17 September - 4 October 2023

by Mark Van Beirs

The magnificent Braun’s Bushshrike, the unique White-headed Robin-Chat, the captivating Angolan Cave Chat, the rare Brazza’s Martin and the alluring Red-crested Turaco were the favourites of our recent tour to Angola. Most people and birders have heard about Angola, but know very little about this country, torn by civil war. The older generation will remember the news about the ever-ongoing conflict between the UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) and the MPLA (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola) after the country gained its independence from Portugal in 1974. This civil war was a really messy affair and was complicated by the fact that several factions were aided by the USA, Cuba, the USSR and South Africa in their geopolitical games. Meanwhile the country was covered with millions of lethal mines till peace finally arrived in 2002 when Jonas Savimbi, the charismatic leader of UNITA was shot. Angola is slowly recovering from this awful period and with its large deposits of oil, gas and diamonds is heavily courted by the Chinese, whose influence is visible all over the country. Although the country has many riches, they are very unevenly distributed and most of the population is still extremely poor. For the international birder Angola holds an interesting range of specialities and a vast array of habitats: from the Namibe desert in the extreme south to the humid lowland forests of the Congo basin in the extreme north with in between vast swathes of miombo woodland. Most of the endemics occur in the escarpment forests and mountain habitats of the central plateau which constitutes the Western Angolan Endemic Bird Area which harbours 13 Restricted Range species (of which 7 are threatened). Conservation is definitely not a priority of the government as we could witness in the ongoing sad destruction of habitats everywhere. Especially the fragile montane forests which are now restricted to just a handful of narrow, steep gullies are highly threatened. Angola is a really beautiful country which holds amazing scenery like the spectacular Tundavala escarpment and the imposing Calandula Falls, one of the largest waterfalls by volume in Africa. For all of us it was very strange to be in Africa and not to see many mammals. Our 4×4 vehicle coped easily with the sometimes-atrocious roads and in contrast to previous tours to this country, we never encountered any real police hassle.

The tour started in earnest at the truly impressive Tundavala escarpment, just outside the southern Angolan town of Lubango. At a viewpoint overlooking the mighty 1,000-meter-high cliffs, we obtained excellent looks at several attractive, much wanted Angola Cave Chats hopping about. We also observed lots of Alpine and Bradfield’s Swifts, Rock Kestrel, Lanner Falcon, Rock Martin, Short-toed Rock Thrush, Ludwig’s Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and Damara Ground Squirrel. The bushy surroundings of the nearby kopjes gave us Red-eyed and Ring-necked Doves, Augur Buzzard, Rufous-naped Lark, African Red-eyed and Dark-capped Bulbuls, a fabulous Rockrunner, Wailing Cisticola, Oustalet’s Sunbird and African Pipit. We took a walk to a well forested valley, but, sadly, couldn’t locate the often-present White-headed Barbets. White-rumped Swift, Little and White-fronted Bee-eaters, Black-collared Barbet, Angola Batis, Greater Striped Swallow, Tinkling Cisticola, Angola Slaty Flycatcher, Sooty Chat, Buffy Pipit, Yellow-crowned Canary and Malbrouck Monkey offered some consolation. After a break in the middle of the day with Hamerkop, endemic Red-backed Mousebirds and Variable Sunbird in the gardens of our hotel, we explored a small lake that held Red-billed Teal, African Palm Swift, Little Grebe and Wire-tailed Swallow. Another visit to the scenic escarpment added African Harrier-Hawk, a pair of beautiful Verreaux’s Eagles, Peregrine and several Bush Hyraxes to the list. Our first day ended with glimpses of a Freckled Nightjar at dusk.

Our long daytrip into the semi desert of southern Angola was filled with birds, as we visited several different habitats. We crossed the escarpment at the Leba Pass and first birded the lush forest at the base of the cliffs where we noted lots of Grey Go-away Birds, Schalow’s Turaco, African Green Pigeon, a perched Gabar Goshawk, Pearl-spotted Owlet (being mobbed by 15 different species of birds … just brilliant), Red-backed and Red-faced Mousebirds, Striped Kingfisher, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Pririt Batis, gorgeous White-tailed Shrikes, Black-backed Puffback, a lovely Cape Penduline Tit, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Long-billed Crombec, Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush, Scarlet-chested, White-bellied and Purple-banded Sunbirds, White-throated Bush Sparrow, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Holub’s Golden, Southern Masked and Red-headed Weavers, Red-billed Quelea, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Blue Waxbill, Green-winged Pytilia, Jameson’s and Brown Firefinches, Kinda Baboon and several Congo Rope Squirrels. As we travelled westwards the vegetation became sparser and sparser offering us Namaqua Dove, Chestnut-vented Warbler (ex Parisoma), Chat Flycatcher and White-browed Sparrow-Weaver. Eventually we reached the semidesert where the very special Pachypodium plants drew our attention. A very cooperative female Namaqua Sandgrouse and a couple of Rüppell’s Korhaans stole the show, but we also saw Double-banded Courser, Spike-heeled, Sabota and Benguela Long-billed Larks, Karoo and ghostly Tractrac Chats, Mountain Wheatear, Lark-like Bunting and an unexpected flock of 20 Springbok.

The next morning, we drove to the coastal town of Benguela. We enjoyed our picnic breakfast in a patch of miombo woodland where Klaas’s Cuckoo, Monteiro’s and Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills, Sharp-tailed Starling and Yellow-fronted Canary obliged. We arrived at our hotel at midday, but the extremely slow check in and lunch service were exasperating. In the afternoon we visited the saltmarshes and ponds of the Lobito area which proved to be very birdy, all be it in a rather unpleasant environment of port buildings and industry. Here we noted White-faced Whistling Duck, Blue-billed and Cape Teal, Little Swift, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-necked Grebe, Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Water Thick-knee, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Grey, Common Ringed, Kittlitz’s and Three-banded Plovers, Blacksmith Lapwing, African Jacana, Eurasian Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Ruff, Curlew and Temminck’s Sandpipers, Little Stint, Common, Marsh and Wood Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, Kelp Gull, African Darter, Reed and White-breasted Cormorants, African Sacred and Glossy Ibises, African Spoonbill, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco, Black and Purple Herons, Great, Intermediate and Little Egrets, Great White Pelican, Pied Kingfisher, Olive Bee-eater, Banded Martin and Zitting Cisticola.

