Highland Zimbabwe To Coastal Mozambique Set Departure Birding Trip Report, November 2023



 By Dominic Rollinson

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

African Pitta performed beautifully for us in the lowland forests of Mozambique.


Zimbabwe and Mozambique are incredibly bird-diverse countries and this set departure birding tour exemplified this avian diversity as we birded miombo woodlands, lush open floodplains, tropical savannas, highland and lowland forests and coastal mudflats, ensuring a good selection of highly desirable bird species. This Zimbabwe and Mozambique birding tour is timed to ensure that we have an excellent chance of seeing the mythical African Pitta, and we were successful in finding this most-wanted species and enjoyed prolonged views of a displaying male. Due to various logistical constraints, relatively few birders get to visit these under-birded countries, however, for those who are willing to venture off the beaten track, fantastic birding awaits!

We started in Harare, where we birded nearby miombo woodlands and open floodplains which kickstarted our bird list with the likes of Boulder Chat, African Spotted Creeper, Green-backed Honeybird, Miombo Rock Thrush and Wood Pipit, before we made our way to the picturesque Eastern Highlands (adding Blue Swallow en route). As always, the birding here was excellent as we found various forest specials such as Swynnerton’s Robin, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Chirinda Apalis, Roberts’s Warbler, Orange Ground Thrush, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Buff-spotted Flufftail and had brief views of the most-wanted Lesser Seedcracker. Some lower altitude specials seen away from the forests included Marsh Tchagra, Moustached Grass Warbler, Red-winged Prinia and Black-winged Bishop.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

We could not have asked for better views of Swynnerton’s Robin in the Bvumba Mountains.

We then said goodbye to Zimbabwe and crossed into the lowlands of Mozambique. We birded the savannas and floodplains of Gorongosa National Park, which were packed full of large mammals as well as some classy birds such as African Skimmer, Long-toed Lapwing, White-headed Vulture, Bateleur and Collared Palm Thrush. We then excitedly transitioned to the lowland forests near the Zambezi delta where, after extensive searching, we eventually found African Pitta, as well as some other specials such as White-chested Alethe, East Coast Akalat, Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, African Broadbill, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Livingstone’s Flycatcher and Lowland Tiny Greenbul. The trip finished as we birded the coastal grassland and mudflats near to Beira, which further added Rufous-bellied Heron and several interesting shorebird species.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

East Coast Akalats were rather confiding in the coutadas of Mozambique.

Despite this being our set departure tour, we were able to make the trip happen with just two clients and so essentially ran the tour as a private trip for Barbara and Chris. As such, we birded at a slightly more leisurely pace at times and enjoyed taking some time off to relax, which meant the total bird list was not as high as we might normally get on this trip, nevertheless, we found most of our targets and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. We recorded 352 bird species in Zimbabwe and Mozambique as well as a range of interesting mammal species. Complete bird, mammal and reptile/amphibian checklists can be found at the end of this report.

Detailed Report

Day 1, 21st November 2023. Arrival in Harare and Christon Bank birding

Chris, Barbara and I met in Johannesburg Airport, still wiping sleep from our eyes as we boarded the red-eye flight to Harare. We were, however, really excited about the prospect of two weeks of fun birding in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. After arriving in Harare, we met our local driver, Fungai, who took us straight to our hotel. We settled in, had an enjoyable lunch and then headed north of the city to a patch of miombo woodland, known as Christon Bank. Here, the primary target was Boulder Chat, which did not take much effort to find, and we managed to see at least three individuals as they hopped across the large boulders and gave their high-pitched musical song. As can often be the case with miombo birding, the woodlands were very quiet, nevertheless, we did eventually find a feeding party which held Black-collared Barbet, Black-backed Puffback, Bar-throated Apalis, Willow Warbler and Amethyst, Scarlet-chested and Eastern Miombo Sunbirds. On our drive back, Fungai spotted a Lizard Buzzard, while a small wetland delivered White-faced Whistling Duck, Little Grebe and Common Moorhen. After an enjoyable first afternoon’s birding, we headed back to our Harare hotel for a tasty meal, and excitedly discussed our trip and the birds we were hoping to find.  

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Boulder Chat was seen well at Christon Bank, near Harare.

Day 2, 22nd November 2023. Miombo birding in Haka Park

We had an early start this morning as we made our way to the nearby Haka Park, which is an impressive nature reserve right on the edge of the hustle and bustle of Harare. Upon entering the tranquility of the park’s thick miombo woodlands and open floodplains, we soon forgot that we were just a few short kilometers from the country’s capital city. The birding started in earnest this morning, we kept at it and managed to tick off many of our targets. Miombo birding is centered around finding feeding bird parties and then sticking with them while various species filter in and out. Using this method, we managed to find White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Black-headed Oriole, White-crested Helmetshrike, Black-crowned Tchagra, Grey Penduline Tit, Long-billed Crombec, Southern Yellow White-eye, White-throated Robin-Chat, Eastern Miombo Sunbird and Streaky-headed Seedeater.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Eastern Miombo Sunbirds were common and conspicuous across Zimbabwe.

After a couple of hours birding the miombo woodlands we headed out into the open floodplains where we looked for Rosy-throated Longclaw, which would unfortunately not oblige. Nevertheless, we did find Buffy Pipit, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Croaking, Zitting and Pale-crowned Cisticolas and Abdim’s Stork. Birding the woodland thickets in the floodplain, we eventually managed to find a Whyte’s Barbet as well as the bright and noisy Purple-crested Turaco.

