Sunday, 31 January 2016

South Africa, Zimbabwe & Mozambique – November/December 2015

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.   

The critical timing for the trip was to be in central Mozambique at the beginning of the wet season, usually late November or early December, the time when the African Pitta starts displaying and calling. The main tour included time in the Miombo woodlands and wetlands around Harare, birding the Eastern Highlands area including the Honde Valley, followed by Mount Gorongosa in central Mozambique, M’Phingwe Camp the Zambezi delta area and then Rio Savane area close to Beira.

Miombo Woodlands in Zimbabwe
The “off-the-beaten-track” tour was well organised by Birding Ecotours and capably lead by the talented Dylan Vasapolli. Participants in the pre-tour included two Canadian and two UK birders. In Zimbabwe, we met up with Barbara and Neville Maytom, also from Canada, for the main tour.   
As it turned out it was hot and dry in South Africa, with drought conditions being experienced, rather than the afternoon thunderstorms which usually commence in September. The wetlands in Zimbabwe were also dry although we did have some rain in Harare. Mozambique was very dry and hot and the rains only commenced a couple of weeks after we left. Rio Savane near Beira was the driest it’s been for many years according to regular visitors to the area. Whilst the dry and hot conditions did adversely impact on the birding, we did manage to see many exceptional birds.

Overall it was a pretty intensive tour and requires a reasonable level of fitness to take part in all the birding activities. During the tour it got very hot and humid in places, which required acclimatisation to the conditions to fully enjoy the trip. Dylan never seemed to tire and he kept up a high level of enthusiasm throughout the entire trip, for what involved long days, a lot of driving under adverse conditions and plenty of birding.

With regards to birding, I recorded a total of 504 birds during the month long trip, with 466 birds for the Birding Ecotours tour. I ended up with 39 lifers and 63 new birds for Southern Africa, taking my list for Southern Africa to a respectable 745 species. Some of the birding highlights and key target birds were as follows:
                 Ayres’s Hawk Eagle – Pretoria
                 Caspian Plover – Mkhombo Dam (NE of Pretoria)
                 Lesser Black-backed Gull (Steppe Gull) – Mkhombo Dam
                 Western Yellow Wagtail – Marievale Bird Sanctuary
                 Cape Eagle Owl – Dullstroom
                 Yellow-breasted Pipit – Dullstroom
                 White-backed Night-heron – Groblersdal
                 Short-clawed Lark – Polokwane
                 Cape Parrot – Magoebaskloof
                 Striped Flufftail – Magoebaskloof
                 Emerald Cuckoo – Magoebaskloof
                 Magpie Mannikin – Tzaneen
                 African Barred Owlet – Mapungubwe
                 Rosy-throated Longclaw – Harare
                 Miombo Rock Thrush – Harare
                 Boulder Chat – Harare
                 Eurasian Hobby – Harare
                 African Spotted Creeper – Harare
                 Green-backed Honeybird – Harare
                 Southern Hyliota – Harare and Eastern Highlands
                 Mottled Swift – Nyanga
                 Robert’s Warbler – Nyanga
                 Buff-spotted Flufftail – Seldomseen
                 Marsh Tchagra – Honde Valley and Mount Gorongosa
                 Scarce Swift – Honde Valley
                 Red-faced Crimsonwing – Honde Valley
                 Swynnerton’s Robin - Seldomseen
                 Green-headed Oriole – Mount Gorongosa
                 Whinchat – Mount Gorongosa (Mega rarity for Southern Africa)
                 Speckle-throated Woodpecker – Gorongosa National Park
                 African Hobby – M’Phingwe
                 African Pitta – M’Phingwe
                 Mangrove Kingfisher – M’Phingwe
                 Livingston’s Flycatcher – M’Phingwe
                 East Coast Akalat – M’Phingwe
                 White-chested Alethe – M’Phingwe
                 Blue Quail – Rio Savane
                 Black-backed Buttonquail – Rio Savane
                 Locust Finch – Rio Savane
I hadn’t been to Zimbabwe for over 20 years and I had heard that the country was improving with the introduction of the US$ as its currency. Unfortunately, the country was far worse off that it was 20 years ago and has suffered enormously from 35 years of independence under what was previously a terrorist organisation, Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and which is now a corrupt and incompetent government.

Harare was expected to experience significant power shortages by December 2015, as hydro power supplied from Kariba Dam was impacted by low water levels, the lowest since the dam was completed in 1958, and poor management by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).  Without power from Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe would have to rely on the Hwange, Munyati, Harare and Bulawayo coal fired power stations, which are producing a combined 600MW against a national demand of about 1600MW at peak periods.
There was no municipal water in Harare and all water is drawn from boreholes. The locals use the verges along the streets to plant subsistence crops such as mealies.

The police roadblocks were very frequent in Zimbabwe and most seem to be staffed with corrupt police officers. At one roadblock, south of Harare, we were asked to show that we had two fire extinguishers. When it was politely pointed out that only one was required, they produced a sheet of regulations and insisted that two were required. They were embarrassed when the sheet clearly showed that only one was required. Then they demanded to see our two red triangles. We thought we had two, however the rental company had let us down and we could only produce one. The police offices then fined Dylan and threated to lock him up as he had misled them. After a lot of discussion, the shifty eyed cop then asked if we had something to drink, and Dylan gave him a dollar to buy something. Then it was all smiles and we headed off.
Mozambique on the other hand, one of the poorest countries in the world, was at least showing signs of improvement, with new roads being constructed by the Chinese. However, the downside of this investment by the Chinese, is that the forests are being stripped of the hardwood trees and exported to China, as was evidenced by the large number of trucks seen transporting the huge logs.

Both Zimbabwe and Mozambique were quite depressing to visit, with the wide scale deforestation, run down infrastructure, potholed roads, lack of intensive farming, run-down hotels, litter on the roadsides etc., with the countryside dominated by mud huts, subsistence farming and slash and burn practices.  The conditions, in particular in Mozambique, were far worse than Madagascar, a country which has many more tourists and attracts a lot more attention. In central Mozambique there didn’t appear to be any decent tourist facilities, other than the couple of places we stayed at, which serve both birders and hunters.
At least the hunting concessions have increased the number of game species through intensive anti-poaching measures. We didn’t see much in the way of game species in Mozambique except for small buck, such as Duiker and Bushbuck, being sold on the sides of the road.

There is still quite a bit of political tension in Mozambique, between the Frelimo (ruling party) and Renamo (opposition), and we saw about four vehicles on the side of the road which had been shot up and burnt out. We later heard that this was from a recent ambush of a Renamo convoy. There were a number of police and military roadblocks in Mozambique but we didn’t have any problems with them.

Trip Report
Saturday 7th November: Arrival
Flew from Melbourne to Sydney and then Johannesburg on Qantas, leaving Melbourne at 5:45am and arriving in Johannesburg at 4:30pm, with a nine-hour time change. Had a good flight with Qantas and it only took 25 minutes in Johannesburg airport to clear customs, pick up my luggage and get my AVIS rental car.

Spent the next five nights at Dunvegan Execu Lodge in Edenvale, which is very comfortable, reasonably priced, provides great meals and has good security.
Sunday 8th November: Mkhombo Dam
Left early in the morning for the two-hour drive to Mkhombo Dam Nature Reserve for my two key targets, the nomadic Caspian Plover and national rarity Lesser Black-backed Gull. Mkhombo is an undeveloped nature reserve at what was previously known as Rhenosterkop Dam and has a reputation for producing rarities over the years. The roads are at best rough sandy tracks and fine for a rental car when its dry, however these tracks quickly become impassable with rain. 

Took a bit of time finding the birding area around Geddes Bay, as the area is very rural and there are no signs or roads leading to the site, only rough tracks. After birding at various locations along the shoreline, I eventually managed to locate the Caspian Plover and had some excellent views. After chatting with some other birders, I also found the Lesser Black-backed Gull, which had puzzled local birding experts as to what subspecies it actually was.   
Subsequent comments provided by Trevor Hardaker from Lou Bertelan, a top gull expert, were: “It is pretty much clear that it is a Steppe Gull, Larus (fuscus) barabensis, hardly any doubt possible imo. This "2nd winter plumage", which looks advanced in comparison to Larus cachinnans, together with the contrasting two-toned bill with pointed tip but not too long, and adult type feathers are pale grey (much too pale for heuglini!)

Saw a total of 60 species for the morning with some of the highlights for the day including large flocks of Black Heron fishing, Grey Plover (uncommon for inland areas), Black-winged Pratincole, over 100 African Quailfinch including some close-up views on the ground, and about five Goliath Heron.
Monday 9th November: East Rand Mall
Visited First National Bank to get some cash, which took over an hour, and then some shopping at the East Rand Mall.

Tuesday 10th November: Pretoria and Rietvlei
Drove through to Pretoria early in the morning to the stake out for Ayres’s Hawk Eagle on a ridge overlooking Weskoppies Hospital. Just after 7:20am had a single Ayres’s Hawk Eagle fly over giving great views and photos.

Ayres's Hawk Eagle

Drove through to Rietvlei Nature Reserve for some birding and game viewing.  Saw just over 60 species at Rietvlei but didn’t manage to locate African Finfoot which had been recently reported at this site.  Rietvlei is a 3,870 hectare on the southern outskirts of Pretoria. The reserve primarily comprises of Highveld grasslands and provides good endemic birding and excellent game viewing.


Cape Longclaw at Rietvlei

Wednesday 11th November: Marievale
Left early in the morning for Marievale Bird Sanctuary to arrive at 6am just as the gates opened.  Marievale is an 8,000 hectare RAMSAR wetland on the Blesbokspruit Spruit, close to Nigel in the gold mining area of the East Rand.