The following day, just after dawn, we watched the antics at some nearby saltworks which gave us Sanderling, Grey-headed Gull and Caspian, West African Crested, Sandwich and Common Terns. We drove inland to a beautiful area with fantastic Baobabs and scenic kopjes where we located a cracking male Hartlaub’s Spurfowl (prolonged scope views) and also Damara Red-billed and Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills, Acacia Pied Barbet, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Brown-crowned Tchagra, a party of cute White-crested Helmetshrikes, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Carp’s Tit, Miombo Wren-Warbler and Smith’s Bush Squirrel. The rest of the day was spent driving, but a short stop at a bridge gave us lots of Little Swifts, White-browed Coucal, Bateleur, Red-necked Buzzard, many Red-throated Cliff Swallows, Greater Swamp and Common Reed Warblers, Red-faced Cisticola and Hartlaub’s Babbler.

We started very early next morning, as we wanted to reach the submontane forest of Angola’s highest mountain soon after dawn. On the latter part of the drive a party of Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-winged Kite, Black-chested Snake Eagle and Lizard Buzzard were seen. Famous Mount Moco (2,620m) still holds a few patches of beautiful and birdy submontane forest where we heard Swierstra’s Spurfowl and observed lovely Schalow’s Turacos, Western Tinkerbird, Black-backed Barbet, the adorable Red-throated Wryneck, African Paradise Flycatcher, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Angola Lark, the strange Black-collared Bulbul, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Black Saw-wing, Grey-rumped and Mosque Swallows, Rock-loving and Snuffeling Cisticolas, Grey Apalis, Violet-backed Starling, Bocage’s Akalat (great looks), Familiar Chat, Bronzy and the very localized Bocage’s Sunbirds, Spectacled Weaver, Yellow Bishop, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Dusky Twinspot, Striped Pipit and Brimstone Canary. In late afternoon we returned to our base entertained by a Miombo Scrub Robin and a really heavy shower.

Next day we explored some nice, remote miombo forest and an adjacent dambo where Dark Chanting Goshawk, a displaying Black-bellied Bustard, African Wattled Lapwing (dive bombing us), Anchieta’s Barbet, Miombo Pied Barbet, Greater and Lesser Honeyguides, Souza’s Shrike, Flappet and Red-capped Larks, exquisite Black-and-rufous Swallows, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Stout Cisticola, Neddicky, Green-capped Eremomela, Northern Yellow White-eye, Southern Black Flycatcher, Pale and Böhm’s Flycatchers, African Stonechat, Amethyst Sunbird, the very localized Bocage’s Weaver, Marsh Widowbird, Quailfinch, Fülleborn’s Longclaw and Plain-backed Pipit showed well. We were truly impressed by the magnificent Black-and-rufous Swallows as they foraged low over the grassy plain or perched on low plants allowing excellent scope looks. On the return journey we made a few stops in different patches of miombo and at bridges finding Common Swift (large flocks, seemingly just arrived), Levaillant’s Cuckoo, African Marsh Harrier, Pale-billed Hornbill, White-throated Swallow, Chirping Cisticola and Yellow-bellied Hyliota.

The following morning, we were planning to enjoy our packed breakfast at a bridge over a little river in a miombo forest covered valley and within minutes upon arriving we were already admiring several rarely-observed Brazza’s Martins fluttering nearby. We obtained brilliant looks at this mega speciality. Nearby we found Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Tropical Boubou, Copper Sunbird, Angola Waxbill, Cape Wagtail and Wood Pipit. We explored several other patches of miombo forest where Black Cuckoo, Brubru (a subspecies without the rufous flanks), African Golden Oriole, Rufous-bellied Tit, Southern Hyliota, a showy African Spotted Creeper and Ashy Flycatcher performed. In late afternoon we arrived at our cosy lodgings near the Kumbira Forest, where dinner was a tasty affair.

We birded the few remaining patches of escarpment forest which is the Kumbira Forest for a whole day. The old coffee plantations, the shade trees and the few patches of shrubby growth is all that remains … poor endemics… how long will they last? Here we admired gorgeous Red-crested Turacos, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Long-crested Eagle, Lizard Buzzard (on its nest amongst a colony of Vieillot’s Black Weavers), Crowned Hornbill, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Naked-faced Barbet (the Pale-throated form), Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, African Broadbill, Angola Batis, Black-throated and Yellow-bellied Wattle-eyes, the magnificent Monteiro’s Bushshrike, Gorgeous Bushshrike (wow), Pink-footed Puffback, Gabela Bushshrike (all too brief, sadly), African Blue Flycatcher, Falkenstein’s, Yellow-whiskered and Pale-olive Greenbuls, cooperative Pulitzer’s Longbills, Bubbling Cisticola, Hartert’s Camaroptera, Gabela Akalat, Collared, Green-headed, Olive, Carmelite, Olive-bellied and Superb Sunbirds, Black-necked Weaver, Bronze Mannikin, Grey Waxbill and a smart Red-headed Bluebill.

A very early start (the earliest of the tour) took us to the slopes of the scenic Namba Mountains. A Spotted Eagle-Owl was noted on the drive. The boulder-strewn slopes and the edge of the patches of montane forest gave us a terrific selection of specialities. We obtained fair looks at a Finsch’s Francolin, but only heard the endemic Swierstra’s Spurfowl. Ross’s Turaco, Secretarybird, Palm-nut Vulture, Margaret’s Batis (heard by everyone, only seen by the leader), Cabanis’s Greenbul, African Hill Babbler, Black-faced Canary and Blue Monkey were additions to the list. In the afternoon a stretch of miombo woodland gave us Grey-headed Kingfisher and Kurrichane Thrush.

