Pentad quick find:

Welcome to the Southern African Bird Atlas Project

SABAP2 is the acronym for the Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project and is the follow-up on the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (for which the acronym was SABAP, and which is now referred to as SABAP1). The first atlas project took place from 1987-1991. The current project is a joint venture between the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town,BirdLife South Africa and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The project aims to map the distribution and relative abundance of birds in southern Africa and the atlas area includes South AfricaLesotho and Swaziland. SABAP2 was launched in Namibia in May 2012. The second atlas project started on 1 July 2007 and plans to run indefinitely.

The field work for this project is done by more than a thousand volunteers, known as citizen scientists - they collect the data from the field at their own cost and in their own time and as such they make a huge contribution to the conservation of birds and their habitat. The unit of data collection is the pentad, five minutes of latitude by five minutes of longitude, squares with sides of roughly 9 km. There are 17339 pentads in the original atlas area of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, and a further 10600 in Namibia and 4900 in Zimbabawe.

By October 2014, the SABAP2 database contained 110000 checklists, and a total of 5.99 million records of bird distribution. More than 70% of the original SABAP2 atlas area (ie South Africa, Lesotho and Swazilanad) has at least one checklist at this stage in the project's development. This information is updated continuously on the project website.



What do you want me to do?

SABAP2 logoSABAP2 is on track for a record year. If we maintain the present rate of data collection, we will reach 31 December 2014 with somewhere between 19500 and 20000 full protocol checklists submitted during the year. A superhuman effort will take SABAP2 beyound 20000 checklists. The previous best year was 2010, with 18364 checklists.

Here is an update on the current SABAP2 priorities.

(1) Please maintain “sustainable atlasing.” We cannot afford for you to suffer “burn-out.” Please keep on atlasing at the pace you enjoy doing it. We need you in 2015.

(2) Please recruit new atlasers, teach them the protocol and get them involved. We are NOT near the END of the project, we are near the BEGINNING. We need everyone on board. Atlasing is easier than it has ever been with Lynx Birdticks (Android) and BirdLasser (iPhone). See their Facebook pages. Getting other people to help with the atlasing effort is the best way to get to 20000 checklists this year!

(3) There is no pentad for which we have “enough” data.

(4) Please treat any pentad with fewer than four full-protocol checklists as a top priority pentad.

(5) The top priority remains carefully produced full protocol checklists – a minimum of two hours of intensive birding within a pentad which aims to produce as comprehensive a list as feasible of the species present in the pentad.

(6) If you are able to travel, please help fill the major gaps in coverage. Try to participate in gap-filling expeditions. Even better, take courage, and organize an expedition yourself. There is a map showing where the current target areas are at this news item

(7) If you are in an area where data coverage is poor, and you have the opportunity to make even a short list of species for a few minutes, please submit the records as an ad hoc list.

(8) If you have seen a single species which you know is rare in a pentad (or might not yet have been observed), please submit it as an incidental record. If in doubt, submit.

(9) If a pentad has not yet been atlased in 2014, treat it as a priority. Try to get 2014 coverage up to four checklists in as many pentads as feasible.

(10) Please be careful. Please ask permission before you venture onto private land. Please don’t atlas and drive at the same time.

(11) If you have a collection of "Out of Range Forms" (ORFs) please make a resolution to deal with them.

(12) Please try to be an Ambassador for Biodiversity. How do you answer this question: “How does my participation SABAP2 make a difference for biodiversity conservation?”?

(13) Please try to recruit new atlasers. Mentoring is a powerful tool in bringing new atlasers on board. We need to share the workload out more broadly

(14) There are two more ADU Citizen Scientist Days before the end of 2014. Cape Flats Nature Reserve, University of Western Cape, in Bellville on Saturday, 25 October, and Pretoria National Botanic Gardens on Saturday 6 December. The programmes include bird atlas feedback. We are planning to visit lots of other centres next year, with the Eastern Cape in January more or less sorted out. Please register your intention to attend here.

(15). Most important, your participation needs to be something that you enjoy doing.

