Working for birds in Africa


Wed, 02/06/2013 - 15:17 -- abc_admin

These are largely unconfirmed records published in recent Bulletins of the African Bird Club for information only.

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

In June–December 2015, the following were reported. A ten week study of seabirds by Dominic Rollinson, mostly off Inhambane Province, yielded interesting records, including three firsts for Mozambique: Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates (Oceanodroma) monorhis on 7 and 22 September and 3 October (at c.22–23°S 36–37°E); Matsudaira’s Storm-petrel H. matsudairae on 8 August and 20 September (23–24°S 35–36°E) and Leach’s Storm-petrel H. leucorhous on 6 September (21°S 36°E). Additionally, single Matsudaira’s / Swinhoe’s Storm-petrels were noted on 29 September and 17 October. A White-faced Stormpetrel Pelagodroma marina was observed on 6 October (23°S 36°E). Black-bellied Storm-petrels Fregetta tropica were seen almost daily between 12 September and 13 October, with up to 30 individuals in a day (22–23°S 35–37°E). A Jouanin’s Petrel Bulweria fallax flew past on 5 October (23°S 36°E). Surprisingly, just one Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni was recorded (on 3 August at 26°S 35°E) and just one tropicbird, a Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda (on 11 September at 23°S 36°E). Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus was the commonest species, often in feeding flocks hundreds strong, with eight Bridled Terns O. anaethetus on 27–29 August (20°S 36°E). About ten Arctic Terns Sterna paradisaea were observed on 2–5 August (26°S 35°E). Great Frigatebirds Fregata minor were seen almost daily with a total of c.250 counted; on one occasion c.50 flew above the boat. On the other hand, just one Lesser Frigatebird F. ariel was noted (on 10 September at 23°S 36°E). There were 20 sightings of Red-footed Boobies Sula sula; birds would often perch on the mast for days whilst periodically hunting flying fish. Two South Polar Skuas Stercorarius maccormicki stayed around the vessel on 1–4 August (26°S 35°E). Finally, several Mascarene Martins Phedina borbonica rested on the boat on 27 September (22°S 36°E) before presumably heading off to Madagascar.

Other records from the period include the following. Greater Frigatebirds were observed near the Ponta da Barra lighthouse on 6 July (one); over Linene Island near Vilanculous on 30 September (one), with another three just offshore of that location a few days previously, and a total of 11 flying over Paindane Resort towards Barra in early October. A pelagic trip out of Maputo on 13 June found the notably large number of 400 Flesh-footed Shearwaters Ardenna carneipes following a trawler, along with four Brown Skuas S. antarcticus. Another trip on 3 October yielded up to eight Black-bellied Storm-petrels (the first recorded off Maputo since a singleton in the 1970s), a Tropical Shearwater and a large flock of >800 Sooty Terns. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was found at Maputo Bay on 25 November— possibly the same individual that was present there earlier in the year. A Common Noddy Anous stolidus was roosting amongst other terns on the northern coast of Inhaca Island on 12 December. The first Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis for Mozambique was discovered in Maputo on 10 September and last seen on 28 Septemberc. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was located at Inhamitanga on 3 December. A Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis and a Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa were found at Maputo Golf Club on 13 December. In July, a population of Green Tinkerbirds Pogoniulus simplex was discovered south of the Save River and north of Inhassoro. A male Whinchat Saxicola rubetra and a female Eurasian Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla were found on Mount Gorongosa on 29 November and were both present until at least 18 December; this appears to be only the 20th Whinchat and approximately the 23rd Blackcap for southern Africa.

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

The following records are from January - May 2015. A pelagic trip off the Barra Peninsula on 21 April produced >30 Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor, at least one adult male Lesser Frigatebird F. ariel, many Sooty Terns Onychoprion fuscatus, a Brown (=Southern) Skua Stercorarius antarcticus (possibly only the fourth record for Mozambique), and several Black-bellied Storm-petrels Fregetta tropica. An immature Greater Frigatebird flew south along the beach at Inhassoro on 13 April. Another Brown Skua was seen from shore at Praia da Rocha, 10 km south of Tofo, on 5 May. Observations made during a pelagic trip from Maputo on 10 May included a European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus (a very uncommon species in these waters and also a very late date), a Brown Skua, a Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini (probably <10 records for the country), and two Sooty Terns.