In the early morning the conditions were excellent for birding but by 10am it was hot and windy, much as it had been since I had arrived in Johannesburg. The wetlands were full of waders and I recorded just over 70 species with highlights being over 250 Ruff plus at least five Reeve, at least seven African Snipe, Little Ringed Plover, African Wattled Lapwing and a Western Yellow Wagtail (Blue-headed flava subspecies) which landed beside me in the wetlands.
Thursday 12th November: Dullstroom
After visiting the East Rand Mall, I dropped the AVIS rental car off at Kempton Park and met up with Dylan Vasapolli of Birding Ecotours, just after lunch. We drove through to Dullstroom and checked into the lovely and spacious Fox and Squirrel accommodation, which overlooks a lake and a rocky hillside.

Northern Black Koohaan
We did some birding down at the lake and in the hills close to Dullstroom. Dylan spotted three African Clawless Otter on the other side of the lake which was a great sighting. Just before sunset we headed up a rocky hillside for a stakeout of the Cape Eagle Owl. We eventually had unsatisfactory views of a silhouetted owl, seen briefly in flight at the top of a hill, quite far away. 
I had about 45 species for the late afternoon birding including Ovambo Sparrowhawk, African Rail (heard only), ten Black-winged Lapwing, Alpine Swift and Buff-streaked Chat.

Friday 13th November: Dullstroom and Groblersdal
We were up at 3:30am for one of many early starts over the next three weeks. As we stepped outside our accommodation, Dylan said there’s a Cape Eagle Owl calling. We located it in a large tree on the estate where we were staying and then had lovely views in the torch light as it flew overhead. Well that was a fantastic start for the day, hearing and seeing one of the very difficult owl species for Southern Africa. I have had Cape Eagle Owl calling from a long way off, at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in 1993, however have never seen one in Southern Africa. I have also seen the Mackinder’s Eagle Owl in Kenya previously, a subspecies of the Cape Eagle Owl, which is sometimes split.

As we had our key target, we drove to Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve, where we had excellent views of about 12 Yellow-breasted Pipit, a bird that I had poor views of in the previous year at Wakkerstroom. Other highlights included Red-winged Francolin, Denham’s Bustard, Sentinel Rock Thrush, Buff-streaked Chat and Mountain Wheatear.

Yellow-breasted Pipit


Yellow-breasted Pipit
After a good breakfast back in Dullstroom we drove through to the Groblersdal area, arriving in the heat of midday.  The key target here was the White-backed Night-heron, a difficult bird to locate and seldom seen. After searching both sides of a small stream, the bird flushed and as it flew over the water, I managed to get three great photos of the bird. That was an excellent bird to see and photograph.
White-backed Night-heron

Other highlights for the area included African Harrier-hawk, African Cuckoo-hawk, Greater Honeyguide, Fiery-necked Nightjar which flushed from under our feet, plus excellent sightings of two African Pygmy Kingfisher and a Half-collared Kingfisher, both kingfishers being difficult birds to find.
We then drove back to Benoni just east of Johannesburg, where I was staying for the night. The accommodation at the Outlook Lodge was very reasonably priced, comfortable with good meals provided and located in a quiet part of Benoni with a huge garden. Here I met up with Pat McKay and Ken McKenna who were very keen birders from Canada. They had both done an extensive tour of South Africa the previous year with Dylan and had organised the pre-tour from Johannesburg to Harare to target some of their missing species.

Saturday 14th November: Alberton and Seringveld
Dylan had arranged to pick us up for a fairly late start at 6:40am however we received a message saying that the two other tour participants, Janet and John who were staying north of Johannesburg, were still asleep when Dylan had arrived to pick them up. We ended up leaving an hour late which wasn’t a good start to the trip, particularly as by 10am it was already hot and windy. Dylan drove us down to some wetlands in the Alberton area where we eventually had some obscured views of a Red-chested Flufftail. We had just over 50 species at this site, the highlights being distant views of Orange River Francolin and a close-up Jacobin Cuckoo.

We took a drive through an area close to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, where we had South African Cliff Swallow, and then headed north of Pretoria to a restaurant for lunch. 
After lunch we visited the Seringveld Conservancy, which consists mainly of broad-leafed woodland.  Interesting birds included Lizard Buzzard, African Black Swift, Eastern Willow Warbler and Green-capped Eremomela. At about 5:30pm we headed further north to Zaagkuilsdrift close to Pienaar’s River. The accommodation at Zaagkuilsdrift Lodge was excellent with huge rooms and dinners taken at the boma with a huge fire going in the evenings.

Sunday 15th November: Zaagkuilsdrift and Borakalalo
We started birding along the road leading to the lodge at 5am and I left the group shortly afterwards and enjoyed some birding along the roadside and lodge grounds by myself. The Zaagkuilsdrift Road is an excellent area for wetland and bushveld birding and I have previously visited the area after rains. However most of South Africa was in the grip of a severe drought and this area was particularly dry. Despite the dry conditions, I did see some good birds and had just over 70 species for the morning, with highlights including Gabar Goshawk, Jacobin Cuckoo, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Magpie Shrike, Cape Penduline Tit, Barred Wren-warbler, Great Sparrow and African Quailfinch.

Crimson-breasted Shrike

After lunch we drove through to Borakalalo National Park, a 14,000 hectare park situated around a dam and the Mogoshane Hills. On the drive we stopped for Grey-backed Sparrow-lark and I saw a Western Yellow Wagtail (Grey-headed thunbergi subspecies). Despite the hot conditions at Borakalalo we did manage to get about 70 species for the afternoon. The standout bird of the afternoon was a female African Finfoot which had Dylan, Ken and Pat charging through the sharp and spikey reeds (Phragmites) to see it as it flew down the river.

Southern Pied Babbler

In the evening we did some spotlighting for a couple of hours and saw Western Barn Owl, Southern White-faced Owl, Spotted Eagle Owl and Marsh Owl, so a successful end to a long day.

Monday 16th November: Zaagkuilsdrift, Polokwane and Magoebaskloof
Before breakfast we did some birding around the extensive grounds of the Zaagkuilsdrift Lodge. Highlights were two Great Spotted Cuckoo, two Lesser Honeyguide and a Crimson-breasted Shrike with just under 60 species for the early morning.

Great Spotted Cuckoo
After breakfast we drove further north to Polokwane (Pietersburg) and then eastwards to Magoebaskloof. We stopped in the hot howling wind at a site east of Polokwane to try for Short-clawed Pipit and after 45 minutes of very unpleasant birding, managed to get good looks of four birds back where the vehicle was parked. This was the last of the Pipits, Larks and Cisticolas for South Africa for myself, so that was excellent to have all the LBJ’s wrapped up.

As we travelled on towards Magoebaskloof we started to get heavy rain, which looked to have set in and wouldn’t have been good for birding. Taking some back roads to our accommodation at Magoebaskloof Hotel, we stopped for Cape Parrot, which Dylan had heard. It was misty and raining and initially I could only hear the parrots. Getting a bit closer I managed to get good views through the rain of at least four Cape Parrot, another key target bird for the trip.

Checking in at Magoebaskloof Hotel was a shambles and with the rains, they had had a power failure. Once checked in, the actual hotel was lovely, with great views over the forested valley, lovely gardens, good meals and comfortable accommodation.

Tuesday 17th November: Magoebaskloof and Tzaneen
We arrived in the Woodbush Forest at 5:30am for early morning birding in what was a grey, misty and cold day, but at least the rain held off for the day. Our main target today was the Striped Flufftail, a notoriously difficult to find bird and even more difficult bird to see. Dylan took us to an area of suitable habitat and after much walking through the long wet grass, we heard one calling on the other side of the valley. We eventually got up close and heard it several times, including about 3 to 4m from where we were standing. It took quite a bit of perseverance and I thought we would have given up on the bird, but eventually we all managed to get good views as it scurried like a rat across an open area before diving into the grass again. Well that was fantastic and well worth the effort for a bird that many birders don’t get to see.  

Forest birding at Woodbush in the indigenous Afromontane forests is always excellent although requires quite a bit of patience waiting for mixed bird parties. Highlights included Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Lemon Dove, Cape Parrot, good views of several Barratt’s Warbler, Chorister Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Orange Ground Thrush, Swee Waxbill and Mountain Wagtail.
After breakfast back at the hotel we drove down the Magoebaskloof Pass, considered the steepest pass in South Africa, to Tzaneen. At a non-descript patch of grass and shrubs in suburbia, we did some birding and I managed to find the Magpie Mannikin, a lifer and key target bird. Plenty of other good birds at this site including Long-crested Eagle, Black Sparrowhawk, Purple-crested Turaco, Red-faced Cisticola, Holub’s Golden Weaver and Thick-billed Weaver.

We then drove up into the hills to the well-known Rooikoppies Drive, where we had a pair of nesting Bat Hawk. This is a difficult bird to get unless its roosting sites are known, having missed it in Kenya, never seen in South Africa until last year at Entabeni Forest in the Eastern Soutpansberg and then seen in flight at Bukit Fraser in Malaysia in April this year.
After lunch we went back to Woodbush where the clouds had cleared and it was a bit warmer. Highlights included Narina Trogon, Olive Woodpecker, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Grey Cuckooshrike and Forest Canary.

After dinner we took a short walk around the hotel grounds and had four African Wood Owl, seen and heard, with one swooping in and whizzing past Ken’s head.   
Wednesday 18th November: Magoebaskloof to Mapungubwe
Did a bit of birding before breakfast with the highlights being great views of an African Emerald Cuckoo, six Cape Parrot flying across the valley and an Olive Bushshrike heard initially and then seen perched in the open. Had a couple of Red-backed Mannikin in the gardens as well, just before some torrential rain stopped any further birding.

