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White-winged apalis (Apalis chariessa) male perched near its nest | by Dave Montreuil
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White-winged apalis (Apalis chariessa) male perched near its nest

Another photo from the series from a special opportunity, provided by friend/ornithologist/wildlife expert/Malawi expert John Wilson. This is a male White-winged Apalis. They live only on selected mountain tops in the region, and have been in steady decline. Many of the habitats where they used to be found have been logged. To nest, they seem to require Usnea, this lichen like substance in the background.

 

John Wilson lives in Zomba, Malawi, and realized the White-winged Apalis pair was trying to nest in the area, but unable to due to lack of usnea. After retrieving a sample from up the mountain, he hung some in a tree near his porch, where the birds happily and successfully reared their chicks (for the second year in a row!)

 

Normally 40 feet or more high up in the canopy, this was a rare opportunity to photograph this lovely little bird. This is also the rarest bird I have been able to photograph. There are perhaps 400 individuals left, according to estimates, with more and more habitat destruction going on all the time. Even in Zomba, there is a constant stream of people bringing wood and charcoal down from the mountain everyday.

 

I am really not sure what to do with these photos. I would love to do something special with them - if anyone has any ideas, I am listening.

 

Copyright 2015 Dave Montreuil

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Taken on April 6, 2015