After a long and productive morning, we headed back into the city for our lunch and some time off during the heat of the day. We ventured out again in the late afternoon to try to track down some of our remaining targets. We once again visited Haka Park and decided to bird the open floodplain first off, where we soon found Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Cuckoo-finch, Copper Sunbird, Buffy Pipit, Desert Cisticola, African Grey Hornbill, African Wattled Lapwing and more Abdim’s Storks. The woodlands were again a little on the quiet side, however, some persistence eventually saw us adding Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Cardinal Woodpecker, Black Cuckooshrike, Arrow-marked Babbler, Kurrichane Thrush and a brief African Cuckoo-Hawk. Tired, but content, we made our way back for another delicious meal for our final night in Harare.

Day 3, 23rd November 2023. Transfer to Honde Valley, birding en route

With several important miombo specials still missing, we decided to leave the city early and spend a couple of hours birding the miombo woodlands of Gosho Park, about 70 km southeast of Harare. The woodlands proved much livelier, compared to the last two days, and by again working through feeding parties, we soon ticked off the likes of Green-capped Eremomela (a classic feeding party starter!), Chinspot Batis, Tropical Boubou, Miombo Tit, Pale Flycatcher, Miombo Rock Thrush, Green-backed Honeybird, Wood Pipit, Violet-backed Starling, Black-eared Seedeater and Golden-breasted Bunting. There were also good numbers of Whyte’s Barbets around too – always a great bird to see!

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Miombo Rock Thrush were seen in miombo patches while in Zimbabwe.

We then left Gosho Park and kept making our way southeast towards the Eastern Highlands, however, another stop in some nearby miombo woodlands saw us strike gold when we found an obliging African Spotted Creeper and Collared Flycatcher within a few minutes of each other. Feeling content, we hopped back in our vehicle and proceeded with our journey towards the Honde Valley. After a quick lunch stop, we made a very bumpy detour near Inyanga which eventually resulted in some very distant views of Blue Swallows as they fed above the grasslands. Here, we got our first taste of Eastern Highlands birding when we added the likes of Roberts’s Warbler, Cape Grassbird, Wailing Cisticola and Cape Robin-Chat.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

African Spotted Creeper was an early trip highlight.

In the mid-afternoon we started our descent into the Honde Valley (adding Singing Cisticola en route) and, after negotiating the long windy road, we eventually arrived at the beautiful Aberfoyle Lodge. After a long day on the road, we decided to take it easy for the remainder of the afternoon and simply took in the beauty of the area while enjoying a glass of wine, with the early evening serenity only broken by the squeals and squabbles of the local Blue Monkeys coming from the nearby forests.

Day 4, 24th November 2023. Honde Valley birding

We had the full day at our disposal to bird the Honde Valley and surrounds and decided to make an early start as we headed to the nearby Katiyo Tea Estate with Aberfoyle Lodge’s expert bird guide, Morgan. At the tea estate we targeted several lowland specials, as we worked our way through the various wetlands and forest patches scattered throughout the area. In the wetland areas and adjacent scrub we managed to find Marsh Tchagra, Moustached Grass Warbler, Short-winged Cisticola (heard only), Red-winged Prinia, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Black-winged Bishop and African Firefinch. The lowland forest patches were equally productive as we added the likes of Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Livingstone’s Turaco, Crowned Hornbill, White-eared Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide, African Broadbill, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Pale Batis, Black Saw-wing, Purple-banded Sunbird, Grey Waxbill and Red-throated Twinspot.

It didn’t take long before the oppressive mid-morning heat of the lowlands forced our birding to a stop and so we started making our way back to our lodge for lunch. En route we stopped near the Pungwe River, which added further new birds such as Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Chirinda Apalis, and a large swift flock containing Scarce and Mottled Swifts

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Massive Silvery-cheeked Hornbills kept us entertained in the Eastern Highlands.

After lunch and some early afternoon downtime, we headed out again with Morgan and worked hard to find Little Spotted Woodpecker while, unfortunately, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeons would not show for us. Next, Morgan took us to an area where he had recently seen the rare Lesser Seedcracker. After waiting at the stakeout for a while, a small dark finch flew by which we strongly suspected was the seedcracker. We then called Morgan over and crept up closer to the bush, the bird then flew out of the bush and right past Chris and Morgan, who confirmed the identity as Lesser Seedcracker. It was disappointing that we didn’t all manage good views, however, it was a fantastic way to end another great day of birding. 

Day 5: 25th November 2023. Honde Valley birding and transfer to Bvumba

For our final morning at Aberfoyle Lodge we took a walk around the lodge grounds. This was a little slow going, but we did manage to find a few more good birds such as Palm-nut Vulture, African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Black Duck, Half-collared Kingfisher (only seen by me), Olive and Variable Sunbirds, Dark-backed Weaver, Yellow Bishop, Black-and-white Mannikin, Green Twinspot, Grey Waxbill and Mountain Wagtail.

Unfortunately, it was soon time to leave Aberfoyle Lodge and make our way south to the Bvumba Mountains, where we were staying at the lovely Seldomseen Guest Cottages. The guest cottages are set right in prime highland forest, with some great birding right on our doorstep. In the late afternoon we took a stroll around the forest, where we were soon acquainted with some of the area’s common forest species, such as Livingstone’s Turaco, Cape Batis, Black-fronted Bushshrike, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Roberts’s Warbler, Chirinda Apalis, Barratt’s Warbler (heard only), Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, White-starred Robin and Cape Canary. We heard Swynnerton’s Robin calling nearby, however, despite a dedicated search, we were unable to find this forest skulker. That evening we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and, while we sat outside enjoying a drink, we were lucky enough to find a lovely male Bronzy Sunbird which posed well for us in the dying light.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Mountain Wagtails were seen in the stream near Aberfoyle Lodge.

