Cholo Alethe Alethe choloensis, Mozambique
The Republic of Mozambique, once the African-Algarve where visitors relished the tropical summers of this former Portuguese colony, has since been ravaged by 15 years of civil war. With the war a memory, Mozambique is trying hard to shed the ominous label as one of the world's poorest countries. Despite its chequered history, Mozambique is an exciting destination for birders wanting to find the many southern African specials that the region holds. The areas highly threatened lowland forests and miombo woodlands are home to many African specials such as African Pitta Pitta angolensis, Green-headed Oriole Oriolus chlorocephalus, East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi, White-chested Alethe Alethe fuelleborni, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-Shrike Prionops scopifrons, Olive-headed Weaver Ploceus olivaceiceps, Plain-backed Sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi, Locust-Finch Paludipasser locustella and the localised Mascarene Martin Phedina borbonica in winter, also a time when Crab-plover Dromas ardeola and Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor can be found along the coast. Areas of Mozambique, north of the Zambezi River, are largely unexplored ornithologically with a recent trip to the area (the first since the 1930s / 40s) confirming reports of localised populations of Dappled Mountain-Robin Arcanator orostruthus and Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus moreaui (both localised in Tanzania), Cholo Alethe Alethe choloensis and White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa (both highly localised in Malaŵi). Mozambique's only endemic,considered by some authorities as a full species Namuli Apalis Apalis lynesi, and restricted to the Namuli Massif is shown on the ABC checklist as a subspecies of Bar-throated Apalis Apalis thoracica lynesi.
This country account for Mozambique serves to provide birders with up to date information about birds and birding in the area. While the information provided has been sourced from a variety of reliable resources (a list is provided at the end of this document) the aim is such that this document is dynamic in that birders who have recently visited the region can add their own accounts and contributions. We therefore encourage readers to email new information to [email protected].