Tanzania

SUB-REGION
East Africa

SIZE
947,300 km²

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity

Strongly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 1,130 recorded species (3rd longest bird list of any country in the ABC region)

Grey-breasted Spurfowl (Tadeusz Rosiński)
Beesley’s Lark (Paul van Giersbergen)
Usambara Eagle-Owl (Pete Morris)

Endemics (E)
Udzungwa Forest Partridge (EN)
Rubeho Forest Partridge (NA)
Grey-breasted Spurfowl (LC)
Pemba Green Pigeon (VU)
Pemba Scops Owl (VU)
Tanzanian Red-billed Hornbill (NA)
Fischer’s Lovebird (NT)
Yellow-collared Lovebird (LC)
Reichenow’s Batis (NT)
Uluguru Bushshrike (EN)
Beesley’s Lark (NA)
Uluguru Greenbul (LC)
Yellow-throated Greenbul (LC)
Montane Tiny Greenbul | Usambara Greenbul (NT)
Kilombero Cisticola (NA)
White-tailed Cisticola (NA)
Winifred’s Warbler | Mrs Moreau’s Warbler (NT)
Rubeho Warbler (NA)
South Pare White-eye (NT)
Pemba White-eye (LC)
Usambara Hyliota (EN)
Ashy Starling (LC)
Usambara Thrush (NT)
Rubeho Akalat (EN)
Usambara Akalat (EN)
Iringa Akalat (VU)
Banded Green Sunbird (VU)
Moreau’s Sunbird (NT)
Loveridge’s Sunbird (EN)
Hofmann’s Sunbird (NA)
Pemba Sunbird (LC)
Rufous-winged Sunbird (VU)
Rufous-tailed Weaver (LC)
Ruvu Weaver (NA)
Kilombero Weaver (VU)
Usambara Weaver (NT)
Kipengere Seedeater (LC)

Pemba Scops Owl (Pete Morris)
Ashy Starling (Tadeusz Rosiński)

Near-endemics (NE), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Shelley’s Greenbul (ESS roehli),
Kretschmer’s Longbill (ESS kretschmeri)
Broad-ringed White-eye | Kilimanjaro White-eye
Spot-throat (ESS stictigula)
Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird
Usambara Double-collared Sunbird

Birds best found in Tanzania but occurring more widely (BT), including ESS
Yellow-throated Sandgrouse
Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon
Dark Batis
Green-headed Oriole (amani)
Stripe-faced Greenbul
Karamoja Apalis
Long-billed Forest Warbler | Long-billed Tailorbird (ESS moreaui)
Red-capped Forest Warbler | African Tailorbird (ESS altus)
Mbulu White-eye
Dapple-throat (ESS sanjei + amani)
Swahili Sparrow

Usambara Thrush (Paul van Giersbergen)
Red-capped Forest Warbler (Paul van Giersbergen)
Rufous-winged Sunbird (Pete Morris)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE or BT (1/2), including ESS
Fischer’s Turaco (ESS zanzibaricus)
Hartlaub’s Turaco
Sokoke Scops Owl
Usambiro Barbet
Mombasa Woodpecker
Forest Batis (ESS mixta)
Eastern Black-headed Batis
Grey-crested Helmetshrike
Fülleborn’s Black Boubou (ESS usambaricus)
East Coast Boubou
Long-tailed Fiscal
Red-throated Tit
Athi Short-toed Lark
Mountain Greenbul
Sharpe’s Greenbul
Tanzanian Illadopsis
Little Yellow Flycatcher
Hunter’s Cisticola
Black-lored Cisticola
Churring Cisticola (ESS njombe)
Coastal Cisticola
Chapin’s Apalis (ESS chapini)
Northern Pied Babbler (ESS rufuensis)
Hildebrandt’s Starling
Kenrick’s Starling (ESS kenricki)
Abbott’s Starling
Sharpe’s Akalat (ESS usambarae)
Amani Sunbird
Eastern Double-collared Sunbird
Tsavo Sunbird
Kenya Sparrow
Bertram’s Weaver
Taveta Weaver
Tanzanian Masked Weaver
Fire-fronted Bishop
Zanzibar Red Bishop
Red-cowled Widowbird
Jackson’s Widowbird
Sokoke Pipit
Southern Grosbeak Canary
Yellow-browed Seedeater