Day 6, 26th November 2023. Bvumba Mountains birding

This morning, we were joined by Bulawesi, the local bird guide who knows the area and its birds like the back of his hand. We again worked the forests and spent time birding along the forest trails and from the road edges, and soon racked up a good list of forest species, including the likes of Livingstone’s Turaco, African Emerald Cuckoo, Scaly-throated Honeyguide (seen briefly), Cape Batis, Olive Bushshrike, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Terrestrial Brownbul, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Orange Ground Thrush, Olive Thrush, Red-capped Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Yellow-bellied Waxbill and a few brief sightings of Red-faced Crimsonwings. One of the absolute highlights of the morning was when we had lovely views of a male Buff-spotted Flufftail, which walked out in the open and was then chased by another male. Flufftails are Africa’s supreme avian skulkers and it was amazing to have the rare chance to watch these birds out in the open. Non-birding highlights included several sightings of Mutable Sun Squirrels, which were seen scurrying about the treetops, as well as brief views of a Blue Duiker.

After a couple of hours of forest birding, we made our way out into the nearby grasslands to see if we could improve our views of Blue Swallow. Unfortunately, we could not find any of these rare swallows. We did, however, find Horus Swift, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Common Buzzard, Cape Grassbird, Singing and Wailing Cisticolas, African Yellow Warbler, Western House Martin and African Firefinch

For our afternoon birding we headed to the nearby Bvumba Botanical Garden, which is a lovely birding spot with open lawns interspersed with forest patches. We mostly concentrated on the forest patches, where the highlight was a confiding Swynnerton’s Robin, which showed beautifully for us. Other notable species here included Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Cape Batis, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Chirinda Apalis, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Holub’s Golden Weaver and Cape Canary. We searched the garden’s lawns for the migratory Tree Pipit, however, with the area as dry as it was, we speculated that this species was yet to arrive in the area in good numbers. Thus concluded another wonderful day’s birding, with just about all the area’s highland forest specials having made their way onto our list.    

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

White-tailed Crested Flycatchers were common and confiding in the Mbumba Mountains.

Day 7, 27th November 2023. Bvumba Mountains birding

This morning, we birded the miombo woodlands on the lower slopes of the Bvumba Mountains, where we were after our final few miombo specials. Bulawesi took us to a patch of miombo, where we mostly focused on finding Cinnamon-breasted Tit, which unfortunately proved elusive. We did, however, find African Olive Pigeon, Mottled and African Black Swifts, Red-faced Crombec, Green-capped Eremomela, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Striped Pipit, Black-eared Seedeater and Cabanis’s Bunting.   

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Black-eared Seedeater tucking into a juicy insect.

We then proceeded to drop in altitude as we made our way down to the Burma Valley. Here we targeted woodland and open country species and found the likes of Augur Buzzard, Peregrine and Lanner Falcons, Black Cuckooshrike, African Golden Oriole, Black-crowned Tchagra, Green-winged Pytilia and Jameson’s Firefinch. In the late morning the lowlands had heated up significantly and we again decided to head back to our accommodation to enjoy lunch and some downtime before our afternoon birding session.

In the late afternoon we had another go at Blue Swallow and waited on the edge of a dam where the swallows often come to drink. Despite many other aerial feeders feeding above the dam, we could not find any Blue Swallows. Some of the afternoon’s highlights while birding from the edge of the dam included Alpine, Common, Little, White-rumped and African Palm Swifts, Western House Martin, European Honey Buzzard, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Black Sparrowhawk, African Yellow Warbler and a displaying Fan-tailed Grassbird

Day 8, 28th November 2023. Transfer to Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

Our final morning around Seldomseen did not produce much different, however, we did get further looks at White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Bronzy Sunbird and Yellow-bellied Waxbill, before enjoying our final delicious sit-down breakfast. We then packed our bags and made our way to the Mozambique border. Thankfully, the border crossing was relatively straightforward and we soon said our goodbyes to our Zimbabwean driver, Fungai, and were welcomed by our Mozambiquan driver, Esmeraldo.

We were soon on our way through Mozambique and bought supplies in the town of Chimoio, before making our way north towards Gorongosa National Park. We birded the woodlands outside of the park, which were quiet, however, we found Black-chested Snake Eagle, Lizard Buzzard, Broad-billed Roller, Little Bee-eater, a confiding Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, as well as a small herd of the lichtensteinii subspecies of Hartebeest, which is sometimes considered a full species. We then checked into our accommodation and enjoyed our first of many traditional Mozambican (Portuguese) dinners.

Day 9, 29th November 2023. Gorongosa National Park birding

Gorongosa National Park has been restocked with megafauna since the end of the civil war and nowadays has vast herds of antelope with good numbers of predators too, making it on par with some of Africa’s top wildlife havens. This morning, we had a private game drive on an open-top safari vehicle with a highly experienced ranger, which was a thoroughly enjoyable way to see the park and its amazing wildlife and birdlife. The birding was wildly productive and, while traversing the vast Urema Floodplain, we added the likes of Knob-billed Duck, Blue-billed Teal, Red-necked Spurfowl, Grey Crowned Crane, Long-toed Lapwing, Collared Pratincole, African Skimmer, African Openbill, Saddle-billed and African Woolly-necked Storks, Goliath Heron, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, White-winged Widowbird and Black-winged Bishop.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Attractive Red-necked Spurfowl were common in Gorongosa National Park.

