BirdWatch Zambia BirdWatch Zambia BirdLife International Partner Designate

BirdWatch Zambia Research

Black-cheeked Lovebird (Agapornis nigrigenis)
Data analysis is being done for use in the development of a species action plan for the endangered Black-cheeked Lovebird. A local conservation group in the project area (Machile) has also identified land and has plans to develop a community camp. Having worked closely with Open Africa some Namibian birders have started visiting this IBA to see the Black cheeked love bird.  Work in this IBA has been undertaken with the with funding from the Rufford Foundation under a small project namely “Species protection and habitat conservation for the benefit of birds and people – "Local Avian Tourism and Black-cheeked Lovebird Conservation Project”.
This lovebird lives in the mopane woodland in south western Zambia. It is under threat partly due to climate change with the area becoming much drier over the recent years, but also from disturbance at water holes from farming. Black-cheeked lovebirds need to drink every evening so surface water is essential to their existence. They will not drink if there is disturbance and there is a conflict with cattle and humans. The project is looking at ways to resolve these issues as well as linking in avi-tourism.
The conservation group in the area has in the past made attempts to cultivate bird friendly millet fields in support of this love bird.

Vulture Survey
Rory McDougall is currently collecting data on vultures in Zambia. He would appreciate any sightings to be recorded and emailed to him on the enclosed form to
The form can be downloaded from here.

Zambian Barbets  (Lybius chaplini)
Zambian barbets are endemic to Zambia and occur within a limited range around Chisamba, Choma and the periphery of the Kafue Flats. Their population size had never been assessed before, and what was known of their ecology was purely anecdotal. Thus their red listing status was tenuous. With support from the RSPB, the African Bird Club, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Centre for Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, a series of surveys were conducted across Zambia to determine the red listing status of the species. In 2009, the species was upgraded from Near Threatened to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Research on the ecology and population of the species is still ongoing at Nkanga River Conservation Area in Choma, Southern Province and Chisamba IBA in Chibombo District.  Reports work work done so far on Chisamba will be uploaded soon.

Read the technical report of the survey for further details.

Shoebills (Balaeniceps rex)
The Bangweulu Wetlands in Zambia hold one of the largest populations of Shoebills in the world. Recent surveys suggest a population of 250-500 birds (5-10% of the world population). Shoebills are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. They are much sought after for bird tourism, but are believed to face threats from habitat destruction, habitat degradation (decrease in fish prey stocks), the bird trade and direct persecution. Knowledge of the population size and extent and use of suitable habitat for Shoebills is vital for their effective conservation, yet this is poorly known in most sites, including the Bangweulu Wetlands. Recently, the Bangweulu Wetlands have received increased protection through the start of the Bangweulu Wetlands Project and the creation of the 290 000 hectare Chikuni Community Partnership Park within the 600 000 hectare project area. The Shoebill is the flagship species for the area and considered essential for long-term conservation sustainability. The project area is known to host a large proportion of the population during at least part of the year. Whether Shoebills are effectively protected within the protected area structure is unknown. Africa Parks along with Kasanka Trust, The Percy Fitspatrick Institute and WWF Netherlands are funding a 3 year research project in this area of the Bangweulu Swamps.  The goal of the study is to formulate strategies for the optimal protection of the Bangweulu population of Shoebills through gathering scientific data on population size, ecology and threats, and to improve community perception and valuing of the species.
Through the newly launched biodiversity monitoring project BWZ has started working closely with the Bangweulu Wetlands Project. During one trip into the swamp by BWZ staff a total of 66,137 waterbirds were counted across 102 species. Bangweulu Swamp may be hosting between 175 to 200 species of waterbirds.
It would also be worth noting that Bangweulu Swamps are highly threatened by a wide range of anthropogenic threats.

Dial in to PHOWN
PHOWN (PHotos Of Weaver Nests) PHOWN is a monitoring project aimed at determining the distribution of colonies or nests of all weaver species globally. Counting weaver nests and taking photos allows tracking of changes in weaver breeding effort. Many weavers are common and this project provides an easy way of monitoring them, while some weaver species are threatened and this project would help their conservation. For details read the whole article or go to

BWZ logo
White-headed Vulture
White-headed Vulture
Chaplin's Barbet
Zambian Barbet (Chaplin's)
Last updated: 7 Jan. 2014
Mail BWZ