After breakfast we drove back to Polokwane and then up to Mapungubwe taking the R521 via Alldays. At Polokwane we stocked up with groceries for the next couple of nights. We then stopped in Alldays for lunch and I stocked up on biltong and droƫwors from an excellent local shop. In the area around Alldays we had Pale Chanting Goshawk, Purple Roller, Red-breasted Swallow and White-browed Sparrow-weaver.
We checked into the lovely Leokwe Camp at Mapungubwe National Park in the afternoon and birded along the roads and around the campsite. Highlights included Dark Chanting Goshawk, Bearded Woodpecker, White-crested Helmetshrike, Mocking Chat and Golden-breasted Bunting.

We had elephants visiting the swimming pool during the hot afternoon, much to the delight of Pat and Ken who were swimming at the time. At the braai we had in the evening at Dylan’s place, we had elephant grazing close by on the stunted Mopani trees. I went back to my accommodation a bit later being careful to avoid any elephants but when its dark and you don’t have a torch there’s not much chance of seeing them. I opened the door onto my veranda and had three elephants right next to the low wall and close enough to touch. Later on I went to the outside shower which has a wooden pole wall as a screen. I heard an elephant squeal and then heard heavy footsteps running away. The next morning Ken told me about the close encounter he had with an elephant and luckily had managed to get away.

Elephants at Mapungubwe Leokwe Camp
Mapungubwe camps don’t have fences and the elephants, lions and other wildlife are free to wander around. There are no fences between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, so elephants and other game easily crosses the Limpopo River is search of food. Certainly makes it a lot more interesting than the fenced camps of the Kruger National Park and offers far better accommodation for the same cost.
Thursday 19th November: Mapungubwe
At 5am we headed down to the Limpopo River to bird the riverine forest on a raised canopy walk overlooking the Limpopo River. The river was nearly completely dry and I didn’t see anything particularly exciting or that I hadn’t seen the previous year. We then drove to the main gate to the small restaurant, where it took over two hours to get breakfast, so we missed out on some prime birding. The breakfast when it arrived was cold and pretty ordinary, would have been far better to have self-catered.

We then drove through to the Limpopo Forest tented camp and did some birding in that area and alongside the Limpopo River. By now the Limpopo River was flowing strongly, following heavy overnight rains in the catchment area, and was very impressive. Dylan managed to locate an African Barred Owlet (Ngami subspecies) near the camp which was one of my target birds and a lovely owl to see. In the evening, back at Leokwe, we did some spotlighting and saw Freckled Nightjar and Spotted Thick-knee.

Klipspringer
Of the 130 species for the day, the highlights were Red-crested Korhaan, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Meyer’s Parrot, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark, Shaft-tailed Whydah and Village Indigobird.
Friday 20th November: Mapungubwe to Masvingo
At 5am we headed down to the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers where three countries South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana meet. On the rocks below the viewing platforms, Dylan spotted a roosting Freckled Nightjar, which was sooty black in colour. I also spotted an Eastern Rock Elephant-shrew in the nearby rocks, which was a new mammal for myself. Also had Yellow-spotted rock Hyrax and South African Spring Hare in the area.
Limpopo River flowing strongly after recent rains
We spent quite a bit of time observing an Amur Falcon to make sure it wasn’t a Red-footed Falcon, which is a lot scarcer and one I haven’t seen yet. It eventually lifted its wings to reveal the white underwing coverts. Other birding highlights were Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle and Barred Wren-warbler.
Kori Bustard
We dropped off Janet and John at the main entrance, as they were taking a shuttle back to Johannesburg in order to catch their flight to Harare the next day. This was a result of inflexible SA Airways who wouldn’t allow them to cancel one flight segment, and which would have resulted in their entire flight bookings being cancelled?

We then headed into Musina (Messina) for a hearty breakfast at the local Steers Restaurant, before heading a few kilometres to the infamous Beit Bridge border crossing. Well three hours later we left the awful border crossing and stopped at the Lion & Elephant Hotel for lunch. Some nice birding around the hotel grounds and probably a good place for an overnight stop.
We headed further east to an area near Runde to try for Boulder Chat. It was very hot and dry and we weren’t successful with the chat but did see some nice birds including a couple of Grey-headed Bushshrike. We continued on to Masvingo to check into our lovely accommodation at Norma Jeans Lakeview Resort. Unfortunately given the delays along the way, we arrived in the dark and far too late to visit the Great Zimbabwe ruins, which was on the itinerary and is well worth seeing.

Saturday 21st November: Masvingo to Harare
We had a couple of hours birding before breakfast in the Miombo woodlands around the resort. Being Miombo woodlands you could hit a quiet spell but perseverance and a few hours birding often pays off.  We hit a quiet spell and only managed to get 24 species, with the most interesting being Miombo Double-collared Sunbird. None of the other Miombo target species were seen. 

After a sumptuous breakfast we headed north on the road to Harare, encountering numerous police roadblocks and had one ugly incident with corrupt police, described in the beginning of the report. Just south of Harare we came across at least 200 Abdim’s Storks which was impressive. We then picked up Janet and John at the airport and checked into the upmarket Bronte Hotel in Harare. Also met up with Barbara and Neville at the hotel, who had flown in from Canada the previous day.
After lunch we headed out to Monavale Vlei which unfortunately was bone dry and with the hot winds and dust, made birding very unpleasant. After an hour at this site we headed across to Marlborough Vlei which was also dry but did have more extensive reed beds and a lot more exciting birds. At Marlborough Vlei we had excellent views of Marsh Owl in flight and on the ground. We also had good views of Senegal Coucal. Dylan then spotted a Rosy-throated Longclaw flying in and we had excellent views of a second bird on the ground. This is a bird that I had very poor views of in Kenya and had never managed to see it in South Africa or Swaziland. It was also an unexpected bird for this time of year and considering the dry conditions, a real bonus. 

Sunday 22nd November: Harare Miombo Woodlands
We left early in the morning to arrive at Christon Bank just after 5:30am in warm and humid conditions with heavy cloud cover. Christon Bank is a small residential area 22 km north of Harare set along amongst rolling hills overlooking the Mazowe River valley. The habitat is primarily Miombo woodland with some riverine forest along the river itself. After the dirty and rundown Harare, it was very pleasant to get into near pristine Miombo woodland and we soon had four Boulder Chat calling and displaying. Other highlights for this area were Little Sparrowhawk, Red-faced Crombec, Miombo Rock Thrush, Western Violet-backed Sunbird and Cabanis’s Bunting.

Boulder Chat in Miombo Woodland
We went back to our hotel in Harare for breakfast, then out to Haka Park, arriving there after 11am. This is an area similar to the Mukuvisi Woodlands and is quite a large area comprising the Cleveland Dam and Haka Game Park itself, a fenced off game area with a large Miombo woodland, vlei, the upper reaches of the dam, grasslands and a drier mixed woodland area. The entrance is off the Mutare road on the eastern side of the Harare.

We managed to get in some good birding before it started to rain hard just after midday. We had the option of going back to the hotel and probably not birding again for the rest of the day or birding in the rain. We elected to do the latter and managed to get some excellent Miombo species in the heavy rain. Highlights included Helmeted Guineafowl, Eurasian Hobby, two Miombo Tit, two African Spotted Creeper and Buffy Pipit. We packed it in just before 3pm and headed back to Harare.

Monday 23rd November: Harare to Nyanga
We packed up and left early in the morning for Haka Park arriving just after 5am. We spent just over two hours in the park in cloudy and cool conditions, following yesterday’s heavy rain, and had some very rewarding birding with just over 50 species recorded. Highlights included two Green-backed Honeybird, Grey-headed Bushshrike, four Miombo Tit, Grey Penduline Tit, Stierling’s Wren-warbler, four Southern Hyliota and three African Spotted Creeper.

Miombo Woodlands at Gosho Park
We then headed east to Gosho Park arriving there just after 10am.  Gosho Park is just east of Marondera, is an excellent Miombo birding spot between Harare and the Eastern Highlands. The Miombo woodlands here are different to Harare, receiving much more moisture from the east in the form of “guti” or mist and the trees are strung with Usnea or old man’s beard. This makes it more attractive to the Cinnamon-breasted Tit which are a feature of the area. We didn’t manage to see or hear any Cinnamon-breasted Tit, which is the most localised of the Miombo specialist avifauna and the most threatened. Recent intensive surveys have located only two Cinnamon-breasted Tit in the entire Gosho Park.

We managed to get just over 50 species in the 2.5 hours at this site with highlights being African Cuckoo-hawk, Whyte’s Barbet, Brown-backed Honeyguide, two Southern Hyliota, Miombo Rock Thrush and Wood Pipit. In addition, we had Common Whitethroat which was an unexpected bonus, and is a locally common Palaearctic migrant arriving November/December.

We continued eastwards to the Nyanga region arriving at the Pine Tree Inn just after 4pm. This accommodation must have been great 30 years ago but is sorely in need of some updating and maintenance. It’s located in a lovely valley overlooking a creek and rocky hills. There were quite a few Eastern Saw-wing, now a subspecies of the Black Saw-wing, around the accommodation and had our first Robert’s Warbler down at the creek. 
Tuesday 24th November: Nyanga to Honde Valley
We had some early morning birding around our accommodation with highlights being distant views of Mottled Swift plus Lesser Honeyguide, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Miombo Tit, Village Weaver (Layard’s) and Yellow-bellied Waxbill. We were standing in an area above the lodge, with a dog barking close to us, when Dylan heard a Garden Warbler. Don’t know how he managed that but his hearing is incredibly good, and we had great views of a bird which was new for my Southern Africa list. 

After breakfast we drove to the Nyanga National Park and had great views of at least four Blue Swallow, a critically endangered bird in South Africa, and one I had travelled to Swaziland the previous year to see. I saw about 14 Blue Swallow in total at Nyanga, at three separate locations, which was fantastic.
We drove down towards the Mutarazi Falls and Dylan was a bit too ambitious and managed to get our van firmly stuck on the awful road. I thought we were going to sleep under the stars that night. Luckily some young Zimbabweans, who had better vehicles and had already been down to the falls, came back to give us assistance. With much manoeuvring, modifying the road, removal of rocks, etc. they managed to tow us up the hill back to decent roads. After this I went off to the river to enjoy the cold water and watch Blue Swallows hawking over the water.