Single European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from ‘Coutada 12’ on 8 February, Panda on 20 March, Mphingwe on 25 March, and Chemba on 26 March. Lesser Moorhens Gallinula angulata were seen on the Limpopo floodplain at Lake Sacativa on 19 March and 19 April and an African Crake Crex egregia was there on 20 March. A large flock of Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola was on the beach at Pomene in late January, whilst an immature was on Inhaca Island on 31 January. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was at Inhambane estuary on 20 April and a Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva at Ponta da Barra on 20 March. The fourth Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris for Mozambique (and the sixth for southern Africa) remained at Ponta da Barra, near Inhambane, from 6 March until at least 21st; previous records, all from the same site, are from December 2004, September 2008 and May 2014, with two more from South Africa (one visiting West Coast National Park for several seasons from late 2000 to late 2003) and Namibia (Walvis Bay, November 2008). A second calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was observed at Maputo on 2 February and possibly the same bird from 6 May to at least 17th. A Black Tern Chlidonias niger, possibly only the second for the country, was reported near Inhaca Island on 31 January.

Exceptional floodwater near Maputo produced records of five Cape Shovelers Anas smithii (third record for the country and the first since 1973), two Lesser Jacanas Microparra capensis, Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis and White-throated Swallow Hirundo albigularis (a very poorly known species in Mozambique), all on 8 February, plus two Black Herons Egretta ardesiaca on 6 May. Three Northern Carmine Bee-eaters Merops nubicus reported near the Ruvuma Delta, in the north, prompted additional recent reports of this species hitherto undocumented for Mozambique.

A Short-tailed Pipit Anthus brachyurus was at the Chacane Wetlands, near Panda, on 24 April. A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was discovered along the Rio Maria road, just north of Beira, on 3 February, with another at the Grown Energy farm near Sena on 7 February and two more at the bridge over the Zangue River south of Catapu on 9 February; at the latter site one was still present in the first week of March. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

The following records are from October–December 2014. Pelagic trips out of Maputo produced at least ten Sooty Terns Onychoprion fuscatus on 2 November and a Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana, an east coast vagrant, as well as a probable Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni on 22 November. During a fishing trip out of Maputo on 26 November four European Storm-petrels Hydrobates pelagicus, a rare species on the east coast, and three Sooty Terns were observed.

Single European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported at Sena on 11 November, between Caia and Gorongosa on 12 November, over the Pungwe River floodplain, inland of Beira, on 6 December and at Catapu the next day. A Crab-plover Dromas ardeola was present at Ponta da Barra on 4 November. A Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx montanus was photographed near Mphingwe camp, in central Mozambique, in December; although the species is probably observed annually, it is very infrequently photographed and often incorrectly identified. A flock of >20 Olive Bee-eaters Merops superciliosus was located in Machangulo Private Nature Reserve, just north of Maputo Special Elephant Reserve, on 7 October, well south of the species’ range currently shown in most field guides, although it is suspected to be more regular in this area than previously thought. A Böhm’s Bee-eater M. boehmi flew over the Gorongosa National Park access road on 14 December. A probable Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was seen at the Zangue River bridge, south of Catapu, on 13 December. 

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

Records from January - June 2014 include the following. The first Red-tailed Shrike Lanius phoenicuroides for Mozambique and the southern African sub-region was photographed north of Sena, on the southern banks of the Zambezi River, on 14 January.

