About Afrotropical birds in the RMCA
Combining digital ornithological content via a virtual research environment at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) contributes to the goal of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) through a Rubenstein Fellowship. The taxa selection is especially based on endemism and threat status of birds in the Congo Basin and surroundings, Louette’s ongoing research (such as on Accipiter raptors and Ploceus weavers) and on presence in the ornithological collection at the RMCA (especially its type specimens). Generally, we follow one of the most important modern classifications of birds, namely The Howard & Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World (Dickinson (ed.), 2003). To create or enrich EOL taxon pages about Afrotropical birds, we integrate biological information and images from various sources via this new LifeDesk. Images are assembled from the RMCA’s photographic archives (including historical grayscale pictures), scanned old literature (including drawings from the Biodiversity Heritage Library) and from contributions of professional or amateur photographers. All this online access to knowledge about the remarkable Sub-Saharan avifauna will be valuable for scientists and birders. It may act to enliven collaboration among African experts and help conservation and management in some of the world's biodiversity hotspots.