The woodlands and savanna areas further added Palm-nut, White-headed, Hooded and White-backed Vultures, Bateleur, Crowned, Martial and Wahlberg’s Eagles, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Southern Ground Hornbill, Broad-billed Roller, Red-winged Prinia, Collared Palm Thrush and Lemon-breasted Canary. Some of the mammalian highlights for the morning included African Elephant, Common Warthog, Hippopotamus, Greater Kudu, Southern Reedbuck, Oribi, Nyala, Cape Bushbuck and Impala, with massive herds of Waterbuck littered across the Urema Floodplain. The large troops of both Vervet Monkeys and Chacma Baboons further kept us entertained, as we enjoyed watching them getting up to mischief.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

This huge Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl was seen in Gorongosa National Park.

This afternoon we again headed out on a private open-top vehicle, but this time headed to a different section of the park where we birded taller grassland areas and open woodland areas. Highlights of the afternoon’s drive included Black-bellied Bustard, Saddle-billed Stork, Pink-backed Pelican, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Mosque Swallow, Red-necked and Amur Falcons, Broad-billed Roller and Black-chested Snake Eagle. We drove back in the dark and further added Water Thick-knee and Grant’s Lesser Galago. We returned to camp and enjoyed another tasty meal which capped off a wonderful day’s birding and wildlife-viewing.

Days 10-13, 30th November-3rd December 2023. Transfer to and birding the lowland forests of the Zambezi River delta area

We left Gorongosa early in the morning (with a family of Bushpigs seen as we left) and took the long and bumpy road north to the Catapu area, where we were based for the next four nights to explore the lowland forests of the area. En route northwards, we stopped briefly at a patch of lowland forest, which held a single Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, a very rare intra-African migrant to central Mozambique. We then had three full days to bird the Catapu area, summarised in a single account below.

During our time up north, we spent a lot of time birding the lowland forests of the coutadas (concessions) where we mostly concentrated on finding African Pitta and other forest specials. Some of our highlights deep in the lowland forests included Southern Crested Guineafowl, Green Malkoha, African Broadbill, Woodwards’ Batis, Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, Eastern Nicator, Black-headed Apalis, Lowland Tiny Greenbul, East Coast Akalat, White-chested Alethe and Red-throated Twinspot. The undoubted highlight of our time in the deep dense lowland forests was our fantastic views of a displaying African Pitta. We were beginning to get anxious about our prospects of seeing the elusive pitta when we hadn’t even heard a bird calling but, thankfully, on our final morning in the coutadas, a showy bird obliged!

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

We were overjoyed with our views of African Pitta.

The open woodland areas held a different mix of species and yielded the likes of Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Mangrove Kingfisher, Plain-backed Sunbird, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, African Goshawk, Crowned Eagle, Brown-necked Parrot, Pale Batis, Red-winged Prinia, Mosque Swallow, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Little Sparrowhawk and Purple-crested Turaco. Non-birding highlights in the woodlands and lowland forests included many Suni and Natal Red Duiker which were regularly seen diving off the road into thick bush.

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

Cute and energetic Livingstone’s Flycatchers were common in the lowlands of central Mozambique.

On one of our mornings in the area we attempted to reach the Senna area on the edge of the Zambezi River, the only known locality to see Böhm’s Bee-eater in the southern African subregion. Unfortunately, with the large amount of rain the area had recently received, and after almost three hours of extremely slow progress, we decided we would have to cancel this trip. We did, however, add Rufous-winged Cisticola and Southern Brown-throated Weaver on this failed bee-eater excursion.

Day 14, 4th December 2023. Long transfer to the coast at Beira

Today’s transfer was a long one and so we decided to hit the road early and try to get most of the drive out of the way in the morning. We had a few lunch and toilet stops en route, but otherwise drove straight through and arrived in Beira in the early afternoon.

After a long time in the car, we took it easy for a while before some late afternoon birding along a stretch of coastline in front of our hotel. This did not add a great deal of interest, besides Caspian and Common Terns, Grey-headed Gull, Little Egret and hoards of the introduced House Crow, but was a pleasant way to spend our final afternoon of birding. This evening we enjoyed a seafood dinner on the coast and discussed some of our favorite birds of the trip – bird of the trip being an easy one, African Pitta.  

Zimbabwe-Mozambique birding tour

African Broadbill were watched as they gave their mechanical-sounding display flight in the coutadas.

Day 15, 05th December 2023. Departure from Beira

For our final morning of the trip we took a drive through some coastal grasslands on the way to the Rio Maria mouth to see if we could find any interesting shorebirds. We had vague hopes of finding Crab-plover but knew it was a long shot here and, unfortunately, luck was not on our side this morning. Nevertheless, as we drove through the grasslands, we put up a flock of Orange-breasted Waxbills and managed to see a single Rufous-bellied Heron, both of which were new trip birds. At the estuary mouth we found a good selection of shorebirds, including Grey, Common Ringed, Three-banded and White-fronted Plovers, Eurasian Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Sanderling, Little Stint, Common Sandpiper and Common Greenshank. We then headed back to our accommodation to have breakfast and pack our bags, before a final transfer to the airport (adding two last-minute trip birds en route – African Marsh Harrier and Purple Heron), where the trip concluded. Thanks to Barbara and Chris for making this trip the success it was, and for the many great birds, memories and laughs along the way.

Bird ListFollowing IOC (13.2)

Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, birds seen by the guide only are marked with a (L) after the common name, all other species were seen both by clients and guide.

