24 Jan 2019

New “Birds of Mauritius” free smartphone app is now available!

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (BirdLife Partner) has released a birding app for their country's spectacular species. Including photographs, songs and maps, this field guide can also be used to record and upload sightings - and it's free!

By Mauritian Wildlife Foundation

Get the app here.

Mauritius is home to some of the world’s rarest bird species. The Mauritius Kestrel Falco punctatus (Endangered) was once considered to be the world's rarest bird, and Echo Parakeet Psittacula eques (Endangered) and Pink Pigeon Nesoenas mayeri (Vulnerable) numbers reached a low point of perhaps ten to twenty individuals in the mid- 1980s.  Although such rare birds provide a major attraction to bird lovers worldwide, there are many more birds to see in Mauritius, including migrant shorebirds, breeding seabirds and land birds including several introduced species.

We are pleased to inform you that information about all the birds of Mauritius and its associated islands can now be found in a new smartphone App. The App contains a wealth of detail including photographs, songs and calls, text and maps to help you enjoy and identify the special birds of the islands. The App is primarily a field identification guide which includes the capability to record and upload sightings to a central database as well as allowing the user to maintain personal checklists. 

The App is an asset of the African Bird Club and is free to download from both the Google Play Store and Apple iStore. Go to the store and search on Birds of Mauritius and follow the installation guidelines. It has been tested on a variety of Android devices including Samsung Galaxy S7, S8 and A8, and Tablet A6, and Apple / IOS devices including iPad, iPhones 5S, SE and 6S.

Mauritius is the first country to use the African Bird Club App. Birds of Mauritius will serve as a pilot for future Apps for other African countries and, in time, the whole of Africa.  User feedback will therefore be much appreciated. The App is expected to be used by ornithologists, birders and others with a general interest in birds. 

Jacques de Spéville, a Mauritian resident and bird photographer, who volunteers his help to the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, has contributed many of his wonderful photographs to the App. He commented that “the App is a must for those who are interested to discover more about the birds of Mauritius and Rodrigues.”

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Vikash Tatayah, Conservation Director, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, said that he is ‘’very pleased that the collaboration with John Caddick of the African Bird Club and Jacques de Spéville has come to fruition. They both spared no effort to complete the project to get the App into production. It will be a resource in Mauritius and Rodrigues for visitors, bird lovers and citizen scientists which can also be used for educational purposes. It has the added advantage that it can be accessed remotely from anywhere in the world, and can be used as a model for all other African countries.’’

The African Bird Club https://www.africanbirdclub.org is a UK registered charity dedicated to the education, communication and conservation of Africa’s birds. We would like to thank the following people and organisations for providing significant help to the project.

Dr Vikash Tatayah, Conservation Director, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation www.mauritian-wildlife.org who supported the concept from the outset and provided help during the development process.

Rockjumper Birding Ltd for its generous support of the App. Rockjumper Birding Ltd https://www.rockjumperbirding.com/ is the world’s largest bird tour company offering tours in over 100 countries, with its headquarters in Mauritius.

Kevin Ravno of g-bird http://g-bird.org based in South Africa combined the technical vision and leadership with the ornithological knowledge necessary for this project to succeed.

John Caddick, African Bird Club, app@africanbirdclub.org