BIRDING AROUND THE WORLD

Malawi: 5 - 15th March 1997

INTRODUCTION

I spent 10 days birding in Malawi, with Ashley Banwell and Mike Archer, following our visit to South Africa and Zimbabwe. We recorded 306 species (according to Clements) during this time, including White-backed Night-Heron, Striped Flufftail, Wattled Crane, Violet-tipped Courser, Ruwenzori Nightjar, Boehm’s Bee-eater, White-chested and Cholo Alethes, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Sharpe’s and East Coast Akalats, White-winged Apalis and a host of miombo species such as Pale-billed Hornbill, Stierling’s Woodpecker and Boehm’s Flycatcher. I had 34 ticks, mostly of birds found elsewhere only in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Malawi is densely populated but habitat destruction does not appear to have been a serious problem because most uncultivated land was either in reserves / national parks or private estates. However, the recent ousting of Hastings Banda has resulted in private land being given to the general populace with the inevitable consequences. Forest sites such as Soche Mountain are probably living on borrowed time.

Malawi is relatively safe, cheap (apart from vehicle hire) and hassle-free, with very friendly people, many of whom speak English. Most of the specialities can be seen by visiting a mere handful of localities, so that even a short trip can be highly rewarding. Hence, Malawi is thoroughly recommended as a birding venue, especially with an additional 5-7 days in Zimbabwe, birding Harare and the Vumbas, for anyone who has not already been there.

TRANSPORT

We flew with Air Malawi from Harare to Blantyre, £72 for a return ticket - a single being more expensive!

This was to minimise travelling time as time was short (the others left after 8 days). We could have flown to Lilongwe for the same price, with either Air Malawi or Air Zimbabwe, both reasonable carriers. We left for home from Lilongwe, having had open-jaw tickets, available with KLM and BA.

Public transport is good between towns but non-existent in national parks. The only international car-hire company operating here is Avis, who do not offer unlimited mileage and have a steep drop-charge for starting in Blantyre and finishing in Lilongwe, although this works out similar to the cost of the mileage. Hence our flight plan. However, shortly before departure for Africa I was able to book an unlimited mileage deal through Soche Tours (fax 00265 620 440, tel 620 777), a reputable local agent. This cost US$610 for a Toyota Corolla for 7 days, including full insurance, taxes and $80 drop-charge; the car was supplied by Greenline Car Hire Services (fax 630 897). It would have been cheaper to drive back to Blantyre, to save the drop-charge, and take the 4-hour bus journey back to Lilongwe. I intended to do this, having extended my visit by 2 days, to have another try for montane species, but abandoned the idea when the car was wrecked in a collision (caused by a local driving fast round a bend on the wrong side of the road). There was no excess for the damage but would have been had the police report apportioned blame to me.

The main north - south roads are sealed, eg between Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu (direct or via Lake Malawi), but elsewhere are poor-quality dirt, where a 4-wheel drive would be a distinct advantage. We only just managed to visit Nyika NP, where the roads were barely driveable, it being the rainy season - we were delayed at least 5 times and were lucky to get a tow out on the most serious occasion. An alternative strategy would be to use public transport for long distances, hire taxis, which with negotiation were quite reasonable, for “local” journeys and a 4-wheel drive for Nyika.

FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION

Cheap restaurants are available in sizeable towns but appear to be scarce elsewhere, hence it is as well to have a supply of food with you at all times, particularly as resthouses are one of the best options for accommodation at the more remote areas and usually come with cooks but no food. Shops in the towns hold a modest selection of foodstuff but much more limited than in South Africa - do not expect to find items such as meusli. Villages hold very little - even eggs seem hard to come by.

Although hotels are plentiful in Lilongwe and probably in the tourist haunts along Lake Malawi, they seem surprisingly scarce elsewhere. Outside the cities, the only up-market establishments I know are the lodges at Liwonde and Lengwe National Parks, and even modest hotels can be hard to find, eg Zomba, where the national parliament is housed, has only 3 hotels / resthouses. Recommendations are:-

Grace Bandawe Conference Centre, Chileka Road, Blantyre - 300/350K a double

Annie’s Hotel / Restaurant, Lilongwe (on main road leading to the right turn to the bus station and market, which is Malangalanga Road) - 50K per person

Ndindeya Motel, Zomba - 180K a double

Chikangawa Resthouse No 2, Viphya Forest - 45K per person - no food

Vipia Resthouse, Viphya Forest - 150K per person

Beach Resorts, south of Nkhata Bay - 100K a double

Government Resthouse, Mzuzu - 320 a double, b & b

It is probably safe to camp almost anywhere - there are a few camp-sites, eg at Nyika NP and Lilongwe Golf-course.  

REFERENCES

The Birds of Malawi by CW and FM Benson, 1977, Montford Press, Limbe - gives detailed distributions.

Birds of Africa, Vols 1-4 + future vols.

Birds of Malawi - A Supplement to Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa by K Newman, N Johnson-Smith and B Medland, 1992.

Field Guides to southern African and East African birds.

A Birders checklist to the Birds of Malawi - Dave Sargeant, 1997.

The best of a small number of trip reports is: Malawi Trip Report: 27th July to 2nd Sept 1988 - by Andrew Dobson & Katrina Penn. Nigel Wheatley’s Where to watch birds in Africa and Bob Medland’s Birdwatching in Malawi (Bull ABC Vol 2 No.2) are useful at the planning stage.

CONTACTS

Jens Haugaard, PO Box 409, Blantyre; tel home 635 451, work 676 240, fax 676 243

Stewart Lane, PO Box 51147, Limbe; tel 652 151

MISCELLANEOUS

The weather was generally warm and cloudy, with some sun and heavy showers. Humidity was only really high at Nkhata Bay. The rainy season peaks in Jan / Feb and can extend either side for a month or two; hence road conditions are at their worst in the first few months of the year.

The only serious health risk is malaria and that only occurs in the lowlands, ie mainly around Lake Malawi. We had virtually no health or insect problems.

Visas are not required. Local currency is the Kwacha, 15 to the US$ and 24 to the £. The strict rules on dress and hair length imposed by Banda have now been scrapped, although Ashley took no chances. There are no traffic police or enforcement of speed limits, but roadblocks occur at intervals and papers and the condition of the vehicle are often checked.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many thanks to Bob Medford, Dave Sargeant, Mark van Beirs and especially Jens Haugaard and Stewart Lane, for help and advice. Ashley and Mike were excellent companions throughout.

Jon Hornbuckle  35 Grove Road, Sheffield S7 2GY

ITINERARY

March   5          Arrived Blantyre at 18.10. Night on outskirts of town.