The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following BirdLife International. CR = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable.

Common NameScientific Name
Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)
White-faced Whistling DuckDendrocygna viduata
Spur-winged GoosePlectropterus gambensis
Knob-billed DuckSarkidiornis melanotos
Egyptian GooseAlopochen aegyptiaca
Blue-billed TealSpatula hottentota
African Black DuckAnas sparsa
Guineafowl (Numididae)
Helmeted GuineafowlNumida meleagris
Southern Crested GuineafowlGuttera edouardi
Pheasants & Allies (Phasianidae)
Natal SpurfowlPternistis natalensis
Red-necked SpurfowlPternistis afer
Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Square-tailed Nightjar (H)Caprimulgus fossii
Swifts (Apodidae)
Scarce SwiftSchoutedenapus myoptilus
African Palm SwiftCypsiurus parvus
Mottled SwiftTachymarptis aequatorialis
Common SwiftApus apus
African Black SwiftApus barbatus
Little SwiftApus affinis
Horus SwiftApus horus
White-rumped SwiftApus caffer
Turacos (Musophagidae)
Grey Go-away-birdCrinifer concolor
Purple-crested TuracoGallirex porphyreolophus
Livingstone’s TuracoTauraco livingstonii
Bustards (Otididae)
Black-bellied BustardLissotis melanogaster
Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Senegal Coucal (H)Centropus senegalensis
Burchell’s CoucalCentropus burchellii
Green MalkohaCeuthmochares australis
Diederik Cuckoo (H)Chrysococcyx caprius
Klaas’s CuckooChrysococcyx klaas
African Emerald CuckooChrysococcyx cupreus
Barred Long-tailed CuckooCercococcyx montanus
Red-chested CuckooCuculus solitarius
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock DoveColumba livia
African Olive PigeonColumba arquatrix
Eastern Bronze-naped PigeonColumba delegorguei
Lemon DoveColumba larvata
Red-eyed DoveStreptopelia semitorquata
Ring-necked DoveStreptopelia capicola
Emerald-spotted Wood DoveTurtur chalcospilos
Blue-spotted Wood DoveTurtur afer
Tambourine DoveTurtur tympanistria
African Green PigeonTreron calvus
Flufftails & Forest Rails (Sarothruridae)
Buff-spotted FlufftailSarothrura elegans
Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)
Common MoorhenGallinula chloropus
Cranes (Gruidae)
Grey Crowned Crane – ENBalearica regulorum
Grebes (Podicipedidae)
Little GrebeTachybaptus ruficollis
Stone-curlews, Thick-knees (Burhinidae)
Water Thick-kneeBurhinus vermiculatus
Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)
Black-winged StiltHimantopus himantopus
Plovers (Charadriidae)
Long-toed LapwingVanellus crassirostris
Blacksmith LapwingVanellus armatus
African Wattled LapwingVanellus senegallus
Grey PloverPluvialis squatarola
Common Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula
Kittlitz’s PloverCharadrius pecuarius
Three-banded PloverCharadrius tricollaris
White-fronted PloverCharadrius marginatus
Jacanas (Jacanidae)
African JacanaActophilornis africanus
Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)
Eurasian WhimbrelNumenius phaeopus
Eurasian CurlewNumenius arquata
RuffCalidris pugnax
SanderlingCalidris alba
Little StintCalidris minuta
Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos
Marsh SandpiperTringa stagnatilis
Wood SandpiperTringa glareola
Common GreenshankTringa nebularia
Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)
Collared PratincoleGlareola pratincola
Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)
African SkimmerRynchops flavirostris
Grey-headed GullChroicocephalus cirrocephalus
Caspian TernHydroprogne caspia
Lesser Crested Tern (L)Thalasseus bengalensis
Common TernSterna hirundo
Storks (Ciconiidae)
African OpenbillAnastomus lamelligerus
Marabou StorkLeptoptilos crumenifer
Yellow-billed StorkMycteria ibis
Saddle-billed StorkEphippiorhynchus senegalensis
Abdim’s StorkCiconia abdimii
African Woolly-necked StorkCiconia microscelis
Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)
Reed CormorantMicrocarbo africanus
Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)
African Sacred IbisThreskiornis aethiopicus
Hadada IbisBostrychia hagedash
Glossy IbisPlegadis falcinellus
African SpoonbillPlatalea alba
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Rufous-bellied HeronArdeola rufiventris
Western Cattle EgretBubulcus ibis
Grey HeronArdea cinerea
Black-headed HeronArdea melanocephala
Goliath HeronArdea goliath
Purple HeronArdea purpurea
Great EgretArdea alba
Little EgretEgretta garzetta
Hamerkop (Scopidae)
HamerkopScopus umbretta
Pelicans (Pelecanidae)
Great White PelicanPelecanus onocrotalus
Pink-backed PelicanPelecanus rufescens
Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)
Black-winged KiteElanus caeruleus
African Harrier-HawkPolyboroides typus
Palm-nut VultureGypohierax angolensis
European Honey BuzzardPernis apivorus
African Cuckoo-HawkAviceda cuculoides
Hooded Vulture – CRNecrosyrtes monachus
White-backed Vulture – CRGyps africanus
White-headed Vulture – CRTrigonoceps occipitalis
Black-chested Snake EagleCircaetus pectoralis
Brown Snake EagleCircaetus cinereus
Southern Banded Snake EagleCircaetus fasciolatus
Bateleur – ENTerathopius ecaudatus
Crowned EagleStephanoaetus coronatus
Martial Eagle – ENPolemaetus bellicosus
Long-crested EagleLophaetus occipitalis
Wahlberg’s EagleHieraaetus wahlbergi
Ayres’s Hawk-EagleHieraaetus ayresii
Lizard BuzzardKaupifalco monogrammicus
African GoshawkAccipiter tachiro
Little SparrowhawkAccipiter minullus
Ovambo SparrowhawkAccipiter ovampensis
Black SparrowhawkAccipiter melanoleucus
African Marsh HarrierCircus ranivorus
Yellow-billed KiteMilvus aegyptius
