Malawi – the Miombo woodlands   Leave a comment

From our lodge near the Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi we traveled to Dzamalyana, an extensive area of miombo woodland. This forest type, also known as Brachystega cuts a wide swathe across southern Africa. Later we visited some forest patches situated between extensive tea plantations for more specialties before heading north. In the north of Malawi we visited another miombio woodland where we caught up with many of the specialties we  had previously missed.

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This Red-throated Twinspot was one of the first life birds of the trip, recorded on the very first afternoon.

PB240014-Miombo

Extensive miombo woodland at Dzalanyama reserve.

PB250024-Protea

There were a few proteas in flower but not enough to attract the rarer hummingbirds.

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Unfortunately I didn’t note the name of these amazing red flowers

IMG_4105-Stierling's-Wren-w

Birding is hard work in miombo woodland due to its dense foliage and the low density of its avian inhabitants, which mainly occur in fast moving flocks. This is a Stierling’s Wren-warbler.

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Rocky areas held good numbers of Striped Pipits, a species I had only seen briefly before, in South Africa in 1991

IMG_4146-Boulder-Chat

The Boulder Chat is a rare inhabitant of the rocky areas of the forest

IMG_4161-Stierling's-Woodpe

Stierling’s Woodpecker is confined to miombo woodland

IMG_4215-Af-Pygmy-Kingfishe

Afican Pygmy Kingfisher is associated more with woodland than wetland areas

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This magnificent Crowned Eagle was seen well at Dzalanyama

IMG_4232-Grey-headed-Parrot

Near a village we saw a flock of 50 Grey-headed Parrots

IMG_4236-Ovambo-Sparrowhawk

..and nearby I found another Ovambo Sparrowhawk, this one a juvenile

IMG_4193-Palm-Nut-Vulture

Overhead we saw the impressive, but largely vegetarian Palm-nut Vulture.

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Although supposedly protected, much of the reserve is under threat from illegal logging. This is mainly from locals cutting down trees to make charcoal and large amounts of wood can be seen being transported on the backs of bicycles. Regrettably, as we left, we saw evidence of wood being removed by truck which will greatly accelerate the rate of forest loss. Even more alarming was the fact (according to our driver) that the guys on the truck were prisoners which mean that this illegal deforestation must have official approval at some level.

PC010116-miombo

In the north of Malawi we visited another extensive miombo forest. For some reason the trees come into leaf later here. New leaves emerge with a red colouration giving the forest an autumnal feel even though its early spring.

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One of the best bird seen was this White-winged Babbling Starling. Photo by Ewan Brodie

IMG_5044-RT-Roller

I was particularly pleased to see this Racket-tailed Roller, not only was it a much wanted miombo specialty but it was my last of the world’s eleven Roller species.

IMG_5061-Miombo-Pied-Barbet

Another target was this Miombo Pied Barbet

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Further south we stayed at this lovely lodge in the midst of an extensive tea plantation.

IMG_425-dinner-on-the-lawn

We were treated to a candlelit dinner out on the lawn.

IMG_4085-Livingstone-Tucaco

A record shot of this Livingstone’s Turaco, one of several excellent birds in this area.


IMG_4169-Lizard-Buzzard

Lizzard Buzzard is a widespread bird through much of tropical Africa

Posted December 23, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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