The Ultimate In Birding Tours


ZAMBIA & ZIMBABWE – The Endemics & Specialities Tour

Thursday 3rd September – Saturday 19th September 2020

Leader: Nik Borrow.

17 Days Group Size Limit 6
Zimbabwe Extension

Saturday 19th September – Wednesday 23rd September 2020

5 Days Group Size Limit 6
Friday 3rd September – Sunday 19th September 2021

Leader: Nik Borrow.

17 Days Group Size Limit 6
Zimbabwe Highlands Extension

Sunday 19th September – Thursday 23rd September 2021

5 Days Group Size Limit 6

Tour Highlights

  • A dedicated tour to find some of the most restricted-range birds in Africa.
  • A visit to the Chitunta Plain where Black-and-rufous Swallows fly around us as we watch Grimwood’s and Fülleborn’s Longclaws in a dambo, where there is also the chance for Bocage’s Weaver.
  • The unusual Bar-winged Weaver and pretty Black-necked Eremomela in the forests near Mwinilunga.
  • Searching for the skulking Bamboo Warbler with its incessant mechanical song.
  • Flushing brilliant red and black Locust Finches from the dambos.
  • Birding the dark mushitu forests for the charming Laura’s Woodland Warbler and Bannerman’s Sunbird.
  • Spotting the attractive Black-collared Bulbul in the open miombo scrub.
  • Finding the restricted range Margaret’s Batis and dazzling Perrin’s Bushshrikes in the Cryptosepalum forests around Mayau.
  • Endemic snowy Chaplin’s Barbets in the Sycamore Figs on the ranches of the Nkanga Conservation Area.
  • A visit to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls.
  • A journey into remote country to see the endangered endemic Black-cheeked Lovebird, which sometimes gather in their hundreds around the drying pools.
  • A visit to the beautiful Vumba Highlands of Zimbabwe, home to the gorgeous Swynnerton’s Robin and two near-endemic specialities; Chirinda Apalis and Roberts’s Warbler.

Outline Itinerary

  • Day 1: Morning tour start at Lusaka. Drive to Mpongwe, Kafue River.
  • Day 2: Kafue River, then drive to Solwezi.
  • Day 3: Drive to Mwinilunga in northwest Zambia.
  • Day 4: Mwinilunga area.
  • Day 5: Drive to Hillwood Estate.
  • Days 6-7: Hillwood Estate region.
  • Day 8: Drive to Solwezi.
  • Day 9: Drive to Mpongwe, Kafue River.
  • Day 10: Kafue River, then drive to Lusaka.
  • Day 11: Drive to Nkanga Conservation Area, Choma.
  • Day 12: Nkanga Conservation Area.
  • Day 13: Nkanga, then drive to Livingstone. Victoria Falls, then drive west up Zambezi.
  • Day 14: Area west of Livingstone.
  • Day 15: Drive to Livingstone airport, for late morning tour end.
  • Day 1: Transfer to Victoria Falls airport and fly to Harare.
  • Day 2: Drive to the Vumba Mountains.
  • Days 3-4: Vumba Mountains.
  • Day 5: Return to Harare, where tour ends this afternoon.


Birdquest’s Zambia birding tours feature a large African country that is still largely unknown to the birdwatching fraternity. Our Zambia birding tour focuses on the endemics and other specialities of this large country that cannot be seen on any other bird tour. There is also a Zimbabwe birding tour extension in search of some very special birds in the Vumba Mountains.

Deep in the interior of Central Africa lies Zambia, a huge, stable and friendly country that straddles the ‘Spine of Africa’, its barely perceptible watershed separating the vast basins of the Zambezi and the Congo. Although well known for its prolific big game and spectacular scenery, Zambia has a bird species list of over 750 that includes many exciting birds, including a range of endemics and other localized specialities that are impossible or extremely difficult to see elsewhere on the continent. Zambia birding tours focus on a key area for Africa’s most restricted-range miombo woodland specialities.