African Fish EagleIcthyophaga vocifer
Common BuzzardButeo buteo
Augur BuzzardButeo augur
Owls (Strigidae)
African Barred Owlet (H)Glaucidium capense
Verreaux’s Eagle-OwlKetupa lactea
African Wood Owl (H)Strix woodfordii
Mousebirds (Coliidae)
Speckled MousebirdColius striatus
Red-faced MousebirdUrocolius indicus
Trogons (Trogonidae)
Narina TrogonApaloderma narina
Hoopoes (Upupidae)
African HoopoeUpupa africana
Wood Hoopoes (Phoeniculidae)
Green Wood HoopoePhoeniculus purpureus
Common ScimitarbillRhinopomastus cyanomelas
Ground Hornbills (Bucorvidae)
Southern Ground Hornbill – VUBucorvus leadbeateri
Hornbills (Bucerotidae)
Crowned HornbillLophoceros alboterminatus
African Grey HornbillLophoceros nasutus
Trumpeter HornbillBycanistes bucinator
Silvery-cheeked HornbillBycanistes brevis
Rollers (Coraciidae)
Lilac-breasted RollerCoracias caudatus
European RollerCoracias garrulus
Broad-billed RollerEurystomus glaucurus
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Brown-hooded KingfisherHalcyon albiventris
Striped KingfisherHalcyon chelicuti
Woodland KingfisherHalcyon senegalensis
Mangrove KingfisherHalcyon senegaloides
African Pygmy KingfisherIspidina picta
Malachite KingfisherCorythornis cristatus
Half-collared Kingfisher (L)Alcedo semitorquata
Giant Kingfisher (H)Megaceryle maxima
Bee-eaters (Meropidae)
Swallow-tailed Bee-eaterMerops hirundineus
Little Bee-eaterMerops pusillus
Blue-cheeked Bee-eaterMerops persicus
European Bee-eaterMerops apiaster
Southern Carmine Bee-eaterMerops nubicoides
African Barbets (Lybiidae)
White-eared BarbetStactolaema leucotis
Whyte’s BarbetStactolaema whytii
Yellow-rumped TinkerbirdPogoniulus bilineatus
Yellow-fronted TinkerbirdPogoniulus chrysoconus
Black-collared BarbetLybius torquatus
Crested BarbetTrachyphonus vaillantii
Honeyguides (Indicatoridae)
Green-backed HoneybirdProdotiscus zambesiae
Lesser HoneyguideIndicator minor
Scaly-throated HoneyguideIndicator variegatus
Woodpeckers (Picidae)
Golden-tailed Woodpecker (H)Campethera abingoni
Little Spotted WoodpeckerCampethera cailliautii
Cardinal WoodpeckerDendropicos fuscescens
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
Red-necked FalconFalco chicquera
Amur FalconFalco amurensis
Lanner FalconFalco biarmicus
Peregrine FalconFalco peregrinus
African & New World Parrots (Psittacidae)
Brown-necked ParrotPoicephalus fuscicollis
Brown-headed ParrotPoicephalus cryptoxanthus
African & Green Broadbills (Calyptomenidae)
African BroadbillSmithornis capensis
Pittas (Pittidae)
African PittaPitta angolensis
Wattle-eyes, Batises (Platysteiridae)
Cape BatisBatis capensis
Woodwards’ BatisBatis fratrum
Chinspot Batis (H)Batis molitor
Pale BatisBatis soror
Black-throated Wattle-eyePlatysteira peltata
Bushshrikes (Malaconotidae)
Grey-headed Bushshrike (H)Malaconotus blanchoti
Black-fronted BushshrikeChlorophoneus nigrifrons
Olive BushshrikeChlorophoneus olivaceus
Orange-breasted Bushshrike (H)Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus
Gorgeous Bushshrike (H)Telophorus viridis
Marsh TchagraBocagia minuta
Black-crowned TchagraTchagra senegalus
Black-backed PuffbackDryoscopus cubla
Tropical BoubouLaniarius major
BrubruNilaus afer
Vangas & Allies (Vangidae)
White-crested HelmetshrikePrionops plumatus
Retz’s HelmetshrikePrionops retzii
Chestnut-fronted HelmetshrikePrionops scopifrons
Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcherBias musicus
Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)
White-breasted CuckooshrikeCeblepyris pectoralis
Black CuckooshrikeCampephaga flava
Figbirds, Old World Orioles, Piopios (Oriolidae)
Black-headed OrioleOriolus larvatus
African Golden OrioleOriolus auratus
Drongos (Dicruridae)
Fork-tailed DrongoDicrurus adsimilis
Square-tailed DrongoDicrurus ludwigii
Monarchs (Monarchidae)
African Paradise FlycatcherTerpsiphone viridis
Shrikes (Laniidae)
Southern FiscalLanius collaris
Red-backed ShrikeLanius collurio
Crows, Jays (Corvidae)
House CrowCorvus splendens
Pied CrowCorvus albus
White-necked RavenCorvus albicollis
Fairy Flycatchers (Stenostiridae)
White-tailed Crested FlycatcherElminia albonotata
Tits, Chickadees (Paridae)
Southern Black TitMelaniparus niger
Miombo TitMelaniparus griseiventris
Penduline Tits (Remizidae)
Grey Penduline TitAnthoscopus caroli
Nicators (Nicatoridae)
Eastern NicatorNicator gularis
Larks (Alaudidae)
Rufous-naped LarkMirafra africana
Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)
Sombre Greenbul (H)Andropadus importunus
Yellow-bellied GreenbulChlorocichla flaviventris
Stripe-cheeked GreenbulArizelocichla milanjensis
Lowland Tiny GreenbulPhyllastrephus debilis
Terrestrial BrownbulPhyllastrephus terrestris
Yellow-streaked GreenbulPhyllastrephus flavostriatus
Dark-capped BulbulPycnonotus tricolor
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
Black Saw-wingPsalidoprocne pristoptera
Sand MartinRiparia riparia
Blue Swallow – VUHirundo atrocaerulea
Wire-tailed SwallowHirundo smithii
Barn SwallowHirundo rustica
Western House MartinDelichon urbicum
Mosque SwallowCecropis senegalensis
Lesser Striped SwallowCecropis abyssinica
Greater Striped SwallowCecropis cucullata
Crombecs, African Warblers (Macrosphenidae)
Moustached Grass WarblerMelocichla mentalis
Cape GrassbirdSphenoeacus afer
Red-faced CrombecSylvietta whytii
Long-billed CrombecSylvietta rufescens
Yellow Flycatchers (Erythrocercidae)
Livingstone’s FlycatcherErythrocercus livingstonei
Leaf Warblers (Phylloscopidae)
Willow WarblerPhylloscopus trochilus
Yellow-throated Woodland WarblerPhylloscopus ruficapilla