            6          Soche Mountain - Limbe - Zomba.

            7          Zomba - Mvuu Camp, Liwonde NP.

            8          Liwonde NP -Vyphia Plateau

            9          Vyphia - Chelinda Camp, Nyika NP.

            10         Nyika Plateau

            11         Chelinda Camp - Chowo Forest - Thazima Gate - Nkhata Bay

            12         Mzuzu - Lilongwe

            13          Dzalanyama - Lilongwe

            14         Lilongwe - Dedza - Lilongwe

            15         Dzalanyama - Lilongwe - London.

SITES

Soche Mountain

This, and the next site, are just south of Blantyre, the largest city in the country. The key species to see is Cholo/ Thyolo Alethe, Malawi’s only endemic (well, almost), which is perhaps more likely to be seen here than anywhere else. Other good birds possible are Livingstone’s Turaco, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Spotted Ground-Thrush, Pale and Malawi (Cape) Batises, Green-headed Oriole, White-winged and Black-headed Apalises, Peter’s Twinspot and Bertrand’s Weaver. From Blantyre take Kanjedza Road (off Mahatma Ghandi Road near Filling station) to top of hill with the satellite dish on your left. Turn right at crossroads, along road lined with cedars and park opposite transformer mast on left just inside the township. Walk back 50m and turn left alongside church - follow main path towards mountain, which becomes Red Route to the peak. We saw both Batis sp., Black-headed Apalis and heard the Trogon in a badly deforested area, then had the Alethe, Bushshrike, Black-throated Wattle-eye and Evergreen Forest Warbler on a ridge near the peak.                                                            

Blantyre - Michru Conservation Area is good for general birding - turn first right after the Hong Kong restaurant, then first left and continue for nearly 9km.                             

To get to Stewart Lane’s house, take the road to Zomba from Blantyre or Limbe. About 1km after the Limbe and Blantyre roads join, turn right opposite Maone Park Estate. Follow the tar for a few 100m until you come to a rock by the roadside with SL painted on it. Turn right here and Stewart’s gate is at the end of this straight track.

Thyolo Mountain

An hours drive from Blantyre, this holds the same birds as Soche Mt and Green/ Woodward’s Barbet and Orange Ground-Thrush; Green-headed Oriole is said to be easy here - a permit is required from the Tea Estate manager (phone 472233). Follow Thyolo Road and turn right at a big blue sign for Satemwa Estate - on the estate, follow signs for Chawani Bungalow (which costs US$90 to stay, sleeps 8) - the road to the forest is visible from the transmitter station, reached from the back of the bungalow garden. A permit is unnecessary for the nearby Mikundi Forest, which has all the birds except the Barbet - turn left c.1.5km after the big yellow Namingomba Tea Estate sign (on the right), at a small sign for “I. Conforzi Tea Estates, Mikundi Estate” - a track to the hill forest goes past a small dam on the right.

Mulanje Massif

At 3000m this is the highest mountain range in eastern Central Africa, only 65km from Blantyre, or 81km via Thyolo - excellent  for Crowned and Verreaux’s Eagles, with other montane species including Pallid Honeyguide and Olive-flanked Robin-Chat. The scenery is reputed to be spectacular but it is quite a climb to reach the upper parts. Stay at Likhabula resthouse at the southwest base, a left turn just before Mulanje township.           

Zomba

This appears to be the most accessible place to see the star White-winged Apalis. Turn left in front of the parliament building, go up the hill for a few 100m and scour the canopies of garden trees for the Apalis, which is unobtrusive and highly active but responds to taping. A possible contact is John Wilson, Box 537, Zomba, tel 522313.     

The scenic plateau above the town holds Black-rumped Buttonquail and Buff-spotted Flufftail but the road up to it is unsuitable for 2-wheel drive vehicles at present.

Liwonde NP

Mvuu Camp at Liwonde must be one of the nicest spots in the country, on the banks of the Shire River and partially surrounded by open mopane woodland. Three key species can be seen here, namely Boehm’s Bee-eater, Brown-breasted Barbet and Livingstone’s Flycatcher, and Pel’s Fishing-Owl is also commonly found. It is the one of the few sites known for breeding African Pitta, but very few people have seen it here. Other good birds possible are Rufous-bellied Heron, Dickinson’s Kestrel, White-headed and Senegal (Lesser Black-winged Plover) Lapwings, Violet-tipped Courser, African Skimmer, Cape and Brown-headed Parrots, Lilian’s Lovebird, Black Coucal, Racket-tailed Roller, African Broadbill, Collared Palm-Thrush and Southern Brown-throated Weaver.

Book through Central African Wilderness Safaris, Box 489, Lilongwe - the daily cost was 1100K per person (900 Sun - Thurs) all-in including 2 trips a day, but will be higher in the peak season. The pick-up point for the river trip to the Camp is up a right turn immediately before the Shire River bridge when coming from Zomba / Blantyre. The local guide Robert Nyirenda is very sharp-eyed and knowledgeable, although not able to find for us Pel’s, White-backed Night-Heron (which normally roost and nest in bushes overhanging bank next to tent 6),  Rufous-bellied Heron or Senegal Lapwing, all strong possibilities.

There is good Brachystegia woodland on the hills south of Liwonde, eg on the Zomba road before Machinga, which hold Pale-billed Hornbill, Stierling’s Woodpecker and Cinnamon-breasted Tit (only found E of the Rift). Car parking is tricky, so we tried the first right turn (coming from Liwonde) into a eucalypt plantation at the base of the hills, parked after a few 100m, and walked up a track into the forest, but in limited time only saw the Tit.                  

Nyika NP

This is the premier locality in Malawi. Key birds are Wattled Crane, Usumbara (Mountain) Nightjar, Black-backed Barbet, Fuelleborn’s Boubou, White-chested Alethe, Olive-flanked Robin, Sharpe’s Akalat, Blue Swallow, Sharpe’s (Yellow-streaked) Greenbul, Black-lored and Churring Cisticolas, Chapin’s and Brown-headed Apalises, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Yellow-browed Seedeater, Anchieta’s and Red-tufted Sunbirds and Buff-shouldered Widowbird. Other possibilities are Crowned Eagle, Red-winged and Shelley’s Francolins, Denham’s Bustard, Buff-spotted & Striped Flufftails, Bar-tailed Trogon and miombo species such as Spotted Creeper and Rufous-bellied Tit. It is quite well covered in Bob Medland’s Bull. ABC article but the recommended Zambian resthouse has closed, although could possibly reopen, so you now have to stay at Chelinda Camp - 150K for a double room, no cook, 300K for 3-bed chalet with cook, or camp. Petrol is available but virtually no food. See map for sites.

The “best” site for the rarely seen Black-backed Barbet is the riparian trees along Kaswerera stream just east of Thazima  Gate - drive down the track through the village inside the NP and walk up stream, if you can - it was pretty overgrown when we were there, with not a hint of a barbet. Black-tailed Waxbill also occurs in this area. The Barbet has also been seen on the hill outside the gate.

Babbling Starling and Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Weaver, difficult to see elsewhere, are said to be easy at Kawiya Camp in the northeast corner of Vwaza Marsh, a large reserve just south of Nyika NP. Bear left at the road fork c. 10 km before Thazima gate; about 10 km further on at the bottom of a valley and just out of the hills, there should be a steel girder bridge over a large stream - 500m before this turn left on a small track. After about 4 km you reach a narrow bridge with a banana plantation on the other side - park here and walk straight down the road for c. 2km to Kawiya Camp. The Starling and Sparrow-Weaver can sometimes be seen in tall Brachystegia between Thazima gate and Vwaza Marsh, eg on the left (when coming from the south) c. 1km before the turn off to Kawiya Camp .