Within the borders of this amazing country sprawls a sparsely inhabited landscape. This exciting trip will take us to some of the most remote regions of the country, taking in open mopane woodlands and dense, dark evergreen ‘mushitus’ (forests), spectacular miombo wilderness, wide floodplains and ‘dambos’ (marshes), the mighty Zambezi and the incredible Victoria Falls.

Our Zambia birding tour commences at Lusaka and from here we head towards the far northwest of Zambia, breaking our stay at a comfortable lodge where Pel’s Fishing Owls are regularly seen and where a marvellous selection of miombo birds such as Pale-billed Hornbill, Miombo Pied and Black-backed Barbets, Long-tailed Cisticola, Black-necked Eremomela, Böhm’s Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied and Miombo Tits, Chestnut-mantled Sparrow-Weaver, Black-eared Seedeater and even the scarce Shelley’s Sunbird can be found. In a nearby mushitu we will have our first chance for Bocage’s Akalat and Margaret’s Batis, while another good bird here is Luapula Cisticola.

In the Mwinilunga region, a remote area tucked well out of the way in the extreme north-west corner of the country (where we will divide our time between the area around Mwinilunga town and the pleasant Hillwood Farm Estate), lies an area of forest more typical of the huge rainforests of the Congo basin. Here, near the source of the Zambezi, the water-logged dambos and rich, riparian forests known as mushitus hold such special birds as Dickinson’s Kestrel, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Angola Lark, Black-and-rufous Swallow, Red-throated Cliff Swallow, Grimwood’s and Fülleborn’s Longclaws, Short-tailed Pipit, Black-collared Bulbul, Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Bamboo Warbler, Laura’s Woodland Warbler, Dambo Cisticola, Red-capped Crombec, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Bannerman’s and Bates’s Sunbirds, Bocage’s Weaver, Black-chinned Quailfinch, Locust Finch and Black-faced Canary. The miombo woodland harbours further specialities, including Anchieta’s Barbet, the delightful Bar-winged Weaver and Sharp-tailed Starling.

The beautiful Cryptosepalum or mavunda woodlands that lie a little to the south are the type locality of the White-chested Tinkerbird, a species that has never been seen since the original specimen was collected in 1964! Here we shall be hoping to be the first to relocate this mysterious bird, but, more realistically, we shall also be looking for the beautiful Perrin’s Bush-shrike.

Moving on southwards, we shall stay at one of the cattle ranches of the Kafue basin with its large, spreading fig trees that support the striking Chaplin’s Barbet, one of two species endemic to Zambia. Other good birds here include the spectacular Racket-tailed Roller, Stierling’s Barred Warbler, Souza’s Shrike and African Spotted Creeper.

Finally we will explore the area around Livingstone and visit the stupendous Victoria Falls, for here in the southwest can be found the endangered endemic Black-cheeked Lovebird. Needless to say, the Zambezi valley is rich in many other bird species, including African Finfoot, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Chirping Cisticola, and Burchell’s and Meves’s Starlings, so this rewarding tour will end with both a scenic wonder of the planet and some great birding.

During the optional extension we will visit Zimbabwe, the one-time Southern Rhodesia. Here, there will be an opportunity to visit the beautiful Vumba Highlands of Zimbabwe, home to Swynnerton’s Robin, Chirinda Apalis and Roberts’s Warbler, three near-endemic specialities that are shared only with neighbouring Mozambique, as well as Buff-spotted Flufftail.

Birdquest has operated Zambia birding tours since 2004 and Zimbabwe birding tours since 1987.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels, lodges and comfortable safari-style tented camps we use in Zambia and Zimbabwe are of good or medium standard throughout. We will be travelling in 4×4 safari vehicle on a mixture of well-surfaced tarred roads and dirt roads.

Walking: The walking effort is easy almost throughout our Zambia & Zimbabwe birding tours, only occasionally harder

Climate: The weather is normally hot with a mixture of sunny and overcast conditions at this season. Rain is unlikely, but when it occurs it can be heavy.

