BIRDING IN ZIMBABWE
National Botanic Garden, Harare
The Harare or National Botanic Garden is situated off Sandringham Drive next to the National Parks offices. Just over half of the area was developed to feature Zimbabwean woodland types including Miombo, Acacia, Lowveld Tree Savannah, Lowveld Riverine and Zimbabwean Rainforest. In addition to plants from other parts of Africa there is a section comprising of species from Australia, the Far East and South America. Approximately 215 species of birds have been recorded in the gardens though at present the pond is dry and the forest streams are not being pumped, so some of the waterbirds are lacking.
But a visit is still productive and Purple-crested Turaco, Whyte’s Barbets, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Lesser Honeyguide, Brown-backed Honeybird (and sometime Green-backed), woodpeckers, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, occasional Miombo Tit and other woodland birds can be found.Red-throated Twinspot and Black-throated Wattle-eye are two birds that appear to be moving into Harare and can both be found here. Sunbirds are common and include Miombo Double-collared, Variable, Scarlet-chested, and occasional Copper, with Purple-banded in winter – check in the acacia section for the last one. Dusky Larks and Bronze-winged Cursors sometimes pass through on migration between April and June.
Tambourine Doves are sometimes found in the forest sections and it is here you can also check for roosting Bat Hawk. Several other raptors have been recorded including Yellow-billed Kite, African Cuckoo Hawk, Long-crested Eagle, Lizard Buzzard and the small accipiters.
Strictly avoid the area on the hill where there are No Entry signs!
Image credits: Whyte’s barbet by Celesta von Chamier