will spend the night. 
Day 2,3,4 We leave our hotel after an early Breakfast and transfer to The airport for our flight North to Garou, and from there we transfer by road to Ngaoundaba Ranch for three nights. En-route we will stop and bird at a few remnant patches of woodland, where we can get an introduction to the birds of the Adamawa plateaux.
Ngaoundaba Ranch is a former hunting lodge and the accommodations are set on the rim of a dormant volcano overlooking a crater lake. The variety of habitats include gallery forest, marshland, open lake and open woodlands and we will spend timebirding all these habitats. In the gallery forest we hope to see Ross’s Turaco, Grey-winged Robin Chat, Spotted Thrush Babbler, Puvells Illadopsis, and the charismatic Oriole Warbler, whilstthe forest edge and marshes could produce Marsh Tchagra, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Dybowski’s and Brown Twin-spots.
In the open woodlands we will look for Schlegels Francolin and Brown-chested Lapwing. We also expect to find White-collared Starling, White-breasted Cuckoo Shrike, Western violet-backed Sunbird, Black-necked Weavers, Chestnut-crown Sparrow Weaver and Black-capped Babbler. 
Day 5, 6 After a mornings birding we drive to Benoue National park, birding en-route in the savannah woodlands. We expect to see birds like Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Lesser blue-eared Starling, Senegal Parrot and Black-bellied fire Finch.
 Our base for the next few days will be Campement de Buffle Noir and in this area we will bird along the river in the riparian woodlands and surrounding Miombo-like woodlands. The birds we expect to find here include Adamawa Turtle Dove, Grey Pratincole, Egyptian Plover, Emins Shrike, White- crested and violet Turacos, Bearded Barbet, Grasshopper Buzzard, Stone Partridge, Abyssinian and Blue-bellied Rollers, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Senegal Eremomela and White-throated Francolin. 
Day 7 After a mornings birding, we head to Lagdo where we arrive in time to relax in the heat in the beautiful clears waters of Lagdo lake, while keeping our binoculars close we may see Fox kestrels.  
Day 8,9,10 During a quick early mornings walk we will find our first arid country species like Rock loving Cisticola, fox kestrel, White crowned Cliff chat, Red-tailed Lavender Waxbill and Black-faced Firefinch. After breakfast we continue north on the road to Chad going through the northern town of Garoua. En route we should find our first African Swallow-tailedkites and we will notice the interesting transition of habitat as we enter the southern edge of the Sahel, an extension of the Sahara Desert. We will stay in Waza National Park, which is on the edge of the Sahel, for the next three nights. This national park just south of lake Chad is approximately 1700km² in extent and the varied habitat includes Acacia savannah, seasonal marshes and open grassy plains interspersed with impressive granite “koppies”. In the rainy season this area is inundated with floods from the backwashes of Lake Chad although this may not be apparent when we are in the area, just at the start of the rains. In the next few days we will explore this area which holds some of the richest bird life in the entire Sahelian region The possibilities include Arabian Bustard, Quail Plover, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black-crowned Crane, Black-headed Lapwing, the fabulous Swallow-tailed kite, Fox Kestrel, Bedouin’s Snake-eagle, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Northern Carmine and Little Green Bee-eater, Viellot’s Barbet, Black Scrub Robin, Red-pate Cisticola, Cricket Warbler, River Prinia, Sennar Penduline Tit, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Sahel Paradise Whydah, Black-rumped Waxbill, White-rumped Seedeater, Sudan Golden Sparrow and many more.
The park is also rich in mammal species, and we should see Red-fronted Gazelle, Kob, Topi, Western Roan Antelope, Bohor Reedbuck, Patas Monkey, as well as the more familiar African Elephant, Sahel Giraffe and African Lion.
A night drive should produce Long-tailed Nightjar, Northern White-faced Owl and with luck, the stunning Golden Nightjar, only discovered for the first time in Cameroon by Rod Cassidy in 2003, while interesting mammals we have found on previous trips include the delightful Sandbox and Striped Hyena.