Pelagic trips out of Maputo produced a probable Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and a European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus on 23 January, and a Tropical Shearwater Puffinus bailloni as well as a tropicbird Phaethon (probably a White-tailed Tropicbird P. lepturus) in late May. A Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis - an extremely rare bird in the country - was at Ponta do Ouro on 29 June. During a seawatch at Maputo on 6 April two immature Sooty Terns Onychoprion fuscatus and an Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus were noted, the latter a rather unusual species for this area. The influx of European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus in southern Africa was also noticeable in Mozambique, with singles reported from Magude on 7 January, near Gorongosa on 11 January, Mapingwe on 13 January, c.20 km north of Maputo on 2 February, near Inharrime on 19 February, 2 March (two) and 4 April, and Gorongosa National Park on 1 April.

On 13 June, an African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini was observed at Ponta Malongane - this is unusually far north for the species. Southern Africa’s fifth Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris was located at Ponta da Barra on 29 April; previous records were from West Coast National Park, South Africa, in late 2000 (which returned to the same location for several seasons and was last reported in late 2003), Barra Peninsula, Mozambique, in December 2004 (one) and September 2008 (up to three), and Walvis Bay, Namibia, in November 2008 (one). An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris was found in a tern roost east of Linene Island, in the Bazaruto Archipelago near Vilanculous, on 13 January; this species is very rare in the south of the country. Several Böhm’s Bee-eaters Merops boehmi first reported in early January near Villa de Sena, Chemba District, were still present until late April at least; this is only the third record for southern Africa, the previous ones of Mount Gorongosa in December 1972 and one at Gorongosa National Park in August 2009. A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was located at the Zangue River on 23 March.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

Records from October - December 2013 include the following. A pelagic trip out of Maputo on 9 November produced a Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus, a White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus a Black Tern Chlidonias niger (apparently the first record for the country) and an Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea. At least two Arctic Terns were reported on a trip into Maputo Bay on 25 November, a particularly unusual species in this area. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was reported from Benguerra Island on 20 October.

A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was observed near Goba on 8 December. A remarkable find was a Short-tailed Pipit Anthus brachyurus near Maputo on 25 October. Some Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis were reported from Maputo on 7 October. The presence of Red-throated Twinspots Hypargos niveoguttatus in the University Botanical Gardens in Maputo on 22 October was surprising and the possibility of escapes cannot be ruled out. On 24 November, a male Cuckoo Finch Anomalospiza imberbis was also reported from Maputo - an excellent record for the country.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

Records from February - June 2013 include the following. No fewer than seven White-faced Storm-petrels Pelagodroma marina were seen from a ship passing through Mozambique waters on 7 May; there are only seven previous claims of this species in southern African waters. At least two Tropical Shearwaters Puffinus bailloni and two distant frigatebirds Fregata sp. were also observed. A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda flew over Casa Barry in Tofo on 7 April. A Striped Crake Amaurornis marginalis was seen in the Nkomati floodplain in late February. Up to five European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from the Unguana area in March. At Inhambane, a group of 20 Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola, 18 adults and two immatures, were present on 22 March. A Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was observed in Maputo Bay on 9 June - a most unusual date for this species. A noddy Anous sp. was reported from a pelagic trip out of Maputo on 25 April; features visible in the photographs suggest it was a Lesser A. tenuirostris rather than a Brown Noddy A. stolidus, although the latter cannot be ruled out.

In March, the recently discovered population of Eastern Green Tinkerbirds Pogoniulus simplex near Unguana attracted many South African birders; the species was regarded as probably regionally extinct. A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was observed near the bridge over the Zangue River from 22 February until at least the end of the month. In Maputo, a Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus was located in the grounds of Cafe Acacia on 18 April - an unusually southerly location for the species. Also there in April were an African Fireflnch Lagonosticta rubricata and a Cape Bunting Emberiza capensis, two other slightly out-of-range species.

Belated news concerns a Bohm's Bee-eater Merops boehmi photographed at the campsite in Gorongosa National Park on 9 August 2009; the only previous record for the southern African subregion dates from December 1972, when two were seen c. 40 km north-west of Mount Gorongosa. 

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

An African Black Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini was reported from the Limpopo River mouth, Xai-Xai district, in August 2012. Two Black-naped Terns Sterna sumatrana were seen in a large mixed tern flock at Pomene on 20 - 21 October. An Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina was photographed at Rio Savane on 25 December.

