10 Easy-to-see Birds In Hwange !EXCLUSIVE!
One of the 10 largest national parks in Africa and the largest in Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is located about a three hour drive from Victoria Falls, making this the perfect add on safari trip when you visit the falls.Hwange is well known for is diverse landscapes and its wide variety of wildlife. Set out on safari and marvel at the impressive number of elephants, once in a life time wild dog sightings and some 400 species of birds. What makes Hwange so special is its lack of crowds. Enjoy the peace and quiet while you soak up the magic of the African bush.
10 easy-to-see birds in Hwange
Wildlife refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife was also synonymous to game: those birds and mammals that were hunted for sport. Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, plains, grasslands, woodlands, forests, and other areas, including the most developed urban areas, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that much wildlife is affected by human activities. Some wildlife threaten human safety, health, property, and quality of life. However, many wild animals, even the dangerous ones, have value to human beings. This value might be economic, educational, or emotional in nature.
This final group is one of secondary effects. All wild populations of living things have many complex intertwining links with other living things around them. Large herbivorous animals such as the hippopotamus have populations of insectivorous birds that feed off the many parasitic insects that grow on the hippo. Should the hippo die out, so too will these groups of birds, leading to further destruction as other species dependent on the birds are affected. Also referred to as a domino effect, this series of chain reactions is by far the most destructive process that can occur in any ecological community.
Another example is the black drongos and the cattle egrets found in India. These birds feed on insects on the back of cattle, which helps to keep them disease-free. Destroying the nesting habitats of these birds would cause a decrease in the cattle population because of the spread of insect-borne diseases.
Chris Pollard (e-mail: email@example.com snail-mail: PO Box CT534 Chinotimba, Victoria Falls; cellphone: 263-(0)91-364875) has been in the Victoria Falls area since 1978 and, having retired from other employment, concentrates on studying birds there and takes great pleasure in introducing them to visitors.
At the Park's entrance, you must stop at the stop sign, then continue on south. On weekends there is a $2.00/person entrance fee. Most holidays are crowded with picnics and parties. In the LRGV, Easter Sunday is more celebrated than Christmas, and wildlife watchers might as well avoid the Park, as it will be filled with up to 15,000 people (in 2009), very crowded and very noisy throughout the Park. Pull off the road after you enter and search the trees for birds. When the heavily perfumed Comas - Bumelia celastrina and the rough-leaved Anacuas - Ehretia anacua are in bloom, they will be active with butterflies.
Just a couple of hundred yards west of the Park's entrance, you will come to a four-way stop sign. The trees in the southeast corner and the northwest corner can be an excellent place to start birding. However, we are going to turn right (north) and drive to the River and park, in order to walk along the River, towards the east in search of birds, butterflies, and dragonflies.
When the road makes a sharp bend to the left, and you can see the Fishing Deck, pull off to the right and park. Both sides of the road are excellent for birds in the shady trees. Butterflies will be found flying around and on the ground. Go to your right, down the slight incline and walk along the River bank.
As you walk to the east towards the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR tract you see in the distance, search for dragonflies along the water's edge. Check the field for birds. Don't forget to look overhead (as a matter of fact, it is always wise to keep your eyes on the skies at Anazaduas for raptors).
At the last little cove, you are facing north, looking up-river. Search this open area for dragonflies and birds, then continue east and go up the slight rise to the the LRGV-NWR tract. (note, the Mexican Park land shown in the photo is no longer there; only a very tiny part is now an island on the U.S. side).
When you climb up onto the rise, with the FWS tract on your right, you get a fantastic view of the River and the flood-plain field. Search all this for birds. At this location is a huge Black Vulture roost; it is tons of fun to see the lift-offs in the early morning, from this spot.
You can walk the rise to the north for several hundred yards. Search the trees and shrubs for birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Early morning is the best time to be at this location. Watch the River for ducks, grebes and all three N.A. kingfishers.
Opposite the Fishing Deck, the forest of trees will be beckoning you with their Green Jays, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets, Long-billed Thrashers, Black-crested Titmouse, Tropical Parulas, Clay-colored Thrushes and numerous other birds.
You can drive and park, drive and park or you can walk along the River's edge, searching for birds and dragonflies. Watch the River, into the trees and down the bank for birds and odonates. Check the field on the other side of the road, as well as the guard-cable for birds and perched dragonflies.
Because it is a public park and because of the possibility of rattlesnakes, Anzalduas Co. Park is well mown, everywhere. Still, check the fields for pipits, shorebirds and other birds. Look in the tree tops for flycatchers and bluebirds. Watch overhead for swallows and raptors, and check the guard-cable for perched dragonflies.
Throughout the length of the River bank's curve, from the Cathode Bank to the Dam, watch along the bank for ducks, phoebes, kingfishers and other birds. Pay particular attention to dragonflies and damselflies.
Check the trees along the drive for birds. Get out and walk among them and listen for the slight, soft call of the Tyrannulet, and the monotonous call of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. Remember to watch for Gray Hawks, which nest here, also.
Continue east and park at the 2nd, and newly renovated restroom across from the stop sign. Opposite the trees where you parked by the restroom, search the field back towards the Park's entrance for birds. If you can smell the Comas, go check them for butterflies.
Before crossing over the Levee to go below the Dam, go across the street and walk or drive down between the dumpsters and the Levee, towards the east, searching the trees for birds and butterflies and the field on your left for birds. Look overhead.
Having gone over the Levee, the road heads west, towards the River. Drive this road VERY slowly (there is a 10mph speed limit throughout the Park), searching both sides of the road for birds and butterflies. Pull off occaisonally and get out and walk, particularly if bordering trees and shrubs are in bloom. You can find many species of butterflies, here.
Before you get to the end of the road, the road will come onto a one-way turn to your right (north), check the trees and guard-cable for swallows, flycatchers, bluebirds and others. Again, remember to watch for the many dragonfly species that will often be perched on the guard-cables. This open area can be a fantastic place to watch for raptors.
Continue working the River and looking overhead for birds. Here above the River, walking is easy, but watch for snakes. Because of the cane, thorny shrubs and slippery banks, it is very treacherous trying to get down below to the River's edge. The River is very swift at this point. Fishermen do go down and fish among the rocks, immediately at the base of the Dam.
The road can be fantastic for birds, dragonflies, butterflies and mammals. It is fun to watch the road for animal tracks. This is a good place to see Texas Indigo Snakes as well as rattlesnakes. We have seen Bobcat, Coyote, Nine-banded Armadillos, Red Fox, Striped Skunk, Oppossum and Desert Tortoises while walking the road.
Unlike South and East Africa, much of Central and West Africa (for example Uganda, Gabon, Cameroon and Ghana) is forested, with less scope for seeing megafauna and with birds hiding more. But, these parts of Africa are nevertheless essential to visit at some stage or another, not only for some of the most diverse birding on the continent including lots of endemics such as the two fabled Picathartes species, an entire bird family endemic to West Africa, but also for Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Mandrills and other forest-dwelling great apes. With luck, you might also encounter other mammals in the African rainforests of West and Central Africa, including spectacular but rarely-seen beasts like Red River Hog and Golden Cat.
Hwange national park is equally impressive when it comes to birding with well over 420 species registered in the park. Birders will be impressed by the wet seasons of December - March when the fossil lakebeds and drainage lines in the woods that have since largely become grasslands fill up with water attracting the multi coloured feathered fellas from all over Africa and Eurasia. The park is renowned for the large numbers of raptors with well over 50 species recorded in the park, the most common being the bateleur eagle that is often sighted casually soaring overhead looking for prey. Other birds like the gigantic kori bird, secretary bird, the southern hornbill and many more are all residents here. So for any avid birder or regular visitor Hwange national park is a bucket list birders safari destination.