Mozambique Birding Tours
The Republic of Mozambique, more commonly called Mozambique, is perhaps best known for its idyllic tropical beaches (look no further than the awe-inspiring Bazaruto Archipelago) and fantastic offshore diving (it is one of the best places to see Whale Sharks), but what many do not realize is that this southern African country has vast tourism potential and uniquely offers many range-restricted and sought after bird species that are very difficult to find elsewhere in their southern African range.
Located in southern Africa, Mozambique hugs the east coast of Africa, with the Indian Ocean forming its entire eastern border and South Africa, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania all bordering the rest of the country. Its capital city is Maputo, located in the very south of the country. Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique, although English is widely spoken in the developed communities.
Mozambique has an unfortunate history, beset with a brutal civil war that ultimately left the country one of the poorest in the world. However, two decades of stability brought about a much needed boost to its economy and allowed for the start of the initial development of some of its tourism potential, with a prime example being the reestablishment of the Gorongosa National Park and transforming it into one of Africa’s great game parks once more. The mid-2010s saw the country facing a low-intensity insurgency, which put a halt to all of its gains, but with a new peace agreement signed in 2019 tourism is on the rise, and the country as a whole is looking up.
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Mozambique is a large country, and stretches some distance north to south, and as a result a great number of habitats can be found in the country, resulting in an impressive number of bird species. Although the country only has one true endemic bird, Namuli Apalis (which, as its name suggests, occurs only on Mount Namuli in the northern half of the country), the country is home to a wide array of localized and sought-after species with highly fragmented ranges. Indeed, the northern half of the country and its isolated mountains are home to a number of such species including such sought-after birds as Dapple-throat, Thyolo Alethe, Green Barbet, and Long-billed Forest Warbler, among others. Despite these enticing species occurring in the northern half of Mozambique accessing this region is difficult and time-consuming, and the limited infrastructure in the area makes it non-viable as a tour option. However, we are able to arrange custom forays into this remote region.
The southern half of Mozambique is not to be sneezed at, however, and also supports a number of localized and highly sought-after species, especially to the southern African birder, with Mozambique south of the Zambezi River contributing to the Southern African subregion. Three species have massively disjunct populations in southern Mozambique, far more accessible here than at other sites where these species occur – namely Olive-headed Weaver, Green-headed Oriole, and Green Tinkerbird. The southernmost tracts of tropical lowland forest also creep southwards past the Zambezi River into this subregion, and host a number of exciting species, foremost of them is the enigmatic African Pitta. This is one of the most sought-after African species and is an annual visitor to these forests, where it arrives to breed and is only easily accessible during a short space of time while it is displaying at the onset of the breeding season. Other prized species such as White-chested Alethe, East Coast Akalat, Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, and Böhm’s Bee-eater also feature. The Zambezi River delta and its associated floodplains also provide great habitat for further elusive species like Locustfinch and Blue Quail.
Our birding tours to Mozambique are focused on the central part of the country that is located within the Southern African subregion and features a number of the abovementioned species. While Mozambique retains an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ feel and requires some sense of adventure, the country hosts some of arguably the most exciting birding in Africa.