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was reported from Manjakaze on 10 January 2012.

from ABC Bulletin 19.1

Reports from September - October 2011 include a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus in the Pomene area on 31 October, a Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus at Beira on 1–3 September, and a probable Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus at Maputo Bay on 8 October. Several sightings of African Quailfinches Ortygospiza atricollis reported from the Rio Savanne area, north of Beira, indicate that the species is resident there and the distribution maps should be updated.

From ABC Buletin 18.2

At least three Great Bitterns Botaurus stellaris were seen along the Limpopo River floodplain near Xai Xai on 13 March; there are very few records this far south in the country. As has become the norm in recent years, a large flock of Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola was present at Ponta da Barra in February. Several exhausted Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata were reported from the coast, e.g. at Guinjata Bay and at Paindane, in late May; strong winds appear to have blown these birds inshore. A Speckle-throated Woodpecker Campethera scriptoricauda was observed west of Chinizua on 6 January. A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis was seen and sound-recorded on 8 March at Nhamapaza River bridge, c.120 km north of Gorongosa on the road to Caia.


In the second half of June 2010 some interesting species were reported from a coastal vlei at Paradise View, c.35 km north of Xai-Xai. Two unseasonal Baillon's Crakes Porzana pusilla were present, as well as an Allen's Gallinule Porphyrio alleni, whilst a Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni also frequented the area. A Brown (Subantarctic) Skua Catharacta antarctica, presumably blown in by a storm, might represent the northernmost record of this species on southern Africa's east coast.

A Madagascar Pratincole Glareola ocularis recorded both near Quissanga and on Ibo Island, just north of Pemba in Quirimbas National Park, in the north, on 30 September and 1 October, appears to be the first for the country and is apparently also the southermost record in Africa.

A White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus was reported c.26 nautical miles off Ponto d'Oura in early May 2010. On 15 March at Catapu, a worm-infested Cordyla tree in the forest held no fewer than nine cuckoo species including a Madagascar Cuckoo Cuculus rochii and two Lesser Cuckoos C. poliocephalus.

In little-known Quirimbas National Park, Capo Delgado province, northern Mozambique, some unusual records were made in 2008–09 which were either ‘firsts’ for Mozambique or for the park. A Western Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus cinerascens was claimed from Taratibo on 24 October 2008, with two along the main road near the park headquarters at Biaque. There were also two Southern Banded Snake Eagles C. fasciolatus at Mareja and one along the road to Guludo. These two species are usually considered allopatric but apparently occur together in the park; the former would be new for the Mozambique list. On Matemo Island, a Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was seen on 24 October 2008. A Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus was photographed on Situ Island in February 2008, five were seen at Tandanhangue in March 2008, and more were photographed on 14 January 2009; these are the first records for Mozambique and apparently the southernmost for the species. A pair of Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbirds Anthreptes neglectus was observed at Taratibo on 25 October 2008. Gorgeous Bush-Shrikes Malaconotus quadricolor (=Telophorus viridis) are quite common at Nemau and on Ibo Island, although not mapped for this area on distribution maps.

Other noteworthy records from the north-east include two European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus at Lake Kagevero, one at Bilibiza on 30 May 2008 and one at Tandanhangue on 15 April 2009, a Horus Swift Apus horus at Pemba on 9 April 2009, two Mascarene Martins Phedina borbonica at Marerja on 2 June 2008, and a Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe south of Pemba on 16 October 2009 (very few previous records for the country, all from the south. About 100 African Paradise Flycatchers Terpsiphone viridis congregated at Pemba on 9 April 2009.

More southern records, for the period September–December 2009, include the following. Single Eurasian Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from the Panda area in early November and near Inhamitanga in December. A Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was recorded at Gorongosa National Park in September. At Inhambane, Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola were seen again in September and early November. The Panda area also produced a Common Redshank Tringa totanus in early November. A ‘Lesser’ Cuckoo Cuculus sp. was reported near Chinuzua in December; unfortunately, the bird was not calling nor did it respond to any playback, and the photographs will not enable positive identification: Asian Lesser Cuckoo C. poliocephalus and Madagascar Cuckoo C. rochii are indeed extremely difficult to separate reliably.

