Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 3, Issue 9, pp 851–867 | Cite as

The biodiversity and conservation of the birds of São Tomé and Príncipe

  • Nicholas B. Peet
  • Philip W. Atkinson

At present the majority of the endemic bird species occurring on São Tomé and Príncipe remain common, the rarer species being those largely confined to primary rainforest. In 1990 the dwarf olive ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), São Tomé fiscal shrike (Lanius newtoni), São Tomé short-tail (Amaurocichla bocagii) were rediscovered and in 1991 the São Tomé grosbeak (Neospiza concolor) was seen for the first time since 1888. Lowland primary forest is the only habitat on São Tomé in which all the endemic species are found. Primary forest on Príncipe remains largely unsurveyed since the beginning of the century. Due to the decline in the cocoa industry and poor infra-structure post-independence the extent of secondary forest is probably at its greatest since the late 1800s. This habitat is an important buffer zone against development for the remaining primary forest and also contains important populations of many of the endemic species, in particular the São Tomé scops owl (Otus hartlaubi), São Tomé oriole (Oriolus crassirostris) and giant weaver (Ploceus grandis). On both islands the remaining areas of primary forest need immediate protection and suitable boundaries have been designated under the Zona Ecológica plan. Fortunately, except for an important area around Lagôa Amélia, primary forest is not under immediate threat, although a variety of pressures are likely to increase. In conjunction with the protection of primary forest, a plant for managing the remaining timber resource on the islands will be a vital requirement, particularly if areas of shade forest, an important habitat for endemic bird species and a potentially valuable economic resource, are to be conserved and sustainably managed.


Gulf of Guinea birds conservation 


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas B. Peet
    • 1
  • Philip W. Atkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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