Interesting birds for Nyanga included Augur Buzzard, Giant Kingfisher, Brown-backed Honeybird, Barratt’s Warbler and many Yellow-bellied Waxbill.
Leaving Nyanga at about 2pm we drove to the Honde Valley, which is the premier birding spot of eastern Zimbabwe. Its low altitude likens it to the Haroni-Rusitu because of the various birds that marginally occur in the country from Mozambique. The habitat is largely tea estates but interspersed are rivers with forest and remaining belts of forest, some rising up to the higher levels of the eastern highlands. At the top of the Honde Valley we had great views of Lanner Falcon catching flying ants and eating them whilst in flight.

Lanner Falcon at Honde Valley
Close to our accommodation at Aberfoyle Lodge, I was frustrated at not being able to see anything from the back of the van, so hopped out and walked the last couple of kms to the lodge. Had lovely views of Black Sparrowhawk on the walk. Birding around the lodge we heard Buff-spotted Flufftail from its well-hidden position in the dense scrub and had a Red-throated Twinspot nearby.

Wednesday 25th November: Honde Valley to Bvumba Highlands
We had a very early morning start at 4:30am in some lowland forests close to the lodge. We had a local guide, Morgan, for this part of the tour and he soon produced Marsh Tchagra, Fan-tailed Grassbird and Black-winged Red Bishop in the swampy areas. Further birding in the nearby forested areas produced Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Half-collared Kingfisher, White-eared Barbet, Green-backed Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Grey Waxbill and Magpie Mannikin. At least four Blue-spotted Wood Dove were also heard by myself.   

Back at the lodge there was an enormous breakfast, which was taking far too long time to prepare, so I left early and met up with Morgan, who very kindly told me about Red-faced Crimsonwing. I then had excellent views of two of these lovely birds at the feeder and also about 40 Scarce Swift which were calling and seen in flight over their roosting site, thanks again to Morgan.
We were scheduled to leave at 10am but left an hour later as the rest of the party tried to get the Red-faced Crimsonwing. Of all the places we visited on the trip, the Honde Valley deserved more time and a second night there would have been excellent, with maybe one less day at Seldomseen.  

We drove through to Seldomseen Cottages in the Bvumba Highlands, with a stop in town at Mutare, arriving at about 4pm. This accommodation is situated in lovely gardens with extensive walking trails through the adjacent forests. The food here was excellent, with lovely home cooked meals, however the accommodation needed quite a bit of maintenance.
Had a short walk around the property in the afternoon by myself with White-eared Barbet, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Chirinda Apalis and about four Orange Ground Thrush being seen. There are certainly advantages to birding alone, particularly in a forest, and a lot more satisfying finding the birds.  A short spotlighting session in the evening produced African Wood Owl.

Thursday 26th November: Bvumba Highlands
We had a 5:15am start in the morning with two local guides, Bulawesi and his colleague, who started showing us birds we had already seen. After about 10 minutes with them I headed off by myself to do some birding and had an excellent morning before breakfast seeing the colourful Red-necked Spurfowl (Swynnertoni race), many Livingstone’s Turaco, White-eared Barbet, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Chirinda Apalis, at least eight Orange Ground Thrush and quite a few White-starred Robin.

The rest of the party arrived about an hour late for breakfast and boasted about seeing Buff-spotted Flufftail. As we hadn’t seen this on the pre-tour and as this was one of my key targets, I was bit annoyed. So I skipped breakfast and headed off down the forest trails again by myself and had good views of Lemon Dove on the path a few metres away, Crowned Hornbill, more White-starred Robin and four Olive Bushshrike.
Towards midday I took a long trail down the hill in the heat of the day. The birding was very quiet, so wasn’t having much luck with my Flufftail search. Close to giving up for the morning, I crossed a small trickle of water and heard a single call of a Buff-spotted Flufftail. I backtracked and played its call once to which it immediately responded. I then saw it a couple of meters from where I was standing and had fantastic views as it walked slowly around me in a circle, made a dash across the path and then continued walking slowly on the other side.  So that was the best experience I have ever had with Flufftails and quite exhilarating. I did show Barbara and Neville the site the next afternoon and we managed to hear it again and get very brief, unsatisfactory views. Dylan tried to show Janet and John the Flufftail on the last day at this site and some other sites, but wasn’t successful.

In the afternoon the rest of the group went off birding somewhere and I stayed behind relaxing at the lodge grounds.
Friday 27th November: Bvumba Highlands
Before breakfast we drove down to the Whitehorse Inn area and saw some good birds including Narina Trogon, Whyte’s Barbet, Miombo Tit, Terrestrial Brownbul, Garden Warbler, Red-throated Twinspot and Striped Pipit. Heading back to the Seldomseen Cottages we stopped at a roadside forest and our local guides found Swynnerton’s Robin, which showed off its white crescent throat nicely as it moved around the forest floor.

After breakfast, I did some birding with Barbara and Neville around the lodge grounds but compared to the previous day, it was a lot hotter and not nearly as rewarding.
At 2pm we drove down to the golf course at Leopard Rock Lodge to try for Silvery-cheeked Hornbill which we unfortunately couldn’t find. It was very hot in the afternoon and birding was tough, although we did see Crowned Eagle, African Goshawk, White-eared Barbet, good views of Mottled Swift, Bronzy Sunbird and Dark-backed Weaver. We then had some much needed drinks back at the clubhouse before heading back to our lodgings.

Saturday 28th November: Bvumba to Gorongosa
Had a bit of birding around the lodge with an African Harrier-hawk (Gymnogene) flying over just over our heads.  After an early breakfast we drove to the nearby Mozambique border crossing at Machipanda. The Zimbabwe side took a few minutes to get through and what a pleasure compared to Beit Bridge. With a South African passport or a valid Mozambique visa it only takes 5 to 10 minutes to get through the Mozambique border controls. South African passport holders don’t need visas for Zimbabwe or Mozambique.

Since October 2014, Mozambique visas are no longer available on arrival and must be obtained in advance. As with the Canadians experience, getting a Mozambique visa takes time and is an expensive process, and as Canada doesn’t have a Mozambique Consulate or Embassy, application has to be made in the USA or UK. Two of our party hadn’t organised visas beforehand and were very lucky to get a visa on arrival, although it did take over an hour with lots of discussion, fingerprints and photographs taken, applications to be completed and payments made.
I think that birding tour companies should insist on getting proof of visas before commencement of a trip. If Mozambique had refused to grant a visa on arrival, which had been their policy for over a year, then that would have been a major disruption for the tour. Considering that most only had a single entry visa for Zimbabwe, we would have been stuck in no-man’s land whilst arrangements were made for others to get back to Mutare and then South Africa.

After a long drive through Chimoio and Inchope, a quick stop to buy lunch at a supermarket, plus many stops at ATM’s to try and get cash, we arrived at Gorongosa Adventuras by mid-afternoon. The hosts, Piet and Ria van Zyl gave us a very warm welcome. It was good to chat with them and find out about Mozambique and some of the many challenges living there. They were exceptional hosts, providing the best meals of the trip with good traditional Afrikaans cooking, such as pap & wors, milk tart etc.
Some birding in the afternoon produced African Wood Owl (roosting near the dining area), Broad-billed Roller, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Pale Batis, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Red-faced Crombec, Stierling’s Wren-warbler, Red-winged Warbler, Miombo Blue-eared Starling and Purple-banded Sunbird.

The campsite had huge tents with large verandas, with a separate toilet/shower block. So whilst rustic they were quite comfortable, although the lack of a fan made it quite hot in the evenings. Being located next to Gorongosa National Park, there was plenty of good birding to be had. I preferred doing my own walks in the extensive bushveld around the campsite instead of using the van. I found several of my target birds, which very satisfying, and didn’t miss out on any targets.

Sunday 29th November: Mount Gorongosa
We left very early for our drive up to Mount Gorongosa in a single vehicle with four adults squashed into the back. Access to Mount Gorongosa had been arranged by Piet van Zyl and the track was very rough necessitating a very slow drive up to a picnic area and then a few kms walk up to the forest edge.

Ken, Pat, Barbara and Neville - Mount Gorongosa

The highland forests of Mount Gorongosa are well known for their isolated population of Green-headed Oriole (endemic subspecies speculifer), distinguished by its white wing spot. The Green-headed Oriole also occurs patchily in Southeast Kenya and Eastern Tanzania (subspecies amani) and in Southern Malawi and Central Mozambique at Mt Chipperone (subspecies chlorocephalus). Consistent with many trip reports, it took well over an hour and a lot of patience to get glimpses of the birds in the high canopy. We did eventually get very brief views of at least three birds, both immature and adult birds. Quite a few were also heard and I estimated about eight birds seen and heard.

On the walk up, Ken was at the back of the party and noticed an unusual bird. Dylan said it was probably a Cisticola or Stonechat. However, Ken insisted it was something different and when we went back to have a look, Dylan got very excited and ID’d it as a Whinchat. This was a mega sighting for Southern Africa and was about the 20th record for Southern Africa, with the last one being in December 2013 near Percy Fyfe Nature Reserve in Limpopo Province. The Whinchat remained at this site until at least 23 December 2015 and twitched by over 50 birders (SA Rare Bird Alerts – Trevor Hardaker). Considering the remoteness of the site and difficulty in getting there, that’s pretty impressive.

Whinchat on Mount Gorongosa

Other good birds included European Honey Buzzard, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, 14 Blue-spotted Dove, Eurasian Hobby, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Marsh Tchagra, Moustached Grass Warbler, Black-winged Red Bishop, Green Twinspot, Red-throated Twinspot, Jameson’s Firefinch, Grey Waxbill and Brimstone Canary.
  