The following day we returned in the early morning to the Kumbira forest and added African Goshawk and Yellow-throated Nicator to the tally. In mid-morning we started driving northwards to the town of N’Dalatando stopping at bridges and a lake on the way. Yellow-billed Duck, Rock Pratincole and African Pied Wagtail were the only birds of note. In late afternoon we had our first taste of the well-preserved Tombingo forest where no fewer than 55 African Pied Hornbills and a few Piping Hornbills were found, next to Naked-faced Barbet, Speckled Tinkerbird, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Black-winged Oriole and a tiny Tit Hylia.

Dawn found us again in the Tombingo forest, where African Emerald Cuckoo, Woodland Kingfisher, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Green Crombec, Fraser’s Rufous Thrush, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher and Red-headed Malimbe were observed. We then drove to the famous, 105m high Calandula Falls, which never fail to impress. They are really extraordinary and the sight of a powerful Peregrine Falcon perched above the falls added to the experience. Late afternoon found us at a bridge observing the antics of hirundines and swifts. A Black Coucal in non-breeding plumage and lots of Red-throated Cliff Swallows were much appreciated.

The highlight of our day in the miombo and the gallery forest at Kinjila was the fabulous and extremely localized White-headed Robin-Chat. We encountered several family parties of this exquisite species, which gave a sterling performance. We also obtained good looks at Black and African Cuckoos, Broad-billed Roller, European Bee-eater, Meyer’s Parrot, Black-crowned Tchagra, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Common Square-tailed Drongo, Moustached Grass Warbler, Grey-winged Robin-Chat and Dark-backed Weaver. A skulking White-spotted Flufftail played hide and seek in a dense patch of stream vegetation. At dusk we obtained really nice looks at a Fiery-necked Nightjar and a cute African Scops Owl.

We paid another visit to the Kinjila miombo next morning, but it was cool and misty, so very quiet bird wise. Persistence paid off with nice Red-crested Turacos, Shikra, African Hoopoe, Meyer’s Parrot (4 perched), a showy Retz’s Helmetshrike (on its nest) and a cracking Grey-headed Bushshrike. In the afternoon we drove northwards to the town of Uige and nothing of note was seen on the journey.

Our visit to the remnants of the once extensive Damengola Forest started with persistent rain. It remained rather gloomy throughout the day, but luckily the birds remained active. The indisputable highlight was the cracking Braun’s Bushshrike, that showed so very well. Wow wow wow. It definitely is one of the best Angolan endemics. We also identified beauties like Great Blue Turaco, Guinea Turaco, Gabon Coucal (often heard, briefly seen), Blue Malkoha, Tambourine Dove, Black Bee-eater, European Bee-eater (flock), Bristle-nosed Barbet, Olive Woodpecker, Red-fronted Parrot, Bocage’s Bushshrike, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Yellow-throated Nicator (great looks), Red-tailed Bristlebill, Red-breasted Swallow, Forest Swallow, Green Hylia, Banded Prinia, Buff-throated and Lowland Masked Apalises, Splendid Starling, Brown-backed Scrub Robin, Little Green Sunbird, Black-necked Weaver, Red-headed and Crested Malimbes, Black-winged Red Bishop, Red-collared Widowbird, Grey-headed Nigrita and African (Landana) Firefinch. A nearby lake and adjoining savanna gave us White-backed Vulture, Speckled Mousebird, Slender-billed and Compact Weavers and Yellow-mantled Widowbird.

Another early morning in the Damengola Forest produced scope views of Yellow-billed Barbet, Slender-billed Greenbul and a Crested Malimbe at its nest. We continued travelling south and a stop at a bridge gave us Giant Kingfisher, Cassin’s Flycatcher and a nice selection of hirundines, including some strange Forest Swallows and attractive, glorious White-throated Blue Swallows. A picturesque stretch of Baobab forest held smart Orange-breasted Bushshrikes, an endemic White-fronted Wattle-eye and a cooperative trio of wonderful, endemic Gabela Helmetshrikes. In late afternoon we continued to our accommodation at the edge of the Kissama National Park via the hubbub of the enormous city of Luanda.

Next day we birded the scenic Baobab forests and the floodplain of the mighty Kwanza River. Our main target was the shy Grey-striped Spurfowl, and luckily it didn’t take too long to obtain decent views of this wary, endemic gamebird. We also found Spur-winged Goose, Square-tailed Nightjar, Böhm’s Spinetail, Mottled Swift, Yellow-billed Stork, African Openbill, Little Bittern, Little Sparrowhawk, African Fish Eagle, lots of Red-backed Mousebirds, Black Scimitarbill, Lilac-breasted Roller, Grey Kestrel, White-fronted Wattle-eye, Swamp Boubou, White-winged Widowbird and a family of impressive Marsh Cane Rats.

On the final morning of the tour, we drove from east to west through the Baobab studded bush country of the Kissama National Park. Several stops yielded goodies like Helmeted Guineafowl, a perched Rüppell’s Parrot, Red-billed Buffalo Weavers at their enormous nests and the endemic Golden-backed Bishop in non-breeding plumage. The mouth of the powerful Kwanza River gave us Osprey, Rosy-faced Lovebird, a colony of Lesser Masked Weavers and a couple of well-behaved Long-legged Pipits. Further north we explored the muddy shores of the Mussola Bay where lovely Kittlitz’s Plovers (with tiny chicks), White-fronted Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and a couple of Gull-billed Terns were identified amongst the many other waders and waterbirds. A bout of seawatching added marvels like Damara Terns, a couple of Wilson’s Storm Petrels, several Sooty Shearwaters and half a dozen marvellous Humpback Whales that were seen breaching and frolicking about. We had wanted to spend a bit more time checking out more spots, but, sadly, the international flight of one of the tour participants had been changed to an earlier departure time, so we drove earlier than expected to the airport in Luanda, where the tour ended.



Species marked with the diamond symbol (◊) are either endemic to the country or local region or considered ‘special’ birds for some other reason (e.g., it is only seen on one or two Birdquest tours; it is difficult to see across all or most of its range; the local form is endemic or restricted-range and may in future be treated as a full species).



