Chimanimani National Park

Livingstone’s Turaco

Olive Bush-shrike

Orange Ground-thrush

The Chimanimani National Park is a very special place but having no roads is a wilderness that needs exploration by hiking. Once you have ascended to the Bundi plain you feel like you have entered another, ethereal, world. If you are only passing through briefly you could camp at the National Parks Dead Cow camp with a visit to Tessa’s Pool and a day hike up into the mountains. These lower levels still are great to bird – the Bridal Veil Falls near the village has produced Grey Wagtail. Around Tessa’s Pool and the Outward Bound centre the miombo woodland has Miombo Rock-thrush, Red-faced Crombec, Southern Hyliota, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Miombo Tit and Rufous-bellied Tit, Striped Pipit, Green-backed Honeybird and Orange-winged Pytilia.

Green Twinspots lurk near the thickets with Yellow-bellied Waxbills and sunbirds such as Miombo Double-collared, Variable, Collared, Olive and even Western Violet-backed Sunbirds are around. Blue-spotted Wood-dove can be seen in open areas.

The mountains have spectacular ranges, grassy montane plains, rivers and waterfalls with forest with Livingstone’s Turaco, Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler, White-eared Barbet, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Grey Cuckooshrike, Square-tailed Drongo, Yellow-streaked and Tiny Greenbul, Orange Ground-thrush, Red-capped and Cape Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Chirinda Apalis, Roberts’s Warbler, Pale Batis, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Gorgeous, Black-fronted and Olive Bush-shrike, Dark-backed Weaver, African Firefinch and others.

Open areas can give you Red-necked Spurfowl, Harlequin Quail, Striped Flufftail, Blue Swallow, Cape Grassbird and Moustached Grass-warbler (Great Snipe has been seen!), various highland cisticolas, Bokmakierie, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Malachite and Bronzy Sunbird and Cape Bunting. Flying above look out for Verreaux’s Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Southern Banded Snake-eagle, Augur Buzzard, Taita Falcon, Alpine and Scarce Swift. The miombo parts can produce the same special birds as mentioned above…

Image credits: Livingstone’s Turaco, Olive Bush-shrike & Orange Ground-thrush by Roger MacDonald

Keeping Common Birds Common