Green season birding in the Zambezi Valley - a twitcher's paradise!

Wild Zambezi • 3 February 2018

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Birding is FANTASTIC in the Zambezi Valley at all times of the year, but especially during the summer rainy "Green Season" months of December to April

Many of the more unusual summer migrant species are present and breeding during the rains, when there is an abundant supply of insect and other food available for them.

Areas like Mana Pools, Sapi and Chewore become difficult to access by road, during the rains, and because of this, most of the safari camps close for the period. 

However, there are camps and lodges in the Zambezi National Park, in Victoria Falls, along the shorelines of the Matusadona National Park on Lake Kariba and along the Zambezi River near Chirundu, which are relatively are easy to get to during this period.  

According to Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, more than 400 species of birds are recorded from the Zambezi Valley.  It's unlikely that you'll get anywhere near that figure during a stay of few days in the rainy season, but you should easily manage 100 or so on your Checklist, and, with a knowledgeable guide, you could clock up even more!

Even if you aren't a twitcher, it's worth trying to spot few of summer's beautiful avian specials. Here are a few:-

Above - left to right:  African Crake, Woolly-necked Stork, Broad-billed Roller, Comb (Knob-billed) Duck.

Above left to right:  Rufous-bellied Heron, Greater Painted Snipe, Long-Toed Lapwing, Woodland Kingfisher.

And then some real avian gems:  above left to right: Southern Carmine Bee-eater, European Roller, Narina Trogon and African Pitta.

Really keen bird-watchers will be delighted to learn that BirdLife Zimbabwe has officially launched a campaign to promote birding tourism in Zimbabwe.

Eight tours have been developed (with more to come) involving all 20 of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Zimbabwe (see map).  Harare-based agent/operator Travel Portfolio is handling bookings for the tours, for groups of up to eight birders.  Birdlife Zimbabwe will receive part of the proceeds to go towards funding their Nature Conservation programmes.

So, now there's no excuse not to visit the Zambezi Valley during the "Green Season".  Be sure to bring your birding binoculars, along with an umbrella or raincoat,  mud-resistant shoes, insect repellent and plenty of sun-screen (it can be HOT, when the sun comes out between showers)!  

Happy Twitching!

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