Working for birds in Africa

Important Bird Areas

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 16:17 -- abc_admin

Miombo Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris manoensis, Seldomseen, Zimbabwe

Image Credit: 
John Caddick, November 2012

The eastern highlands along the border with Mozambique form a major part of the globally important Eastern Zimbabwe Mountains Endemic Bird Area (EBA) which has a number of near endemic species such as Swynnerton’s Robin Swynnertonia swynnertoni, Briar Warbler Oreophilais robertsi and Chirinda Apalis Apalis chirindensis. These are forest birds which are found in the relatively small patches of wet montane forest in the Bvumba and Nyanga mountains. In particular Seldomseen in the Bvumba, and the Honde Valley have become birding meccas of recent years.

A total of 20 sites in Zimbabwe have been identified as Important Bird Areas (IBAs) representing some 30,000 km2 or 7.7% of the land surface. The eastern highlands area contains eight which from north to south are as follows: Nyanga Mountains; Nyanga Lowlands / Honde Valley; Stapleford Forest; Bvumba Highlands; Banti Forest Reserve; Chimanimani Mountains; Haroni-Rusito Junction and Botanical Reserves; and Chirinda Forest.

Two IBAs in the south-east of the country, Limpopo - Mwenezi flood-plain and pans and Save - Runde Junction contain species restricted to the south-east African coast EBA, in particular Lemon-breasted Canary Serinus citrinipectus.

The remaining ten IBAs are in the central and more westerly parts of the country. These are Hwange National Park; Chizarira National Park; Batoka Gorge; Middle Zambezi Valley; Robert McIlwaine Recreational Park; Sebakwe Poort; Wabai Hill (Debshan Ranch); Matobo Hills; Driefontein Grasslands and Mavuradonha Mountains.  

The Brachystegia woodland of the central plateau offers a lot of special birding places where the Zimbabwe Brachystegia specials such as Northern Grey Tit Parus thruppi, Rufous-bellied Tit P. rufiventris, Boulder Chat Pinarornis plumosus, Spotted Creeper Salpornis spilonotus and Miombo Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris manoensis can be found. The Gosho Park Environmental Project near Marondera offers all these plus Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis in summer.

The country has been well covered by birders and professional ornithologists and the Southern African Bird Atlas Project was particularly important in this respect as most quarter degree squares were checked. There are no areas in Zimbabwe with less than 400 species recorded during the bird atlas period and the better birding areas recorded over 450 species.

For further details, download the country IBAs from BirdLife International.

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