Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cameroon - nightlife

Time for some nightlife! In Cameroon, it was rather difficult to get permission to go out in the parks at night but we were determined (I didn't lug a huge spotlight there for nothing). Fortunately, we managed to squeeze out a hard-fought permission or two where we could. There were so many interesting mammals and, of course, I was obsessed with finding owls even though I didn't get photos of them all, for example I narrowly missed photos of other species like African Wood Owl. Our very best night sighting was a serval (a truly oddly-shaped cat) but unfortunately it was beyond the reach of my flash.

So, starting with a few mammals. Here's a lucky shot of an African wild cat mousing in Waza National Park. If this critter looks familiar to you, this species is the ancestor of the domestic cat...

Also out on the prowl in Waza was the beautiful sand fox (we saw 6 of them).

In Benoue National Park, we saw the eye shine of this Lesser Spotted Genet, also known as Common Genet (genets are related to civets) ahead of us on the road. This beautiful little animal was about to wander off into the grass but responded to a squeaking noise I made with my lips and walked right up to me.

The galagos, also known are bush babies, are a fascinating group of small nocturnal primates. We saw a few species but this Senegal Galago presented the best photo op.

Moving on to the owls, here are two shots of the widespread and beautiful African subspecies, affinis, of Barn Owl - female first

then male

Next, well, I couldn't choose between them so here are four shots of a Greyish Eagle Owl at two different sites, first in a tree

and then hunting on the ground in Waza.

Also in Waza (what an amazing night drive it was!!) was this Northern White-faced Owl (we saw 3 in one night - a great find because they are a very difficult species to see). Such a distinctive owl – used to be a monotypic genus, Ptilopsis, although now they are split into two species – Northern and Southern. I have heard others make various claims about the White-faced Owls, e.g. that they are the most beautiful owls in the world or the most distinctive, though to me they are all awesome ( i.e. awe inspiring)!

The Verreaux's Eagle Owl, or Giant Eagle Owl, is among the world's largest owls and about 2 inches longer than a Great Grey to give you some idea (the northern race of Eurasian Eagle Owl is the largest if you're wondering). With coquettish pink eyelids though, they always seem like the most gentle of giants (unless you're prey I guess).

In the second shot, the bird is perched in, you guessed it, a eucalyptus – yep, they plant them everywhere!

There are many nightjars in Africa but this female Long-tailed Nightjar, with an unusually short tail that is probably growing back after moult or loss, is one of the few that would sit still for a photograph.

Visit me at my website: for more photos from Cameroon


  1. That must have been an exciting trip.These are not the critters we are used to seeing in Manitoba.

  2. Wonderful shots. I cannot get over the diversity of wildlife you were able to capture.

  3. Hi Bro.!
    This is a great job, so far this is the you are a good shoter. Keep up

  4. Hey folks,

    Thank you all so much for the encouragement! I really appreciate it and have also enjoyed looking at your blogs. Will try to keep up the posting - Mexico next!

  5. What a great way to tell us of your adventures! I just followed the link you provided and greatly enjoyed the Cameronian night. Thank you.


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