The Democratic Republic of the Congo (previously Zaire) has a bird list consisting of 1,139 species - probably the highest species count for any African country. Since 1996 a civil war and political instability have impacted the habitat adversely as well as limiting opportunities for visiting birders.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo straddles the equator in central Africa and is an enormous country. The climate is tropical, hot and humid in the equatorial river basin, cooler and drier in the southern highlands and cooler and wetter in the eastern highlands. The terrain is a vast central basin in a low-lying plateau with mountains in the east. The central river basin and eastern highlands comprise dense tropical rain forest.

The greater part of two Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs) are located within the country, the Eastern DR Congo lowlands and the Albertine Rift mountains. These two EBAs hold Africa's major centres of endemism. Many important sites probably remain to be discovered and documented. Bombo-Lumene Game Reserve lies south of the main Kinshasa to Kenge road and is the only protected area where White-headed Robin-Chat occurs and the only site where Black-chinned Weaver has been recorded. Ngiri is a large remote area of swamp forest situated between the Ubangi river in the west and the Congo river in the east. It is the only known site in the country for Congo Sunbird. Salonga National Park is the largest rainforest park in the world and encompasses a significant section of the central basin of the Congo river. Congo Peacock is known to occur.

Text supplied by the African Bird Club

Wattled Crane

Wattled Crane, threatened in the DRC © Philip Precey

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