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Zambia & Zimbabwe birding tours are quite good.


Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for local guides, drivers and accommodation/restaurant staff.

We also include this flight: Victoria Falls-Harare.

Deposit: 10% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)

2020: £5330, $6590, €5990, AUD10080. Lusaka/Livingstone.
Zimbabwe Extension: £1440, $1790, €1620, AUD2730. Livingstone/Harare.
2021: £5410, $6690, €6080, AUD10230.
Zimbabwe Extension: £1440, $1790, €1620, AUD2730. Livingstone/Harare.

Single Supplement: 2020: £510, $630, €570, AUD960.
Zimbabwe Extension: £150, $190, €170, AUD290.
Single Supplement: 2021: £510, $640, €580, AUD970.
Zimbabwe Extension: £150, $190, €170, AUD290.

The single supplement will not apply if you indicate on booking that you prefer to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.


Zambia: Day 1  Our tour begins this morning at Lusaka, from where we shall head northwards to the Kafue River near Mpongwe, where we will stay overnight in a comfortable lodge scenically placed amongst pristine miombo, grassy dambos and riverine forest. We will spend some time this afternoon exploring our new surroundings.

Our lodge is wonderfully situated on the banks of the Kafue River and we will be able to explore the surrounding countryside easily on foot or by taking a boat along the river. There is a very good chance of encountering the enormous marmalade-coloured Pel’s Fishing Owl here and we will be hoping that the staff will know where the birds are roosting so that we can find them during the day (but if not we will look for them by night).

There are of course plenty of other interesting birds to find around the lodge and the nearby habitats seem to encapsulate Zambia in miniature. The woodlands here will give us the chance to see miombo specialities such as the noisy Pale-billed Hornbill, the striking Black-backed Barbet, Bush Pipit, Miombo Scrub Robin, Arnott’s Chat, Long-tailed Cisticola, the pretty Black-necked Eremomela, the unassuming Böhm’s Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied and Miombo Tits, the handsome Chestnut-mantled Sparrow-Weaver, Black-eared Seedeater and, if we are lucky, the scarce Shelley’s Sunbird.

The open dambos usually hold a pair of enormous Saddle-billed Storks and other birds that we are likely to see in this habitat include Reed (or Long-tailed) Cormorant, African Darter, Black-crowned Night Heron, Rufous-bellied, Striated (or Green-backed) and Grey Herons, Western Cattle and Great Egrets, Hamerkop, Yellow-billed Stork, Yellow-billed Duck, Black Crake, Lesser Moorhen, African Jacana, Three-banded Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing and both Malachite and Pied Kingfishers.

At a mushitu a short drive away we have a very good chance of finding the localized Margaret’s Batis and the secretive Bocage’s Akalat. Evergreen Forest Warbler is also possible, although we are more likely to hear than see this skulking species. Other species that favour this habitat are Narina’s Trogon, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Cabanis’s Greenbul, the restricted-range Brown-headed Apalis, Black-fronted Bush-shrike and Square-tailed Drongo.

Other birds of the area which are of particular interest include the fairly restricted-range Grey-olive Greenbul, the distinctive, restricted-range stormsi form of the African Thrush, Luapula Cisticola and Grey Waxbill.

More widespread species that we may well see during our stay include Black-shouldered and Yellow-billed Kites, Bateleur, African Harrier-Hawk, African Goshawk, Shikra, Lizard Buzzard, Helmeted Guineafowl, African Green Pigeon, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Red-eyed and Cape Turtle (or Ring-necked) Doves, Schalow’s and Ross’s Turacos, Red-chested, Black, African, Klaas’s and Diderick (or Didric) Cuckoos, African Barred Owlet, African Wood Owl, Square-tailed and Fiery-necked Nightjars, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Green Wood-hoopoe, African Hoopoe, Crowned and Trumpeter Hornbills, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Black-collared Barbet, Green-backed Honeybird, Scaly-throated, Greater and Lesser Honeyguides, the ‘little spotted’ form of Green-backed Woodpecker, and Bennett’s, Golden-tailed and Cardinal Woodpeckers.

