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ZAMBIA

Sunday 11th September - Saturday 1st October 2011

Nik Borrow

Some of the highlights! (Nik Borrow)

Some of the highlights! (Nik Borrow)

Some years before, way back in 2004 Birdquest operated a full tour to Zambia at the start of the rainy season as an ‘expedition’ and although successful in its own right we had missed some of the species that occur in the dry season months and so we were keen to get back to try for those few elusive species. The previous tour had also perhaps been a little overambitious and this time we decided to concentrate on the exciting and most definitely remote north-western corner of the country on the Angolan and Congolese borders. Our objective was for quality over quantity and in particular targeting some most desirable species most notably the fantastic Black-and-rufous Swallow and the localised Bocage’s Weaver - both ‘lifers’ for Birdquest! We also had amazing views of the rarely seen Bamboo Warbler. Grimwood’s and Fülleborn’s Longclaws were seen in the dambos, Angola Lark on the plains and the enchanting Laura’s Woodland Warbler, Margaret’s Batis and Bannerman’s Sunbird found secluded hiding places in the mysterious mushitus. We encountered the highly desirable Pel’s Fishing Owl along the Kafue River and worked hard in the miombo to track down species such as Böhm’s Flycatcher, Bar-winged Weaver, Chestnut-backed Sparrow Weaver and the charming Black-necked Eremomela. To this we added an extension to see Zambia’s only true endemic the snowy Chaplin’s Barbet and the delightful Black-cheeked Lovebird which is virtually an endemic as it is probably restricted to the country in its wild state. During our 21 days in the country we amassed an impressive list with 391 species of birds recorded during the tour of which all but nine were seen. The highlights being Dickinson’s Kestrel, Shelley’s Francolin, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Red-chested Flufftail, Grey-headed Parrot, Thick-billed Cuckoo, the ‘Ngami’ form of Barred Owlet, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Racket-tailed Roller, Pale-billed Hornbill, Miombo Pied and Black-backed Barbets, Pallid Honeyguide, Red-throated Cliff Swallow, Grey-olive Greenbul, Black-collared Bulbul, Bocage’s Akalat, Grey-winged Robin Chat, Miombo Rock Thrush, Luapula, Long-tailed and Dambo Cisticolas, Brown-headed Apalis, Stierling’s Wren Warbler, Red-capped Crombec, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Miombo and Rufous-bellied Tits, Anchieta’s, Miombo Double-collared, Shelley’s and Bates’s Sunbirds, Perrin’s Bush-shrike, Sharp-tailed, Meves’s and Burchell’s Starlings, Brown Firefinch, Locust Finch and Black-eared and Reichard’s Seedeaters.