Mzuzu Wildlife Education Centre, down a dirt track on the left of the Mzuzu - Nkhata Bay road, just past the Government secondary school 3km out from the Government Resthouse, holds Chapin’s Apalis and East Coast Akalat, but we saw nothing in the rain.        

Lake Malawi

The main birding reason to come here is to find East Coast Akalat, difficult to see at its better known haunts on the Kenyan coast. There were several in the roadside forest a few km west of Nkhata Bay - it is probably important to be there at dawn. Go inland on the main road to Mzuzu and park on the only tarred space on the right just past the Nkhotakota turn. Walk up the grass trail - Akalats sang on both sides near the first bend.

For accommodation, Kapiche Motel is better than Heart Hotel in Nkhata Bay, recommended in Lonely Planet and distinctly downmarket, but the Chikale and Nyaya Beach Resorts over the hill to the south are better still, if you can get in.

Further south at Senga Bay, an easy day trip by public transport from Lilongwe via Salima, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Boehm’s and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters and Livingstone’s Flycatcher can be found in the vicinity of the shore, and Mpatsanjoka Dambo, an inland wetland, is productive for waterbirds. Cape Maclear is said to be the prettiest spot on the lower lake - the many endemic coloured fish can be viewed here from glass bottomed boats, but beware of Bilhazia here. At the very south lies Mangochi, east of which is Mangochi Mountain, the only locality for Green Tinker-Barbet, a Mozambique speciality.

Lilongwe

The town Nature Reserve, off Kenyatta Drive, open 07.30-17.00, is an excellent place, particularly for White-backed Night-Heron which nest by the river - take the middle South Trail straight to the river and bear left along the River Walk Trail - the herons nest in a bush overhanging the river on the far bank, directly opposite a large patch of tall bamboo and a broken wooden bench, but take some spotting. Other good birds here are Finfoot, African Broadbill, Peter’s Twinspot and Magpie Mannikin. The golf course, on the edge of town south of the road to Kasumu Dam, is said to be worth a visit if you have time to spare.                                  

Dzalanyama

This Forest Reserve, an hour or so SW of Lilongwe, on the Mozambique border is an excellent site for the miombo specialities, namely Pennant-winged Nightjar, Whyte’s and Miombo Barbets, Pale-billed Hornbill, Stierling’s Woodpecker, Miombo Robin-Chat, Red-capped Crombec, Boehm’s Flycatcher, Souza’s Shrike, Stierling’s Wren- (Barred) Warbler, Rufous-bellied Tit, Olive-headed Weaver and Anchieta’s, Shelley’s and Violet-backed Sunbirds. Long-toed Flufftail, Boulder Chat, Lesser (Nyasa) Seedcracker and Locustfinch are also outside possibilities.

South out of Lilongwe, turn right at the roundabout, to Kasumu Dam. Ignore the left turn to the dam after 20km, and the reserve is reached after a further 20km. Drive through the barrier gate and fork right following the sign to the Resthouse; the miombo forest starts 8km from the gate.

Others

Misuku Hills

In the far north of the country beyond Chitipa on bad roads, this is the only site for Shelley’s Greenbul, Short-tailed Batis and Spot-throat. Oustalet’s Sunbird occurs in degraded miombo north of Nyilla, towards Chitipa.

Dedza  and Ntchisi Mountains

These isolated mountains can be visited as day trips from Lilongwe. Dedza is only an hour’s ride away on the frequently served Blantyre bus route. It is a pleasant walk from the main stop - go back along the road for a few 100m, then up through eucalypt and pine plantations, past a radio/TV mast to the upper plateau of rich flowery grassland and forest patches. The only notable birds I saw were Hildebrandt’s Francolin, Schalow’s Turaco, Singing Cisticola and Olive Bush-Shrike. To reach Ntchisi you must go for c.80 km 50 of which are dirt roads, but the birds are potentially more rewarding, with Bar-tailed Trogon possible.

Lengwe NP

This pleasant site south of Blantyre is best known for mammals and the nearby spectacular colony of Southern Carmine Bee-eaters (300m W of Chigwawa Bridge), but is also noted for Black-and-White (Vanga) Flycatcher - in the fever trees around the bridge at the Reserve entrance - Lemon-breasted Canary and the possibility of Boehm’s Spinetail and Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo. It holds some of Liwonde’s birds, most notably, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Racket-tailed Roller, African Broadbill and Livingstone’s Flycatcher.

DAILY LOG

March   5          Arrive Blantyre at 18.15, easy entry formalities. Met by Greenline Car Hire, and given larger car than ordered. Drive few km to Grace Bandawe Conference Centre where book twin-bed  rondavaal. Ring Stewart Lane, who kindly comes round with maps and gen. Chicken, rice and a banana for c.£2 (same price as tea for 3).

March   6          05.45 - 11.30 two sites on Soche Mountain: Livingstone’s Turaco, Malawi Batis, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Cholo Alethe, Evergreen Forest Warbler and Black-headed Apalis, but no Green-headed Oriole or White-winged Apalis. Pleasant lunch with the Rev. Stewart Lane at his house in Limbe, but no Bertram’s Weavers (which breed in the garden). Try to leave at 14.00 but car will not start. Call Soche Tours who send Greenline, but have to wait till 16.15, thus scotching plans to go to Thyolo Mountain. Book following night at Liwonde by phoning Central African Wilderness Safaris in Lilongwe. Car soon repaired, so make for Zomba (1hour), where both resthouses are full. Manage to get last free room at Ndineya Hotel, the only other hotel and the cheapest at 202K for 3 in a room (1 on floor matress). Chicken and chips but very slow service. No phones working in whole of Zomba.

March   7          05.30 - 06.30 at Zomba, in secondary growth and wooded gardens above parliament building: stunning White-winged Apalis taped in by AB. Drive to Liwonde village, with tea stop, arriving 07.40, but 08.00 boat transfer to Mvuu Camp, Liwonde NP delayed till 08.25 awaiting other clients. 09.15arrive at camp - lovely site. Slow boat trip gives Skimmer, Southern Pochard and Black Stork, and Boehm’s Bee-eaters are in camp grounds. Good lunch and chill out till 15.15 when take guided walk till 16.30: Brown-breasted Barbet and Livingstone’s Flycatcher. Game drive 17.15 - 19.30: Bronze-winged Courser, Brown-necked (Cape) Parrot, Fiery-necked Nightjar and Civet, but no Senegal Lapwing (Lesser Black-winged Plover). Pel’s Fishing-Owl calling at dinner but not located on short boat trip afterwards, nor White-backed Night-Heron. Hippos noisy at night.