Passerines include African Broadbill, Grey-rumped and Lesser Striped Swallows, Cape and African Pied Wagtails, Woodland, Plain-backed and Buffy Pipits, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Dark-capped Bulbul, White-browed Robin-Chat, African Stonechat, Kurrichane Thrush, Red-faced, Trilling, Croaking and Short-winged Cisticolas, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Long-billed Crombec, Southern Black, Pale and Ashy Flycatchers, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, African Paradise Flycatcher, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Chinspot Batis, White-winged Black Tit, Amethyst, Scarlet-chested, Collared and White-bellied Sunbirds, African Yellow White-eye, Southern Fiscal, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bush-shrikes, Brown-crowned and Black-crowned Tchagras, Black-backed Puffback, Tropical Boubou, Brubru, White-crested and Retz’s Helmet-shrikes, Eastern Black-headed and African Golden Orioles, Fork-tailed Drongo, Pied Crow, Miombo (or Southern) Blue-eared and Violet-backed Starlings, Yellow-throated Petronia, Red-headed, Golden, Village, Dark-backed and Thick-billed Weavers, Black-winged Bishop, Yellow-mantled and Red-collared Widowbirds, Fawn-breasted, Common and Blue Waxbills, Red-throated Twinspot, Orange-winged Pytilia, Brown and African Firefinches, Bronze and Red-backed Mannikins, Yellow-fronted Canary and Golden-breasted Bunting.

Zambia: Day 2  We will spend the morning at the Kafue River and then head northwestwards to Solwezi for an overnight stay. Our journey takes us through a sprawling area of industrial towns known as ‘The Copperbelt’. During the early part of the 20th century, Zambia was the main supplier of the world’s copper, and the area is still important for the mining industry.

Zambia: Day 3  This morning we continue our journey by road to Mwinilunga in the remote far northwest of the country, situated between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where we will spend two nights. The road is reasonably good and we will soon find ourselves driving through large expanses of glorious woodland. We will make a few stops along the way and will surely have first encounters with a number of new birds, such as Wahlberg’s Eagle, Common, White-rumped and Little Swifts, Broad-billed Roller, Yellow-throated Leaflove and White-chinned Prinia.

The road crosses a few rivers along the way and at these we will be looking amongst the many Little Swifts for the Red-throated Cliff Swallows that can often be found in this part of Zambia at this season (although they are more numerous during the rains). The pretty Black-faced Canary is another good bird that can be found here and we will make stops at rivers where the mega-skulking Bamboo Warbler is to be found, although it can be a hard bird to see well.

Zambia: Day 4  This morning we will make a pre-dawn start, looking out for Spotted Eagle-Owl on the way, as we travel southwards into very remote country. Our destination is the area where the type specimen of the White-chested Tinkerbird was obtained on 6th September 1964. This species remains something of an enigma, as it has never been seen since! We have little hope of finding this mysterious bird in the thick, unspoilt and very beautiful Cryptosepalum or mavunda woodland where few paths penetrate and people are largely absent, but we should be able to find the gorgeous, restricted-range Perrin’s Bush-shrike and we have another chance of encountering the localized Margaret’s Batis. The vegetation here is thick and often impenetrable, and so we will be hoping for bird parties passing close by to the road. Most of the constituent species will be familiar to us by now, but we may also add a few more species, such as Grey-backed Camaroptera, White-browed Scrub Robin and White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, to our growing list.