Usambiro Barbet (Tadeusz Rosiński)
Tanzanian Red-billed Hornbill (Tadeusz Rosiński)
Amani Sunbird (Paul van Giersbergen)

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2)
Eastern Crested Guineafowl
Dimorphic Egret
African Barred Owlet (scheffleri )
White-headed Mousebird
Mangrove Kingfisher
Böhm’s Bee-eater
Green Tinkerbird
Brown-breasted Barbet
Speckle-throated Woodpecker
Taita Falcon
Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike
Three-streaked Tchagra
Cinnamon-breasted Tit (pallidiventris)
Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark
Pink-breasted Lark
Red-winged Lark
Fischer’s Greenbul
Lowland Tiny Greenbul
Lynes’s Cisticola
White-winged Apalis
Kungwe Apalis
Scaly Chatterer (ESS mentalis)
Fischer’s Starling
White-chested Alethe
Olive-flanked Ground Robin
Plain-backed Sunbird (yokanae)
Golden-winged Sunbird
Forest Double-collared Sunbird
Black Bishop (friederichseni)
Montane Widowbird
Blue-capped Cordon-bleu
Grey-headed Silverbill
Pangani Longclaw
Rosy-breasted Longclaw

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Schuett’s Spurfowl
Cranch’s Spurfowl (B2)
Usambara Nightjar (B2)
Eastern Black-billed Turaco
Reichenow’s Turaco (BT)
Common Bare-faced Go-away-bird
Grey-breasted Green Pigeon
Usambara Eagle-Owl (E)
Coastal Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird (1/2)
Woodwards’ Barbet (1/2)
Yellow-cheeked Barbet (E)
White-lined Barbet (E)
Emin’s Barbet (E)
Northern Olive Woodpecker (ESS kilimensis, ruwenzori)
Southern Rosy-patched Bushshrike (1/2)
Anchieta’s Tchagra
East Coast Puffback (B2)
Uhehe Fiscal (E)
Usambara Drongo (E)
Buff-bellied Penduline Tit (BT)
Eastern Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher
Mbulu Olive-flanked Ground Robin (E)
Northern Olive-flanked Ground Robin (ESS grotei)
Gorgeous Sunbird (BT)
Schalow’s Wheatear (1/2)
Reichenow’s Weaver (B2)
Stuhlmann’s Weaver (ESS sharpii)
Central Red Bishop
Usambara Bluebill (E)