March   8          05.30 start becomes 05.45 due to late arrival of guide Robert. Try hard for Pitta and Pel’s but no luck: Brown-headed Parrot, Bearded Scrub-Robin, and Broadbill heard. Breakfast at 07.30. Boat transfer back to Liwonde 09.15 -10.00 - no Rufous-bellied Heron, normally seen on the way. Drive few km back towards Zomba and enter the Brachystegia woodland - rather quiet, only one small party with Cinnamon-breasted Tit, and Flappet Larks displaying overhead. Head N at noon, intending to go alongside Lake Malawi but unaccountably missed the turn near Selima and so go nearly to Lilongwe - one “short cut” to miss the city is very rough and slow. Reach Viphya Plateau at dusk, where many Amur Falcon are hawking over woodland. At 18.45 try the forested Chikangawa Resthouse No.2, a cook but no food - as neither we nor local shops have anything worth cooking, settle for the Vipia Resthouse, only one with a restaurant, where fish and chips, coffee and beer most welcome. 

March   9          05.30 start for Nyika NP, breakfast at Rumphi and food shopping, then 65km on poor dirt road. 75K per person per day NP fee, 60km to Chelinda Camp, with young Dutch couple squeezed in. Soon starts raining, making driving rather hazardous but make it at 15.00 after many rock hits under the car; stops on the way for Wattled Crane, Red-winged and Shelley’s Francolins, Black-lored and Churring Cisticolas and Blue Swallow. Give food to the cook then, as rain has stopped, drive to grassland, where flush Striped Flufftail, and patches of forest. Single Ruwenzori Nightjar on approach to camp at dusk.

March   10         05.30 cool start on trail by No1 Dam. Tea at 06.15, leave flat tyre for repair at settlement; surprised to meet Jens Haugaard with whom I’d corresponded from home. 08.00-10.30 Chowo Forest until rain stops play: Schalow’s Turaco, Abyssinian Hill-Babbler, Fulleborn’s Boubou, Brown-headed Apalis, Cinnamon Bracken and Evergreen Forest Warblers, while White-chested Alethe heard but not seen. Car slips in to deep fissure in road, so AB & MGA walk to defunct Zambian guesthouse for help. In meantime passing passenger truck stops and tows me out, after breaking tow-rope several times. Eventually find AB & MGA eating the last of a pile of apparently very tasty hot potatoes, cooked by the unemployed Zambians, my only consolation being Streaky Seedeater en route. Return to lodge, getting stuck in soft sand but escape by brute force and rocks under wheels. AB and I go back to Zoro Chipolo Forest, with one enforced stop in soft sand - tape out the Alethe and suffer attack by vicious ants; 20 Hobbies hawking together over plateau. MGA had perched Blue Swallows at the dam. Hear from local that guards have recently killed an old leopard for catching chickens and “chasing our chaps”!

March   11         05.30 leave Chelinda Camp for Chowo Forest, with stops (Olive-flanked Robin-Chat for AB):  Sharpe’s Akalat but no Bar-tailed Trogon. Depart 08.15 for Thazima Gate - stuck once in deep wash hole, jacked out - big flock in miombo 5-8 km before the Gate: Spotted Creeper, Yellow-bellied Hyliota and Rufous -bellied Tit. Gate at 11.00 and walk to stream to look for Black-backed Barbet, but dip. Drive 3km back up hill and explore miombo: Miombo Scrub-Robin, Anchieta’s and Green-headed Sunbirds, Bertram’s Weaver (at last) and a rare Rufous Bushchat. A flock of soaring Steppe Eagles below the Gate are probably migrating. Spend some time trying to find Vwaza Marsh, but have to abort when car becomes stuck in deep ruts due to insufficient clearance. Relieved to reach Rumphi at 16.30 and press on to Mzuzu and Nkhata Bay. Locate nice beach resort in the dark, but full so have to settle for 2 cheap rooms (75K total) in town. Feast on beef pizzas and chocolate cake!

March   12         05.15 departure for lowland forest in rain, soon seeing East Coast Akalat but little else. Locate Environmental Education Centre, Mzuzu and walk short trails, hoping for Chapin’s Apalis - promising but dead due to heavy rain. Breakfast at pleasant Govt Resthouse nearby - no eggs or jam! Drive to Lilongwe, with one hot, birdless stop in miombo on Viphya Plateau, arriving 14.15. Visit Soche Travel to extend car hire period and book a room at Annie’s. 16.00-17.00 in Nature Sanctuary - White-backed Night-Heron nesting but no Magpie Mannikin, heavy rain starts again.

March   13         05.30 to Dzalanyama 40km, then 8km through eucalypts. 07.00-08.00 track on left - one flock with Stierlings Woodpecker, Boehm’s Flycatcher, Red-capped Crombec, Souza’s Shrike and Violet-backed Sunbird. A further 2-3km gives Whyte’s Barbet, Flappet Lark, Wood Pipit, Retz’s Helmet-Shrike, Anchieta’s and Shelley’s Sunbirds and Black-eared and Yellow-browed Seedeaters, but nothing new on final walk 11.00-11.30. Towards Lilongwe, after almost birdless Kasumu Dam, hit by Landcruiser ambulance. Taken 15km to Lilongwe police station where wait hours, as there are no spare vehicles, before Greenline arrive, then further hour while they locate a tow-rope, finally returning to our car at 15.30, AB & MGA having just left for the airport. Police measure up and I am towed back to town and dropped at Annie’s at 17.00 where spend evening chilling out with English girls. 

March   14         Lilongwe bus terminal for 07.00 bus to Salima, intending to visit Lake Malawi. Not arrived by 07.15 so take double-decker to Blantyre, alighting at Dedza, 08.40 (33K). Walk up Dedza Mountain to plateau at top - picturesque but only notable new birds are Tambourine Dove, Olive Bushshrike, Singing Cisticola and Yellow-bellied Waxbill. Catch bus back, 13.20-14.20, then to Lilongwe Nature Reserve by minibus, till closing time at 17.00: Finfoot and Peters’ Twinspot. Arrange taxi for 05.30 in the morning.

March   15         Taxi fails to show so go to bus station and find another, a wreck - 06.00 by time he has petrol. Reach Dzalanyama forest edge at 07.30, with complaints about distance and road condition. Walk to the left for some distance before eventually finding 2 bird parties, with some of last time’s species plus Pale-billed Hornbill and Miombo Barbet. Return to taxi at 10.20 and Annie’s at 12.00, paying 420K to driver. Torn trousers are repaired in 15 mins by Singer sowing machine (only 5K). Lift to airport at 15.30 with South African tabacco farmer en route to Salima for drinks with friends - says he can’t return to South Africa as he was ex-army and the new regime is “taking out” white army men. Bird area near airport entrance - good for sunbirds but nothing new. $20 departure tax payable only in US$ but change given ( in $, unlike at Harare where they will not give any change); able to buy duty-free in Kwacha and change remaining K to $ without original exchange receipt. Arrive London early morning.

SYSTEMATIC LIST OF BIRDS

Taxonomy, names and sequence based on Birds of the World: A Checklist by JF Clements (1991); an asterisk indicates split not accepted in Malawi. Notable records by only one observer are initialled in parenthesis.

Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo                            20 Liwonde

Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna bicolor                               50 Liwonde

White-faced Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna viduata       20 Liwonde           

White-backed Duck, Thalassornis leuconotus                                20 Liwonde

Spur-winged Goose, Plectropterus gambensis                               40 Liwonde

Comb Duck, Sarkidiornis melanotos                                 6 Liwonde

Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata                                    2 Kasumu Dam

Southern Pochard, Netta erythrophthalma                      30 Liwonde

Little Egret, Egretta garzetta                                                               1 Liwonde

Black-headed Heron, Ardea melanocephala                    1 or 2 Nyika NP, 1 Kamusu Dam

Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis                                                 Common Liwonde

Striated Heron, Butorides striatus                                     4 Liwonde

White-backed Night-Heron, Nycticorax leuconotus        Pair nesting Lilongwe NR

Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus                                     2 Liwonde

Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta                                              10 Liwonde, 5 Lilongwe NR

Hadada Ibis, Bostrychia hagedash                                    10 Liwonde

Black Stork, Ciconia nigra                                                   1 Liwonde

Woolly-necked Stork, Ciconia episcopus                         20 Liwonde

Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus                        10 Liwonde

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus                                                  3 Liwonde

Black-shouldered Kite, Elanus caeruleus                         2 singles Liwonde, 1 Dzalanyama

Black Kite, Milvus migrans                                                  2 twos Nyika NP and 2 en route

African Fish-Eagle, Haliaeetus vocifer                                              1 Liwonde

Banded Snake-Eagle, Circaetus cinerascens                   1 Liwonde

Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus                                       Singles Liwonde and Nyika.

Western Marsh-Harrier, Circus aeruginosus                     A male Nyika NP

Dark Chanting-Goshawk, Melierax metabates                 1 Liwonde

African Goshawk, Accipiter tachiro                                   1 Liwonde, 1 or 2 Dzalanyama

Shikra, Accipiter badius                                                      Singles Liwonde and Dzalanyama

Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk, Accipiter rufiventris      1 Viphya Forest    

Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo                                        2 Viphya Forest, 2 singles Nyika NP and 1 Dzalanyama

Steppe Eagle, A. nipalensis                                                2 flocks of 15 and 10 soaring near Thazima Gate, Nyika

Wahlberg's Eagle, Aquila wahlbergi                                  1 Lilongwe NR

African Hawk-Eagle, Hieraaetus spilogaster                    1 Liwonde

Martial Eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus                                                1 Liwonde

Long-crested Eagle, Lophaetus occipitalis                      2 singles Nyika NP

Crowned Hawk-Eagle, Stephanoaetus coronatus           2 Soche Mountain

Red-necked Falcon, Falco chicquera                                                1 Liwonde

Amur Falcon, Falco amurensis                                          50 Viphya Forest, a few Nyika NP and 10 over Thazima Gate.

Eurasian Hobby, Falco subbuteo                                      2 singles Liwonde, 6 Nyika NP on 9th, 25 on 10th, two parties of 20 and 15 on 11th and a few Viphya Forest on 12th

Lanner Falcon, Falco biarmicus                                         2 Limbe, singles Liwonde and Nyika NP

Helmeted Guineafowl, Numida meleagris                        A few Liwonde and 4 Dedza Mountain

Red-winged Francolin, Francolinus levaillantii                               6 Nyika NP on 9th and 2 on 10th

Shelley's Francolin, Francolinus shelleyi                         2 Nyika NP on 9th

Hildebrandt's Francolin, Francolinus hildebrandti         3 Dedza Mountain

Red-necked Spurfowl, Francolinus afer                           Singles Liwonde and Nyika NP

Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix                                    2 Nyika NP on 9th and 2 on 10th with others heard

Striped Flufftail, Sarothrura affinis                                    1 seen (JH) and 1 heard Nyika NP on 9th and 2 heard on 10th.

African Finfoot, Podica senegalensis                                               1 Lilongwe NR on 14th

Wattled Crane, Grus carunculatus                                     1 Nyika NP

African Jacana, Actophilornis africanus                           1 Liwonde

Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis                                  20 Liwonde

Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia                           Heard Liwonde

Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola                                      6 Liwonde

Common Sandpiper, Tringa hypoleucos,                         Singles Liwonde and Kasumu Dam

Water Thick-knee, Burhinus vermiculatus                        7 Liwonde             

Bronze-winged Courser, Rhinoptilus chalcopterus       1 spot-lighted Liwonde       

Collared Pratincole, Glareola pratincola                           1 Liwonde

White-headed Lapwing, Vanellus albiceps                       10 Liwonde

Wattled Lapwing, Vanellus senegallus                             2 Liwonde

Gray-headed Gull, Larus cirrocephalus                            20 Liwonde

Gull-billed Tern, Sterna nilotica                                         2 Liwonde

African Skimmer, Rhynchops flavirostris                         2 Liwonde

Feral Pigeon, Columba livia                                                                A few in towns throughout

African Pigeon, Columba arquatrix                                   2 Nyika NP, a few Dedza Mountain

Lemon Dove, Columba larvata                                           1 Nyika NP

Cape Turtle-Dove, Streptopelia capicola                          Common throughout

Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Turtur chalcospilos         Fairly common throughout

Tambourine Dove, Turtur tympanistria                             2 Dedza Mountain

African Green-Pigeon, Treron calva                                  8 Liwonde, 2 Nyika NP

Brown-necked Parrot, Poicephalus robustus                  4 Liwonde

Brown-headed Parrot, Poicephalus cryptoxanthus        1 Liwonde

Lilian's Lovebird, Agapornis lilianae                                 10 Liwonde

Speckled Mousebird, Colius striatus                                 3 near Vwaza Marsh, 10 Lilongwe NR and Dedza Mountain

Schalow's Turaco, Tauraco schalowi                                                2 Nyika NP, 2 + heard Lilongwe NR and Dedza Mountain

Livingstone's Turaco, Tauraco livingstonii                      2 Soche Mountain

Purple-crested Turaco, Musophaga porphyreolopha     2 heard Liwonde and 1 heard E of Mzuzu.

Common Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus / African Cuckoo, C. gularis  Singles Nyika NP and Dzalanyama

Klaas' Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx klaas                                  Heard Liwonde

African Emerald Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx cupreus           A male Soche Mountain

Dideric Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx caprius                            Heard Liwonde

Yellowbill, Ceuthmochares aereus                                    1 Soche Mountain and heard Liwonde              

Black Coucal, Centropus grillii                                           1 by the Shire River, Liwonde

Burchell's Coucal, Centropus burchellii                           1 Dzalanyama

Spotted Eagle-Owl, Bubo africanus                                  1 Soche Mountain, 3 Nyika NP on 9th with 2 on 10th

Pel's Fishing-Owl, Scotopelia peli                                     1 heard Liwonde

African Wood-Owl, Strix woodfordii                                 1 Nyika NP (AB)

African Barred Owlet, Glaucidium capense                     1 Liwonde

Fiery-necked Nightjar, Caprimulgus pectoralis                               9 Liwonde

Ruwenzori Nightjar, Caprimulgus ruwenzorii                  2 singles Chelinda Camp, Nyika NP

Mottled Spinetail, Telacanthura ussheri                           5 Liwonde             

African Palm-Swift, Cypsiurus parvus                                              Common Liwonde, 1 Dzalanyama

Mottled Swift, Tachymarptis aequatorialis                       Fairly numerous S of Vyphia on 8th, 5 Nyika NP

Common Swift, Apus apus                                                 20 Lilongwe - Vyphia, 500  Nyika NP

Bar-tailed Trogon, Apaloderma vittatum                          1 heard Soche Mountain

Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata                                                10 Liwonde

Woodland Kingfisher, Halcyon senegalensis                  3 Liwonde

Striped Kingfisher, Halcyon chelicuti                                                1 Liwonde

Giant Kingfisher, Megaceryle maxima                                               Singles Liwonde and Lilongwe NR, 2 Chelinda Camp, Nyika NP.