In hindsight we should have spent more time at Mount Gorongosa or at least visited a second time. We missed out on the Eurasian Blackcap and the Corncrake which were reported there at about the same time, plus Lesser Seedcracker (mega bastard according to Dylan) which eluded us for the entire trip.

Back at camp we had some late afternoon birding around the campsite with Brown-headed Parrot and Eastern Nicator being seen. After dinner we had a night drive with Spotted Eagle-owl, European Nightjar and Square-tailed Nightjar being seen. On the way back to camp, I think Dylan was the only one awake after a very long day.
Monday 30th November: Gorongosa
Today I birded by myself from early morning through to early afternoon and didn’t go on any of the group trips, which included another night drive. Birding around the campsite and adjacent woodland areas was very rewarding, with 55 species recorded, including Bateleur, Lizard Buzzard, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Wood Owl, Broad-billed Roller, Woodland Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Crowned Hornbill, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Bearded Woodpecker, Retz’s Helmetshrike, African Golden Oriole, Scarlet-chested Sunbird and Purple-banded Sunbird.

I did spend quite a bit of time walking along dry river beds looking for Pel’s Fishing Owl and Collared Palm Thrush but didn’t have any luck.
The highlight for the morning was a Speckle-throated Woodpecker, also known as Reichenow's Woodpecker, an East African woodpecker often considered a subspecies of Bennett's woodpecker.  In Mozambique it’s restricted to open broad-leaved woodland between Beira and the lower Zambezi river. This was an adult female with whitish throat and faint black malar stripe with white spots. It’s very similar to the Bennett’s Woodpecker both in appearance and call. Spotting on the underparts separates it from a Golden-tailed Woodpecker and it’s also significantly larger than the Green-backed Woodpecker. 

So other than some relaxing and enjoyable birding, I only managed one new bird, and didn’t miss out on any birds that the group saw. Hence the earlier comments that a second trip to Mount Gorongosa would have been more rewarding, given its unique habitat and recent sightings.
Tuesday 1st December: Gorongosa to M’Phingwe
Did some birding by myself before breakfast with sightings of Stierling’s Wren-warbler, a female Purple-banded Sunbird feeding chicks and Cabanis’s Bunting. At one stage I thought I had a Yellow-bellied Hyliota but this is a bird that is easily confused with Southern Hyliota. There are historical records from a small region of suitable habitat north of Dondo (20km NW of Beira) however there have only been a few unconfirmed sightings in recent years. Talking with Etienne Marais at M’Phingwe these sightings are far more likely to have been of Southern Hyliota.  

After breakfast, we drove northwest to arrive at M’Phingwe Camp after midday in the heat of the day. This lovely camp is close to Caia on the Zambezi River, which provides excellent accommodation in spacious chalets, an open air dining area and wooded camp grounds. A brief roadside stop on the way in produced a pair of Collared Palm Thrush at a creek crossing.

African Wood Owl at M'Phingwe Camp
Etienne Marais kindly let us know where he had seen African Pitta and after lunch we headed off in very hot conditions. The key birding area was in broad-leaved woodland on either side of the sandy road running through the massive hunting concession, Coutada 12. Birding in the area produced Southern Banded Snake Eagle, African Wood Owl in the camp, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Brown-necked Parrot (Grey-headed subspecies), Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike and Red-backed Mannikin, with the highlight being an African Hobby in the road which then flew off.
Towards sunset I thought I heard a Pitta moving on the forest floor and dived into the forest but didn’t see anything. Dylan then indicated that he could hear a Pitta, so we moved towards the area it had been calling from. I was trailing a bit behind the group and saw Dylan pointing up into the trees. I then had excellent views, through a gap in the leaves, of the displaying African Pitta. A second bird was also heard calling from the same area.

African Pitta (photo by Dylan Vasapolli)
The African Pitta is an intra-African migrant between equatorial and south-eastern Africa. They are elusive and hard to observe despite their brightly coloured plumage, and their loud, explosive calls are infrequently heard. African Pitta forage on leaf litter under the canopy of riparian or coastal forest where they may stand motionless for long periods. Displaying birds utter a far-carrying and explosive "quoip" as they leap from a lateral branch in mid-canopy. The actual display involves hopping up vertically (up to about 0.5m) from the branch and then landing in the same spot, whilst making a buzzing sound with its wings which are opened and seem to hang down once the bird lands.
That was a relief to see the African Pitta, our main target for the trip, and one we thought may be difficult given that the rains in Mozambique hadn’t commenced yet. 

Wednesday 2nd December: M’Phingwe and Caia
We left very early in the morning for Coutada 12 road with three more African Pitta being seen, one up in a tree and two others hopping across the path in front of us. We had at least one more calling, so had at least four African Pitta for the morning, something quite special.

African Pitta (photo by Dylan Vasapolli)
Other highlights included Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Green Malkoha, Common Cuckoo, Mangrove Kingfisher, Trumpeter Hornbill, Woodward’s Batis, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Black-headed Apalis, Black-bellied Starling with the shy and unobtrusive East Coast Akalat heard several times and seen briefly flitting between bushes.   

After lunch we did some birding at wetlands close to Caia and along the Zambezi River. Interesting birds included about 40 Collared Pratincole, Moustached Grass Warbler and Rufous-winged Cisticola.

Thursday 3rd December: M’Phingwe
Another very early morning along the Coutada 12 road with a focus on the East Coast Akalat and White-chested Alethe. The latter bird is a hard one to get good views of, being a shy bird it will respond to call but will typically remain in the dense bush. We heard the bird calling many times and had a brief flyover, with the white chest quite visible in flight. Whilst it was tickable it wasn’t particularly satisfactory, and we spent well over an hour trying to get better views. The East Coast Akalat was however a lot more cooperative and we saw it briefly a number of times and I also had it perched up on a branch in front of me, giving excellent views.

Other highlights included Mangrove Kingfisher, Southern Carmine Bee-eater and Lowland Tiny Greenbul. A number of the highly sought after species found in the Zambezi Delta area can also be seen further up the east coast of Africa, and for example I have seen the Lowland Tiny Greenbul, Plain-backed Sunbird and East Coast Akalat at the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest near Malindi in Kenya.   
In the afternoon we visited some wetlands fairly close to M’Phingwe, which were in far better condition than the wetlands close to Caia, and we were rewarded with Allen’s Gallinule, extended views of a Common Buttonquail walking on the ground, Senegal Lapwing, Lesser Jacana, Grey-rumped Swallow, Rufous-winged Cisticola and Plain-backed Sunbird. We did try for Short-winged Cisticola but weren’t successful and didn’t manage to see this bird for the trip.  

Friday 4th December: M’Phingwe to Beira
We took an early morning walk down to a small lake 2km from M’Phingwe Camp, which was very pleasant. Interesting sightings included Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Lesser Jacana, six Tambourine Dove at the water’s edge, Black-bellied Starling and four Red-throated Twinspot. 
 
Juvenile African Wood Owl at M'Phingwe Camp

After breakfast we took the 6.5-hour drive to Beira along a 200km sandy road. Quite a tedious drive with a few short birding breaks along the way, which produced Crowned Eagle, Ayres’s Hawk-eagle, Shikra and Stierling’s Wren-warbler. On the outskirts of Beira, Dylan stopped off at a breeding site for Bat Hawk and there were a pair in residence.

We headed straight to the Rio Savane area arriving at about 3pm. In the wet season this is a vast area of wetlands however it was bone dry at the time of our visit, so we missed out on a number of species such as Rufous-bellied Heron. We did however get excellent views of a Blue Quail as it flushed up from moist grasslands and flew alongside about 5 to 10m away. We also had a brief and unsatisfactory view of Black-rumped Buttonquail.

Just before 6pm we had a quick stop at Beira Beach which was very dirty with litter. There were a whole lot of waders quite some way off and we didn’t attempt to get closer. We did see House Crow which was new for the trip.
We checked into our accommodation at Jardim das Velas which was quite spacious and comfortable. I did find out later that my door had been forced open previously and wouldn’t shut properly, so not particularly secure given the area we were staying in.  We went to a local fish restaurant, next to the beach, in the evening as a wrap-up for the trip. 

Saturday 5th December: Rio Savane, Beira
We had an early morning visit to Rio Savane for about 4 hours. This time we managed to get excellent and extended views of Black-rumped Buttonquail in flight. Other excellent species included Wattled Crane, Temminck’s Courser, Collared Pratincole, four Copper Sunbird and African Quailfinch. The outstanding bird of the day was Locust Finch and after flushing about six birds we managed to get to within 1 to 2m of the birds on the ground. I spotted a female Locust Finch right in front of me. The bright red bill, red rump/tail and white spotting on the back are quite vibrant colours and the field guides don’t do this bird justice.

We did miss out on that mega bastard, the Lesser Seedcraker, and Etienne Marais managed to see and photograph one a few days later.
We then went back to the hotel to have breakfast and get ready for our flight to Johannesburg. We were all booked on SAA’s Airlink flight, which leaves at 1:30 pm and provides a good service back to Johannesburg. After Dylan dropped us off at the airport, he had the long drive via Zimbabwe, back to Johannesburg. There were a few curios at the airport and I bought a nicely carved Rhino and hematite necklace.

Flying out of Beira, we headed north over the Rio Savane area and over an extensive river delta. The beaches along this part of the coast were pristine not like the ones around Beira. Flying over Mozambique, there wasn’t much to see except bush. Once we crossed over the Kruger Park, we got to see extensive farms, towns, roads and other signs of civilisation.
Overall it was an outstanding birding trip, with many hard-to-get species seen which have been on my wish list for a long time, so thanks to the sterling efforts and capable guiding provided by Dylan.   