White-faced Whistling Duck  Dendrocygna viduata

Spur-winged Goose  Plectropterus gambensis

Blue-billed Teal  Spatula hottentota

Yellow-billed Duck  Anas undulata

Cape Teal  Anas capensis

Red-billed Teal  Anas erythrorhyncha

Helmeted Guineafowl  Numida meleagris

Finsch’s Francolin ◊  Scleroptila finschi  Good looks at this speciality in the Namba Mountain foothills.

Hartlaub’s Spurfowl ◊  Pternistis hartlaubi  Perfect scope views of a singing male near Benguela.

Swierstra’s Spurfowl ◊  Pternistis swierstrai  heard-only

Grey-striped Spurfowl ◊  Pternistis griseostriatus  This endemic showed quite well in the Kissama NP.

Red-necked Spurfowl  Pternistis afer

Fiery-necked Nightjar  Caprimulgus pectoralis

Freckled Nightjar  Caprimulgus tristigma

Square-tailed Nightjar  Caprimulgus fossii

Böhm’s Spinetail  Neafrapus boehmi  Very showy in the Kissama NP.

African Palm Swift  Cypsiurus parvus

Alpine Swift  Tachymarptis melba

Mottled Swift  Tachymarptis aequatorialis

Common Swift  Apus apus

Bradfield’s Swift ◊  Apus bradfieldi  Common at the Tundavala Escarpment.

Little Swift  Apus affinis

White-rumped Swift  Apus caffer

Great Blue Turaco  Corythaeola cristata  Several showed well in the Damengola Forest.

Grey Go-away-bird  Crinifer concolor

Ross’s Turaco  Tauraco rossae  Regular encounters.

Red-crested Turaco ◊  Tauraco erythrolophus  Good looks at this endemic at several venues.

Guinea Turaco (Green T)  Tauraco persa

Schalow’s Turaco  Tauraco schalowi  Regular, excellent sightings.

Ludwig’s Bustard ◊  Neotis ludwigii

Rüppell’s Korhaan ◊  Eupodotis rueppelii  Nice looks in the Namibe area.

Black-bellied Bustard  Lissotis melanogaster  A displaying male showed off near Mount Moco.

Gabon Coucal ◊  Centropus anselli

Blue-headed Coucal  Centropus monachus

Coppery-tailed Coucal  Centropus cupreicaudus

White-browed Coucal  Centropus superciliosus

Black Coucal  Centropus grillii  A single showed well in its non-breeding plumage near Calandula.

Blue Malkoha  Ceuthmochares aereus

Great Spotted Cuckoo  Clamator glandarius  heard-only

Levaillant’s Cuckoo (African Striped C)  Clamator levaillantii

Klaas’s Cuckoo  Chrysococcyx klaas

African Emerald Cuckoo  Chrysococcyx cupreus

Black Cuckoo  Cuculus clamosus

Red-chested Cuckoo  Cuculus solitarius

African Cuckoo  Cuculus gularis

Namaqua Sandgrouse  Pterocles namaqua  Perfect close-up views of a female in the Namibe area.

Rock Dove (introduced)  Columba livia

Afep Pigeon  Columba unicincta  non-leader

Red-eyed Dove  Streptopelia semitorquata

Ring-necked Dove  Streptopelia capicola

Laughing Dove  Spilopelia senegalensis

Emerald-spotted Wood Dove  Turtur chalcospilos

Blue-spotted Wood Dove  Turtur afer

Tambourine Dove  Turtur tympanistria

Namaqua Dove  Oena capensis

African Green Pigeon  Treron calvus

White-spotted Flufftail  Sarothrura pulchra

Common Moorhen  Gallinula chloropus

Red-knobbed Coot (Crested C)  Fulica cristata

Black Crake  Zapornia flavirostra

Little Grebe  Tachybaptus ruficollis

Black-necked Grebe  Podiceps nigricollis

Greater Flamingo  Phoenicopterus roseus

Lesser Flamingo  Phoeniconaias minor

Water Thick-knee  Burhinus vermiculatus

Spotted Thick-knee  Burhinus capensis  heard-only

Black-winged Stilt  Himantopus himantopus

Pied Avocet  Recurvirostra avosetta

Crowned Lapwing  Vanellus coronatus  non-leader

African Wattled Lapwing  Vanellus senegallus

Blacksmith Lapwing  Vanellus armatus

Grey Plover  Pluvialis squatarola

Common Ringed Plover  Charadrius hiaticula

Kittlitz’s Plover  Charadrius pecuarius  Seen with tiny chicks near Luanda.

Three-banded Plover  Charadrius tricollaris

White-fronted Plover  Charadrius marginatus

African Jacana  Actophilornis africanus

Eurasian Whimbrel  Numenius phaeopus

Bar-tailed Godwit  Limosa lapponica

Ruddy Turnstone  Arenaria interpres

Ruff  Calidris pugnax

Curlew Sandpiper  Calidris ferruginea

Sanderling  Calidris alba

Little Stint  Calidris minuta

Temminck’s Stint  Calidris temminckii

Common Sandpiper  Actitis hypoleucos

Marsh Sandpiper  Tringa stagnatilis

Wood Sandpiper  Tringa glareola

Common Greenshank  Tringa nebularia

Double-banded Courser  Rhinoptilus africanus  Very nice encounters in the Namibe area.

Rock Pratincole  Glareola nuchalis  Scope views at a river crossing near Calandula.

Grey-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus

Kelp Gull (Cape G)  Larus [dominicanus] vetula

Gull-billed Tern  Gelochelidon nilotica

Caspian Tern  Hydroprogne caspia

West African Crested Tern ◊ (African Royal T)  Thalasseus albididorsalis  Good looks along the coast.

Sandwich Tern  Thalasseus sandvicensis

Damara Tern ◊  Sternula balaenarum  A nice show of five birds near Luanda.

Common Tern  Sterna hirundo

Wilson’s Storm Petrel  Oceanites oceanicus  Two were seen during a bit of seawatch near Luanda.

Sooty Shearwater  Ardenna grisea  Four were seen during a bit of seawatch near Luanda.

