Working for birds in Africa

Birdwatching in Malawi

p 109-115

Résumé: Le Malawi peut ne pas apparaître sur un grand nombre de listes des dix premiers pays à visiter par les ornithologistes, 651 espèces y ont néanmoins été signalées et plus de 525 d'entre elles s'y reproduisent et incluent des espèces aussi énigmatiques que l'Alèthe du Mont Cholo, Alethe choloensis, et la Grive-akalat tachetée, Modulatrix stictigula. Un grand nombre des spécialtiés du pays sont soit des espèces endémiques de la forêt tropicale ou de la forêt claire de Brachystegia, difficiles à trouver dans le reste de l'Afrique. Cela, combiné a l'accès aisé à la plupart des régions du pays, fait du Malawi une destination excitante à visiter.

Abstract: Didn't that used to be part of Rhodesia? Next to Kenya isn't it? Any endemics? These are usually the first questions I am asked when I mention Malawi and the answer to all of them is no. Formerly it was the Nyasaland Protectorate, it's landlocked between Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia and the only species close to being endemic is the Thyolo Alethe Alethe choloensis which is found also in a couple of forests just across the border in Mozambique. So why go there for the birds? Well, I did in 1984 and ended up staying for ten years. Whilst Malawi may not be in the world's top ten in the league of birdwatching countries its checklist stands at 651 (of which over 525 are known to breed) - not bad for somewhere the size of England - and during a two week visit one can see over 400 species. Many of the real goodies are either rainforest or Brachystegia woodland endemics and can be difficult to find elsewhere. Access around the country is excellent, it has a pleasant climate, has adequate accommodation of a reasonable standard / cost in the right places and the people are very friendly. Bob Medland

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