BIRDING IN ZIMBABWE
The Umfurudzi Park
The Umfurudzi Park (76,000 ha) some 150km north of Harare, formerly a National Parks Safari Area, is somewhat under-utilised with nearly all visitors using just the more accessible southern third of the area. But it is a diverse area of miombo, mopane and mid-altitude woodlands, grasslands, rivers and mountains with exciting birdlife.
Black Storks occur and on the way in it is worth checking to see if they are nesting at Amm’s Mine – take care when visiting this derelict mine and stay away from the edge of the deep pit! Lanner Falcons also regularly nest here.
In the park itself there is a wonderful raptor population around Hippo Pools that has been studied – the African Crowned Eagles and Verreaux’s Eagles nest sites can be visited… and others besides. African Cuckoo Hawk, European Honey-buzzard, Bat Hawk, migrant eagles, accipiters, falcons and Dickinson’s Kestrels can be found (make use of the extensive walking trails, marked and mapped, and explore). African Finfoot can be found at Hippo Pools and the White-backed Night-heron often displays right in front of the camp! A range of crakes and waders visit during the rains, along with cuckoos (Great Spotted and Thick-billed and the commoner species) and other migrants. Whilst driving or walking it is usual to find the Racquet-tailed Roller in the woodlands and Pel’s Fishing-owl, Black-throated Wattle-eye and Livingstone’s Flycatchers in the riverine forest… the flycatcher often visits the camp so you needn’t go far.
Narina Trogons, Red-throated Twinspots and Collared Sunbird are also regular here and you may be lucky and find the Plain-backed and Western Violet-backed Sunbirds. Also check the woodlands for Grey Tit-flycatcher, Broad-tailed Paradise-whydah (and Orange-winged Pytilia), Tree Pipit, and Cabanis’s Bunting. There are also areas of great miombo woodland where you can find Spotted Creeper, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, African Golden Oriole, Miombo Tit, probably Southern Hyliota (needs confirmation, as does the Miombo Rock-thrush and Red-faced Crombec!), Wood Pipit, Black-eared Seedeater and others. The hills have Boulder Chat close to Hippo Pools.