Zambia: Day 5  This morning our destination is the Hillwood Farm Estate, some two and a half hours drive away from Mwinilunga, where we will spend three nights. However, we shall spend all day birding along this road, for as soon as we leave Mwinilunga we will pass through Luakera Forest, its tall trees dripping with lichens and moss and holding desirable species such as the restricted range and uncommon Anchieta’s Barbet, the localized Sharp-tailed Starling and the delightful Bar-winged Weaver. The weaver favours Usnea or ‘old man’s beard’ lichen and can be found creeping along the branches of trees that are festooned with it. For the barbet, we shall have to try to find a fruiting or flowering tree that the birds are favouring.

We shall also be on the lookout for Pale Wren Warbler and Red-capped Crombec, as well as Little Sparrowhawk, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Afep Pigeon, Grey-headed and Meyer’s Parrots, Thick-billed Cuckoo, the ngamiense form of African Barred Owlet, the reichenowi form of Black Saw-wing, Black Cuckooshrike, Groundscraper Thrush, Whistling Cisticola, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, and Western Violet-backed, Olive and Miombo Double-collared Sunbirds.

Further along the road, the trees become more stunted and eventually open out to expansive plains and marshy dambos that are home to some of the most interesting species of the tour. At the splendid dambo at the Chitunta and Luakera rivers, we shall don suitable footwear to walk through the boggy terrain in search of the rare Grimwood’s Longclaw that favours the wettest areas. During our time in this habitat we should also find the brightly-coloured Fülleborn’s and Rosy-breasted Longclaws that prefer slightly less waterlogged habitat and the sturdy Angola Lark that sings amongst the shorter grass punctuated by strange squat termite mounds. Best of all, this is a reliable locality for the beautiful and restricted-range Black-and-rufous Swallow, which occurs only in Zambia and Angola, departing from northwestern Zambia in October.

Specialities and other good birds in the grasslands include Dickinson’s Kestrel, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Short-tailed Pipit, Dambo Cisticola, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Black-chinned Quailfinch and Locust Finch. There is usually an active colony of Bocage’s Weavers to be found in the area and we have a good chance of finding this little-known species (which completely disappears outside the breeding season!).

Banded Martins hawk insects and African Marsh Harriers quarter the grasslands, clumps of trees and marshes that also hold such species as Little Grebe, Black-bellied Bustard, African Wattled Lapwing, Marsh Owl, Swamp Nightjar, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Rufous-breasted Wryneck, Flappet Lark, Mosque and Red-breasted Swallows, Sooty Chat, Fan-tailed Grassbird, Moustached Grass Warbler, Ayres’s, Tinkling and Stout Cisticolas, African Dusky Flycatcher, Anchieta’s (split from Marsh) Tchagra, Copper Sunbird, Red-headed Quelea, Hartlaub’s Marsh Widowbird or perhaps even an early migrant Great Snipe.

Zambia: Days 6-7  Nchila Wildlife Reserve lies on the Hillwood Farm Estate and comprises over 40 square kilometres of pristine countryside in which over 400 species of birds have been recorded.

Of the major specialities, the attractive Black-collared Bulbul is relatively easy to see here and we shall also be looking for Grey-winged Robin Chat, the charming Laura’s Woodland Warbler, Bates’s Sunbird and the localised Bannerman’s Sunbird. We will also have more opportunities to seen many of the specialities already mentioned for earlier in our journey.

In the thick forest patches we may well also find Black Sparrowhawk, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Blue Malkoha, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Least and Pallid Honeyguides, Little and Honeyguide Greenbuls, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Fraser’s Rufous Thrush, Buff-throated Apalis, Salvadori’s Eremomela, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Green-throated Sunbird, Splendid Glossy Starling and Black-bellied Seedcracker. Little Bee-eaters favour more open habitats.

Zambia: Day 8  After some final birding in the far northwest we will return to Solwezi for an overnight stay.

Zambia: Day 9  This morning we will return to our splendid lodge on the Kafue River for an overnight stay, resuming our exploration of this superb area.

Zambia: Day 10  After spending most of the morning at the Kafue River we will return to Lusaka for an overnight stay.

