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.
SYSTEMATIC LIST OF SPECIES RECORDED
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.