Six million records in the SABAP2 database

Six Million SABAP2 records

Six million records in the SABAP2 database. Team SABAP2, you have got from five million to six million in two days less than a year. The previous millions have all taken about 13 months (apart from the first, which took two years!).

We are steadily building not only the start-of-the-21st-century distribution maps, but we are also getting enough data on an annual basis to start thinking about mapping changes in bird distribution continuously. No one, nowhere, has come close to achieving this!

Well done, Team SABAP2. Seven million, here we come.

SABAP2 at 70% in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland

SABAP2 at 70%

70% of the 17633 pentads in the original SABAP2 area of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland have been visited at least once. When we started the project on 1 July 2007 this level of coverage seemed an unimaginable pipedream. This is the day for a resounding celebration for the Citizen Scientists who have participated in the project. Well done, Team SABAP2. You are building the maps of current distribution for all our bird species. You are participating in the most important bird conservation project in the region. Without these maps, and the ability to compare them with the maps produced by the first bird atlas project, bird conservation would be based on guesswork.

Latest cards submitted (in order of submission)
  Date Pentad Observers name Species
on card
f2014-10-302510_2750Walden, Amanda B51
f2014-10-313015_3035Robinson, Malcolm71
f2014-10-283035_3030Robinson, Malcolm58
f2014-10-303040_3030Robinson, Malcolm64
f2014-10-293040_3015Robinson, Malcolm88
f2014-10-302505_2745Walden, Amanda B116
f2014-10-312530_3100McKenzie, Duncan Robert74
a2014-10-122355_1525Dantu, Sandra3
f2014-10-112410_1550Dantu, Sandra17
f2014-10-212510_2750Robinson, Lance38
f2014-10-312840_3210Cox JH & KC, John & Kim60
f2014-10-292555_2805Swiel, Simone50
f2014-10-220040_3705Manei, Tiampati20
f2014-10-180145_3645Manei, Tiampati17
f2014-10-272950_3100Wilson, Crystelle54
f2014-10-312600_2810Ayling, Pat39
f2014-10-272545_2810van Stuyvenberg, Stefan 48
f2014-10-302410_3105Carstens, Cassie35
f2014-10-262940_2935McLean, Stuart54
f2014-10-292425_3110Carstens, Cassie51
f2014-10-312515_3100McCleland, Warren102
f2014-10-231805_2130Thomson, Neil 58
f2014-08-073355_1825Blackshaw, Jessie Margaret39
f2014-06-292645_2705Boshoff, Willem S.56
f2014-10-212945_3055Lee, Michael Standish50
Gauteng 4DY and 3456 in 2014
Get all 576 pentads in the four degrees of 'Greater Gauteng' to YELLOW in 2014
Get 3456 checklists in total (average of 6 lists per pentad!)
Pentad with 0 cards 85 14.76%
Pentad with 1 or more cards 491 85.24%
Pentad with 2 or more cards 298 51.74%
Pentad with 3 or more cards 221 38.37%
Pentad with 4 or more cards 169 29.34%
Total cards submitted in 2014 3431
Total percentage submitted in 2014 99.28%
Greater Kruger National Park in 2014
Area East of 31°E and North of 26°S contains 671 pentads. The challenge for 2014 is to visit 350 pentads and make 1250 checklists.
Pentad with 0 cards 326  
Pentad with 1 or more cards 345 98.57%
Pentad with 2 or more cards 187 53.43%
Pentad with 3 or more cards 103 29.43%
Pentad with 4 or more cards 75 21.43%
Total cards submitted in 2014 1098
Total percentage submitted in 2014 87.84%
Western Cape challenge 2014
Get 700 pentads and 2500 cards in the Western Cape in 2014
Pentad with 1 or more cards 564 80.57%
Pentad with 2 or more cards 272 38.86%
Pentad with 3 or more cards 166 23.71%
Pentad with 4 or more cards 126 18.00%
Total cards submitted in 2014 2006
Percentage of target 80.24%

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Page served: 31 Oct 2014
design and systems by Michael Brooks
Animal Demography Unit
University of Cape Town