Malawi, Africa

Mike Patterson, July 1984

     The following is a rough, working check-list of the birds in and around the Natural Resources College, Likuni, Malawi, AFRICA.  It is based on field notes taken over a two year period from September 1982 to July 1984 and refers to all area within a three mile radius of the old Likuni Campus Library, 14 01'S 30 40'E.  An attempt has been made to not only list species, but to also give some indication of their relative abundance.  This last part is admittedly subjective and in many cases inaccurate.  There are also very likely to be changes in the relative abundances of many species due to development of the college lands.  Already, the addition of the sewage treatment ponds has increased the numbers of wader and ducks seen in the area.

     This lists represents 177 species seen over a two year period.  Identifications were made using Robert's Birds of South Africa, Birds of Eastern Africa and The Birds of Malawi.  I have also made notations on relative abundances using the following rough definitions:

          Abundant  =  impossible to miss on a short field trip

          Common  =  most probably seen on a short trip

          Regular  =  seen frequently, but easily missed

          Occassional  =  often missed

          Rare  =  seldom seen

     Abbreviated terms used in the list include:

          L.R.  =  Likuni River

          ESA  =  Environmental Studies Area

          S.P.  =  Sewage ponds

          Trad.  =  neighboring traditional lands

Cattle Egret, Ardeola ibis.  Common
Black-headed Heron, Ardea melanocephala. Common
Hammerkop, Scopus umbretta. Common on L.R.
White Stork, Ciconia ciconia. In migration
Abdim's Stork, Ciconia abdimii. In migration
Openbill, Anastomus lamelligerus. In migration
Yellow-billed Stork, Ibis ibis. In migration
African Black Duck, Anas sparsa. Two records L.R.
Red-billed Teal, Anas erythrorhynchos.  On sewage ponds, May '84
African Marsh Harrier, Cercus aeruginosus.  Katete dambo
Gymnogene, Polyboroides radiatus. Occassional
Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus. Common
Black-breasted Snake Eagle, Circaetus pectoralis. Occassional
Brown Snake Eagle, Circaetus cinereus. Occassional
Little Banded Goshawk, Accipiter badius. Occassional
Little Sparrow Hawk, Accipiter minullus.Regular
Gabar Goshawk, Melierax gabar. Regular, melanistic form nested near campus
Lizard Buzzard, Kaupifalco monogrammicus. Common
Augur Buzzard, Buteo rufofuscus. Occassional in pastures near L.R.
Steppe Buzzard, Buteo buteo. In migration
African Hawk Eagle, Hieraaetus spilogaster. One sighting
Martial Eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus. One sighting
Wahlberg's Eagle, Aquila wahlbergi. Occassional
Aquila sp.. Several records in migration
Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus migrans. Occassional, most Aug-Oct
Honey Buzzard, Pernis apivorus. One sighting over trad. W. college
Black-shouldered Kite, Elanus caeruleus. Regular
Red-necked Francolin, Francolinus afer. Common, mostly heard
Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Numida meleagris. Common
Kurrichane Buttonquail, Turnix sylvatica. Occassional
Black Crake, Limnocorax flavirostris. Probable in reeds, L.R.
Flufftail sp., ESA
Blacksmith Plover, Vanellus armatus. Single bird, S.P., June '84
Senegal Wattled Plover, Vanellus senegalis. Nesting, Katate dambo
Three-ringed Plover, Charadrius tricollaris. Common, S.P.
Greenshank, Tringa nebularia. One sighting, S.P., April '84
Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stanatillus. Occassional, S.P., except may-aug
Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola. Occassional, S.P., except may-aug
Common Sandpiper, Tringa hypoleucos. Common, S.P. and L.R., except may-aug
Temminck's Courser, Cursorius temminckii, In migration, trad.
White-winged Tern, Chlidonias leucoptera. One sighting over campus
Red-eyed Dove, Streptopelia semitorquata. Abundant
Laughing Dove, Streptopelia senegalensis. Common, esp. dry season
Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Turtur chalcospilos. Common
Tambourine Dove, Turtur tympanistria. Occassional
Namaqua Dove, Oena capensis. Occassional
Meyer's Parrot, Poicephalus meyeri. Common
Green Loerie, Tauraco persa. Regular
Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator glanelarius. Occassional, oct-mar
Jacobin Cuckoo, Clamatorjacobinus. Occassional, oct-mar
Striped-crested Cuckoo, Clamator levaillantii. Regular, oct-mar
Red-chested Cuckoo, Cuculus solitarius. Common, oct-mar
Black Cuckoo, Cuculus clamorus. Common, oct-mar
Grey Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus. one record, sept '82
Didric Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx caprius. Occassional
Senegal Coucal, Centropus senegalensis. Common
Barn Owl, Tyto alba. Rare, six pulli found in chimney, june '83
Scops Owl, Otus scops. Rare, dead juvenile found by neighbors
White-faced Owl, Otus leucotis. Occassional
Pearl-spotted Owlet, Glaucidium perlatum. Regular
Barred Owlet, Glaucidium capense. Occassional
Palm Swift, Cypsiurus parvus. Occassional
European Swift, Apus apus. Common, nov-mar
Speckled Mousebird, Colius striatus. Occassional
Pygmy Kingfisher, Ispidina picta. One sighting, Feb. '84
Malachite Kingfisher, Alcedo cristata. Common, L.R.
Senegal Kingfisher, Halcyon senegalensis. Common, oct-mar
Striped Kingfisher, Halcyon chelicuti. Common
Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Halcyon albiventris. Occassional
European Bee-eater, Merops apiaster. Common, oct-mar
Carmine Bee-eater, Merops nubicus. Occassional
Little Bee-eater, Merops pusillus. Common
Lilac-breated Roller, Coracias caudata. Common
Cinnamon Roller, Eurystomus glaucurus. Common, oct-mar
African Hoopoe, Upupa epops. Common, though predictable
Red-billed Wood Hoopoe, Phoeniculus purpureus. Occassional
African Scimitarbill, Phoeniculus cyanomelas. Occassional
African Grey Hornbill, Tockus nasutus. Common
Black-collared Barbet, Lybius torquatus. Occassional
Greater Honeyguide, Indicator indicator. Occassional
Bennett's Woodpecker, Campethera bennettii. Occassional
Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Campethera abingoni. One record, ESA
Cardinal Woodpecker, Dendropicos fucescens. Common
Bearded Woodpecker, Thripias namaquas. Common
Red-capped Lark, Calandrella cinerea. Common in dry season
Flappet Lark, Mirafra rufocinnamonea. Common
Chestnut-back Finch-lark, Eremopterix leucotis. Occassional
European Swallow, Hirundo rustica. Abundant, oct-apr
Wire-tailed Swallow, Hirundo smithii. Common
Lesser Striped Swallow, Hirundo abyssinica. Buluzi village
Grey-rumped Swallow, Hirundo griseopyga. Common at farm
Fork-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus absimilis. Abundant
African Golden Oriole, Oriolus auratus. Regular, esp. may-sept
Black-headed Oriole, Oriolus larvatus. Common
Pied Crow, Corvus albus. Abundant
Southern Black Tit, Parus niger. One record
Arrow-marked Babbler, Turdoides jardeneii. Abundant
Black Cuckoo-shrike, Campephaga phoenica. Common
White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina pectoralis. Occassional
Black-eyed bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus. Common
Capped Wheatear, Oenathe pileata. One record, Katate dambo, june '83
Common Stonechat, Saxicola torquata. Occassional, Katate dambo
White-browed Scrub-robin, Erythropygia leucophrys. Occassional
Red-capped Robin, Cossypha natalensis. One sighting, L.R., nov '82
Heuglin's Robin, Cossypha heuglini. Common
Thrush Nightingale, Luscinia luscinia. Occassional, nov-apr
Kurrichane Thrush, Turdus libonyanus. Common
Groundscraper Thrush, Turdus litsitirupa. Regular
Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus. Occassional, nov-apr
African Yellow Warbler, Chloropeta natalensis. Common, L.R.
Moustached Warbler, Melocichla mentalis. Occassional, ESA
Garden Warbler, Sylvia bovin. Occassional, dec-mar
Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus. Common, dec-mar
Tawny-flanked Prinia, Prinia subflava. Common