Birding Resources
Birding Gauteng by Etienne Marais and Faansie Peacock, first edition 2008

Roberts VII Birds of Southern Africa iPhone App version 2 designed by Guy Gibbon
SASOL Birds of Southern Africa iPhone App

Of the electronic field guides, Roberts VII is the superior field guide, having the best illustrations, bird calls, photos and the latest distribution maps based on SABAP2. In addition, this field guide has a lot of detail on the birding habitats, has colour coded distribution maps which show seasonal variation, plus shows the distribution and provides a description of all the subspecies.


Birds
The list of birds according to latest IOC taxonomy, December 2015, was as follows:

STRUTHIONIFORMES

Ostriches (Struthionidae)

Common Ostrich [sp] (Struthio camelus)

ANSERIFORMES

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)

Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)

Spur-winged Goose [sp] (Plectropterus gambensis)

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)

Cape Teal (Anas capensis)

African Black Duck [sp] (Anas sparsa)

Yellow-billed Duck [sp] (Anas undulata)

Cape Shoveler (Anas smithii)

Red-billed Teal (Anas erythrorhyncha)

Hottentot Teal (Anas hottentota)

GALLIFORMES

Guineafowl (Numididae)

Helmeted Guineafowl [sp] (Numida meleagris)

Crested Guineafowl [sp] (Guttera pucherani)

Pheasants and allies (Phasianidae)

Red-winged Francolin [sp] (Scleroptila levaillantii)

Orange River Francolin [sp] (Scleroptila gutturalis)

Crested Francolin [sp] (Dendroperdix sephaena)

Natal Spurfowl [sp] (Pternistis natalensis)

Red-necked Spurfowl [sp] (Pternistis afer)

Swainson's Spurfowl [sp] (Pternistis swainsonii)

Blue Quail (Excalfactoria adansonii)

PODICIPEDIFORMES

Grebes (Podicipedidae)

Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)

PHOENICOPTERIFORMES

Flamingos (Phoenicopteridae)

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

CICONIIFORMES

Storks (Ciconiidae)

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)

African Openbill [sp] (Anastomus lamelligerus)

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)

Abdim's Stork (Ciconia abdimii)

Woolly-necked Stork [sp] (Ciconia episcopus)

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer)

PELECANIFORMES

Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

Hadada Ibis [sp] (Bostrychia hagedash)

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)

White-backed Night Heron (Gorsachius leuconotus)

Black-crowned Night Heron [sp] (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)

Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala)

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath)

Purple Heron [sp] (Ardea purpurea)

Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)

Intermediate Egret [sp] (Egretta intermedia)

Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca)

Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)

Hamerkop (Scopidae)

Hamerkop [sp] (Scopus umbretta)

SULIFORMES

Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)

Reed Cormorant [sp] (Microcarbo africanus)

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus)

Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)

African Darter [sp] (Anhinga rufa)

ACCIPITRIFORMES

Ospreys (Pandionidae)

Western Osprey [sp] (Pandion haliaetus)

Kites, Hawks and Eagles (Accipitridae)

Black-winged Kite [sp] (Elanus caeruleus)

African Harrier-hawk [sp] (Polyboroides typus)

European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)

African Cuckoo-hawk [sp] (Aviceda cuculoides)

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus)

Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres)

Black-chested Snake Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)

Brown Snake Eagle (Circaetus cinereus)

Southern Banded Snake Eagle (Circaetus fasciolatus)

Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus)

Bat Hawk [sp] (Macheiramphus alcinus)

Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus)

Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)

Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis)

Wahlberg's Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

Ayres's Hawk-eagle (Hieraaetus ayresii)

Tawny Eagle [sp] (Aquila rapax)

Lizard Buzzard [sp] (Kaupifalco monogrammicus)

Gabar Goshawk [sp] (Micronisus gabar)

Dark Chanting Goshawk [sp] (Melierax metabates)

Pale Chanting Goshawk [sp] (Melierax canorus)

African Goshawk [sp] (Accipiter tachiro)

Shikra [sp] (Accipiter badius)

Little Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter minullus)

Ovambo Sparrowhawk (Accipiter ovampensis)

Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter rufiventris)

Black Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter melanoleucus)

African Marsh Harrier (Circus ranivorus)

Yellow-billed Kite [sp] (Milvus aegyptius)

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)

Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)

Augur Buzzard (Buteo augur)

OTIDIFORMES

Bustards (Otididae)

Kori Bustard [sp] (Ardeotis kori)

Denham's Bustard [sp] (Neotis denhami)

Red-crested Korhaan (Lophotis ruficrista)

Northern Black Korhaan [sp] (Afrotis afraoides)

Black-bellied Bustard [sp] (Lissotis melanogaster)

GRUIFORMES

Flufftails (Sarothruridae)

Buff-spotted Flufftail [sp] (Sarothrura elegans)

Red-chested Flufftail [sp] (Sarothrura rufa)

Striped Flufftail [sp] (Sarothrura affinis)

Finfoots (Heliornithidae)

African Finfoot [sp] (Podica senegalensis)

Rails, Crakes and Coots (Rallidae)

African Rail (Rallus caerulescens)

Black Crake (Amaurornis flavirostra)

African Swamphen (Porphyrio madagascariensis)

Allen's Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni)

Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)

Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata)

Cranes (Gruidae)

Wattled Crane (Grus carunculata)

CHARADRIIFORMES

Buttonquail (Turnicidae)

Common Buttonquail [sp] (Turnix sylvaticus)

Black-rumped Buttonquail (Turnix nanus)

Stone-curlews, Thick-knees (Burhinidae)

Water Thick-knee [sp] (Burhinus vermiculatus)

Spotted Thick-knee [sp] (Burhinus capensis)

Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Plovers (Charadriidae)

Blacksmith Lapwing (Vanellus armatus)

Senegal Lapwing (Vanellus lugubris)

Black-winged Lapwing [sp] (Vanellus melanopterus)

Crowned Lapwing [sp] (Vanellus coronatus)

African Wattled Lapwing [sp] (Vanellus senegallus)

Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)

Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)

Kittlitz's Plover (Charadrius pecuarius)

Three-banded Plover [sp] (Charadrius tricollaris)

Caspian Plover (Charadrius asiaticus)

Jacanas (Jacanidae)

Lesser Jacana (Microparra capensis)

African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus)

Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)

African Snipe [sp] (Gallinago nigripennis)

Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)

Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)

Temminck's Courser [sp] (Cursorius temminckii)

Double-banded Courser [sp] (Rhinoptilus africanus)

Collared Pratincole [sp] (Glareola pratincola)

Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)

Gulls, Terns and Skimmers (Laridae)

Grey-headed Gull [sp] (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus)

Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)

Whiskered Tern [sp] (Chlidonias hybrida)

White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

PTEROCLIFORMES

Sandgrouse (Pteroclidae)

Double-banded Sandgrouse [sp] (Pterocles bicinctus)

COLUMBIFORMES

Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)

Speckled Pigeon [sp] (Columba guinea)

African Olive Pigeon (Columba arquatrix)

Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon [sp] (Columba delegorguei)

Lemon Dove [sp] (Columba larvata)

Mourning Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decipiens)

Red-eyed Dove (Streptopelia semitorquata)

Ring-necked Dove [sp] (Streptopelia capicola)

Laughing Dove [sp] (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Emerald-spotted Wood Dove (Turtur chalcospilos)

Blue-spotted Wood Dove (Turtur afer)

Tambourine Dove (Turtur tympanistria)

Namaqua Dove [sp] (Oena capensis)

African Green Pigeon [sp] (Treron calvus)

MUSOPHAGIFORMES

Turacos (Musophagidae)

Livingstone's Turaco [sp] (Tauraco livingstonii)

Knysna Turaco [sp] (Tauraco corythaix)

Purple-crested Turaco [sp] (Tauraco porphyreolophus)

Grey Go-away-bird [sp] (Corythaixoides concolor)

CUCULIFORMES

Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Senegal Coucal [sp] (Centropus senegalensis)

Burchell's Coucal [sp] (Centropus burchellii)

Green Malkoha (Ceuthmochares australis)

Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)

Jacobin Cuckoo [sp] (Clamator jacobinus)

Diederik Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius)

Klaas's Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx klaas)

African Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx cupreus)

Black Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus clamosus)

Red-chested Cuckoo (Cuculus solitarius)

African Cuckoo (Cuculus gularis)

Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)

STRIGIFORMES

Barn Owls (Tytonidae)

Western Barn Owl [sp] (Tyto alba)

Owls (Strigidae)

Southern White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis granti)

Cape Eagle-owl [sp] (Bubo capensis)

Spotted Eagle-owl [sp] (Bubo africanus)

African Wood Owl [sp] (Strix woodfordii)

Pearl-spotted Owlet [sp] (Glaucidium perlatum)

African Barred Owlet [sp] (Glaucidium capense)

Marsh Owl [sp] (Asio capensis)

CAPRIMULGIFORMES

Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

European Nightjar [sp] (Caprimulgus europaeus)

Fiery-necked Nightjar [sp] (Caprimulgus pectoralis)

Freckled Nightjar [sp] (Caprimulgus tristigma)

Square-tailed Nightjar [sp] (Caprimulgus fossii)

Apodiformes

Swifts (Apodidae)

Scarce Swift [sp] (Schoutedenapus myoptilus)

African Palm Swift [sp] (Cypsiurus parvus)

Alpine Swift [sp] (Tachymarptis melba)

Mottled Swift [sp] (Tachymarptis aequatorialis)

African Black Swift [sp] (Apus barbatus)

Little Swift [sp] (Apus affinis)

White-rumped Swift (Apus caffer)

COLIIFORMES

Mousebirds (Coliidae)

Speckled Mousebird [sp] (Colius striatus)

White-backed Mousebird [sp] (Colius colius)

Red-faced Mousebird [sp] (Urocolius indicus)

TROGONIFORMES

Trogons (Trogonidae)

Narina Trogon [sp] (Apaloderma narina)

CORACIIFORMES

Rollers (Coraciidae)

