BDInsight – February 2024

Cover image: Malachite Sunbird (Nectarina famosa) – Middelburg district, Eastern Cape – Photo by Tino Herselman

Welcome to the February 2024 edition of the BDInsight. We have plenty of news to share and plenty of exciting events coming up. Read on to find out more…..

BDI-style Bird Species Texts

We are aiming to make it easier for beginner birders! Key to this is the production of “BDI-style” species texts on the BDI website. Each of the texts starts with an annotated photograph like this one for the Pririt Batis:

Each of the texts starts with an annotated photograph like the one above. The next sections cover Habitat (with photos), Distribution (with bird atlas map), and Behaviour (with words and photos).

The BDI-style texts do not only focus on identification but provides all sorts of interesting information; to see the full text for this species, click here.

We added texts for five species during January 2024:

New Biodiversity Observations Papers

Biodiversity Observations is an Open Access ejournal which focuses on the publication of descriptive papers which report observations relating to biodiversity. There is a great new paper which reflects on the papers submitted to the Journal during 2023.

Of the papers published in 2023, the one with the most downloads is A Guide to the Common Garden Birds of Cape Town, South Africa which had been downloaded 1172 times by 31 August. You can find the the paper here: This link does not download the paper itself; it takes you to the page where you click on the PDF to get the paper.

The graph below shows that Biodiversity Observations had its best month ever for number of papers downloaded; 3219 downloads of papers were made during December 2023. For January 2024, the number of papers downloaded were 2110.

A new year also means the start of a new Volume. Volume 14 (2024) already contains two papers which you can access here.

Bird Ringing

Bird ringing remains one of the most important research methods for discovering some of the most important basic information about each species. Conservation initiatives need a lot of information. Two key factors to understand are rates of survival and extent of movement. There is a discussion about the value of ringing here.

Diederik Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius)
Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Western Cape
Photo by Gerald Wingate

There are three ringing courses planned for 2024. They are:

  • 31 January to 6 February at BoTuin, Vanrhynsdorp, Western Cape
  • 1 to 7 May at Ouberg Private Nature Reserve, Montagu, Western Cape
  • 09 to 15 September at New Holme Lodge, near Hanover, Northern Cape.
  • More details are here. There is a broad description of the course activities here.

Virtual Museum

Up-to-date distribution maps for species are critical for taking conservation decisions about species. Spring is springing, and the butterflies and moths, dragonflies and damselflies, will soon be out and about. Now is the time to dust off your cameras and get out into the field and start refreshing records in the Virtual Museum.

Records made long ago in a grid cell are slowly losing their value as evidence that the species is still present there, and need to be refreshed.

If your access to the Virtual Museum is not working (eg password issues) please contact Megan Loftie-Eaton for help (