Yellow-billed Stork  Mycteria ibis

African Openbill  Anastomus lamelligerus

African Darter  Anhinga rufa

Reed Cormorant (Long-tailed C)  Microcarbo africanus

White-breasted Cormorant  Phalacrocorax lucidus

African Sacred Ibis  Threskiornis aethiopicus

Glossy Ibis  Plegadis falcinellus

African Spoonbill  Platalea alba

Little Bittern  Ixobrychus minutus  Fair views of the resident race payesii along the Kwanza River.

Black-crowned Night Heron  Nycticorax nycticorax

Squacco Heron  Ardeola ralloides

Western Cattle Egret  Bubulcus ibis

Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea

Black-headed Heron  Ardea melanocephala

Goliath Heron  Ardea goliath  A single bird showed along the Kwanza River in the Kissama NP.

Purple Heron  Ardea purpurea

Great Egret  Ardea alba

Intermediate Egret  Ardea intermedia

Black Heron  Egretta ardesiaca

Little Egret  Egretta garzetta

Hamerkop  Scopus umbretta

Great White Pelican  Pelecanus onocrotalus

Osprey  Pandion haliaetus

Secretarybird  Sagittarius serpentarius  A new bird for this tour. One showed well in the Namba Mountain foothills.

Black-winged Kite  Elanus caeruleus

African Harrier-Hawk (Gymnogene)  Polyboroides typus  The most regularly observed bird of prey.

Palm-nut Vulture  Gypohierax angolensis

White-backed Vulture  Gyps africanus

Black-chested Snake Eagle  Circaetus pectoralis

Bateleur  Terathopius ecaudatus

Long-crested Eagle  Lophaetus occipitalis

Wahlberg’s Eagle  Hieraaetus wahlbergi

Verreaux’s Eagle  Aquila verreauxii  Good looks at a pair at the Tundavala Escarpment.

Lizard Buzzard  Kaupifalco monogrammicus

Dark Chanting Goshawk  Melierax metabates  One showed well near Mount Moco. A new bird for this tour.

Gabar Goshawk  Micronisus gabar

African Goshawk  Accipiter tachiro  A displaying bird showed in the scope in the Kumbira Forest.

Shikra  Accipiter badius

Little Sparrowhawk  Accipiter minullus

African Marsh Harrier  Circus ranivorus

Yellow-billed Kite  Milvus aegyptius

African Fish Eagle  Haliaeetus vocifer

Red-necked Buzzard  Buteo auguralis

Augur Buzzard  Buteo augur

Pearl-spotted Owlet  Glaucidium perlatum

African Barred Owlet ◊  Glaucidium capense  heard-only

African Scops Owl  Otus senegalensis  Brilliant looks at Kinjila.

Spotted Eagle-Owl  Bubo africanus

Speckled Mousebird  Colius striatus

Red-backed Mousebird ◊  Colius castanotus  Regular encounters with this Angolan endemic.

Red-faced Mousebird  Urocolius indicus

Narina Trogon  Apaloderma narina  heard-only

African Hoopoe  Upupa africana

Green Wood Hoopoe  Phoeniculus purpureus  heard-only

Black Scimitarbill  Rhinopomastus aterrimus

Damara Red-billed Hornbill ◊  Tockus damarensis

Monteiro’s Hornbill ◊  Tockus monteiri  Several nice sightings in the south.

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill  Tockus leucomelas

Crowned Hornbill  Lophoceros alboterminatus

African Pied Hornbill (Congo P H)  Lophoceros [fasciatus] fasciatus  Very common in the Tombingo Forest.

Pale-billed Hornbill ◊  Lophoceros pallidirostris  Good looks at this speciality near Mount Moco.

Piping Hornbill (Eastern Piping H)  Bycanistes [fistulator] sharpii

Purple Roller (Rufous-crowned R)  Coracias naevius

Lilac-breasted Roller  Coracias caudatus

Broad-billed Roller  Eurystomus glaucurus

Grey-headed Kingfisher  Halcyon leucocephala

Brown-hooded Kingfisher  Halcyon albiventris

Striped Kingfisher  Halcyon chelicuti

Woodland Kingfisher  Halcyon senegalensis

African Pygmy Kingfisher  Ispidina picta

Malachite Kingfisher  Corythornis cristatus  non-leader

Giant Kingfisher  Megaceryle maxima

Pied Kingfisher  Ceryle rudis

Black Bee-eater  Merops gularis  Great views of this attractive species in the Damengola Forest.

Little Bee-eater  Merops pusillus

White-fronted Bee-eater  Merops bullockoides

Olive Bee-eater  Merops superciliosus

European Bee-eater  Merops apiaster

Bristle-nosed Barbet ◊  Gymnobucco peli

Naked-faced Barbet  Gymnobucco calvus

Naked-faced Barbet ◊ (Pale-throated B)  Gymnobucco [calvus] vernayi  A few showed in the Kumbira Forest.

Anchieta’s Barbet ◊  Stactolaema anchietae  Regular sightings in patches of miombo woodland.

Speckled Tinkerbird  Pogoniulus scolopaceus

Western Tinkerbird ◊ (W Green T)  Pogoniulus coryphaei   Perfect looks in the Mount Moco area.

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird  Pogoniulus bilineatus

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird  Pogoniulus chrysoconus

Miombo Pied Barbet ◊  Tricholaema frontata  Scope views in a patch of miombo near Mount Moco.

Acacia Pied Barbet  Tricholaema leucomelas

Black-collared Barbet  Lybius torquatus  A regular sound on most of the tour.

Black-backed Barbet ◊ (Brown-faced B)  Lybius [minor] minor  Nice looks at Mount Moco.

Yellow-billed Barbet (Eastern Y-b B)  Trachyphonus [purpuratus] purpuratus  Scope views at Damengola.

Lesser Honeyguide  Indicator minor

Scaly-throated Honeyguide  Indicator variegatus  heard-only

Greater Honeyguide  Indicator indicator

Red-throated Wryneck  Jynx ruficollis  Magnificent looks at Mount Moco. A real cracker.

Golden-tailed Woodpecker  Campethera abingoni

Yellow-crested Woodpecker  Chloropicus xantholophus  Great views in the Tombingo Forest.