Purple Roller [sp] (Coracias naevius)

Lilac-breasted Roller [sp] (Coracias caudatus)

European Roller [sp] (Coracias garrulus)

Broad-billed Roller [sp] (Eurystomus glaucurus)

Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Grey-headed Kingfisher [sp] (Halcyon leucocephala)

Brown-hooded Kingfisher [sp] (Halcyon albiventris)

Striped Kingfisher [sp] (Halcyon chelicuti)

Woodland Kingfisher [sp] (Halcyon senegalensis)

Mangrove Kingfisher (Halcyon senegaloides)

African Pygmy Kingfisher [sp] (Ispidina picta)

Malachite Kingfisher [sp] (Corythornis cristatus)

Half-collared Kingfisher (Alcedo semitorquata)

Giant Kingfisher [sp] (Megaceryle maxima)

Pied Kingfisher [sp] (Ceryle rudis)

Bee-eaters (Meropidae)

Little Bee-eater [sp] (Merops pusillus)

White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides)

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater [sp] (Merops persicus)

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)

Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides)

BUCEROTIFORMES

Hoopoes (Upupidae)

African Hoopoe (Upupa africana)

Wood Hoopoes (Phoeniculidae)

Green Wood Hoopoe [sp] (Phoeniculus purpureus)

Common Scimitarbill [sp] (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)

Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Southern Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus rufirostris)

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill [sp] (Tockus leucomelas)

Crowned Hornbill (Lophoceros alboterminatus)

African Grey Hornbill [sp] (Lophoceros nasutus)

Trumpeter Hornbill (Bycanistes bucinator)

PICIFORMES

African Barbets (Lybiidae)

White-eared Barbet [sp] (Stactolaema leucotis)

Whyte's Barbet [sp] (Stactolaema whytii)

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird [sp] (Pogoniulus bilineatus)

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird [sp] (Pogoniulus chrysoconus)

Acacia Pied Barbet [sp] (Tricholaema leucomelas)

Black-collared Barbet [sp] (Lybius torquatus)

Crested Barbet [sp] (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

Honeyguides (Indicatoridae)

Green-backed Honeybird [sp] (Prodotiscus zambesiae)

Brown-backed Honeybird [sp] (Prodotiscus regulus)

Lesser Honeyguide [sp] (Indicator minor)

Scaly-throated Honeyguide (Indicator variegatus)

Greater Honeyguide (Indicator indicator)

Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Speckle-throated Woodpecker (Campethera scriptoricauda)

Golden-tailed Woodpecker [sp] (Campethera abingoni)

Green-backed Woodpecker [sp] (Campethera cailliautii)

Cardinal Woodpecker [sp] (Dendropicos fuscescens)

Bearded Woodpecker [sp] (Dendropicos namaquus)

Olive Woodpecker [sp] (Dendropicos griseocephalus)

FALCONIFORMES

Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)

Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)

Rock Kestrel (Falco rupicolus)

Dickinson's Kestrel (Falco dickinsoni)

Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis)

Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)

African Hobby (Falco cuvierii)

Lanner Falcon [sp] (Falco biarmicus)

PSITTACIFORMES

African and New World Parrots (Psittacidae)

Brown-necked Parrot [sp] (Poicephalus fuscicollis)

Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus)

Meyer's Parrot [sp] (Poicephalus meyeri)

Brown-headed Parrot [sp] (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus)

PASSERIFORMES

Broadbills (Eurylaimidae)

African Broadbill [sp] (Smithornis capensis)

Pittas (Pittidae)

African Pitta [sp] (Pitta angolensis)

Wattle-eyes, Batises (Platysteiridae)

Cape Batis [sp] (Batis capensis)

Woodward's Batis (Batis fratrum)

Chinspot Batis [sp] (Batis molitor)

Pale Batis (Batis soror)

Black-throated Wattle-eye [sp] (Platysteira peltata)

Helmetshrikes (Prionopidae)

White-crested Helmetshrike [sp] (Prionops plumatus)

Retz's Helmetshrike [sp] (Prionops retzii)

Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike [sp] (Prionops scopifrons)

Bushshrikes (Malaconotidae)

Grey-headed Bushshrike [sp] (Malaconotus blanchoti)

Black-fronted Bushshrike [sp] (Chlorophoneus nigrifrons)

Olive Bushshrike [sp] (Chlorophoneus olivaceus)

Orange-breasted Bushshrike [sp] (Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus)

Bokmakierie [sp] (Telophorus zeylonus)

Marsh Tchagra [sp] (Bocagia minuta)

Brown-crowned Tchagra [sp] (Tchagra australis)

Black-crowned Tchagra [sp] (Tchagra senegalus)

Black-backed Puffback [sp] (Dryoscopus cubla)

Tropical Boubou [sp] (Laniarius major)

Southern Boubou [sp] (Laniarius ferrugineus)

Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus)

Brubru [sp] (Nilaus afer)

Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Grey Cuckooshrike [sp] (Coracina caesia)

White-breasted Cuckooshrike (Coracina pectoralis)

Black Cuckooshrike (Campephaga flava)

Shrikes (Laniidae)

Magpie Shrike [sp] (Urolestes melanoleucus)

Southern White-crowned Shrike [sp] (Eurocephalus anguitimens)

Red-backed Shrike [sp] (Lanius collurio)

Southern Fiscal [sp] (Lanius collaris)

Figbirds, Orioles (Oriolidae)

African Golden Oriole [sp] (Oriolus auratus)

Green-headed Oriole [sp] (Oriolus chlorocephalus)

Black-headed Oriole [sp] (Oriolus larvatus)

Drongos (Dicruridae)

Square-tailed Drongo [sp] (Dicrurus ludwigii)

Fork-tailed Drongo [sp] (Dicrurus adsimilis)

Monarchs (Monarchidae)

Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher [sp] (Trochocercus cyanomelas)

African Paradise Flycatcher [sp] (Terpsiphone viridis)

Crows, Jays (Corvidae)

House Crow [sp] (Corvus splendens)

Cape Crow [sp] (Corvus capensis)

Pied Crow (Corvus albus)

White-necked Raven (Corvus albicollis)

Fairy Flycatchers (Stenostiridae)

White-tailed Crested Flycatcher [sp] (Elminia albonotata)

Tits, Chickadees (Paridae)

Southern Black Tit [sp] (Melaniparus niger)

Miombo Tit (Melaniparus griseiventris)

Penduline Tits (Remizidae)

Grey Penduline Tit [sp] (Anthoscopus caroli)

Cape Penduline Tit [sp] (Anthoscopus minutus)

Nicators (Nicatoridae)

Eastern Nicator (Nicator gularis)

Larks (Alaudidae)

Spike-heeled Lark [sp] (Chersomanes albofasciata)

Short-clawed Lark (Certhilauda chuana)

Eastern Long-billed Lark [sp] (Certhilauda semitorquata)

Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark [sp] (Eremopterix leucotis)

Grey-backed Sparrow-lark [sp] (Eremopterix verticalis)

Sabota Lark [sp] (Calendulauda sabota)

Rufous-naped Lark [sp] (Mirafra africana)

Flappet Lark [sp] (Mirafra rufocinnamomea)

Red-capped Lark [sp] (Calandrella cinerea)

Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Dark-capped Bulbul [sp] (Pycnonotus tricolor)

Stripe-cheeked Greenbul (Arizelocichla milanjensis)

Sombre Greenbul [sp] (Andropadus importunus)

Yellow-bellied Greenbul [sp] (Chlorocichla flaviventris)

Terrestrial Brownbul [sp] (Phyllastrephus terrestris)

Yellow-streaked Greenbul [sp] (Phyllastrephus flavostriatus)

Lowland Tiny Greenbul [sp] (Phyllastrephus debilis)

Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)

Black Saw-wing [sp] (Psalidoprocne pristoptera)

Grey-rumped Swallow [sp] (Pseudhirundo griseopyga)

Brown-throated Martin [sp] (Riparia paludicola)

Banded Martin [sp] (Riparia cincta)

Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)

White-throated Swallow (Hirundo albigularis)

Wire-tailed Swallow [sp] (Hirundo smithii)

Blue Swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea)

Pearl-breasted Swallow [sp] (Hirundo dimidiata)

Rock Martin [sp] (Ptyonoprogne fuligula)

Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)

Greater Striped Swallow (Cecropis cucullata)

Lesser Striped Swallow [sp] (Cecropis abyssinica)

Red-breasted Swallow [sp] (Cecropis semirufa)

South African Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon spilodera)

Crombecs, African warblers (Macrosphenidae)

Moustached Grass Warbler [sp] (Melocichla mentalis)

Cape Grassbird [sp] (Sphenoeacus afer)

Red-faced Crombec [sp] (Sylvietta whytii)

Long-billed Crombec [sp] (Sylvietta rufescens)

Yellow Flycatchers (Erythrocercidae)

Livingstone's Flycatcher [sp] (Erythrocercus livingstonei)

Leaf warblers and allies (Phylloscopidae)

Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus ruficapilla)

Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Reed warblers and allies (Acrocephalidae)

Lesser Swamp Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus gracilirostris)

African Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus baeticatus)

African Yellow Warbler [sp] (Iduna natalensis)

Grassbirds and allies (Locustellidae)

Little Rush Warbler [sp] (Bradypterus baboecala)

Barratt's Warbler [sp] (Bradypterus barratti)

Fan-tailed Grassbird [sp] (Schoenicola brevirostris)

Cisticolas and Allies (Cisticolidae)

Red-faced Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola erythrops)

Singing Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola cantans)

Lazy Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola aberrans)

Rattling Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola chiniana)

Wailing Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola lais)

Rufous-winged Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola galactotes)

Levaillant's Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola tinniens)

Croaking Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola natalensis)

Neddicky [sp] (Cisticola fulvicapilla)

Zitting Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola juncidis)

Desert Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola aridulus)

