An encounter with the bird featuring the cover of my African bird book

A couple of weeks ago I went out to look for east bonobos on the west side. Considering the current ranging pattern, this was a reasonable gamble, although not successful that day. I chose a good spot, sat down on a log and listened for an hour or two. After a while I heard soft, pulsating vocalizations. I heard red-tailed guenons before, but this came from much closer and sounded more like a chicken. All of a sudden I saw a pair of Congo peacocks (Afropavo congensis) in the understory. The female was not scared at all and approached me. The male was hiding behind a bush. What a magnificent bird, in perfect view in the middle of the path right in front of me. This mythical bird was only discovered in the 1930s and only occurs in the heart of the Congolese tropical rainforest. They are related to Asian peacocks and have similar green and blue shining feathers. This was the second time I saw Congo peacocks at LuiKotale, but this time I didn’t even had to use my binoculars.
Unfortunately I was not able to take pictures, but you should definitely google it. I’m sure not a lot of white people have seen these birds in their natural habitat. Now I can say I clearly saw the bird that is featuring the cover of my African bird book. I will never forget this moment. After a while the birds disappeared in the forest.

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Lieven in congo

At the moment Lieven Devreese is staying at LuiKotale, a bonobo research site of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in the vicinity of Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. Lieven is a research assistant working on habituation of a second group of bonobos and he hopes to get to see some golden-bellied mangabeys as well. Here you can read more about his 10-month adventure.