1 Jul 2023

1 Jul 23 - Angola - Below The Tundavala Escarpment

We had enjoyed a successful morning at the Tundavala Escarpment where we had been lucky to see an endemic Swierstra's Francolin. The plan for the rest of the day was for an hour & a half drive to Bruco to the South West of the Tundavala Escarpment. There were some fantastic views as the road wound down the escarpment.
The view from the Serra da Leba Escarpment
Another view from the Serra da Leba Escarpment
Another view from the Serra da Leba Escarpment: This escarpment was easily the prettiest part of Angola, even beating the views of Calandula Falls: which are Africa's second largest waterfall
We stopped at one viewpoint to walk down a section of the mid escarpment while Niall drove down to a lower viewpoint to wait for us. There was a Grey-headed Bushshrike by the first viewpoint, but just like every Bushshrike we saw, it was really skulking. After a couple of minutes of hiding in one of the trees, I managed to get some photos as it flew out of its last tree.
Grey-headed Bushshrike: This is the interpositus subspecies that occurs from Angola to West Zambia
Grey-headed Bushshrike: It is a widespread species that occurs over much of Sub-Saharan Africa
Grey-headed Bushshrike
Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax: I tried pishing to get the Grey-headed Bushshrike to show, with no success. However, it interested this Yellow-spotted Rock Hyrax
There were flocks of Bradfield's Swifts & Rock Martins along the escarpment edge
Bradfield's Swift: This is the nominate bradfieldi subspecies which occurs in the deserts & arid savanna of South West Angola & Namibia. A second subspecies occurs in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa
Bradfield's Swift
Bradfield's Swift
Bradfield's Swift
Rock Martin: This is the anderssoni subspecies which occurs in North & South West Angola and North & Central Namibia
Looking down to the plains below
After about thirty minutes of walking down part of the escarpment, we were back in the 4WD & heading to a dry forest area at the base of the escarpment. The avifauna changed to some lowland species like Grey Go-away-bird, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill and White-tailed Shrike that I had seen back in my 1990 trip to Botswana.
The habitat at Bruco reminded me of some parts of Namibia
Looking back at the escarpment
Namaqua Dove: Female. This is the nominate capensis subspecies that occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Socotra & Arabia. A second subspecies occurs in Madagascar
Little Bee-eater: This is the meridionalis subspecies that occurs from the Congo basin to East Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Angola, Uganda & West Kenya South to the Eastern part of South Africa
Red-billed Quelea: This is the lathamii subspecies which occurs from Gabon, the Republic of the Congo & Angola to Malawi, Mozambique & South Africa. They are one of the most abundant avian species in the world
Malbrouck Monkey: Adult
Malbrouck Monkey: Juvenile
Skink (Panaspis wahlbergii): Panaspis wahlbergii is the species of Skink that appears to be the best fit on range. Thanks to my mate Steve Morrison who was able to identify a number of the Lizard species from my published photos
Epaulet Skimmer: This doesn't look too dissimilar to a Black-tailed Skimmer. Thanks to my mate Steve Morrison who was able to identify a number of the Dragonfly species from my published photos
Some of the local cattle
We had been looking for the regional endemic Cinderella Waxbill, which is a scarce & tricky species to find at Bruco. Sadly, we were unlucky. It looks like we had used all of our Birding luck for the day with the views of the Swierstra's Francolin. We stayed as late as we could & had a long drive back to the Casper Resort in the dark. In reality, we couldn't complain about how the day had gone.