Cloud Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola textrix)

Wing-snapping Cisticola [sp] (Cisticola ayresii)

Tawny-flanked Prinia [sp] (Prinia subflava)

Black-chested Prinia [sp] (Prinia flavicans)

Drakensberg Prinia (Prinia hypoxantha)

Roberts's Warbler (Oreophilais robertsi)

Red-winged Warbler [sp] (Heliolais erythropterus)

Bar-throated Apalis [sp] (Apalis thoracica)

Yellow-breasted Apalis [sp] (Apalis flavida)

Black-headed Apalis [sp] (Apalis melanocephala)

Chirinda Apalis [sp] (Apalis chirindensis)

Green-backed Camaroptera [sp] (Camaroptera brachyura)

Grey-backed Camaroptera [sp] (Camaroptera brevicaudata)

Stierling's Wren-warbler [sp] (Calamonastes stierlingi)

Barred Wren-warbler [sp] (Calamonastes fasciolatus)

Green-capped Eremomela [sp] (Eremomela scotops)

Burnt-necked Eremomela [sp] (Eremomela usticollis)

Laughingthrushes (Leiothrichidae)

Arrow-marked Babbler [sp] (Turdoides jardineii)

Southern Pied Babbler (Turdoides bicolor)

Sylviid Babblers (Sylviidae)

Garden Warbler [sp] (Sylvia borin)

Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)

Chestnut-vented Warbler [sp] (Sylvia subcaerulea)

White-eyes (Zosteropidae)

Cape White-eye [sp] (Zosterops virens)

African Yellow White-eye [sp] (Zosterops senegalensis)

Hyliotas (Hyliotidae)

Southern Hyliota [sp] (Hyliota australis)

Treecreepers (Certhiidae)

African Spotted Creeper [sp] (Salpornis salvadori)

Starlings, Rhabdornis (Sturnidae)

Common Myna [sp] (Acridotheres tristis)

Wattled Starling (Creatophora cinerea)

Black-bellied Starling [sp] (Notopholia corrusca)

Cape Starling [sp] (Lamprotornis nitens)

Greater Blue-eared Starling [sp] (Lamprotornis chalybaeus)

Miombo Blue-eared Starling (Lamprotornis elisabeth)

Meves's Starling [sp] (Lamprotornis mevesii)

Burchell's Starling (Lamprotornis australis)

Pied Starling (Lamprotornis bicolor)

Violet-backed Starling [sp] (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster)

Red-winged Starling [sp] (Onychognathus morio)

Oxpeckers (Buphagidae)

Red-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorynchus)

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Orange Ground Thrush [sp] (Geokichla gurneyi)

Groundscraper Thrush [sp] (Turdus litsitsirupa)

Kurrichane Thrush [sp] (Turdus libonyana)

Olive Thrush [sp] (Turdus olivaceus)

Karoo Thrush (Turdus smithi)

Chats, Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae)

Bearded Scrub Robin [sp] (Cercotrichas quadrivirgata)

White-browed Scrub Robin [sp] (Cercotrichas leucophrys)

Grey Tit-flycatcher [sp] (Myioparus plumbeus)

Southern Black Flycatcher [sp] (Melaenornis pammelaina)

Pale Flycatcher [sp] (Melaenornis pallidus)

Marico Flycatcher [sp] (Melaenornis mariquensis)

Spotted Flycatcher [sp] (Muscicapa striata)

Ashy Flycatcher [sp] (Muscicapa caerulescens)

African Dusky Flycatcher [sp] (Muscicapa adusta)

White-chested Alethe (Pseudalethe fuelleborni)

Cape Robin-chat [sp] (Cossypha caffra)

White-throated Robin-chat (Cossypha humeralis)

White-browed Robin-chat [sp] (Cossypha heuglini)

Red-capped Robin-chat [sp] (Cossypha natalensis)

Chorister Robin-chat [sp] (Cossypha dichroa)

Swynnerton's Robin [sp] (Swynnertonia swynnertoni)

White-starred Robin [sp] (Pogonocichla stellata)

East Coast Akalat [sp] (Sheppardia gunningi)

Collared Palm Thrush (Cichladusa arquata)

Sentinel Rock Thrush [sp] (Monticola explorator)

Miombo Rock Thrush [sp] (Monticola angolensis)

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

African Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola torquatus)

Buff-streaked Chat (Campicoloides bifasciatus)

Mocking Cliff Chat [sp] (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris)

Ant-eating Chat (Myrmecocichla formicivora)

Mountain Wheatear [sp] (Myrmecocichla monticola)

Capped Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe pileata)

Familiar Chat [sp] (Oenanthe familiaris)

Boulder Chat (Pinarornis plumosus)

Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Plain-backed Sunbird [sp] (Anthreptes reichenowi)

Western Violet-backed Sunbird [sp] (Anthreptes longuemarei)

Collared Sunbird [sp] (Hedydipna collaris)

Olive Sunbird [sp] (Cyanomitra olivacea)

Amethyst Sunbird [sp] (Chalcomitra amethystina)

Scarlet-chested Sunbird [sp] (Chalcomitra senegalensis)

Bronzy Sunbird [sp] (Nectarinia kilimensis)

Malachite Sunbird [sp] (Nectarinia famosa)

Miombo Double-collared Sunbird [sp] (Cinnyris manoensis)

Southern Double-collared Sunbird [sp] (Cinnyris chalybeus)

Greater Double-collared Sunbird [sp] (Cinnyris afer)

Purple-banded Sunbird [sp] (Cinnyris bifasciatus)

White-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris talatala)

Variable Sunbird [sp] (Cinnyris venustus)

Copper Sunbird [sp] (Cinnyris cupreus)

Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)

White-browed Sparrow-weaver [sp] (Plocepasser mahali)

House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)

Great Sparrow [sp] (Passer motitensis)

Cape Sparrow [sp] (Passer melanurus)

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow [sp] (Passer diffusus)

Yellow-throated Petronia [sp] (Gymnoris superciliaris)

Weavers, Widowbirds (Ploceidae)

Red-billed Buffalo Weaver [sp] (Bubalornis niger)

Scaly-feathered Weaver [sp] (Sporopipes squamifrons)

Thick-billed Weaver [sp] (Amblyospiza albifrons)

Spectacled Weaver [sp] (Ploceus ocularis)

Cape Weaver (Ploceus capensis)

Holub's Golden Weaver (Ploceus xanthops)

Southern Brown-throated Weaver [sp] (Ploceus xanthopterus)

Lesser Masked Weaver [sp] (Ploceus intermedius)

Southern Masked Weaver [sp] (Ploceus velatus)

Village Weaver [sp] (Ploceus cucullatus)

Dark-backed Weaver [sp] (Ploceus bicolor)

Red-headed Weaver [sp] (Anaplectes rubriceps)

Red-billed Quelea [sp] (Quelea quelea)

Black-winged Red Bishop [sp] (Euplectes hordeaceus)

Southern Red Bishop [sp] (Euplectes orix)

Yellow Bishop [sp] (Euplectes capensis)

Fan-tailed Widowbird [sp] (Euplectes axillaris)

Yellow-mantled Widowbird [sp] (Euplectes macroura)

White-winged Widowbird [sp] (Euplectes albonotatus)

Red-collared Widowbird [sp] (Euplectes ardens)

Long-tailed Widowbird [sp] (Euplectes progne)

Waxbills, Munias and Allies (Estrildidae)

Red-headed Finch (Amadina erythrocephala)

Green Twinspot [sp] (Mandingoa nitidula)

Red-faced Crimsonwing [sp] (Cryptospiza reichenovii)

Red-throated Twinspot [sp] (Hypargos niveoguttatus)

Red-billed Firefinch [sp] (Lagonosticta senegala)

African Firefinch [sp] (Lagonosticta rubricata)

Jameson's Firefinch [sp] (Lagonosticta rhodopareia)

Blue Waxbill [sp] (Uraeginthus angolensis)

Yellow-bellied Waxbill [sp] (Coccopygia quartinia)

Swee Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis)

Grey Waxbill [sp] (Estrilda perreini)

Common Waxbill [sp] (Estrilda astrild)

Orange-breasted Waxbill [sp] (Amandava subflava)

Quailfinch [sp] (Ortygospiza atricollis)

Locust Finch [sp] (Paludipasser locustella)

Bronze Mannikin [sp] (Lonchura cucullata)

Red-backed Mannikin (Lonchura nigriceps)

Magpie Mannikin (Lonchura fringilloides)

Indigobirds, Whydahs (Viduidae)

Village Indigobird [sp] (Vidua chalybeata)

Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura)

Shaft-tailed Whydah (Vidua regia)

Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)

Western Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)

Cape Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla capensis)

Mountain Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla clara)

African Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla aguimp)

Cape Longclaw [sp] (Macronyx capensis)

Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)

Rosy-throated Longclaw (Macronyx ameliae)

African Pipit [sp] (Anthus cinnamomeus)

Long-billed Pipit [sp] (Anthus similis)

Wood Pipit [sp] (Anthus nyassae)

Buffy Pipit [sp] (Anthus vaalensis)

Striped Pipit (Anthus lineiventris)

Yellow-breasted Pipit (Anthus chloris)

Finches (Fringillidae)

Forest Canary [sp] (Crithagra scotops)

Black-throated Canary [sp] (Crithagra atrogularis)

Yellow-fronted Canary [sp] (Crithagra mozambica)

Brimstone Canary [sp] (Crithagra sulphurata)

Streaky-headed Seedeater [sp] (Crithagra gularis)

Black-eared Seedeater (Crithagra mennelli)

Cape Canary [sp] (Serinus canicollis)

Buntings, New World Sparrows and allies (Emberizidae)

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting [sp] (Emberiza tahapisi)

Golden-breasted Bunting [sp] (Emberiza flaviventris)

Cabanis's Bunting [sp] (Emberiza cabanisi)