Day 11 An early departure from the lodge and a drive south to the town of Morou, where we catch our flight south to Douala, and drive up into the Bamenda highlands. 
Day 12 & 13 The Bamenda highlands are only a remnant of theirformer glory when Gerald Durrell first visited the area and wrote about it in his books the "Bufut Beagles" and "The Overloaded Ark".The area was solid rainforest, now the birds cling to tiny remnant forest patches for survival.
There are only a few remnant highland forest patches in the Bamenda Mountains and these will be our targets. Birds we will search for are the rare and highly local Bannerman’s Turaco, Fernando Po Swift, Banded Wattle-eye, Bangwa Forest Warbler, Green Longtail, Cameroon Pipit, Cameroon Sunbird and Bannerman’s Weaver. Other great birds we will look for in this region are Western Green Tinkerbird, Green-backed Woodpecker, Black-collared and Grey Apalis, Neumann’s Starling, Brown-capped Weaver and Thick-billed Canary. 
Days 14, 15 & 16. Our drive today will take us throughagricultural lands to the base of Mt Kupe for three nights at the village of Nyasoso. Mt. Kupe and the close-by Bokossi Mountains are covered mostly in pristine forest, the latter on more gentle slopes and only recently explored. The area holds some of West Africa’s most wanted birds, many of which are listed as endangered and threatened. Those which will be high on the list of wanted species include White-throated Mountain Babbler, Mt. Kupe, Green-breasted and Montiero’s Bush-shrikes, Ursula’s Sunbird and Bate’s Weaver. Other species we will search for are Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Pied and White-crested Hornbills, Naked-faced, Bristle-nosed, Yellow-spotted and Yellow-billed Barbets, Brown-eared, Gabon and Elliot’s Woodpecker, Sabine’s Spinetail, Forest Swallow and Square-tailed saw-wing, Black-throated and Black-capped Apalis, Tit and Green Hylia, Black Bee-eater, Bare-cheeked and Bar-tailed Trogon, a host of greenbuls, warblers and flycatchers and many more weavers, twinspots, negroficnhes and waxbills.
Day 17. We'll take our time driving to Mundemba, from where we will access the legendary Korup National Park. Roadside birding can be very productive, and we'll make numerous stops. We may see our first Spotted Greenbul, White-thighed or Piping Hornbills, Black-headed Waxbill or Long-legged Pipit. Night in Mundemba.
Day 18-19: We have 2 full days to explore the lowlands of Korup National Park. This vast wilderness area offers an excellent chance for Red-headed Picathartes, which will be our main target species, and we will have to spend one night camped deep in the forest in order to be at the cave where these birds roost in the evening and early morning. We will also see numerous species of greenbuls and other forest Green-tailed and Common bristlebills, Black-capped and Pale-breasted Illadopsises and the diminutive Forest Robin. Other highlights may include Blue Cuckooshrike, Black-casqued, Yellow-casqued and Red-billed Dwarf hornbills, Bare-cheeked Trogon and Blue-headed Wood Dove.
Day 20, 21 After some early morning birding we transfer to the town of Beua. At the foot of Mount Cameroon. The better part of the afternoon and most of the next day will be spent on the mountain and we hope to find several of the mountains endemic specials, although for this will entail a lot of stiff climbing if we are to get the Mount Cameroon Speirops, or have a slight chance of the Mount Cameroon Francolin. Other species may include the endemic Little Olive-back, Cameroon Olive and Western Montane greenbuls, and Cameroon Mountain Robin.
Later in the afternoon we transfer to Douala for our last night in Cameroons. 
Day 22 The last morning will be spent at the Senaga River at Edea where we should findGrey Pratincoles and African skimmers, later we transfer to the Airport for our afternoon flight home.
 
Due to logistical problems on the ground this itinerary is subject to changes.