Birds – Malawi

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Malawi.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

Ariadne and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Malawi.

Malawi offers over 650 bird species, which is an impressive number for a small country. Lake Malawi is great for general waterbirds such as kingfishers, cormorants and egrets, and a fish eagle is never far away. Of greater interest to birders are the high-mountain plateaus of Nyika and Viphya in the north, as well as the woodlands of Dzalanyama. Specials include Stierling’s woodpecker, Souza’s shrike and Sharpe’s akalat. Liwonde is great for some of the more common country specials like Böhm’s bee-eater and Pel’s fishing-owl. The boat trips and bird walks are an ideal way to tick off many species in a day. Migratory birds are present from October to April.

Notable Birds in Malawi
African openbill
Common
Black heron
Locally common
Böhm's bee-eater
Locally common
Burchell's coucal
Common
Pied kingfisher
Common

Birding Rating

Endemic & Near-Endemic Birds

(E) endemic = only lives in Malawi
(NE) near-endemic = also lives in neighboring countries

Other Birding Specials– Treats for Avid Birders

Best Time for Bird Watching

Bird watching in Malawi is excellent throughout the year. The best time however is the Wet season, from November to April – this is when migratory birds are present. Wildlife viewing, however, is better in the Dry season (May to October).

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

Liwonde NP is very good for general water and woodland birds, as well as some of the Malawi specials. Nyika NP has a different range of specials, many of which are associated with the grassland and forest habitats. Nkhotakota WR is less developed but its miombo woodland is very rewarding birding territory and raptors are especially well represented.

Recommended Birding Books

  • The Birds of Malawi: An Atlas and Handbook
    Francoise Dowsett-Lemaire and Robert J. Dowset

Want to Visit Malawi?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Malawi
Bird Species
650+
Migratory Birds
Oct to Apr