Olive Woodpecker  Dendropicos griseocephalus

Rock Kestrel  Falco rupicolus

Grey Kestrel  Falco ardosiaceus

Lanner Falcon  Falco biarmicus

Peregrine Falcon  Falco peregrinus

Red-fronted Parrot ◊  Poicephalus gulielmi

Meyer’s Parrot (Brown P)  Poicephalus meyeri

Rüppell’s Parrot ◊  Poicephalus rueppellii  Scope views of a perched bird in the Kissama NP.

Rosy-faced Lovebird ◊  Agapornis roseicollis

African Broadbill  Smithornis capensis

Margaret’s Batis ◊  Batis margaritae  Sadly, only seen by the leader in the Namba Mountains.

Chinspot Batis  Batis molitor

Pririt Batis ◊  Batis pririt

Angola Batis ◊  Batis minulla  Regular encounters.

Western Black-headed Batis  Batis erlangeri  non-leader

White-tailed Shrike ◊  Lanioturdus torquatus  Excellent looks at several venues. A marvellous species.

Chestnut Wattle-eye  Platysteira castanea

Black-throated Wattle-eye  Platysteira peltata

White-fronted Wattle-eye ◊  Platysteira albifrons  Great looks at this endemic near Luanda.

Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye  Platysteira concreta

Monteiro’s Bushshrike ◊  Malaconotus monteiri  An excellent performance in the Kumbira Forest.

Grey-headed Bushshrike  Malaconotus blanchoti

Bocage’s Bushshrike (Grey-green B)  Chlorophoneus bocagei

Orange-breasted Bushshrike (Sulphur-b B)  Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus

Gorgeous Bushshrike  Telophorus viridis  This exquisite species showed well in the Kumbira Forest.

Brown-crowned Tchagra  Tchagra australis

Black-crowned Tchagra  Tchagra senegalus

Pink-footed Puffback  Dryoscopus angolensis

Black-backed Puffback  Dryoscopus cubla

Braun’s Bushshrike ◊  Laniarius brauni  The Bird of the Trip. Perfect views in the Damengola Forest.

Gabela Bushshrike ◊  Laniarius amboimensis  Good looks for some in the Kumbira Forest. Not cooperative…

Tropical Boubou  Laniarius major

Swamp Boubou ◊  Laniarius bicolor  Common in the Kissama NP.

Brubru  Nilaus afer

White-crested Helmetshrike (White H)  Prionops plumatus

Retz’s Helmetshrike  Prionops retzii  On the nest near Kinjila.

Gabela Helmetshrike ◊  Prionops gabela  Lovely encounters with this endemic near Luanda.

White-breasted Cuckooshrike  Ceblepyris pectoralis  non-leader

Petit’s Cuckooshrike  Campephaga petiti

Purple-throated Cuckooshrike  Campephaga quiscalina

Southern White-crowned Shrike  Eurocephalus anguitimens

Souza’s Shrike ◊  Lanius souzae  This miombo speciality showed well near Mount Moco.

Northern Fiscal  Lanius humeralis

Black-headed Oriole (Eastern B-h O)  Oriolus larvatus

Black-winged Oriole  Oriolus nigripennis

African Golden Oriole  Oriolus auratus  Very nice looks near Cassongue.

Velvet-mantled Drongo  Dicrurus modestus

Fork-tailed Drongo  Dicrurus adsimilis

Common Square-tailed Drongo  Dicrurus ludwigii

African Paradise Flycatcher  Terpsiphone viridis

Pied Crow  Corvus albus

African Blue Flycatcher  Elminia longicauda

White-tailed Blue Flycatcher  Elminia albicauda

Carp’s Tit ◊  Melaniparus carpi  Nice views in Baobab dominated forest near Benguela.

Rufous-bellied Tit ◊  Melaniparus rufiventris  A showy pair in miombo near Cassongue.

Cape Penduline Tit ◊  Anthoscopus minutus  Seen very well in the Namibe area.

Yellow-throated Nicator ◊  Nicator vireo  Seen well at several venues.

Spike-heeled Lark  Chersomanes albofasciata  Perfect encounters near Namibe.

Benguela Long-billed Lark ◊  Certhilauda benguelensis  Perfect encounters near Namibe.

Sabota Lark ◊  Calendulauda sabota

Rufous-naped Lark  Mirafra africana

Flappet Lark  Mirafra rufocinnamomea

Angola Lark ◊  Mirafra angolensis  Several showed well in the Mount Moco area.

Red-capped Lark  Calandrella cinerea

Slender-billed Greenbul  Stelgidillas gracilirostris

Black-collared Bulbul ◊  Neolestes torquatus  Good looks in the Mount Moco area.

Red-tailed Bristlebill (Common B)  Bleda syndactylus

Yellow-throated Leaflove  Atimastillas flavicollis

Falkenstein’s Greenbul ◊ (Yellow-necked G)  Chlorocichla falkensteini  First seen well at Kumbira.

Yellow-bellied Greenbul  Chlorocichla flaviventris

Simple Greenbul (S Leaflove)  Chlorocichla simplex

Little Greenbul  Eurillas virens

Yellow-whiskered Greenbul  Eurillas latirostris

Cabanis’s Greenbul  Phyllastrephus cabanisi

Pale-olive Greenbul ◊  Phyllastrephus fulviventris  Good looks at this endemic at Kumbira. Also seen later.

African Red-eyed Bulbul  Pycnonotus nigricans

Dark-capped Bulbul  Pycnonotus tricolor

Black Saw-wing  Psalidoprocne pristoptera

Banded Martin  Neophedina cincta

Brazza’s Martin ◊  Phedinopsis brazzae  Marvellous views of this speciality in the Mount Moco area.

Grey-rumped Swallow  Pseudhirundo griseopyga

Rock Martin  Ptyonoprogne fuligula

Black-and-rufous Swallow ◊  Hirundo nigrorufa  Very nice encounters with this gorgeous bird near Mount Moco.

Pearl-breasted Swallow  Hirundo dimidiata

White-throated Swallow ◊  Hirundo albigularis

Wire-tailed Swallow  Hirundo smithii

Angola Swallow  Hirundo angolensis

White-throated Blue Swallow  Hirundo nigrita  10 showed well at a river near the Damengola Forest.