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis                                              5 Liwonde, 1 Lilongwe NR

Little Bee-eater, Merops pusillus                                       4 Liwonde, 1 Nyika NP

Boehm's Bee-eater, Merops boehmi                                 5 Liwonde

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicu                         50 Liwonde

European Bee-eater, Merops apiaster                                               5 Liwonde, 1 Nyika NP, 4 Dzalanyama

Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Merops nubicoides           2 Liwonde

European Roller, Coracias garrulus                                   4 Lilongwe - Viphya

Lilac-breasted Roller, Coracias caudata                           Singles Lilongwe - Viphya, Dzalanyama and Lilongwe - Dedza, a few Nyika

Broad-billed Roller, Eurystomus glaucurus                     4 Nyika NP

African Hoopoe, Upupa africana                                        3 Liwonde

Green Woodhoopoe, Phoeniculus purpureus                 2 Liwonde

Common Scimitar-bill, Rhinopomastus cyanomelas     4 Liwonde

Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus                  10 Liwonde

Crowned Hornbill, Tockus alboterminatus                      2 Nyika NP on 10th and 3 on 11th 

African Grey Hornbill, Tockus nasutus                             6 Liwonde

Pale-billed Hornbill, Tockus pallidirostris                         4 Dzalanyama on 15th

White-eared Barbet, Stactolaema leucotis                        5 Soche Mountain and 2 Zomba.

Whyte's Barbet, Stactolaema whytii                                  1 Dzalanyama on 13th

Moustached Green-Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus leucomystax              1 Chowo Forest, Nyika NP

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus bilineatus          Heard Soche Mountain

Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus chrysoconus     1 Liwonde, 3 Dzalanyama

Miombo Barbet, Tricholaema frontata                                              1 Dzalanyama

Black-collared Barbet, Lybius torquatus                          2 Lilongwe NR and Dzalanyama

Brown-breasted Barbet, Lybius melanopterus                                1 Liwonde

Crested Barbet, Trachyphonus vaillantii                          1 Nyika NP

Lesser Honeyguide, Indicator minor                                 1 Zomba.

Green-backed Honeyguide, Prodotiscus zambesiae      1 Dzalanyama

Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Campethera abingoni         1 Dzalanyama

Cardinal Woodpecker, Dendropicos fuscescens                             1 Zomba, 2 Nyika NP and Dzalanyama

Stierling's Woodpecker, Dendropicos stierlingi                              2 Dzalanyama on both visits               

Bearded Woodpecker, Dendropicos namaquus                              2 Dzalanyama on both visits

Olive Woodpecker, Dendropicos griseocephalus           1 Nyika NP

African Broadbill, Smithornis capensis                            1 heard Liwonde

Livingstone's Flycatcher, Erythrocercus livingstonei    1 Liwonde

White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher, Elminia albicauda             1 heard Liwonde, 2 Thazima Gate, Nyika NP, 3 Dzalanyama

White-tailed Crested-Flycatcher, Trochocercus albonotatus  2 Soche Mountain, Nyika NP and Dedza Mountain

African Paradise-Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis            2 Zomba, Liwonde and Lilongwe NR

Fork-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus adsimilis                             Fairly common throughout

White-necked Crow, Corvus albicollis                              2 near Blantyre and Zomba,  common Nyika NP

Pied Crow, Corvus albus                                                     Common throughout

Eurasian Golden-Oriole, Oriolus oriolus                          1 Soche Mountain

African Golden-Oriole, Oriolus auratus                            Singles Zomba and Lilongwe NR

African Black-headed Oriole, Oriolus larvatus                 Singles  Lilongwe NR and Dzalanyama

White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina pectoralis       2 Chowo Forest, Nyika NP and Dzalanyama

Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio                                   10 Liwonde

Souza's Shrike, Lanius souzae                                          1 Dzalanyama on 13th.

Common Fiscal, Lanius collaris                                         Small numbers throughout

Brubru, Nilaus afer                                                               Singles Soche Mountain, Nyika NP and Dzalanyama

Black-backed Puffback, Dryoscopus cubla                      2 Soche Mountain, singles Liwonde, Nyika NP, Dedza Mt and Dzalanyama

Brown-crowned Tchagra, Tchagra australis                    1 Nyika NP

Black-crowned Tchagra, Tchagra senegala                     1 Liwonde, 4 Nyika NP, 2 Viphya and Dzalanyama

Southern Boubou, Laniarius ferrugineus                         Singles Liwonde and Dzalanyama, 2 Nyika NP and Lilongwe NR, 6 Dedza Mt

Fuelleborn's Boubou, Laniarius fuelleborni                    3 Chowo Forest, Nyika NP

Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike, Telophorus sulfureopectus   1 Lilongwe NR

Olive Bushshrike, Telophorus olivaceus                          2 Dedza Mountain

Black-fronted Bushshrike, Telophorus nigrifrons          1 Soche Mountain

White Helmetshrike, Prionops plumatus                          10 Liwonde, 2 parties of 5 Nyika NP, 20 Dzalanyama

Retz's Helmetshrike, Prionops retzii                                 6 Dzalanyama on 13th and 5 on 15th

Malawi Batis, Batis dimorpha [*split from B. capensis]     4 Soche Mountain, 2 Dedza Mt. 2-5 Nyika NP would be the sola form

Chinspot Batis, Batis molitor                                             2 Liwonde, Mzuzu and Lilongwe NR, 5 Dzalanyama

Pale Batis, Batis soror                                                         4 Soche Mountain

Black-throated Wattle-eye, Platysteira peltata                 2 Soche Mountain

Olive Thrush, Turdus olivaceus                                         2 singles Nyika NP

Kurrichane Thrush, Turdus libonyanus                            1 Limbe, 2 Dzalanyama

White-chested Alethe, Alethe fuelleborni                         1 Zovo Chipolo Forest and others heard there and at Chowo Forest, Nyika NP

Cholo Alethe, Alethe choloensis                                       2 Soche Mountain

Waller's Starling, Onychognathus walleri                         3 Nyika NP on 9th and 5 on 11th

Southern Blue-eared Glossy-Starling, Lamprotornis elisabeth  [Split from L. chloropterus}  25 Dzalanyama

Meve's Glossy-Starling, Lamprotornis mevesii                               20 Liwonde

Red-winged Starling, Onychognathus morio                  A few Nyika NP

Violet-backed Starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster        4 Lilongwe NR      

Pale Flycatcher, Bradornis pallidus                                   Singles Liwonde and Nyika NP

White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Dioptrornis fischeri           1 or 2 daily Nyika NP

Southern Black-Flycatcher, Melaenornis pammelaina    Singles Liwonde, Lilongwe NR and Dzalanyama

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata                                              2 Liwonde, Nyika NP and Lilongwe NR

Boehm’s Flycatcher, Muscicapa boehmi                          2 Dzalanyama on 13th

African Dusky Flycatcher, Muscicapa adusta                  Singles Soche Mountain and Nyika NP, 2 Dedza Mt

Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Myioparus plumbeus                       1 Dzalanyama on 15th.

