Maryefuller

Best Places to Bird in Zambia

15 posts in this topic

Hey all -

 

Hoping to get some input from the experts here - what are the best places to bird watch in Zambia? I'm working on a travel guide for the country, and I would like to include a little information on the bird and birdwatching in Zambia, but unfortunately I have little experience in the area. I know Kasanka and the Bangweulu Wetlands are the best place to spot a shoebill, but any other spots that people interested in birds should be sure not to miss.

 

Thanks for the input.

Mary

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I’ve never done a serious birding trip in Zambia so I’ve only birded while on safari in some of the familiar parks so I haven’t visited any of the birding sites outside the parks, so I don’t personally know much about these sites.

 

What I do know is that some of the best birding sites are in the Mwinilunga District in the far northwest bordering Angola & DRC. In this area you can find a lot of birds not found elsewhere in Zambia including many primarily Congolese species that you would otherwise have to go to the DRC to find not advisable I would think and also some typically Angolan species, though Angola is no longer off limits. I don’t know the details of the actual sites I’d have to look them up in the book Southern African Birdfinder which would be your best bet for info on where to go birding in Zambia

 

Otherwise I have found this webpage that lists the main sites around the country Travel Zambia top birding spots I hope this helps.

 

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In my opinion, Kafue National Park might be one of the best birding destinations in all of Africa.

 

You get all the savannah birds, but you also get the miombo species as well. Busanga is great for flood plain/water species (huge flocks of wattled and crowned cranes) and turacos (Ross' and Schalow's) in the surrounding woodlands. The Kafue River has all the water species including the elusive finfoot. The Nanzhila area has very good raptors and the endemic black-cheeked lovebirds. Zambia's endemic Chaplin's barbet might come close to the eastern border of the park.

 

Now, mind you, it's a huuuuuuuge park...

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Lochinvar (spelling?) rings a bell.

 

Other than that try here... http://www.birdinginzambia.com/

Yes, I have been told by experts that Lochinvar in the right season (May/June? i do not really know) is one of the most wonderful birding spectacle in the country.

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Posted (edited)

In my opinion, Kafue National Park might be one of the best birding destinations in all of Africa.

 

Now, mind you, it's a huuuuuuuge park...

@@Safaridude

 

To put things in perspective:

 

Kafue: size 22,400 sq km

 

Number of bird species: 478 (so I read)

 

Quuen Elizabeth: size 2,200 sq km

 

Number of bird species: 624

 

I am not a birder, but my whole concept of "birding destination" took a whole different meaning after my Uganda trips....

Edited by Paolo

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This is great information, thanks everyone!

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I'm no birder (or is it called "twitcher"?) either, though safaritalk is converting me!

 

However I would think that obviously the best places are the national parks, the rural farming areas less so and the cities and towns not so much.

 

Just curious though, how someone with no experience in the area is writing a travel guide on birding in Zambia?

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Posted (edited)

I'm not writing a travel guide on birding - I'm writing a travel guide to Zambia in general. I am more than willing to admit I have very little experience in birding, so I thought I would reach out to the experts! I do have plenty of experience in Zambia, but not so much on birding.

Edited by Maryefuller

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Hi Mary

 

Although Chaplin's Barbet are the only official endemic bird, there hasn't been any reliable sightings of Black-cheeked Lovebirds in Namibia, Botswana or Zimbabwe for many years. The Southern part of Kafue National Park and the Mopane Woodland extending southwards towards the Zambezi River is the only reliable spot where these beautiful birds can be seen. This alone makes Kafue a birding spot that cannot be missed. Unfortunately the Nanzhila area in Southern Kafue where the Lovebirds are found are closed in the wet season (birding season) which leaves the area between Mwandi and Sesheke (Machile Important Bird Area) as the only accessible site in the rainy season. This can be combined with the Choma area where Chaplin's Barbet are easily found. Both of there are within a couple of hours of Livingstone.

 

Mutinondo Wilderness is great for Miombo birding and also consider the Mwinilunga area in the north-west for the Congolese Forest specials.

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

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Hi Mary

 

Although Chaplin's Barbet are the only official endemic bird, there hasn't been any reliable sightings of Black-cheeked Lovebirds in Namibia, Botswana or Zimbabwe for many years. The Southern part of Kafue National Park and the Mopane Woodland extending southwards towards the Zambezi River is the only reliable spot where these beautiful birds can be seen. This alone makes Kafue a birding spot that cannot be missed. Unfortunately the Nanzhila area in Southern Kafue where the Lovebirds are found are closed in the wet season (birding season) which leaves the area between Mwandi and Sesheke (Machile Important Bird Area) as the only accessible site in the rainy season. This can be combined with the Choma area where Chaplin's Barbet are easily found. Both of there are within a couple of hours of Livingstone.

 

Mutinondo Wilderness is great for Miombo birding and also consider the Mwinilunga area in the north-west for the Congolese Forest specials.

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

 

I have been to Nanzhila 3 times during the dry season, and I have never failed to see black-cheeked lovebirds. I do not know of any reliable sightings or Chaplin's barbet in the park though (their range is just outside to the east).

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I agree. I have never heard of Chaplin's Barbet sightings in the southern parts of Kafue. I have heard of reports in the north-eastern section but cannot confirm this. The only way to be sure to get sightings of the only official Zambia endemic bird is to plan at least a one night stay in the Choma area. Masuku Lodge is perfectly situated for this and is under new ownership (birders).

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About four years ago an extensive search for Chaplin's was conducted by Zambian Ornithological Soc birders (as then known)in the north park with no results. I am not sure I would say Kafue was particularly good for birds. Average. North Western province is productive and the far end of Western province on the Liuwa Plains might throw up some unusual birds. Consult "Important Bird Areas of Zambia" by Pete Leonard for the real information from the Zambian authority on birds.

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