Red-breasted Swallow (Rufous-chested S)  Cecropis semirufa

Mosque Swallow  Cecropis senegalensis

Lesser Striped Swallow  Cecropis abyssinica

Greater Striped Swallow  Cecropis cucullata

Forest Swallow ◊  Petrochelidon fuliginosa  A few in the northern forests. Some strange ones near Damengola…

Red-throated Cliff Swallow ◊  Petrochelidon rufigula  Common at several bridges along our route.

Moustached Grass Warbler (African M W)  Melocichla mentalis

Rockrunner ◊  Achaetops pycnopygius  Scope views at Tundavala. A cracker.

Yellow Longbill  Macrosphenus flavicans  heard-only

Pulitzer’s Longbill ◊  Macrosphenus pulitzeri  This endemic showed very well in the Kumbira Forest.

Long-billed Crombec  Sylvietta rufescens

Red-capped Crombec  Sylvietta ruficapilla  non-leader

Green Crombec  Sylvietta virens

Green Hylia  Hylia prasina

Tit Hylia  Pholidornis rushiae  A single bird was noted in the Tombingo Forest.

Greater Swamp Warbler  Acrocephalus rufescens

Lesser Swamp Warbler  Acrocephalus gracilirostris  heard-only

Common Reed Warbler (African R W)  Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Little Rush Warbler  Bradypterus baboecala  heard-only

Red-faced Cisticola ◊ (Lepe C)  Cisticola [erythrops] lepe

Bubbling Cisticola ◊  Cisticola bulliens  Delightfully common.

Rock-loving Cisticola ◊ (Huambo C)  Cisticola [emini] bailunduensis  Good looks at Mount Moco.

Tinkling Cisticola ◊ (Grey C)  Cisticola rufilatus

Wailing Cisticola ◊  Cisticola lais

Chirping Cisticola ◊  Cisticola pipiens  Regular in reedbeds.

Stout Cisticola  Cisticola robustus

Croaking Cisticola  Cisticola natalensis

Short-winged Cisticola (Siffling C)  Cisticola brachypterus

Neddicky (Piping Cisticola)  Cisticola fulvicapilla

Zitting Cisticola  Cisticola juncidis

Tawny-flanked Prinia  Prinia subflava

Banded Prinia  Prinia bairdii  Good looks at Damengola.

Yellow-breasted Apalis  Apalis flavida

Lowland Masked Apalis  Apalis binotata

Buff-throated Apalis  Apalis rufogularis

Grey Apalis  Apalis cinerea

Grey-backed Camaroptera  Camaroptera brevicaudata

Hartert’s Camaroptera ◊ (Green-tailed C)  Camaroptera harterti  Regular in the escarpment forests.

Yellow-browed Camaroptera  Camaroptera superciliaris  heard-only

Miombo Wren-Warbler ◊ (Pale W-W)  Calamonastes undosus

Green-capped Eremomela  Eremomela scotops

African Hill Babbler  Sylvia abyssinica

Chestnut-vented Warbler ◊  Curruca subcoerulea  Very nice looks in the Namibe area.

Northern Yellow White-eye  Zosterops senegalensis

Bare-cheeked Babbler ◊  Turdoides gymnogenys  A lovely encounter with a flock near Namibe.

Hartlaub’s Babbler ◊  Turdoides hartlaubii

Yellow-bellied Hyliota  Hyliota flavigaster

Southern Hyliota  Hyliota australis

African Spotted Creeper  Salpornis salvadori  Showy in miombo near Cassongue.

Cape Starling (C Glossy S)  Lamprotornis nitens

Splendid Starling (S Glossy S)  Lamprotornis splendidus

Sharp-tailed Starling ◊  Lamprotornis acuticaudus  Regular encounters in the miombo woodland.

Violet-backed Starling  Cinnyricinclus leucogaster

Narrow-tailed Starling  Poeoptera lugubris  non-leader

Yellow-billed Oxpecker  Buphagus africanus

Fraser’s Rufous Thrush (R Flycatcher T)  Stizorhina fraseri  Nice looks at Tombingo.

African Thrush  Turdus pelios

Kurrichane Thrush  Turdus libonyana

Forest Scrub Robin ◊  Cercotrichas leucosticta  Good views for everyone at Damengola.

Miombo Scrub Robin ◊  Cercotrichas barbata

Kalahari Scrub Robin ◊  Cercotrichas paena

Brown-backed Scrub Robin  Cercotrichas hartlaubi

White-browed Scrub Robin  Cercotrichas leucophrys

Grey Tit-Flycatcher (Lead-coloured F)  Myioparus plumbeus

Angola Slaty Flycatcher ◊  Melaenornis brunneus  Several encounters with this modestly-clad endemic.

Southern Black Flycatcher  Melaenornis pammelaina

Pale Flycatcher  Melaenornis pallidus

Chat Flycatcher  Melaenornis infuscatus

Ashy Flycatcher  Muscicapa caerulescens

Cassin’s Flycatcher  Muscicapa cassini  Seen well at a bridge near Uige.

African Dusky Flycatcher  Muscicapa adusta

Dusky-blue Flycatcher  Muscicapa comitata

Böhm’s Flycatcher ◊  Muscicapa boehmi  A single bird showed quite well near Mount Moco.

White-browed Robin-Chat  Cossypha heuglini

White-headed Robin-Chat ◊  Cossypha heinrichi  Very nice encounters with several family parties. A speciality.

Angola Cave Chat ◊  Xenocopsychus ansorgei  First seen well at the Tundavala escarpment. A cracker.

Grey-winged Robin-Chat  Sheppardia polioptera

Bocage’s Akalat ◊  Sheppardia bocagei  Good looks in the Mount Moco area.

Gabela Akalat ◊  Sheppardia gabela  This endemic was seen well at Kumbira.

Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush ◊  Cichladusa ruficauda

Short-toed Rock Thrush ◊  Monticola brevipes

African Stonechat  Saxicola torquatus

Karoo Chat ◊  Emarginata schlegelii

Tractrac Chat ◊  Emarginata tractrac  Good looks in the Namibe desert.