White-starred Robin, Pogonocichla stellata                     1 Lilongwe NR on 14th

Sharpe's Akalat, Sheppardia sharpei                                 1 seen and 1 heard Chowo Forest, Nyika NP on 11th

East Coast Akalat, Sheppardia gunning                           1 seen and 2 heard Nkwalzi Forest Reserve, Nkhata Bay

Thrush Nightingale, Luscinia luscinia                                              Heard Liwonde

Olive-flanked Robin-Chat, Cossypha anomala                                1 Nyika NP (AB)

Cape Robin-Chat, Cossypha caffra                                   2 Nyika NP, 5 Dedza Mt

White-browed Robin-Chat, Cossypha heuglini                               1 Limbe, 2 Nyika NP

Collared Palm-Thrush, Cichladusa arquata                      10 Liwonde           

Bearded Scrub-Robin, Cercotrichas quadrivirgata         1 Liwonde

Miombo Scrub-Robin, Cercotrichas barbata                    Singles Nyika NP and Dzalanyama

Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin (Rufous Bushchat), Cercotrichas galactotes  1 on deforested hillside in miombo near Thazima Gate, Nyika NP was only the second record for Malawi but as the view was too brief for a detailed description, it will not be officially accepted.

Common Stonechat, Saxicola torquata                            Common Nyika NP and Dedza Mt

White-headed Black-Chat, Myrmecocichla arnotti          2 Dzalanyama       

Spotted Creeper, Salpornis spilonotus                             4 Nyika NP and Dzalanyama

Grey-rumped Swallow, Hirundo griseopyga                    2 below Thazima Gate, just outside Nyika NP

Rock Martin, Hirundo fuligula                                            2 Dedza Mt

Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica                                           Locally ommon, eg at Liwonde but only a few at Nyika NP

Angola Swallow, Hirundo angolensis                                               Up to 10 Nyika NP

Wire-tailed Swallow, Hirundo smithii                                                10 Liwonde

Blue Swallow, Hirundo atrocaerulea                                 1 en route in Nyika NP on 9th and 4 at Chelinda Dam on 10th (MGA)

Lesser Striped-Swallow, Hirundo abyssinica                   A few Nyika NP and Dedza Mt

Mosque Swallow, Hirundo senegalensis                          3 Liwonde

Red-rumped Swallow, Hirundo daurica                            2 Dedza Mt

House Martin, Delichon urbica                                           10 Limbe, 1 Liwonde, up to 10 Nyika NP and 2 Dedza Mt

White-headed Sawwing, Psalidoprocne albiceps            Up to 6 Nyika NP

Eastern Sawwing, Psalidoprocne orientalis                     10+ Soche Mountain, a few Viphya Forest, 5 Dedza Mt

Common Bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus                           Fairly common throughout

Little Greenbul, Andropadus virens                                  3 Zomba

Sombre Greenbul, Andropadus importunus                   3 Soche Mountain, 10 Zomba and  a few Liwonde

Mountain Greenbul, Andropadus tephrolaemus             Up to 10 Nyika NP

Grey-olive Greenbul, Phyllastrephus cerviniventris        1 Soche Mountain

Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Phyllastrephus flavostriatus               15 Soche Mountain

Sharpe's Greenbul, Phyllastrephus alfredi [*split from P. flavostriatus        2 Chowo Forest, Nyika NP

Eastern Nicator, Nicator gularis                                         Heard Liwonde

African Yellow White-eye, Zosterops senegalensis        Up to 10 Nyika NP and a few Lilongwe NR

Singing Cisticola, Cisticola cantans                                  Common Dedza Mt

Black-lored Cisticola, Cisticola nigriloris                          2-4 daily Nyika NP

Rattling Cisticola, Cisticola chinianus                                              2 Liwonde and  a few Lilongwe NR

Wailing Cisticola, Cisticola lais                                          A few Nyika NP and Dedza Mt

Churring Cisticola, Cisticola njombe                                                Common Nyika NP

Croaking Cisticola, Cisticola natalensis                           Heard  Nyika NP

Neddicky Cisticola, Cisticola fulvicapillus                        2 near Vwaza Marsh and a few Dzalanyama

Short-winged Cisticola, Cisticola brachypterus                              1 outside Lilongwe Airport

Wing-snapping Cisticola, Cisticola ayresii                       A few Nyika NP

Tawny-flanked Prinia, Prinia subflava                                               A few Soche Mountain., Liwonde, Nyika NP and Lilongwe NR

Bar-throated Apalis, Apalis thoracica                                               4 Chowo Forest, Nyika NP, 1 Dedza Mt

White-winged Apalis, Apalis chariessa                             2 Zomba

Yellow-breasted Apalis, Apalis flavida                                              1 Soche Mountain , 2Liwonde

Black-headed Apalis, Apalis melanocephala                   6+ Soche Mountain

Brown-headed Apalis, Apalis alticola                                               2 Chowo Forest, Nyika NP

Green-backed Camaroptera, Camaroptera brachyura    A few Soche Mountain, Liwonde and Nyika NP

Stierling's Wren-Warbler, Calamonastes stierlingi          2 Dzalanyama

Evergreen Forest Warbler, Bradypterus mariae                               1 Soche Mountain, 5 Nyika NP

Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler, Bradypterus cinnamomeus              1 Chowo Forest, Nyika NP

Greencap Eremomela, Eremomela scotops                     2 Liwonde, 3 Nyika NP, a few Viphya forest and Dzalanyama

Red-capped Crombec, Sylvietta ruficapilla                      6 Dzalanyama on 13th and 2 on 15th

Red-faced Crombec, Sylvietta whytii                                                2 Soche Mountain

Cape Crombec, Sylvietta rufescens                                   1 Nyika NP

Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus                           Singles Soche Mountain and Dzalanyama, several Liwonde and Nyika NP

Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Hyliota flavigaster                        6 Nyika NP and 2-4 Dzalanyama

Broad-tailed Grassbird (Warbler), Schoenicola platyura                1 near Vwaza Marsh

Garden Warbler, Sylvia borin                                              1 Liwonde

Abyssinan Hill-Babbler, Pseudoalcippe abyssinica        A few Nyika NP

Arrow-marked Babbler, Turdoides jardineii                     5 Liwonde and Nyika NP, 6 Dzalanyama

Southern Black-Tit, Parus niger                                         1 Liwonde

Rufous-bellied Tit Parus rufiventris                                  6 Nyika NP, 3-5 Dzalanyama

Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Parus pallidiventris [*Split from the above]             1 or 2 in brachystegia near Liwonde

Miombo Tit, Parus griseiventris                                         2-5 Dzalanyama

African Penduline-Tit, Anthoscopus caroli                      4 Nyika NP, 3 Dzalanyama

Rufous-naped Lark, Mirafra africana                                 Common Nyika NP