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
African Pygmy Goose
Scaly Spurfowl (ESS usambarae + uzungwensis)
Hildebrandt’s Spurfowl
Olive Ibis (akeleyorum)
Secretarybird
Southern Banded Snake Eagle
African Goshawk (pembaensis)
Mountain Buzzard
Fraser’s Eagle-Owl (ESS vosseleri)
Hartlaub’s Bustard
Grey Crowned Crane
Chestnut-banded Plover
Double-banded Courser
Coppery-tailed Coucal
Green Malkoha
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo (patulus)
African Grass Owl
Sombre Nightjar
Montane Nightjar
Bar-tailed Trogon
Racket-tailed Roller
Half-collared Kingfisher
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater
Southern Ground Hornbill
Pale-billed Hornbill
Silvery-cheeked Hornbill
White-eared Barbet (kilimensis)
Green Barbet (ESS howelli)
Moustached Tinkerbird
White-headed Barbet (ESS lynesi)
Pallid Honeyguide
Greater Kestrel (arthuri)
Dickinson’s Kestrel
Brown-headed Parrot
Black-and-white Flycatcher (changamwensis)
Pale Batis
Pygmy Batis
Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye (ESS kungwensis)
Black-fronted Bushshrike
Marsh Tchagra (reichenowi)
Pink-footed Puffback (ESS kungwensis)
Purple-throated Cuckooshrike (ESS muenzneri)
Magpie Shrike (aequatorialis)
Souza’s Shrike (burigi)
Common Square-tailed Drongo (muenzneri)
White-tailed Crested Flycatcher (ESS subcaerulea)
Friedmann’s Lark
White-tailed Lark
Short-tailed Lark
Kakamega Greenbul (kungwensis)
Black-browed Greenbul
Little Greenbul (ESS zanzibarica)
Yellow-whiskered Greenbul (ESS australis)
Grey-olive Greenbul
Placid Greenbul
Yellow-streaked Greenbul (uzungwensis + kungwensis)
Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler (ESS ochrogularis)
Mountain Yellow Warbler
Bar-throated Apalis (ESS uluguru + pareensis)
Brown-headed Apalis
Black-headed Apalis
Rufous Chatterer (schnitzeri)
Northern Pied Babbler (rufuensis)
African Hill Babbler (ESS stierlingi)
Brown Parisoma (ESS clara)
Black-bellied Starling (ESS vaughani)
Red-tailed Ant Thrush (rufus)
Abyssinian Ground Thrush (rowei)
Orange Ground Thrush
Abyssinian Thrush (ESS deckeni)
Bearded Scrub Robin (ESS greenwayi)
Silverbird
Swynnerton’s Robin (ESS rodgersi)
Bocage’s Akalat (ESS ilyai)
Short-tailed Akalat | Alexander’s Akalat (ESS kungwensis)
East Coast Akalat (ESS alticola)
Collared Palm Thrush
Moorland Chat | Alpine Chat (olimotiensis)
Anteater Chat (cryptoleuca)
Arnot’s Chat
Olive Sunbird (ESS granti)
Grey Sunbird | Mouse-coloured Sunbird (zanzibarica)
Whyte’s Double-collared Sunbird (ESS skye)
Regal Sunbird (ESS anderseni)
Black-bellied Sunbird
Grey-capped Social Weaver (ESS dorsalis)
Chestnut Sparrow
African Golden Weaver | Yellow Weaver
Cardinal Quelea
Black Bishop (friederichseni)
Fawn-breasted Waxbill (ESS marwitzi)
Red-backed Mannikin
Fülleborn’s Longclaw (fuelleborni)
Bushveld Pipit | Bush Pipit (blayneyi)
Oriole Finch
Southern Citril

MAIN HABITATS
Montane forest, swamps, savannas, miombo woodland, lowland forest

BIRD AREAS
Albertine Rift mountains Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
East African coastal forests EBA
Kenyan mountains EBA
Pemba EBA
Serengeti plains EBA
Tanzania – Malawi mountains EBA
Dry woodlands west of Lake Victoria Secondary Area (SA)
Southwest Tanzanian swamps SA
Kilombero floodplain SA
80 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Usambara, Uluguru and Udzungwa Mountains for montane forest species
Mikumi National Park (NP) for miombo woodland species
Serengeti NP, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tarangire NP for savanna species
Also Kilombero valley, Lariboro plains, Arusha NP and Pemba Island

TIMING (Apr, Sep–Oct)
The north-west is best during the rains (Feb–May), when most birds breed
The mountains are best before the rains (Sep–Oct)
Avoid the main rains in the mountains (Nov–May)

RESOURCES
Apps
Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)
eGuide to Birds of East Africa

Field guides
Birds of East Africa by Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe (2020)
Birds of Eastern Africa by Ber Van Perlo (2009)
Kiongozi cha Ndege wa Tanzania by Maria A Mbilinyi, Furaha A Mbilinyi & Liz Baker (2007) is a pictorial guide to 291 bird species found in Tanzania written in Swahili and illustrated by Katie Boswell
Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Dale A Zimmerman, Donald A Turner & David J Pearson (2005) effectively covers some 90% of bird species known from Tanzania as a whole
Birds of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area by Adam Scott Kennedy (2014)
Pocket Guide Birds of East Africa by Dave Richards (2016)
Collins Traveller’s Guide to Wildlife of Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda by David Hosking & Martin Withers (2007) is a pocket-sized photographic guide covering over 475 commonly-seen species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, trees and flowers

Sounds
The Bird Song of Kenya and Tanzania: an Introductory Aid to Identification by John Hammick

Site guides
Birding around Arusha by James Wolstencroft (2006)
Birding in the Usambara Mountains, Tanzania by Eddie Williams (1997)
Birding in and around the East Usambaras, north-east Tanzania by Tom Evans, Alan Tye, Norbert Cordeiro & Nathalie Seddon (1997)