Sooty Chat  Myrmecocichla nigra

Mountain Wheatear ◊  Myrmecocichla monticola

Familiar Chat  Oenanthe familiaris

Little Green Sunbird  Anthreptes seimundi  Seen well in the Damengola Forest.

Collared Sunbird  Hedydipna collaris

Green-headed Sunbird  Cyanomitra verticalis

Blue-throated Brown Sunbird  Cyanomitra cyanolaema

Olive Sunbird  Cyanomitra olivacea

Carmelite Sunbird ◊  Chalcomitra fuliginosa

Amethyst Sunbird  Chalcomitra amethystina

Scarlet-chested Sunbird  Chalcomitra senegalensis

Bocage’s Sunbird ◊  Nectarinia bocagii  Good looks at this speciality at Mount Moco.

Bronzy Sunbird (Bronze S)  Nectarinia kilimensis

Olive-bellied Sunbird  Cinnyris chloropygius

Western Miombo Sunbird ◊  Cinnyris gertrudis  Seen well near Mount Moco.

Ludwig’s Double-collared Sunbird ◊  Cinnyris ludovicensis  Regular encounters in montane areas.

Purple-banded Sunbird  Cinnyris bifasciatus

Superb Sunbird  Cinnyris superbus

Oustalet’s Sunbird ◊  Cinnyris oustaleti  Good looks in montane flowering bushes.

White-bellied Sunbird  Cinnyris talatala

Variable Sunbird  Cinnyris venustus

Copper Sunbird  Cinnyris cupreus

Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow  Gymnoris superciliaris

Northern Grey-headed Sparrow  Passer griseus

Southern Grey-headed Sparrow  Passer diffusus

House Sparrow (introduced)  Passer domesticus

Red-billed Buffalo Weaver  Bubalornis niger

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver  Plocepasser mahali

Slender-billed Weaver  Ploceus pelzelni

Spectacled Weaver  Ploceus ocularis

Black-necked Weaver  Ploceus nigricollis

Bocage’s Weaver ◊  Ploceus temporalis  Several nice encounters with this localized species.

Holub’s Golden Weaver  Ploceus xanthops

Lesser Masked Weaver  Ploceus intermedius

Southern Masked Weaver  Ploceus velatus

Village Weaver  Ploceus cucullatus

Vieillot’s Black Weaver  Ploceus nigerrimus  Regular in the northern forests.

Compact Weaver  Ploceus superciliosus  Good looks at several at Damengola.

Dark-backed Weaver (Forest W)  Ploceus bicolor

Red-headed Malimbe  Malimbus rubricollis

Crested Malimbe  Malimbus malimbicus  Nest building at Damengola.

Red-headed Weaver  Anaplectes rubriceps

Red-billed Quelea  Quelea quelea

Black-winged Red Bishop  Euplectes hordeaceus

Golden-backed Bishop ◊  Euplectes aureus  Seen well in its distinctive non-breeding plumage at Kissama.

Yellow Bishop  Euplectes capensis

Yellow-mantled Widowbird  Euplectes macroura

Marsh Widowbird  Euplectes hartlaubi

White-winged Widowbird  Euplectes albonotatus

Red-collared Widowbird  Euplectes ardens

Bronze Mannikin  Spermestes cucullata

Angola Waxbill ◊  Coccopygia bocagei  Excellent looks in the Namba Mountains.

Grey-headed Nigrita (G-h Negrofinch)  Nigrita canicapillus

Grey Waxbill ◊ (Black-tailed W)  Glaucestrilda perreini

Orange-cheeked Waxbill  Estrilda melpoda

Fawn-breasted Waxbill  Estrilda paludicola

Common Waxbill  Estrilda astrild

Quailfinch  Ortygospiza atricollis  Flushed in a dambo near Mount Moco.

Blue Waxbill  Uraeginthus angolensis

Red-headed Bluebill ◊  Spermophaga ruficapilla  Excellent looks at this beauty at Kumbira.

Green-winged Pytilia (Melba Finch)  Pytilia melba

Dusky Twinspot ◊  Euschistospiza cinereovinacea  Seen very well on Mount Moco.

African Firefinch ◊ (Pale-billed F, Landana F)  Lagonosticta [rubricata] landanae

Jameson’s Firefinch  Lagonosticta rhodopareia

Brown Firefinch  Lagonosticta nitidula

Pin-tailed Whydah  Vidua macroura

Cape Wagtail  Motacilla capensis

African Pied Wagtail  Motacilla aguimp

Fülleborn’s Longclaw ◊  Macronyx fuelleborni  Perfect views of several near Mount Moco.

African Pipit (Grassland P)  Anthus cinnamomeus

Wood Pipit ◊  Anthus nyassae

Buffy Pipit  Anthus vaalensis

Plain-backed Pipit  Anthus leucophrys

Long-legged Pipit ◊  Anthus pallidiventris  Showy near Luanda.

Striped Pipit  Anthus lineiventris

Black-faced Canary ◊  Crithagra capistrata

Yellow-fronted Canary  Crithagra mozambica

Brimstone Canary  Crithagra sulphurata

Yellow-crowned Canary  Serinus flavivertex

Lark-like Bunting ◊  Emberiza impetuani

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting  Emberiza tahapisi

Golden-breasted Bunting  Emberiza flaviventris



Bush Hyrax  Heterohyrax brucei  Regular in rocky areas.

Springbok  Antidorcas marsupialis  It was a nice surprise to see a small herd near Namibe.

Blue Monkey  Cercopithecus mitis

Malbrouck Monkey  Chlorocebus cynosuros

Kinda Baboon  Papio kindae

African Savanna Hare  Lepus victoriae

Damara Ground Squirrel  Geosciurus princeps  Several in the Namibe area.

Lunda Rope Squirrel  Funisciurus bayonii

Congo Rope Squirrel  Funisciurus congicus

Smith’s Bush Squirrel  Paraxerus cepapi

Brown Rat  Rattus norvegicus

Greater (Marsh) Cane Rat  Thryonomys swinderianus  A family showed quite well at night in the Kissama NP.

Humpback Whale  Megaptera novaeangliae  Several females with young showed well near Luanda.