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Mozambique

Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudatus ©David Hoddinott Website

Renewed access to Mozambique after years of isolation by civil war has provided tremendously exciting possibilities for birders, and the central and southern parts of the country have in the last four years become popular destinations for keen, intrepid Southern Africans and others.

In addition to numerous mouth-watering species peripheral and localised in more accessible Zimbabwe and South Africa, the lowland forests and miombo woodlands of central and southern Mozambique offer some of the best sites globally for such species as Olive-headed Weaver, Green-headed Oriole, Blue-throated Sunbird, East Coast Akalat, Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, White-breasted Alethe, African Pitta and Locust Finch, and are the wintering grounds of the localised Mascarene Martin. Furthermore, the coast offers such tropical delights as wintering Crab Plover & Greater Frigatebird. The most popular areas for birding are, in central Mozambique, the highland forests of Mount Gorongosa, and the woodlands and lowland forests between Beira and the Zambezi. Further south, excellent birding is to be had in the woodlands around Panda and along coast around Inhambane, Vilanculos and Bazaruto Island.

The vast area of Mozambique north of the Zambezi has remained virtually unexplored since Jack Vincent's explorations there in the 1930s. Access to the region is however reasonably good, and a 1998 expedition to Mount Namuli near Gurue re-discovered the country's only endemic, Namuli Apalis, hitherto unseen since its 1932 discovery and found to be still thriving in the forests of this truly spectacular massif. Other exiciting species of the northern forests include the enigmatic and elusive Dapplethroat, Thyolo Alethe and, on Mount Chiperone further south, White-winged Apalis.

Birders travelling in Mozambique will need to be largely self-sufficient, and preferably travel in more than one vehicle, including at least one four-wheel-drive. Landmines remain a concern, although it is possible to enquire locally as to which areas are well-established to be safe. The country still offers much untapped potential to adventurous birders, and every trip turns up many exiciting species from both a southern African and global perspective.

Contributor

Claire Spottiswoode

Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology

University of Cape Town

claire@birding-africa.com

http://www.birding-africa.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 684

Checklist

Checklist

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Useful Reading

Birds of Inhaca Island, Mozambique

WF De Boer and CM Bento 76 pages, col photos, tabs. BirdLife South Africa 1999

ISBN: 0620237112

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Maputo Special Reserve Mozambique

V Parker and F de Boer Series: BRIGHT CONTINENT GUIDE SERIES 2 52 pages, col photos, b/w illus, maps. Avian Demography Unit 2000

ISBN: 0620264799

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Niassa Reserve, Mozambique

Vincent Parker Series: BRIGHT CONTINENT GUIDE SERIES 4 34 pages, colour photos, maps. Avian Demography Unit

ISBN: 0620332778

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Southern African Birdfinder

Where to find 1400 bird species in southern Africa and Madagascar Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode and Jonathan Rossouw 456 pages, 80 col photos, 100 maps, pull-out route map. New Holland Publishers 2006

ISBN: 1868727254

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Atlas of the Birds of Central Mozambique

Vincent Parker 321 pages, maps, tabs. Avian Demography Unit

ISBN: 0799222844

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Southern Mozambique

by Phillip A Clancey - 312 pages, 49 col plates, 6 photos, 39 maps. African Bird Book Publishing 1996

ISBN: 0620199180

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

Mozambique in Summer/Winter (14 days) - Birding Mozambique in summer can be adventurous if it has rained a lot, but could yield African Pitta and other incredibly exciting species. Mozambique is a fabulous birding destination hosting many species not found elsewhere in southern Africa. Several species, such as Mascarene Martin are only seen in winter, while good numbers of intra-African and Eurasian migrants arrive are present only in the summer.

Indicator Birding

Tour Operator

Indicator Birding offers custom-made and scheduled birding tours - from one to 21 days. We specialise in the Eastern parts of South Africa, but also have intimate knowledge of the whole of South Africa, Mozambique and parts of Zimbabwe and Namibia…

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2008 [05 May] - Etienne Marais

Report

Overall 317 species were recorded in Mozambique and despite difficult birding at several localities a host of specials were seen including: 37 Crab Plovers, Pacific Golden Plover, 1000's of Lesser Sand Plover (Mongolian), Livingstone's Flycatcher, Southern Banded Snake-eagle, Rosy-throated Longclaw…

2008 [11 November - Etienne Marais

Report

…Other miombo birds seen were plenty of Pale (Mozambique) Batis, Black-eared Seed-eaters, Green-backed Honeybird, Red-faced Crombec, Green-capped Eremomela and numbers of rather skittish White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike The area also has open grassy plains which hold Pink-throated Longclaw and Maans suspects Blue Quail…

2011 [03 March] - Per Holmen - Southern Mozambique

Report

I recently participated in a trip arranged by Reach Africa Birding Safaris (Grahame Snow) to Southern Mozambique. I was quite in doubt whether to take this trip or not due to the fact that the write up only offered 4 new lifers for me. The main attraction was undoubtedly the Olive-headed Weaver, other potential lifers for me were Sooty Falcon (never saw), Magpie Mannikin and Lesser Crested Tern. The fact that Olive-headed Weavers can only be found in that area triggered me into going. Below, you will find a write up of the main sightings on the trip….

