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 September 2014, the SABAP2 database contained 110000 checklists, and a total of 5.8 million records of bird distribution. Close to 70% of the original SABAP2 atlas area (ie South Africa, Lesotho and Swazilanad) had 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.

Northern Cape reaches 40% – congratulations to all involved

Northern Cape 40%

It is the day for an awesome celebration for SABAP2. Coverage in the Northern Cape reached 40% on the evening of Saturday, 11 October 2014. This map does not show what 40% coverage looks like, it shows what has been achieved in the Northern Cape in the past twelve months. Vincent Parker has now been steadily beavering away single-handed for the past year, mostly in the section of the Northern Cape south of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park to about Upington. And in a five-day burst in September, the Prieska Atlas Bash team added more than another 100 pentads (and there is still data to be submitted).

311 atlasers have been active in the Northern Cape and have submitted 6146 checklists containing nearly a quarter of a million records of bird distribution. This is extraordinarily valuable data. If you are one of those 311, please treat yourself to an appropriate celebration.

The Northern Cape is especially important to SABAP2, because many of the bird species occurring here come to the edges of their ranges. It is also an area where climate change is predicted to have a large impact. The impact of climate change on birds is likely to include changes at the edges of ranges. SABAP2 wants to document the ranges as they are now.

A year ago coverage in the Northern Cape was 29%. That was six years of effort. The 11% increase in the past year is therefore hugely impressive. We especially salute Vincent, and the Prieska Atlas Bash Team.

An expedition or two to other parts of the Northern Cape will help SABAP2 towards its next big Northern Cape milestone, a concept that seemed a total pipe-dream not long ago, 50% coverage.

Only 99 left! Claim yours now

Four Degrees Yellow at 99About 40% of South Africa's population lives in the area covered by this map. It is the famous four degree squares centred on Gauteng. Because the pressure of development is so huge, we have made it one of SABAP2's priorities to get saturation coverage on an annual basis. We do this so that we can monitor trends in bird populations on an annual basis. So we try really hard to get every one of the 576 pentads in this region atlased every year. Today's awesome news is that there are only 99 unvisited pentads left.

This map shows 2014 coverage for the four degrees of Greater Gauteng (and also shows one row of pentads all the way round the edge - it would be nice to visit lots of these too, because they have been a bit neglected!!).

If you are an atlasers in this area, please make a plan to visit one of these 99 pentads.

There is a second challenge in the region. We are aiming to get an average of six checklists per pentad during 2014. Six times 576 is 3456. At the moment we have made 3032 checklists in the region. That's 88% of the target, and we are only 76% of the way through the year. We can smash the target by a massive margin.

This is a superlative team effort, Team SABAP2 Greater Gauteng

Latest cards submitted (in order of submission)
  Date Pentad Observers name Species
on card
f2014-07-032620_2830Whittington-Jones, Craig44
a2014-07-012630_2805Whittington-Jones, Craig12
f2014-07-012625_2810Whittington-Jones, Craig55
a2014-07-012625_2805Whittington-Jones, Craig5
a2014-07-012630_2815Whittington-Jones, Craig31
f2014-07-012630_2810Whittington-Jones, Craig52
f2014-10-182610_2800van der Walt, Werner7
f2014-10-162610_2755van der Walt, Werner19
a2014-10-192925_2905de Vries, Penny9
f2014-10-192930_2910de Vries, Penny10
a2014-10-182935_2950de Vries, Penny11
f2014-10-192935_2915de Vries, Penny26
f2014-10-182940_2930de Vries, Penny49
f2014-10-192935_2920de Vries, Penny15
a2014-10-192930_2915de Vries, Penny7
f2014-10-182940_2925de Vries, Penny19
f2014-10-192935_2925de Vries, Penny14
f2014-10-203400_2255Ward-Smith, Bruce55
f2014-10-052425_3055Scheepers, Joy0
f2014-10-173340_2545Hall, Peter77
f2014-10-202630_2710Reid, Donald39
f2014-10-202630_2715Reid, Donald45
f2014-10-162655_2440Parker, Vincent34
a2014-10-182635_2705Reid, Donald26
f2014-10-092830_2110Parker, Vincent71
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 95 16.49%
Pentad with 1 or more cards 481 83.51%
Pentad with 2 or more cards 291 50.52%
Pentad with 3 or more cards 215 37.33%
Pentad with 4 or more cards 163 28.30%
Total cards submitted in 2014 3213
Total percentage submitted in 2014 92.97%
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 333  
Pentad with 1 or more cards 338 96.57%
Pentad with 2 or more cards 182 52.00%
Pentad with 3 or more cards 103 29.43%
Pentad with 4 or more cards 73 20.86%
Total cards submitted in 2014 1054
Total percentage submitted in 2014 84.32%
Western Cape challenge 2014
Get 700 pentads and 2500 cards in the Western Cape in 2014
Pentad with 1 or more cards 558 79.71%
Pentad with 2 or more cards 263 37.57%
Pentad with 3 or more cards 154 22.00%
Pentad with 4 or more cards 122 17.43%
Total cards submitted in 2014 1907
Percentage of target 76.28%

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Page served: 20 Oct 2014
design and systems by Michael Brooks
Animal Demography Unit
University of Cape Town