Birding in Zimbabwe is by far one of the most rewarding experiences any novice or serious birder can imagine! With over 670 species Zimbabwe boasts varied habitats ranging from the lower Zambezi’s Southern Carmine Bee-eater breeding sites to the Blue Swallow’s Eastern highlands montane grasslands.
In Harare, situated on the Mashonaland plateau, the miombo woodland here offers its “miombo specials” that many a birder dreams about – take the African Spotted Creeper for example! But as the Capital City is situated on the headwater wetlands of the Upper Manyame Catchment Basin, the wetland species are also a big draw card for birders. (Read more about Harare’s wetlands)
Monavale Vlei is a Harare wetland that boasts some special crakes and flufftails in the summer months. Birding is best from December through April, though the Striped Crakes and Streaky-breasted Flufftails that so attract visitors are more reliable from about mid-January, depending on the rains and stable flooding for breeding. Black Coucals, Croaking Cisticolas and Yellow-mantled Widowbirds are common and good rains bring in Broad-tailed Warblers and the occasional Dwarf Bittern.
Orange-breasted Waxbills flash like bright spots of fire as they flit from spot to spot and Cuckoo Finch are about, though they are better when they form flocks later in the year. Common widows and bishops are everywhere in breeding dress and the thin call of the Pale-crowned Cisticola floats about somewhere overhead, while Grey-rumped Swallows fly back and forth. It is not unusual to flush Corn Crakes, African Crakes and Marsh Owls. The Black-shouldered Kite is common as are passing flocks of Amur Falcons, whilst the occasional Eurasian Hobby sweeps through. As the vlei dries through winter, grass fires begin and the open ground attracts a very different bird community. The dry months bring Capped Wheatears, Red-capped Larks, African and Buffy Pipits and a few Temminck Coursers.
Did you know these 9 local birds before this article?
1. The White browed Ribin
2. Tropical Boubou
3. The Paradise Flycatcher
4. The Long crested eagle
5. Kurrichane Thrush
6. The crested barbet
7. The cardinal woodpecker
8. The Black Coucal
9. The Barn Owl
BirdLife Zimbabwe was founded in 1951 as the Rhodesian Ornithological Society (ROS) and became a full member in BirdLife International (BLI) in April 2002. Our fundamental purpose is to promote the survival of bird life in Zimbabwe and elsewhere for its intrinsic value and the enjoyment of future generations. Our strategic objectives are centered on species, sites/habitats, people and sustainability.
For more information contactBirdLife Zimbabwe:
35 Clyde Road, Eastlea, Harare • (+263-4) 481496/490208
firstname.lastname@example.org • www.birdlifezimbabwe.org