Records in December 2008 - May 2009 include the following. In May, two Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus were found on a large pan c.10 km south-east of Inhambane; this is a very rare vagrant in Mozambique. A dark-morph Red-footed Booby Sula sula was reported close inshore at Ponta da Barra, near Inhambane, on 1 March. Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor were seen at Tofo on 30 December (two), off Linga Linga on 2 January (one), at Ponta Malangane on 26 - 27 March (one) and c.15 km offshore of Ponta da Barra on 26 May (one). A Lesser Frigatebird F. ariel was at Morrengulu on 5 January. A flock of at least 138 Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola was at Ponta da Barra on 24 - 25 January, with at least 178 still present on 26 March. A Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus was photographed along the Chicombane - Zongoene road (24°04’02.03” 33°29’02.08”E) on 31 December 2008. An immature Brown Noddy Anous stolidus was seen at close range at Bilene lagoon, Gaza Province, along the coast north of Maputo, on 15 March, apparently heading for the ocean; although small numbers of this species occur in the Mozambique Channel in the austral summer, it is a vagrant ashore. On 18 May, a male Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe in full breeding plumage was discovered on the Sunguti River floodplain near Chibuto; this species is a rare vagrant to southern Africa, with only some 20 previous records. Also in May, a Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus was observed c.20 km west of Inharrime; this is much further south than the known range of the species.

In October 2008, a multidisciplinary survey of the previously virtually unexplored Mabu Mountain, northern Mozambique, was conducted. Mabu (1,700 m) rises a short distance east of Chiperone and is covered by 60 - 70 km2 of mid-altitude and Afromontane rainforest. Bird species of conservation concern observed during the survey include: Southern Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus fasciolatus (for which Mabu represents a small range extension), Cholo Alethe Alethe choloensis (common; Mabu holds one of the two most important populations of this localised species, with Mt Mulanje in adjacent Malawi), Spotted Ground Thrush Zoothera guttata (rare, despite the surprising absence of Orange Ground Thrush Z. gurneyi), Gunning’s Akalat Sheppardia gunningi (important population at 400–1,350 m), Swynnerton’s Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni (new for northern Mozambique; not uncommon above 1,350–1,400 m), Namuli Apalis Apalis (thoracica) lynesi (rare above 1,400 m; Mabu is only the second locality known) and Dappled Mountain Robin Modulatrix orostruthus (rare above 1,400 m; Mabu represents a slight range extension south from Namuli). Mabu also holds the most important population of the endangered race belcheri of Green Barbet Stactolaema olivacea, which is common from 750 m to the peak, as the one on Mt Thyolo has been eradicated through deforestation and numbers on Namuli are low. Other species of interest include Rameron Pigeon Columba arquatrix and Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon C. delegorguei (which replace each other altitudinally), Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum and Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia. The densities of Green Twinspot Mandingoa nitidula (very common at 400–1,550 m) are remarkably high.

Not a single Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans parasitus was seen in a month  spent in northern Mozambique and adjacent southern Malawi: what has happened to this bird?

Records from May - December 2008 include the following. An Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae was reported from Tsetsserra Mountain on 10 December. At Ponta da Barra, southern Mozambique, over 30 Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola were still present on 3 May, with only two remaining on 19th. Two Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus were seen at the San Sebastião  Peninsula, on Bazaruto Island, on 23 November. Three Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris were photographed near White Sands on the Barra Peninsula, near Inhambane, on 20 September; there is one previous record of this vagrant at this locality, from December 2004. Three Lesser Noddies Anous tenuirostris located on a beach at Bazaruto, on 1 May, remained in the area until at least 19th, when up to five were present. Two Brown Noddies A. stolidus in a tern roost at  Inhambane were photographed on 12 December. A large flock of Mascarene Martins Phedina borbonica was observed at the Rio Savane in late June.