Atlases
Tanzania Bird Atlas

Further reading
Tanzania by Neil E Baker & Liz M Baker in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Important Bird Areas in Tanzania: a First Inventory by Neil & Elizabeth Baker (2002)
Birds of Dar es Salaam: Common Birds of Coastal East Africa by Gudrun Wium-Andersen & Fiona Reid (2000)
Birds, Butterflies and Flowers of Mikumi National Park/Ndege, Vipepeo na Maua wa Hifadhi ya Taifa ya Mikumi by Alexandra Boswell, Leah Collett, Furaha Mbilinyi, Maria Mbilinyi & Colin Watkins (2010)
Udzungwa: Tales of Discovery in an East African Rainforest edited by Nikolaj Scharff, Francesco Rovero, Flemming Pagh Jensen & Steffen Brøgger-Jensen (2015)
Community-based Conservation in Tanzania edited by N Leader-Williams, J A Kayera & G L Overton (2011)
The Live Bird Trade in Tanzania edited by N Leader-Williams and R K Tibanyenda (2004)
Checklist of the Birds of Selous Game Reserve by Neil Stronach (2003)
Waterbird Count of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, Tanzania, January 1998 edited by Rienk Geene (2001)
Tanzania Waterbird Count: the First Coordinated Count on the Major Wetlands of Tanzania, January 1995 compiled by Neil E Baker (1997)
A Biological and Human Impact Survey of the Lowland Forests, East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania by T D Evans, M Hague, A Hipkiss, J Kiure, A Makange, A Perkin, R Timmins & L Watson (1994)
A Wildlife Survey of the East Usambara and Ukaguru Mountains, Tanzania: the Birds, Amphibians, Reptiles, Butterflies, Fishes and Mammals edited by Tom D Evans & Guy Q A Anderson (1992)
Kamusi ya Ndege wa Tanzania by Musa Maimu (1982) is a glossary of birds of Tanzania written in Swahili
The Birds of the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: an Annotated Checklist by Dieter Schmidl (1982)
The Birds of Zanzibar and Pemba: an Annotated Checklist by R H W Pakenham (1979)
Birds of East Africa: Their Habitat, Status and Distribution edited by P L Britton (1980)
The Breeding Seasons of East African Birds by L H Brown & P L Britton (1980)
Articles in Scopus, Journal of East African Natural History, Bull. ABC, Kolokolo (Newsletter of Nature Tanzania), Miombo (Newsletter of WCST), The Arc Journal (Newsletter of TFCG), etc.

Websites
Tanzanian Birds and Butterflies
Coastal Forests of Kenya and Tanzania
UNESCO World Heritage List: Kilimanjaro National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Blogs
Vagrant Mind: the Joys of Natural History by James Wolstencroft
Tanzania 2019-21 by Bukoba Steve
Safari Ecology (2011-2013) by Colin Beale & Ethan Kinsey
TZ Bird Atlas Blog (2009-2012) by Stein Nilsen
Tanzania – Africa at its Best – 10,000 Birds (2011) by Adam Riley
Birding Tanzania (2010-2011) by Derek Kverno

Facebook groups
Birding Tanzania is about everything birding in Tanzania, recent sightings, photos and general birding news
Tanzania Birders Community is a community organisation on Facebook

ORGANISATIONS

Nature Tanzania is the BirdLife Partner in Tanzania

The Ringing Scheme of Eastern Africa coordinates and promotes bird ringing (banding) throughout the East African region and beyond through issuing of rings to qualified ringers, curating ringing data and tracking ring recoveries

The East African Rarities Committee assesses records of new and very rare birds occurring in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Tanzania include –
Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST)
Zanzibar Birdwatching Society (ZABISO)
Attraction Birds Conservation
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG)
Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund (EAMCEF)
Tanzania Environmental Conservation Society (TECOSO)
Maasai Pastoralists Development Organisation (MPDO-LARETO)
Gezaulole Cultural Tourism Group
Youth Vision of Kigamboni
Mvikubou Site Support Group (SSG)
Mvikuki SSG
Honeyguide
Tongwe Trust
Friends of Usambara Society (FoU)
African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC)
Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)
Blue Ventures
Seacology
Grumeti Fund
PAMS Foundation
African People & Wildlife
Association pour le Développement des Aires Protégées (ADAP)
WeForest
NABU
Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS)
Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
WWF Tanzania
WCS Tanzania
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

The College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM), Mweka, is the leading institution in professional and technical training in wildlife and tourism management

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