Zambia: Day 11  Today we will head southwestwards to the Choma region for a two nights stay in the Nkanga Conservation Area. We will be staying in stylish and very comfortable accommodation and join our hosts in the main house each evening for our meals, an experience that makes for a most welcoming and friendly stay. We will arrive at Nkanga in time to explore the area this afternoon.

Zambia: Day 12  The Nkanga Conservation Area contains several cattle ranches and farms that have been actively protecting the local wildlife and are involved in mammal reintroduction schemes.

Our interest here lies primarily with the striking endemic Chaplin’s Barbet. This threatened barbet occurs only in a restricted area of Zambia that is probably as small as a few hundred square kilometres! The bird needs plenty of Ficus sycomorus fig trees for its source of food and it is threatened when these are cleared for cultivation. We shall be scanning the fig trees scattered across the open grasslands in search of bright white dots that could ultimately prove to be the bird itself.

The ranch house overlooks an attractive small dam surrounded by dense thickets and beautiful open miombo woodland, which is an excellent place to find the sparsely-distributed Racket-tailed Roller and Miombo Pied Barbet. Further special birds of Nkanga include Stierling’s Wren Warbler, Souza’s Shrike and African Spotted Creeper.

Other species that may well be found here include Little Bittern, African Spoonbill, White-backed Duck, African Black Duck, Red-billed and Hottentot Teals, African Cuckoo-Hawk, Long-crested Eagle, Hooded Vulture, Shelley’s and Natal Francolins, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black and Senegal Coucals, the spectacular Pennant-winged Nightjar, White-fronted Bee-eater, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Brown-backed Honeybird, Bearded Woodpecker, Rufous-naped Lark, Terrestrial Brownbul, Collared Palm Thrush, Zitting Cisticola, Neddicky, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Red-capped Crombec, Miombo Grey Tit, Grey Penduline Tit, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Spectacled Weaver, Southern Red and Yellow Bishops, Orange-breasted Waxbill, Cuckoo Finch (previously known as Parasitic Weaver) and Cabanis’s Bunting.

Zambia: Day 13  After some early morning birding at Nkanga we will continue southwestwards to Livingstone.

Livingstone is situated on the Zambian bank of the Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls. This spectacular and breathtaking place still has a stunning impact even after one has seen innumerable films or photographs. The falls themselves are magnificent and, as David Livingstone himself once declared, “On sights as beautiful as this, angels in their flight must have gazed”. Here the mighty Zambezi widens to nearly two kilometres broad before plunging vertically downwards. As we approach the falls, dense clouds of water vapour hang over the area and the sound of millions of tons of water dropping into chasms over 100m deep is awe-inspiring.

Rock Martins and Red-winged Starlings fly through rainbows that arch across the fine spray before vanishing into the gloom of the gorges. The area protected by the national park is not as extensive as on the Zimbabwean side and bird song is difficult to hear above the deafening rumble and pounding of cascading water. The falls were known as a regular haunt of the rare Taita Falcon, but these days, with increased disturbance, the birds have retreated to the inaccessible gorges downstream. Perhaps the most interesting birds that live here are the African Black Swifts of the paler race hollidayi that is endemic to Victoria Falls.

After our visit to the falls we shall head further west to our comfortable lodge, idyllically situated on the banks of the Zambezi, where we will stay for two nights. The lodge has a jetty affording views across the river, where Hippopotamuses sometimes wallow. Around the lodge we should find White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Southern Masked Weaver and Red-billed Firefinch. At night we may find Pearl-spotted Owlet, African Wood Owl and Square-tailed Nightjar.

Zambia: Day 14  Today we shall explore the mopane woodlands that are home to the Black-cheeked Lovebird. This delightful little parrot is now treated as a Zambian endemic, as any valid records outside the country are now thought to refer either to vagrants or else to feral birds. The species particularly favours mopane woodland and it has a patchy distribution in southwestern Zambia, being restricted to an area between the Zambezi and Kafue Rivers, with a total population numbering no more than 10,000 individuals.

