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Central Mozambique in Search of Pittas (and other great birds) 4 - 15 December, 2009


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Mozambique Trip Reports Page

If you are interested in this trip, please Book/Ask for information here.

Jump to Mozambique Lite South, April-May 2009


Mozambique offers superb and exciting birding in some amazing places, from the vast wet grasslands of Rio Savane to the to lowland forest and savannah in the "Coutadas" of the Zambezi valley. Then there is the awesome forest on Mount Gorongosa and fascinating Miombo woodlands in the region which offers a host of specials. All in all, this is still one of the most exciting and in places, unspoilt birding destinations available on the sub-continent.

This short trip concentrates on the most diverse and exciting localities in Central Mozambique, with an emphasis on localities where African Pittas occur regularly in the summer months. This offers a host of special birds not found elsewhere, and in many cases outside of the summer months. Birds which are much more likely or only possible in the summer months include Blue Quail, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Twinspot Indigobird, Collared Flycatcher, (European) Blackcap, Eleonora's Falcon, Great Snipe and African (Angola) Pitta. See the list of specials (appendix 1) for some of the great birds we expect to encounter on this trip. This tour can be done either as a fly-in trip (8 days) or a drive in trip (10 days). As regards the drive in - one can either do this self-drive, or drive with us in an air-conditioned 4x4. vehicle. The prices for the different options are significantly different. Please enquire regarding the specific option you would like to take.

About our Mozambique trips

Indicator Birding has been organizing Mozambique birding trips for 4 years, and Etienne Marais, who will be your leader knows the localities and the birds intimately. We provide 29Mhz CB radios to all vehicles in order to ensure a smooth and pleasurable trip with maximum birds. We do minimal birding in convoy, in order to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of seeing all the birds on offer! Our results in terms of actual birds seen are excellent, and we specialize in showing participants good views of all the birds concerned. All of our previous trip reports are available and we can (on request) also supply names and contact details of all those who have been our Mozambique trip previously.
Itinerary (Provisional) December 5 (Friday) Johannesburg to Musina.

Depending on their own circumstances self-drive participants will make their way to Musina for an overnight stop-over. Possible get together over dinner. Overnight B&B near Musina (own arrangement)

D1: December 6 (Saturday): Musina to Mutare

Early departure (05:00 am). Once through the border we meet up and install radios and then drive up to Mutare (6 hours). The aim is to get to the Mutare area with plenty of time for birding. In particular we focus on the area around Mutare where miombo specials such as Cinnamon-breasted Tit, Whyte's Barbet, Cabanis's Bunting and Spotted Creeper can be found. Other species on offer include Scarce and Mottled Swift, Twinspot Indigobird and Eleonora's Falcon.
Overnight: Inn on the Vumba

D2: December 7 (Sunday) Mutare to Beira (Rio Savane)

This morning we, we head through the border post and drive east towards Beira - to meet those flying in. Once the group is together, we head to Rio Savane- a beautiful beach resort on the other side of the Savane River.
Overnight: Rio Savane Resort

D3: December 8 (Monday): Rio Savane area

Full day birding in and around Rio Savane. This is one of the most exciting birding areas in Mozambique and offers a host of specials. Top of the list are Locust Finch, Great Bittern, Great Snipe, Blue Quail and Black-rumped Buttonquail, but the area also offers species such as Mangrove Kingfisher, Plain-backed Sunbird, Magpie Mannikin, Red-throated Twinspot, Wattled Crane, Rufous-bellied Heron, Senegal Lapwing and if one is lucky Greater Frigatebird and Sooty Tern
Overnight: Rio Savane Resort

D4 December 9 (Tuesday): Rio Savane to Msasa (Chinizua)

After a morning session of birding in and around Rio Savane, we head northwards via Dondo and Muanza. En route there is plenty of good birding - including the best chance for Yellow-bellied Hyliota anywhere on this trip. In all likelihood we will arrive at Msasa in the late afternoon or early evening.
Overnight: Msasa Camp Chinizua

D5 December 10 (Wednesday) Msasa area to Catapu.

Early departure for the traditional Chinizua site, where Pittas are regular in summer, along with a host of other great birds including Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Blue Quail, Green-backed Woodpecker, Speckle-throated Woodpecker, White-chested Alethe, East Coast Akalat, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-Shrike, Eastern Saw-wing, Ayre's Hawk-Eagle, Miombo Blue-eared Starling. and Lesser Seedcracker.

In the afternoon, once we have finished our birding we head north to Catapu.
Overnight: Mphingwe Camp, Catapu

D6 December 11 (Thursday) Catapu Birding

Catapu provides access to excellent patches of lowland forest hold East Coast Akalat, White-chested Alethe, African Pitta, Narina Trogon, Black-headed Apalis, Slender Bulbul, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo and Vanga Flycatcher. Livingstones Flycatcher is common here and adjacent open woodland holds Orange-winged Pytilia and Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah.

The area also provides access to the Zambezi river floodplain at Caia, where a host of new birds can be expected including Long-toed Lapwing, Red-necked Falcon, Anchieta's (Marsh) Tchagra, Lesser Jacana and Moustached Grass-Warbler. Garganey were present at at wetland here in the summer of 2007/08
Overnight: Mphingwe Camp, Catapu

D7 December 12 (Friday) Catapu - Gorongosa

Another full morning birding in the Catapu area. In the afternoon we head south and if necessary we pause at Canda to arrange for access up the mountain on the day that follows. We stay in the Gorongosa National Park at the new camp at Chitengo.
Overnight: Gorongosa NP (Camp Chalets)

D8: December 13 (Saturday) Gorongosa

Early morning departure for Gorongosa to walk up the slopes of the mountain via the shorter western route. The main target of the climb is of course Green-headed Oriole, but it also offers a variety of other good birds including as Orange-winged Pytilia, Variable Sunbird, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Eastern Saw-wing, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Pallid Honeyguide, Moustached Grass Warbler, Singing Cisticola and Anchieta's Tchagra. In the forest we hope to see Black-fronted Bush-shrike, Chirinda Apalis, White-tailed Crested-Flycatcher, Swynnerton's Robin and Red-faced Crimsonwing. In the afternoon/evening we take a two-hour drive back to Gorongosa National Park.
Overnight: Gorongosa NP (Camp Chalets)

D9: December 14 (Sunday) Gorongosa - Zimbabwe

Early morning birding in the excellent miombo woodland near the gate of the Gorongosa National Park. Here Yellow-bellied Hyliota and Speckle-throated Woodpecker are possible. The group then splits up and those flying out head back to Beira. The rest of the group heads westwards to the Zimbabwe border post
Overnight: Inn on the Vumba

D10 December 15 (Monday) Mutare to Johannesburg

Time permitting we will do some birding in the Masvingo woodlands, where we search for Wood Pipit, Yellow-backed Widowbird, Boulder Chat, Miombo Glossy Starling and others.

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