BIRDING IN ZIMBABWE
The Chirinda Forest
The Chirinda Forest is just a small patch (950 ha) of tropical rainforest and woodland capping an isolated hill in the Chipinge District of southeast Zimbabwe. It is particularly known through the ornithological explorations of Swynnerton over a hundred years ago and as the type locality of the globally threatened Swynnerton’s Robin. Catching the mists from the Mozambican plain the forest is sustained through the dry season.
With a mixture of low to high altitude forest birds Chirinda is a great place to bird. Grey Cuckooshrike, Stripe-cheeked Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler, Chirinda Apalis, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, Gorgeous and Olive Bush-shrike and Yellow-bellied Waxbill are other special range restricted birds found here. The main raptors are Verreaux’s and African Crowned Eagles and down at the forest floor look for the Lemon Dove. Both Livingstone’s and Purple-crested Turacos occur and a special call ringing through the forest is that of the Silvery-cheeked Hornbills and whilst you are looking up there you a likely to see White-eared Barbets at nest holes in dead trees and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls lower down. Green Malkoha is a new bird and may be ascending to this altitude due to the effects of global warming. In the adjacent grasslands look for the two more birds that have Chirinda as the type locality – Red-necked Spurfowl and Wailing Cisticola.
Image credits: Chirinda Forest by Duncan Watson; White-starred Robin, Red-throated Twinspot & Green-backed Woodpecker by Roger MacDonald