In a new paper in Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology, Dr Gabriel Jamie, Dr Samuel Jones, Emidio Sumbane and Merlijn Jocque present the results of a three-week expedition to three poorly-known mountains in northern Mozambique: the Njesi Plateau, Mount Chitagal and Mount Sanga. These mountains had received little to no previous biological surveys, but are the only known locality of the endangered Mozambique Forest-warbler Artisornis sousae (formerly Long-billed Tailorbird A. moreaui sousae). During the survey, the authors found healthy populations of the tailorbirds on all three mountains along with two new species for Mozambique. They also recorded several range extensions of both conservation and biogeographical importance including a new population of the highly localised Dapple-throat (Aracanator orostruthus). Overall, they find that the birdlife of the Njesi highlands are more biogeographically linked to Tanzania, than to mountains farther south in Mozambique and Malawi. Their results illustrate the critical value of even small Afromontane forests on remote highlands for some of Africa’s least known, and most threatened avifauna.
In a new paper published in Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie along with Silky Hamama, Collins Moya and Prof. Claire Spottiswoode from the African Cuckoos team and collaborators from University of Puerto Rico (Steven Van Belleghem), Princeton University (Dr Cassie Stoddard and Dr Ben Hogan) and University of Cambridge (Professor Rebecca Kilner) provide evidence of host-specific mimicry in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa. Building on the pioneering work of Robert Payne and Jürgen Nicolai, they provide quantitative evidence that nestling Vidua finches mimic the patterns, colours and begging calls of their host’s nestling, and qualitative evidence of mimicry of host movements.