The habitat here encompasses part of the Zambezi floodplain and shallow pools, thorny thickets and stands of mopane are characteristic of the area, so there will be much to distract us along the way. Restricted-range species to look out for during our travels include Coppery-tailed Coucal, and Meves’s and Burchell’s Starlings, while more widespread species include Great White Pelican, Marabou Stork, White-backed Vulture, Black-chested and Brown Snake Eagles, Gabar Goshawk, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Martial and Tawny Eagles, Crested and Swainson’s Francolins, Crowned Lapwing, Double-banded Sandgrouse, African Mourning and Namaqua Doves, Grey Go-away-bird, Jacobin Cuckoo, White-browed Coucal, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Böhm’s Spinetail, Red-faced Mousebird, Woodland and Striped Kingfishers, Swallow-tailed and Southern Carmine Bee-eaters, Purple (or Rufous-crowned) and Lilac-breasted Rollers, Common Scimitarbill, Southern Ground Hornbill, Southern Red-billed and African Grey Hornbills, Rattling Cisticola, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Arrow-marked Babbler, Southern Black Tit, Magpie Shrike, Yellow-billed and Red-billed Oxpeckers, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Lesser Masked Weaver, Red-billed Quelea, Yellow-crowned Bishop, White-winged Widowbird, Violet-eared Waxbill, Green-winged Pytilia, Jameson’s Firefinch, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Village Indigobird and Black-throated Canary.

The area borders on the much drier country to the west, marking the beginning of a rather different avifauna, and so there is always the chance of a surprise.

We will arrange a boat trip along the river in search of African Finfoot, Rock Pratincole, Half-collared Kingfisher and the restricted-range Chirping Cisticola.

More widespread species include Striated (or Green-backed), Black, Squacco and Purple Herons, Little and Intermediate Egrets, African Openbill, Glossy and African Sacred Ibises, Egyptian and Spur-winged Geese, African Fish Eagle, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Water Thick-knee, White-headed Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Grey-headed Gull, White-winged Tern, Giant Kingfisher, Sand Martin (or Bank Swallow), Wire-tailed and Barn Swallows, and Lesser Swamp Warbler.

Zambia: Day 15  After some early morning birding we will head for Livingstone airport, where our Zambia birding tour ends in the late morning.



Zimbabwe: Day 1  From Livingstone we will cross the border to the adjacent city of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and take a flight to Harare, the capital of the country, for an overnight stay.

Zimbabwe: Day 2  Today we will transfer to the Vumba (or Bvumba) Mountains, part of the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, for a three nights stay. The drive passes through a mosaic of open grasslands, fertile agricultural areas, well wooded hills and valleys and attractive conglomerations of enormous, well-weathered rocks. We should arrive in time for some initial birding.

Zimbabwe: Days 3-4  The Vumba (or Bvumba) Mountains rise to just over 1900m, astride the Mozambique border and are still partly covered in lush montane evergreen forest. Large areas have been transformed into banana, tea and tobacco plantations, but in these ‘mountains of the mist’ several large chunks of forest have been rigorously protected and here we will search for three near-endemics; Swynnerton’s Robin, Chirinda Apalis and Roberts’s Warbler (formerly Roberts’s Prinia), all of which are fairly easy to find. On the forest floor we may chance upon a shy Lemon Dove, while the skulking Barratt’s Warbler calls from the densest thickets. We even have a chance of seeing the secretive Buff-spotted Flufftail.

Other species we will hope to find in these woods and surrounding open areas include Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Cape Grassbird, Mouse-coloured Flycatcher, Gorgeous Bush Shrike, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Dark-backed Weaver, the secretive Red-faced Crimsonwing, the skulking Grey Waxbill and Black-throated Canary.

Zimbabwe: Day 5  Today we return to Harare, where our Zimbabwe birding tour ends this afternoon.


by Nik Borrow

View Report

Other Southern Africa birding tours by Birdquest include: