Birds of Zambia (Pocket Guide), by Rory McDougall and Derek Solomon
Birds of Zambia (Pocket Guide), written by experts Rory McDougall and Derek Solomon, will inspire both locals and visitors to explore Zambia's diverse birdlife and the places these birds inhabit, including its 20 national parks and 42 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).
Habitats and bird distribution
Zambia's habitats are rather complex, reflecting the underlying vegetation zones across the country. This has an influence on bird distribution. Some of the more important habitat types and bird species to be found there are explored below.
This broad and varied habitat includes wet and dry evergreen forest, wet miombo woodland and closed riverine forest. The northern section of the country is in a higher rainfall zone and the vegetation reflects this with areas of tall, wet, evergreen gallery forests (or 'mushitu' restricted to riverbanks) and wet miombo woodland. The area around Mwinilunga in the northwest is particularly rewarding for birders, with specials including White-spotted Flufftail, Afep Pigeon, White-bellied and Shining-blue kingfishers, Bates's and Bannerman's sunbirds, Honeyguide Greenbul, Laura's Woodland Warbler, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Fraser's RufousThrush and Spotted Thrush-Babbler. Recent additions to the Zambian list in this habitat include Vermiculated Fishing Owl and Spot-breasted Ibis. Dry evergreen forests merge with wet miombo woodlands in the northwest and appear in patches over the rest of northern Zambia; they generally have no surface water. These miombo woodlands are prone to fire, and when burnt they become open-canopy woodlands with a grass understorey, known as 'chipya'. Trees such as Marquesia, Parinarianti Syzygium dominate, providing ideal habitat for a whole range of common mixed woodland animals and birds, including Ross's and Schalow's turacos. Closed riverine, or riparian, forests occur along major and minor rivers, especially the Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa. In-between the pockets of riverine forest are mosaics of mixed woodland, thickets and termitaria. Target birds include African Pitta, NarinaTrogon, African Broadbill, Bocage's Akalat, Grey-olive Greenbul, Livingstone's Flycatcher, Thick-billed Cuckoo and Pel's Fishing Owl. Along the sandy rivers, African Skimmers occur in large numbers together with huge breeding colonies of Southern Carmine Bee-eaters.
Further south and west lies a very important, near-endemic habitat dominated by Cryptosepalum exfoliatum subsp. pseudotaxus trees. Also known locally as 'mavunda', this almost impenetrable forest is home to the restricted-range Margaret's Batis, Gorgeous Bushshrike, the western race of Crested Guineafowl, and the only ever specimen of White-chested Tinkerbird, collected in 1964.
Afro montane forests
In the extreme northeast are the high-lying afromontane forests of the Nyika Plateau, bordering Malawi. Further north lie the Mafinga Mountains, the headwaters of the Luangwa River. Nyika is currently only accessible via Malawi. At least 40 important bird species are found here and nowhere else in the country. These include Sharpe's Akalat, Fulleborn's Boubou, Churring and Black-lored cisticolas, White-chested Alethe, White-starred Robin, Bar-tailed Trogon and Moustached Tinkerbird. [...]
Rory McDougall obtained a BSc from the University of Cape Town before working as a professional guide fA ;r V and wildlife consultant. In 2015 he founded the first wildlife safari guide training school in Zambia. He is co-author of a series of digital books covering common Zambian flora and fauna, and is co-developer of the Birds of Zambia app.
Derek Solomon worked in the agricultural sector before switching to a career in birding, leading special interest safaris in southern Africa and running bird identification courses and training programmes for guides. He has published several books on bird identification and animal behaviour, and is co-developer of the Birds of Zambia app.
This is an excerpt from Birds of Zambia (Pocket Guide), by Rory McDougall and Derek Solomon.
Title: Birds of Zambia
Series: Pocket Guide
Authors: Rory McDougall; Derek Solomon
Publisher: Penguin Random House South Africa
Imprint: Struik Nature
Cape Town, South Africa 2021
ISBN 9781775847144 / ISBN 978-1-77584-714-4
Softcover, 11 x 18 cm, 160 pages, numerous colour photos and maps