Republic of Mozambique

White-browed Robin-Chat Cossypha heuglini ©Dylan Vasapolli Website
Birding Mozambique

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-chested 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 the 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. Thankfully, it was recently announced that ALL land mines have been cleared from the whole country so all visited areas are now well-established to be safe. The country still offers much untapped potential to adventurous birders, and every trip turns up many exciting species from both a southern African and global perspective.

This page is sponsored by Birding Ecotours

Contributors
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 740

    (As at September 2018)
Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • Birds of Inhaca Island, Mozambique

    by WF De Boer a& CM Bento | BirdLife South Africa | 1999 | Paperbacjk | 76 pages, colour photos, tabs | ISBN: 0620237112 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of the Maputo Special Reserve Mozambique

    By V Parker & F de Boer | Avian Demography Unit | 2000 | Paperback | 52 pages, colour photos, b/w illus, maps | ISBN: 0620264799 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of the Niassa Reserve, Mozambique

    By Vincent Parker | Avian Demography Unit | 2005 | Paperback | 34 pages, colour photos, maps | ISBN: 0620332778 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Southern African Birdfinder

    [Where to find 1400 bird species in southern Africa and Madagascar] | By Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode & Jonathan Rossouw | New Holland Publishers | 2006 | Paperback | 456 pages, 80 col photos, 100 maps, pull-out route map | ISBN: 1868727254 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Atlas of the Birds of Central Mozambique

    By Vincent Parker | Avian Demography Unit | 2005 | Paperback | 321 pages, maps, tabs | ISBN: 0799222844 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Birds of Southern Mozambique

    by Phillip A Clancey | African Bird Book Publishing | 1996 | Paperback | 312 pages, 49 colour plates, 6 photos, 39 maps | ISBN: 0620199180 Buy this book from NHBS.com
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

Abbreviations Key

  • IBAs

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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
  • NP Banhine

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is 7,250 square kilometres (2,800 sq mi) in area and holds extensive inland wetlands, acting as an important source of water to the dry lands that surround it. The park is in an area that has annual rainfall of only 430 millimetres (17 in). However, over 1% of the park is wetland and there are also more than a thousand pans that range in size from a few square meters to hundreds of hectares. These pans may be very salty or "sweet" and drinkable. The water comes from the area to the northwest near the Zimbabwe boundary, flowing through many channels into the wetlands and then into the Changane River. The park is still home to endangered wattled cranes and to many migratory birds. Results of an aerial survey in October 2004 showed that the park had healthy populations of ostrich, kudu, impala, reedbuck, duiker, steenbok, porcupine, warthog and oribi. Predators such as leopards, lions, servals, spotted hyenas and even cheetahs are also found in the national park.
  • NP Bazaruto

    InformationSatellite View
    The Bazaruto National Park was inaugurated in 1971, an archipelago of six islands off the Mozambican coast between Vilankulo and Inhassoro. The park was created to protect dugong and marine turtles, and their habitats. The islands' flora and fauna, coral reefs and marine birds were also included.
  • NP Gorongosa

    WebsiteSatellite 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…
  • NP Limpopo

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • NP Quirimbas

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • NP Zinave

    InformationSatellite View
    The park extends to the south of the Save River in Inhambane Province, covering an area of 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).
Guides & Tour Operators


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  • 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.
  • Ibo Island Birding

    Local Guiding
    Ibo Island is the head quarters of the Quirimbas National Park, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, and is uniquely located in front of one of Africa’s largest and independent mangrove forests. Ibo is a floristic kingdom and a great island for a Mozambique Birding Safari.
  • 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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  • 2015 [11 November - Dylan Vasapolli

    PDF Report
    Covering a grand total of three countries, a vast array of different habitats and ecological regions were visited, resulting in not only good, varied birding, but also in very exciting birding...
  • 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...
  • 2016 [12 December] - Dylan Vasapolli - Zimbabwe & Mozambique

    PDF Report
    This exciting tour takes us into the heart of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. While these countries possess very few truly endemic species, they provide relatively easy access to a number of species that are very difficult elsewhere in their range while remaining ‘easy’ here. Species such as Boulder Chat, Green-backed Honeybird, Cinnamon-breasted Tit, White-chested Alethe, East Coast Akalat, Lowland Tiny Greenbul, Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike, and African Pitta, among others, are all prime examples...
  • 2017 [12 December] - Greg de Klerk

    PDF Report
    Within the Zambezi River delta lie Coutadas 11 & 12. This roughly 1.2 million hectare wilderness is sovast and under-birded that it certainly warrants some serious attention on the avian tourism front.Upon arrival, one can truly see and sense the excitement that this area holds. This dynamic landscape,with huge tracts of sand forest, lowland forest, vast floodplains with papyrus swamps and a mosaic ofsmall seasonal pans, plays host to bird andmammal species that are simply mouthwatering.
  • 2018 [11 November] - Chris Lotz

    PDF Report
    This comprehensive tour consisted of three legs, first a pre-trip to Mana Pools National Park in northern Zimbabwe, followed by our set-departure eastern Zimbabwe and central Mozambique tour, and last a post-trip traveling back to Johannesburg from Beira, birding along the way.
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
Other Links
  • 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

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