Redwinged Warbler, Heliolais erythroptera. Occassional
Yellow-breasted Eremomela, Eremomela icteropygialis. Regular
Longbilled Crombec, Sylvietta rufescens. Common
Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Hyliota flavigaster. Occassional
Red-faced Cisticola, Cisticola erythrops. L.R.
Singing Cisticola, Cisticola cantans. Common
Croaking Cisticola, Cisticola natalensis. One netted, dec '83
Fantailed Cisticola, Cisticola juncidis. Common, Katate dambo
Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata. Common, nov-mar
Dusky Flycatcher, Muscicapa adusta. Occassional
Lead-coloured Flycatcher, Myioparus plubeus, one record, L.R.
Black Flycatcher, Melaenornis pammelaina. Common
White-flanked Batis, Batis molitor, Common
Black-throated Wattle-eye, Platysterira peltata, one record, ESA
African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis, Common, sept-mar; Occassional, dry season
Southern Puffback, Dryoscopus cubla. Common
Brown-headed Tchagra, Tchagra australis. Common
Black-headed Tchagra, Tchagra senegala. Common
African Boubou, Laniarus ferrugineus. Common
Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Malaconotus sulphureopectus.Occassional
Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Malaconotus blanchoti. One record, college
Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava. regular, nov-mar
African Pied Wagtail, Motacilla aguimp. Abundant
Richard's Pipit, Anthus novaeseelandiae. Common
Yellow-throated Longclaw, Macronyx croceus. Common, Katate dambo
Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio. Occassional, dec-mar
White Helmet Shrike, Prionops plumata. Common
Lesser Blue-eared Starling, Lamprotornis chloropterus. One positive identification
Greater Blue-eared Starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus. Common
Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Nectarinia senegalensis. Common
Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Nectarinia venusta. Common
Coppery Sunbird, Nectarinia cuprea. One record, jan '83
Yellow White-eye, Zosterops senegalensis. Occassional
Large Golden Weaver, Ploceus xanthrops. Common on L.R.
African Masked Weaver, Ploceus velatus. Common
Spectacled Weaver, Ploceus ocularis. Common
Red-headed Weaver, Malimbus rubiceps. One record, college
Red-billed Quelea, Quelea quelea. 2 netted, Likuni campus, apr '83
Red Bishop, Euplectes orix. Trad. W. of campus
Black-winged Bishop, Eupletes hordeaceus. Common
Yellow-rumped Whydah, Euplectes capensis. Common
Red-collared Whydah, Euplectes ardens. Common
Cuckoo Weaver, Anomalospiza imberbis. Occassional, trad.
Grey-headed Sparrow, Passer griseus. Common on campus
Yellow-throated Sparrow, Petronia supercilaris, Occassional
Pin-tailed Widow, Vidua macroura. Common
Black Widowbird, Vidua funerea. Common
Purple Widowbird, Vidua chalybeata, Regular
Long-tailed Paradise Widow, Vidua paradisea. Common
Green-winged Pytilia, Pytilia melba. Common
Red-billed Firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala. Common
Brown-backed Firefinch, Lagonosticta rubricata. Common
Southern Blue Waxbill, Uraeginthus angolensis. Common
Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrild. Common, L.R.
Orange Waxbill, Amandava subflava. Common at Katate dambo
Bronze Mannikin, Lonchura cucullata. Common
Red-backed Mannikin, Lonchura bicolor. one netted, apr '84
Golden-breasted Bunting, Emberiza flaviventris. Occassional
Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting, Emberiza tahapisi. Occassional
Yellow-eyed Canary, Serinus mozambicus. Common
African Citril, Serinus citrinelloides. Occassional


Benson, C.W. and F.M.Benson. 1977. The Birds of Malawi. Monfort Press,
     Limbe, Malawi.

Howard, R. and A. Moore. 1984. A Complete Checklist of the Birds of
     the World. MacMillan, London.

McLachlan, G.R. and R. Liversidge. 1978. Roberts Birds of South
     Africa. The John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. Cape Town.

Williams, J.G. and N. Arlott. 1981. A Field Guide to the Birds of East
     Africa. Collins, London.