The small West African country of Liberia is best known as the first country in Africa to declare itself independent from colonial rule. Having played an active role in as founder member of the United Nations and advancing Pan-Africanism, Liberia plummeted from bright beacon to international pariah with one military coup followed by another. Charles Taylor, blood diamonds and Liberia’s involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War practically sunk the country. Fortunately, peace and governance have been restored to this global biodiversity hotspot. Holding the last remaining viable populations of West African Chimpanzee and Pygmy Hippopotamus, Liberia host more than 40% of Upper Guinean forest.
Our current birding tours to Liberia are focused on a short extension to the famous Nimba Forest. Despite historical and current mining activities that have reduced the height of this mountain and degraded some of the forest, all the major target birds are still present. High on the list of mythical species are Sierra Leone Prinia, the rare Gola Malimbe, Western Wattled Cuckooshrike, Akun Eagle-Owl, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Black-headed Rufous Warbler, Nimba Flycatcher, Rufous-winged Illadopsis, Copper-tailed Starling, Blue-moustached Bee-eater and Baumann’s Olive Greenbul.