During a pelagic trip into the Mozambique Channel in mid-October two Jouanin’s Petrels Bulweria fallax were found 100 nautical miles north-east of Vilanculos; this constitutes the sixth record for southern Africa, all of them from the Mozambique Channel. Other noteworthy species seen include Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor, Lesser Frigatebird F. ariel and numerous flocks of Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata, some comprising up to 100 individuals.

During a two-week survey of Mt. Namuli, in northern Mozambique, in November 2007, some species of conservation interest were found at this site for the first time: Spotted Ground Thrush Zoothera guttata was observed in the two main forest patches, Manho and Ukalini - this is the first indication that the species might breed in the country, whilst White-winged Apalis Apalis chariessa was seen once in riparian forest at low altitude (1,200 m), a forest type greatly threatened at Namuli. Eastern Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus simplex was identified at 1,350 and 1,700 m; Namuli is only the second locality for this species in Mozambique. Red-chested Flufftail Sarothrura rufa, the only flufftail species encountered on the high plateau, was common in wet, peaty grassland at 1,850 - 1,900 m. Numbers of Cholo Alethe Alethe choloensis and Green Barbet Stactolaema olivacea of the race belcheri were found to be far lower than previously suggested by Ryan et al. (1999, Bird Conserv. Intern. 9: 138–143) as they were very scarce in the large, cool forest block of Manho, and common only in the small Ukalini forest. African Black Swift Apus barbatus was the most numerous swift on the mountain and was found breeding (feeding nestlings), whilst Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus occurred in small numbers; observed aerial mating suggests they breed later. Spot-throat Modulatrix orostruthus and Namuli Apalis Apalis thoracica lynesi were both common, with 300–500 pairs estimated for the former, and more for the latter.

Records from December 2007 - April 2008 include the following. About 200 Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola were counted at Ponta da Barra, Inhambane, on 20 January; large numbers remained throughout February and 186 were counted on 11 March; 36 were reported on 25 April. A Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva was found at the Zambezi River mouth on 9 December, with another at Ponta da Barra on 20 January; the latter remained there until 18 April at least. A Common Redshank Tringa totanus was also at Ponta da Barra on 18 April. A Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana was observed at Praia do Bilene on 6 April.

A trip in June - July 2007 yielded the following records. Grey-backed Sparrow Lark Eremopterix verticalis and large numbers of Lark-like Buntings Emberiza impetuani were observed in Parque Nacional do Limpopo on 29 June; both these species are apparently new for Mozambique. In woodland near Panda, a flock of 20+ Mascarene Martins Phedina borbonica was encountered on 30 June and the next day excellent views were obtained of most of the miombo specials including Olive-headed Weaver Ploceus olivaceiceps; this area, north-west of the traditional sites, has good stands of pristine Brachystegia woodland and may hold a fair number of this species. Records at Rio Save Game Reserve included Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti and Lemon-breasted Canary Serinus citrinipectus on 3 July.

An adult Brown Booby Sula leucogaster was observed along the shore at Xai-Xai on 11 July 2007. At Rio Savanne, a Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor and a Brown Noddy Anous stolidus were located on 9 December. At least three Garganey Anas querquedula found at a small wetland south of Caia on 24 November were still there in early December.

At Vilanculos, two Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor and a Lesser Frigatebird F. ariel were seen on 2 January 2007, with two Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata and a Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris there the day before. Two Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola and a Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus were at Pomene on 12 January. Crab-plovers were further reported from the Inhambane area in early April.

In March-September 2006, the following records were reported. A Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was seen at Inhassoro on 3 September. Large numbers of Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola were observed at Inhambane on 11 March and a Common Redshank Tringa totanus was seen at Maputo the next day. A Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan, found at Lagoa Piti in Maputo Elephant Reserve on 25 May, was perhaps the same individual seen in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on 18-19 May. Two Gull-billed Terns Sterna nilotica were at Rio Savane on 20 September.

During a birding trip to southern and central Mozambique in August 2006, excellent views were obtained of a Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris and of Locust Finches Paludipasser locustella at Rio Savane, a site known to hold these sought-after species. In the Panda woodlands, presently the only site south of the Zambezi where the localised Olive-headed Weaver Ploceus olivaceiceps is found, several of these miombo specialists were observed.

A Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was seen at Ponta da Barra on 12 January, with further sightings until the 17th, and a Lesser Frigatebird F. ariel at the same site on 14 January, with another at Ponta do Ouro on 13 January. Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola were reported from Pomene on 18 November (one), from Barra Lodge, Inhambane, on 4 December (a large flock) and from Ponta da Barra on 11 January (more than 200. Six Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus were seen at Rio Maria on 1 January and two Broad-billed Sandpipers Limicola falcinellus at Ponta da Barra on 16 January.

A Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan in full breeding plumage was observed at Lagoa Piti in Maputo Special (Elephant Reserve) on 25 May 2006; this is possibly the same bird that was reported earlier from Sodwana Bay, South Africa, and may well constitute the first record for Mozambique.

A Light-mantled Sooty Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata was found exhausted on the beach at Ponto Malangane in late June 2005. It was taken into care in South Africa and released off Cape Town when it had recovered. A flock of 30 Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor with one Lesser Frigatebird F. ariel was at Pomene on 19-20 September. Another Lesser Frigatebird was photographed at Ponta D’Oura on 13 January 2006. Two pairs of Locust Finches Paludipasser locustella were seen in grasslands between Beira and Savane on 13 November 2005.

A Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda was seen at Inhambane on 15 February 2005. In March, a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was reported south of Muanza on 14th and single Western Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus near Rio Savanne on 13th and from Pungwe Flats on 16th. On 28th, a Brown Booby Sula leucogaster was off Pomene.

In March 2003, a Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaeton rubricauda was seen 20 km off Bazaruto Island on 23rd, and a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus at Gorongosa on 27th. At Pungwe wetlands, north of Beira, a Great Snipe Gallinago media and a Locust-Finch Paludipasser locustella were observed on 25-26th.

In the wake of a severe cold front that swept up the east coast of southern Africa from 8 to 10 June 2003, an exhausted Light-mantled Sooty Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata was wrecked on the beach of Praia de Xai-Xai in southern Mozambique and subsequently eaten by a local villager; this is the first record for the country. The species, which has a circumpolar distribution, is a very rare vagrant to South African waters, north to Mabibi, KwaZulu-Natal.

The following records are for 2001.

A Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla was mist-netted at Namuli in November 2001; there are very few records of this species from southern Africa and this appears to be the first for Mozambique .

A Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor and a Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris were at Rio Savanne, just north of Beira, on 7 September 2001. An out-of-range African Hobby Falco cuvierii was reported from coastal Vilanculos on 20 October. Three Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata were observed on nearby Bazaruto Island on 21 October; presumably the same birds were on Margereque Island the following day, when there were also five Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola at that locality.

Some 15 Mascarene Martins Phedina borbonica were flying south-east over miombo woodland west of Panda, southern Mozambique, on 12 July. This is the first record for the country south of the Save. Both Long-billed Tailorbird Orthotomus moreaui and African Tailorbird O. metopias were still present in montane forest patches on Serra Jeci (Njesi Plateau), Niassa Province, northern Mozambique, on 4-5 July. A pair of Long-billed Tailorbird O. moreaui was observed in the forest canopy. Several African Tailorbird O. metopias were seen and three were mist-netted. Serra Jeci is the only known locality outside Tanzania for both species, and these are the first records from the site since the birds were discovered there by Jali Makawa, Con Benson's collector, in 1945.

At least four Greater Frigatebirds Fregata minor were seen near Inhambane on 30 December 2001. An African Hobby Falco cuvierii was reported from Beira on 14 November. At Rio Savanne estuary, just north of Beira, a Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus was seen on 15 November. A Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana, found at the same locality the next day, constitutes the third record for the country and the eighth for southern Africa; the previous Mozambican records are of four birds at Inhaca Island and two at Bazaruto Island, while the other five records are from the KwaZulu-Natal coast, South Africa.

Copyright © African Bird Club. All rights reserved.
UK registered charity 1053920


Web site designed and built by