Reed Warblers & Allies (Acrocephalidae)
African Yellow WarblerIduna natalensis
Grassbirds & Allies (Locustellidae)
Fan-tailed GrassbirdCatriscus brevirostris
Barratt’s Warbler (H)Bradypterus barratti
Little Rush Warbler (H)Bradypterus baboecala
Cisticolas & Allies (Cisticolidae)
Red-faced Cisticola (H)Cisticola erythrops
Singing CisticolaCisticola cantans
Lazy Cisticola (H)Cisticola aberrans
Rattling CisticolaCisticola chiniana
Wailing CisticolaCisticola lais
Rufous-winged CisticolaCisticola galactotes
Levaillant’s Cisticola (H)Cisticola tinniens
Croaking CisticolaCisticola natalensis
Short-winged Cisticola (H)Cisticola brachypterus
Neddicky (H)Cisticola fulvicapilla
Zitting CisticolaCisticola juncidis
Pale-crowned CisticolaCisticola cinnamomeus
Tawny-flanked PriniaPrinia subflava
Red-winged PriniaPrinia erythroptera
Roberts’s WarblerOreophilais robertsi
Bar-throated ApalisApalis thoracica
Yellow-breasted Apalis (H)Apalis flavida
Black-headed Apalis (L)Apalis melanocephala
Chirinda Apalis – VUApalis chirindensis
Grey-backed Camaroptera (H)Camaroptera brevicaudata
Stierling’s Wren-WarblerCalamonastes stierlingi
Yellow-bellied EremomelaEremomela icteropygialis
Green-capped EremomelaEremomela scotops
White-eyes (Zosteropidae)
Southern Yellow White-eyeZosterops anderssoni
Laughingthrushes & Allies (Leiothrichidae)
Arrow-marked BabblerTurdoides jardineii
Treecreepers (Certhiidae)
African Spotted CreeperSalpornis salvadori
Starlings, Rhabdornises (Sturnidae)
Common MynaAcridotheres tristis
Black-bellied StarlingNotopholia corusca
Violet-backed StarlingCinnyricinclus leucogaster
Red-winged StarlingOnychognathus morio
Oxpeckers (Buphagidae)
Red-billed OxpeckerBuphagus erythrorynchus
Thrushes (Turdidae)
Boulder ChatPinarornis plumosus
Orange Ground ThrushGeokichla gurneyi
Olive ThrushTurdus olivaceus
Kurrichane ThrushTurdus libonyana
Chats, Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae)
Bearded Scrub RobinCercotrichas quadrivirgata
White-browed Scrub RobinCercotrichas leucophrys
Pale FlycatcherAgricola pallidus
Grey Tit-Flycatcher (H)Fraseria plumbea
Ashy FlycatcherFraseria caerulescens
Southern Black FlycatcherMelaenornis pammelaina
African Dusky FlycatcherMuscicapa adusta
Spotted FlycatcherMuscicapa striata
Swynnerton’s Robin – VUSwynnertonia swynnertoni
White-starred RobinPogonocichla stellata
White-chested AletheChamaetylas fuelleborni
White-browed Robin-ChatCossypha heuglini
Red-capped Robin-ChatCossypha natalensis
Collared Palm ThrushCichladusa arquata
White-throated Robin-ChatDessonornis humeralis
Cape Robin-ChatDessonornis caffer
East Coast AkalatSheppardia gunningi
Collared FlycatcherFicedula albicollis
Miombo Rock ThrushMonticola angolensis
African StonechatSaxicola torquatus
Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)
Plain-backed SunbirdAnthreptes reichenowi
Collared SunbirdHedydipna collaris
Olive SunbirdCyanomitra olivacea
Grey SunbirdCyanomitra veroxii
Amethyst SunbirdChalcomitra amethystina
Scarlet-chested SunbirdChalcomitra senegalensis
Bronzy SunbirdNectarinia kilimensis
Eastern Miombo SunbirdCinnyris manoensis
Purple-banded SunbirdCinnyris bifasciatus
White-bellied SunbirdCinnyris talatala
Variable SunbirdCinnyris venustus
Copper SunbirdCinnyris cupreus
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
Yellow-throated Bush SparrowGymnoris superciliaris
Southern Grey-headed SparrowPasser diffusus
House SparrowPasser domesticus
Weavers, Widowbirds (Ploceidae)
Thick-billed WeaverAmblyospiza albifrons
Spectacled WeaverPloceus ocularis
Holub’s Golden WeaverPloceus xanthops
Southern Brown-throated WeaverPloceus xanthopterus
Lesser Masked WeaverPloceus intermedius
Southern Masked WeaverPloceus velatus
Village WeaverPloceus cucullatus
Dark-backed WeaverPloceus bicolor
Red-billed QueleaQuelea quelea
Black-winged Red BishopEuplectes hordeaceus
Southern Red BishopEuplectes orix
Yellow BishopEuplectes capensis
Fan-tailed WidowbirdEuplectes axillaris
Yellow-mantled WidowbirdEuplectes macroura
White-winged WidowbirdEuplectes albonotatus
Red-collared WidowbirdEuplectes ardens
Waxbills, Munias & Allies (Estrildidae)
Bronze MannikinSpermestes cucullata
Black-and-white MannikinSpermestes bicolor
Yellow-bellied WaxbillCoccopygia quartinia
Green TwinspotMandingoa nitidula
Red-faced CrimsonwingCryptospiza reichenovii
Grey WaxbillGlaucestrilda perreini
Common WaxbillEstrilda astrild
Orange-breasted Waxbill (L)Amandava subflava
Blue WaxbillUraeginthus angolensis
Lesser SeedcrackerPyrenestes minor
Green-winged PytiliaPytilia melba
Red-throated TwinspotHypargos niveoguttatus
Red-billed FirefinchLagonosticta senegala
African FirefinchLagonosticta rubricata
Jameson’s FirefinchLagonosticta rhodopareia
Indigobirds, Whydahs (Viduidae)
Pin-tailed WhydahVidua macroura
Cuckoo-finchAnomalospiza imberbis
Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)
Mountain WagtailMotacilla clara
African Pied WagtailMotacilla aguimp
Yellow-throated LongclawMacronyx croceus
African PipitAnthus cinnamomeus
Wood PipitAnthus nyassae
Buffy PipitAnthus vaalensis
Finches, Euphonias (Fringillidae)
Lemon-breasted CanaryCrithagra citrinipectus
Yellow-fronted CanaryCrithagra mozambica
Brimstone CanaryCrithagra sulphurata
Streaky-headed SeedeaterCrithagra gularis
Black-eared SeedeaterCrithagra mennelli
Cape CanarySerinus canicollis
Buntings (Emberizidae)
Cinnamon-breasted BuntingEmberiza tahapisi
Golden-breasted BuntingEmberiza flaviventris
Cabanis’s BuntingEmberiza cabanisi
Species Seen327
Species heard only22
Leader only3
Total species recorded352