Flappet Lark, Mirafra rufocinnamomea                             2 displaying over brachystegia near Liwonde and at Dzalanyama

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus                                  Small numbers in and around Blantyre and Lilongwe

Grey-headed Sparrow, Passer griseus                              Fairly common Liwonde northwards

Cape Sparrow, Passer diffusus                                          Common Zomba

Green-winged Pytilia, Pytilia melba                                   1 Lilongwe NR

Peters' Twinspot, Hypargos niveoguttatus                      Singles Zomba and Lilongwe NR

Red-billed Firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala                   2 Thazima Gate, Nyika NP

African Firefinch, Lagonosticta rubricata                         2 Nyika NP, 6 Dedza Mt

Blue-breasted Cordonblue, Uraeginthus angolensis     Common Liwonde, several Soche Mt and Nyika NP

Black-tailed Waxbill, Estrilda perreini                                                3 Nyika NP

Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Estrilda quartinia                          10 Dedza Mt

Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrild                                       Fairly cxommon Nyika NP and Dedza Mt

Bronze Mannikin, Lonchura cucullata                                              10 Limbe, a few Liwonde and Nyika NP

Black-and-white Mannikin, Lonchura bicolor                  2 Liwonde

Cut-throat, Amadina fasciata                                             5 Liwonde, 2 Nyika NP

Village Indigobird, Vidua chalybeata                                 2 Liwonde

Variable Indigobird, Vidua funerea                                    2 Nyika NP

Purple Indigobird, Vidua purpurascens                            5 Nyika NP and 1 Dedza Mt

Pin-tailed Whydah, Vidua macroura                                  Several Liwonde and Nyika NP

Eastern Paradise-Whydah, Vidua paradisaea                   Fairly common Nyika NP, 1 Dedza Mt and common at Dzalanyama

Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah, Vidua obtusa                 Common Liwonde and a few at Nyika NP

African Pied Wagtail, Motacilla aguimp                             Widespead in small numbers

Yellow-throated Longclaw, Macronyx croceus                                2-3 near Vwaza Marsh

African Pipit, Anthus cinnamomeus                                 3 Liwonde, 2 daily Nyika NP

Wood Pipit, Anthus nyassae                                              1 Dzalanyama on 13th  

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Plocepasser mahali      Common Liwonde

Bertrand's Weaver, Ploceus bertrandi                                               2 in miombo near Thazima gate, Nyika NP

Lesser Masked Weaver, Ploceus intermedius                  10+ Liwonde

Spectacled Weaver, Ploceus ocularis                                                2 Liwonde

Holub’s Golden-Weaver, Ploceus xanthops                     2 Lilongwe NR

Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Ploceus xanthopterus  10+ Liwonde

Village Weaver, Ploceus cucullatus                                   Numerous Lilongwe NR

Forest Weaver, Ploceus bicolor                                          4 Soche Mountain

Olive-headed Weaver, Ploceus olivaceiceps                    A pair Dzalanyama both visits

Red-billed Quelea, Quelea quelea                                      Common Liwonde

Yellow Bishop, Euplectes capensis                                   2 Kamusu Dam

Red Bishop, Euplectes orix                                                                Common Liwonde, 2 Kamusu Dam

White-winged Widowbird, Euplectes albonotatus          A few  Liwonde

Buff-shouldered Widowbird, Euplectes psammocromius             Up to 5 daily Nyika NP

Anchieta's Sunbird, Anthreptes anchietae                       3 in miombo Nyika NP, 2 Dzalanyama

Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Anthreptes longuemarei  3 Dzalanyama

Collared Sunbird, Anthreptes collaris                                               2 Liwonde

Green-headed Sunbird, Nectarinia verticalis                    1 in miombo Nyika NP

Amethyst Sunbird, Nectarinia amethystina                      1 Liwonde, 5 Nyika NP

Variable Sunbird, Nectarinia venusta                                                2 Soche Mountain and Liwonde, a few Lilongwe NR

Miombo Sunbird, Nectarinia manoensis                           4 Nyika NP, common Dzalanyama

Montane (Greater) Double-collared Sunbird, Nectarinia ludovicensis (afra)               1 Nyika NP

Forest (Eastern) Double-collared Sunbird, Nectarinia fuelleborni (mediocris) Up to 5 daily Nyika NP, common Dedza Mt

Bronze Sunbird, Nectarinia kilimensis                              1 Lilongwe NR

Malachite Sunbird, Nectarinia famosa                                               Up to 5 daily Nyika NP, possibly with 1 or 2 Red-tufted N. johnstoni

Shelley's Sunbird, Nectarinia shelleyi                                               2-3 Dzalanyama

African Citril, Serinus citrinelloides                                   6 Soche Mountain, singles Liwonde and Dzalanyama, common Dedza Mt

Yellow-fronted Canary, Serinus mozambicus                  Fairly common throughout

Brimstone Canary, Serinus sulphuratus                           10 Dedza Mountain

Yellow-browed/Streaky-headed Seedeater, Serinus gularis/whytii               4 Dzalanyama

Black-eared Seedeater, Serinus mennelli                          2-4 Dzalanyama

Streaky Seedeater, Serinus striolatus                                                2 near Zambian guesthouse and 1 elsewhere, Nyika NP

Golden-breasted Bunting, Emberiza flaviventris            2 Nyika NP and Dzalanyama

Cabanis' Bunting, Emberiza cabanisi                                               1 Nyika NP

 

LIST OF MAMMALS

Taxonomy, names and sequence according to Kingdon, J (1997) The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals.

 

Yellow Baboon  Papio cyanocephalus              20 Liwonde

Chacma Baboon  Papio ursinus                        Small numbers Niyika NP 

Vervet Monkey, Cercopithecus pygerythrus    Common Liwonde, 5 Lilongwe NR

Gentle Monkey,  Cercopithecus (nictitans) mitis  6 Soche Mountain

Scrub Hare, Lepus saxatilis                                                4 Liwonde and Nyika NP

Tanganyika Mountain Squirrel,  Paraxerus lucifer  1 Nyika NP

Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Paraxerus cepapi          A few in miombo

Mutable Sun Squirrel, Heliosciurus mutabilis  2 Soche Mountain

White-tailed Mongoose,  Ichneumia albicauda                1 Liwonde

African Civet, Civettictis civetta                         1 Liwonde

African Elephant  Loxodonta africana                              20 Liwonde

Common Zebra, Equus quagga boehmi           3 Nyika NP

Hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius      200 Liwonde

Common Warthog,  Phacochoerus africanus  A few Liwonde      

Bushbuck  Tragelaphus  scriptus                      10 Nyika Plateau

Duiker sp.,  Cephalophus sp                              A few unidentified in forest.

Defassa Waterbuck, Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa       10 Liwonde

Impala  Aepyceros melampus                            Common Liwonde

Eland  Tragelaphus oryx                                     20 Nyika NP

Natal Duiker  Cephalophus natalensis                              1 Nyika NP

Roan Antelope  Hippotragus equinus                              20 Nyika Plateau

Sable Antelope  Hippotragus niger                   1 Liwonde, a few in miombo Nyika NP.