Our presenter Michael Mills grew up in the Kgalagadi and Kruger National Parks of South Africa, and obtained his training at the University of Cape Town where he received a BSc in Zoology and a Masters of Science degree in Conservation Biology. He has been watching birds for 25 years, and guiding bird watching outings since he was 16. He first visited Angola in 2003, and has returned regularly to study the country’s birds. Currently he spends half his time working for BirdLife (www.birdlife.org) on conservation projects in Angola, and half his time leading bird watching tours and expeditions throughout sub-Saharan Africa for a Cape Town-based company Birding Africa. (www.birdingafrica.com)
His work in Angola is focussed on BirdLife’s priorities of protecting habitats for threatened birds, and improving knowledge of threatened and poorly-known species to enhance our ability to conserve them. Two main project sites are under development in the main habitat types for threatened endemic birds: in the Afromontane/highland forests at Mount Moco, and the central Scarp Forests at Kumbira.
Most of what Michael will be talking about will be about this work, and the most important bird species that are being studied. He will also detail several other projects that he’s been involved in, including the databasing of Africa’s third largest bird skin collection in the museum in Lubango, the discovery of some new and significant Afromontane forests, the production of a CD of Angolan bird calls, the long-term planning for a bird atlas of the country, some new and important bird finds in Angola, and the first field information on the rare Black-tailed Cisticola. Michael also runs two websites on Angolan birds www.birdsangola.org and www.mountmoco.org.