Mammal List

Common NameScientific Name
Hyraxes (Procaviidae)
Rock HyraxProcavia capensis
Elephants (Elephantidae)
African Elephant – ENLoxodonta africana
Hares and Rabbits (Leporidae)
African Savanna HareLepus victoriae
Squirrels (Sciuridae)
Mutable Sun SquirrelHeliosciurus mutabilis
Smith’s Bush SquirrelParaxerus cepapi
Galagos (Galagidae)
Grant’s Lesser GalagoParagalago granti
Old World Monkeys (Cercopithecidae)
Chacma BaboonPapio ursinus
VervetChlorocebus pygerythrus
Blue MonkeyCercopithecus mitis
Mongooses (Herpestidae)
Slender MongooseHerpestes sanguineus
Equines (Equidae)
Plains ZebraEquus quagga
Suids (Suidae)
Common WarthogPhacochoerus africanus
BushpigPotamochoerus larvatus
Hippopotamuses (Hippopotamidae)
Hippopotamus – VUHippopotamus amphibius
Bovids (Bovidae)
NyalaTragelaphus angasii
Cape BushbuckTragelaphus sylvaticus
Greater KuduTragelaphus strepsiceros
Common ElandTragelaphus oryx
SuniNesotragus moschatus
ImpalaAepyceros melampus
OribiOurebia ourebi
Southern ReedbuckRedunca arundinum
WaterbuckKobus ellipsiprymnus
HartebeestAlcelaphus buselaphus
Common WildebeestConnochaetes taurinus
Blue DuikerPhilantomba monticola
Natal Red DuikerCephalophus natalensis
Giraffes and Okapi (Giraffidae)
Southern GiraffeGiraffa giraffa
Species Seen28

Reptile and Amphibian List

Common nameScientific name
Crocodiles (Crocodylidae)
Nile CrocodileCrocodylus niloticus
Dragons (Agamidae)
Kirk’s Rock AgamaAgama kirkii
Plated Lizards (Gerrhosauridae)
Common Giant Plated LizardMatobosaurus validus
Skinks (Scincidae)
African Striped SkinkTrachylepis striata
Rainbow SkinkTrachylepis margaritifera
Species seen:5


This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

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