2011 [11 November] - Lars Olausson

Report PDF

…In this area there are several smaller areas with interesting species like Cut- throat, Green-winged Pytilia, several observations of Brown-headed Parrot, Magpie Mannikin, a Southern Masked-weaver colony in a Casuarina stand and Lemon-breasted Canary to mention a few…

2012 [11 November] - Keith Betton - Zimbabwe and Mozambique

PDF Report

At Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve the highlight was an unexpected party of 23 Cuckoo-finches. We spent two nights at Wakkerstroom, which gave us plenty of time to find many of the rare birds of the threatened grassland habitat. The highlights were: a large party of 26 Blue Cranes, 39 Grey-crowned Cranes, and two Wattled Cranes, a party of 12 Blue Korhaans feeding close to the road, four individual Denham’s Bustards, and many species of Lark, including Eastern Long-billed, Rudd’s, Pink-billed, and Botha’s…

2013 [12 December] - Andy Mears - Zimbabwe & Mozambique

PDF Report

Of the three races of African Pitta, the migrant longipennis differs most from its close relative, Green-breasted Pitta. With the taxonomy far from unravelled, I was keen to see this particular race and I began looking into options a couple of years ago. Wintering birds have not been seen in and around Kenya’s Sokoke Forest for well over 10 years now and sadly, the source of this population must subsequently have been destroyed. Several intrepid birders had scored in southern Zambia and in northern Zimbabwe during the breeding season but all the information seemed scant and none of the sites gave the impression of reliability…

2014 [12 December] - Peregrine Bird Tours

Report

... We observed almost all of the endemics and regional specialities and just some of the many birding highlights included super looks at both Red-chested and Buff-spotted Flufftails, all three Zimbabwean Eastern Highlands endemics, Robert's Warbler, Chirinda Apalis and the splendid Swynnerton's Robin. The very skulking Barratt's Warbler was seen well, we observed the endangered Blue Swallow at very close quarters...

2015 [11 November] - Birding Ecotours

PDF Report

2015 [12 December] - Bruce Wedderburn - South Africa, Zimbabwe & Mozambique

Report

This was a month long trip to Southern Africa, from early November through to early December 2015, with a focus on a number of difficult to get birds, the key target being the Africa Pitta. The plan was to spend about four days in the Johannesburg/Pretoria area before doing an overnight trip to Dullstroom in Mpumalanga (Zulu for "the place where the sun rises") for the Cape Eagle Owl. Following this a one-week pre-tour from Johannesburg through to Harare in Zimbabwe looking for three species of Flufftail and other targets. Then a two-week main tour from Harare through the Eastern Highlands and central Mozambique, ending up in Beira on the coast.

2016 [12 December] - Andre Bernon

PDF Report

... A total of 7 days were spent here with a total of 254 bird and 29 mammalian species recorded. White-chested Alethe, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, East Coast Akalat, the second ever Grasshopper Buzzard for the subregion, Green Sandpiper, Pallid Honeyguide, Brown-necked Parrot, Rufous-bellied Heron, Black Coucal and Bohm’s Bee-eater are just a few of the mouth-watering specials that we managed to record...

Places to Stay

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Morrungulo

Accommodation

An abundant variety of bird life thrives in this rich tropical habitat -the rare Green Tinkerbird has just been discovered in our area you can also see the collared palm thrush, green coucal, European crab plover, malachite kingfisher, hammerkop, fish eagles, paradise flycatcher, redfaced mousebirds to name a few…

Organisations

African Bird Club

Website

The Republic of Mozambique, once the African-Algarve where visitors relished the tropical summers of this former Portuguese colony, has since been ravaged by 15 years of civil war. With the war a memory, Mozambique is trying hard to shed the ominous label as one of the world's poorest countries. Despite its chequered history, Mozambique is an exciting destination for the intrepid birder wanting to find the many southern African specials that the region holds…

Reserves

Gorongosa National Park

Website

Satellite View

Gorongosa ecosystem is larger than the area of the formal Park Boundary. The ecosystem is that hydrological area that drains into Lake Urema in the heart of the Park. The drainage to the lake is local from both sides of the rift valley in which the Park sits, and from three streams originating on Gorongosa Mountain. The Rift floor lake, Urema, is a basin that when filled overflows into the Pungue River which then empties into the Indian Ocean…

IBAs

Website

Two distinct bird communities exist in Mozambique with the boundary between them coinciding more or less with the Zambezi river. North of the Zambezi, birdlife is largely shared with that of…

Limpopo National Park

Website

Satellite View

The Limpopo National Park came into being when an old hunting concession, Coutada 16, was declared a protected nature conservation area instead. The Limpopo National Park now forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a transnational conservation area spanning the borders of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe…

Quirimbas National Park

Website

Satellite View

Quirimbas National Park is a true example of where bush meets beach. Elephants feed off mango trees just metres from the Indian Ocean and further inland - in the thick coastal forests - 4 out of the Big 5 roam…

Other Links

Birding Spots - Mozambique

Website

e.g. The primary area of focus is central Mozambique, i.e. the region north of Beira, and towards the Zambezi River. The only real special south of this area is the Oliveheaded Weaver which was found recently again at Panda. Along with the numerous other specials in the area, very good general birding is possible throughout, though there seems little point in risking life and limb for birds that can be seen in South Africa or Zimbabwe. Staying three nights would be adequate for big time twitchers, but for more extensive birding 7 to 10 days are advised, during which time it would be best to concentrate on finding the Mozambique specials.

Birds of Namuli, Northern Mozambique

Website

Mozambique has been off-limits to birders for much of the last two decades due to the civil war that wracked the country following independence…

Southern Africa Birding

Website

Birding Resources for Southern Africa. - This site is about birds and birding in South Africa and the Southern African region, including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Zambia. The region`s best birding sites are featured under Birding Spots, together with birding resources under Bird guides, tours and Accommodation. The latest rare bird sightings are posted on our Twitchers` Tales page, What`s On highlights major events, and Birding Organisations puts you in touch with other birders and organisations working towards bird conservation.