Birding in Malawi
Several countries in African allege to be a paradise for birdwatcher’s however Malawi’s testimonials in this very field are above all impressive. About 650 different bird species have been recorded with 10 % not being found in other regions of southern Africa. To a certain extent over 80 % of the identified species have been recorded to breed in this country while the rest are migratory species , majorly from Europe whereas others are from Asia.
There is a great diversity of birds ranging from the huge Marabou stork (more than 150 cm or 59 inches) to very small birds such as the locust finch (below 10 cm or 4 inches). One gaze at Malawi’s good geographical position as well as its variety of environments fast explains why it prides of such a great birdlife. The central location of the country, near to the equator crossing, puts it evidently on the path of the migratory birds which look out to make use of the conditions in different hemispheres. The combination of river plains, mountains, plus plateaux, in addition to swamplands as well as lakes, caters for the territory demands of all types of bird species. Malawi must definitely be a destination special to the genuine ornithologist and by people who are basically fascinated by the view of this colorful and astonishing collection of birds in this somewhat small country.
even though a specific bird species is not frequently restricted to a single habitat, the majority species prefer a particular hang around area that satisfies their cover needs, feeding as well as nesting. Dissimilar several mammals that require the shelter of a game reserve, the birds can actually be seen nearly everywhere that the circumstances are appropriate. However it is within the national parks plus reserves that the majority of natural habitats can be found, for this reason they are frequently the first choice to those people who visit Malawi and desire to experience the rich birdlife of this country. In addition, it is also within the parks that professional guiding can be accessible.
There isn’t a season through the year particular for bird watching. On the other hand, to see the largest variety that includes migrants, the time close to the finish of the dry months; late September- to the finish of the wet months - in April, offers the best opportunities. This certainly is, the winter in the northern hemisphere. possibly the best time is best time is in November as well as December, ahead of the rains when the birds are in the largest number and when the blend of numerous birds is all very vivid.
Bird Habitats in Malawi
in the region of the Lake
Lake Malawi draws a variety of birds that prefer either the water pus the islands or the specific vegetation along the shore-area. Among the very prominent species is the African fish eagle, which is the national bird of Malawi. There are additional populations of fish eagles in this place than in any other place in the rest of the world. This wonderful bird, that has a black colored body and a white head, neck as well as white tail feathers, is without difficulty seen as it dives to catch fish from the water surface. In case not seen, it’s very loud cry will certainly be heard as it rests on a water's edge tree or fly over the stunning lake.
Alongside the shore of the lake, are palms that draw the collared palm-thrush as well as the palm swifts, whereas the great boababs have their spotty spinetails with amazingly swept back-wings. The Pied kingfishers frequently dive to catch small fish and, in case there are reeds, the golden plus the brown -throated weavers may as well be seen. Extremely famous, particularly on the islands that are off-shore, are white breasted cormorants, even though the reed cormorants are not as commonly spotted. Without a doubt the most striking bird, because of its utter size, seen close to the lake is the huge Marabou stork.
Huge numbers of species of birds dwell in the wetland as well as riverine areas of Malawi. Lake Chilwa, Elephant Marsh, Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve as well as the bigger dambos, like the Mpatsanjoka close to Senga Bay, are worthwhile destinations for bird watchers.
greenbacked heron as well as the Squacco dwell in the Elephant Marsh, however the rubybellied and the rujousbellied heron may be found on the more easily reached Mpatsanjoka dambo. The White pelicans plus flamingos are often seen on Lake Chilwa as well as in Elephant Marsh. The Hamerkops, with their distinguishing crests, nourish in the shallow areas of Lake Chilwa. the great White pelicans and flamingos look very attractive within their breeding hgabitat when the, frequently white, feathers on their body reflect a pink color. an additional big as well as gorgeous bird among the dambos is the crowned-crane even though it is becoming uncommon.
Vwaza is renowned for its duck as well as geese populations that include the whitefaced in addition to knobbilled ducks along with the spurwinged geese, plus the lesser Egyptian goose.
The bigger rivers, like the Shire as well as the Bua, possess their private specialties. The uncovered sand cliffs close to Chikwawa are habitat to the carmine bee-eaters, recognized for their good-looking pale cinnamon under parts. The Giant kingfishers are in addition found close to the Shire although the smaller half collared kingfishers are to be seen mostly adjacent to the densely wooded banks of the river like in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
These woodlands, as well recognized as miombo, are the typical vegetation of most of Malawi. A variety of bird species are found only within these habitats and actually some of the finest viewing can be enjoyed within the Dzalanyama Forest found southwest of Lilongwe. Staying at the Forest Lodge found there can be very worthwhile.
Scimitar billed wood hoopoes, which have unusually curved bills, Whyte’s barbets and the lonely Souza’s shrikes are found here. The two infrequencies which are the blue-head weaver plus Stierling’s woodpecker in addition to Boehm’s flycatcher are not seen any place within southern Africa. An additional weaver bird, whose nest has an extended spout and at all times appears just a little disorderly, is the redheaded weaver seen in the Dzalanyama Forest and in another places.
There are many species of dazzlingly colored sunbirds seen in the Brachystegia woodlands. The Red plus blue sunbirds, Oustalet’s sunbirds and the green headed sunbirds are just 3 species not frequently seen in other parts of southern Africa. Among the pipits, the commonest is the wood pipit although the lighter colored bushveld pipit is an uncommon visitor.
The miombo rock thrush, regardless of its name, is not restricted to the stony regions of the woodlands although the boulder chat is frequently seen within the Mchinji region which has rocky projection. Two visiting species to these woodlands are the garden warbler as well as the European nightjar, frequently seen close to Thyolo in the wet months. A lengthy distance as well as uncommon guest is the European blackcap that glides to altitudes over 300 meters or 1000 feet.
Mixed savannah woodlands
2 national parks, Liwonde as well as Lengwe, offer this habitat. Similarly to the mixed vegetation, in addition one can look forward to to discover a predominantly wide assortment of birdlife. Regularly see are the long tailed glossy starlings, white browed sparrow-weavers, redbilled hornbills and the crowned hornbills. More constrained is the good-looking Lilian’s lovebird, only found in Liwonde. Just at the border of the woodlands and the rivers, you may see Pel’s fishing owl. yet again, Liwonde is the mainly the most probable place for a see it.
Below in the Lower Shire Valley, moreover particularly in Lengwe, are the yellow-billed hornbills. These are scarcely ever seen beyond this area although are fast recognized by their chiefly huge yellow bill. An uncommon summer guest is the hobby falcon that looks for small birds as well as bats at sunset. An additional hunter is the somewhat bigger long crested eagle, a moderately common species not only seen within the national parks but by the roadsides too. Throughout the day it can be seen up on a tree although early in the morning it will be flying so high in the sky.
Rocket-tailed rollers are rare although worth watching out for since their blue under parts grasp the sun light. Yet more uncommon is the biggest of all rollers; the purple roller - an additional pretty bird having a unification mixed colors. At the reverse end of the balance of sightings are the Mozambique nightjars. These feed from uncovered sandy surfaces as well as even from the dirt roads. yet more probable to be found are the Cape turtle doves.
Forest Birding in Malawi
There are not many although significant places of evergreen forest that offer a diverse home for birds from those that are more common- the deciduous woodlands. The Evergreen forest areas have a tendency to be somewhat small and different, like those on Kalwe Forest and Nyika next to Nkhata Bay, and in the Thyolo plus Mulanje region.
Among the species related to these habitats although not seen elsewhere within southern Africa is the stunning grey-olive bulbul, found particularly on Nyika. a number of other birds in this very family, stripe cheeked bulbuls, placid bulbuls and the yellow streaked bulbuls are also seen within this evergreen forests. These are not particularly easily seen although their shrilling calls are different.
A rare bird is Sharpe’s akalat. This is not easily seen except one gets a quick look of its white belly; the bird is in the same family with the robin although is not found in the other parts of southern Africa. Neither is olive flanked robin, although it is somewhat probable to be seen on the Viphya Plateau, within Nyika National Park as well as around Mulanje. 2 additional birds not sighted at in southern Africa on the exterior of Malawi are the bartailed trogon, and the moustached green tinker bird, one of the members of the barbet family with a characteristic white moustache. The trogon is attractively and marvelously colored all the way down to it’s silver tail having black bars.
an additional bird among the evergreens, that is something of a scarcity and not simple seen, is the blue mantled flycatcher. conversely, the green coucal is more common as well as can be recognized by its huge yellow bill, white underbelly as well as its green tail.
Mountains and hills
The really high ground areas such as Nyika as well as Mulanje visibly offer a distinguishing habitat save for the inselbergs which are spread across this country. The inselbergs are habitat to a diversity of raptors that pleasure in the rocky vantage areas offered within these hills. Amongst these birds are the somewhat common lanner falcon, the uncommon peregrine falcon as well as the black eagle. The most recent named is most probable to be found within the Mulanje region.
Amongst other dwellers of the rocky inselbergs as well as additional hills are the mocking chat, the mountain / rock cisticola plus the large striped pipit. The pipet has a tendency of flying off into the trees when it’s bothered and pretends to be one of the branches. Scornful chats, similar to others within this very family, have clearly different female plus male colors.
Among the birds found in the mountains, a number of them are distinctive to their exact home areas within Malawi. On the Nyika, Denham’s / Stanley’s bustard, the wattled crane and the red-winged francolin are all within this grouping, even though sights of the bustard on Viphya Plateau and as well in Kasungu National Park have been recorded. Each of these birds is drawn to Nyika’s grasslands. On the more stony regions of Nyika the portend buzzard can be sighted at.
On Mulanje Mountain, the widespread quail, regrettably, is not widespread in addition to the red tailed flufftail which is uncommon although worth searching for. The Eurasian swift is a summer visitor even though the rock martin is among the residents.
Around and about town
As already stated, birds have no borders even when in violently defensive. Not astonishingly, the bigger towns like Lilongwe as well as Blantyre possess their own populations of resident birds. For instance, 3 owls are sighted at close to the capital city. The pearl spotted owl in addition to the Scops owl are somewhat widespread although the huge eagle owl can be sighted at close to its hang around area in the Nature Sanctuary. Blantyre prides in the crested barbet as well as the pennant winged nightjar. Presenting no partiality, the sharp billed honey-guide can be seen in the two towns.
The reputation of Malawi for bird watching is renowned. Other than the very diverse array of habitats that attract such a large range of species, this country has an additional attraction for people interested in sightseeing. Malawi is a moderately small and as well it is very probable to visit a large number of various habitats to marvel at the wealth of birdlife even while on a very short stays within Malawi.