Bird Watching

The San Sebastian Peninsula, where the resort is located, is fortunate in having an array of wetland and indigenous bush. The diversity of these in such a small area is significant and, as such, migratory species have evolved in using it as a flyway to exploit this rich resource. The Bazaruto Archipelago is one such vital (East African) flyway through which vast numbers of migratory birds move from their breeding to non-breeding grounds, and the estuary serves as a resting and feeding spot. It also provides wintering grounds for some species of Palearctic migrants.

Several breeding colonies of Olive Bee-eaters – the second largest breeding occurrence in Africa, can be found near the Sanctuary office in season and the Southern-banded Snake Eagle, a near-threatened raptor, can often be spotted perched in a large tree or flying along the estuary. The endangered Plain-backed Sunbird can also be heard in the tangled moist dune forest on the eastern Ocean View road. A small group of Pink-backed Pelicans, the only pelican species to roost in trees, can almost always be seen in the outermost mangroves at Pelican Bay. In the more mature Miombo woodland and the magnificent freshwater wetlands, many other interesting  species can be seen.

Species List




Albatross, Indian Yellow-nosed Thalassarche carteri



Apalis, Rudd’s Apalis ruddi

Apalis, Yellow-breasted Apalis flavida

Avocet, Pied Recurvirostra avosetta

Babbler, Arrow-marked Turdoides jardineii

Barbet, Black-collared Lybius torquatus

Batis, Pale Batis soror

Bee-eater, Blue-cheeked Merops persicus

Bee-eater, European Merops apiaster

Bee-eater, Little Merops pusillus

Bee-eater, Olive Merops superciliosus

Bee-eater, Southern Carmine Merops nubicoides

Bee-eater, Swallow-tailed Merops hirundineus

Bishop, Black-winged Euplectes hordeaceus

Bishop, Southern Red Euplectes orix

Booby, Brown Sula leucogaster

Booby, Red-footed Sula sula

Boubou, Southern Laniarius ferrugineus

Brownbul, Terrestrial Phyllastrephus terrestris

Brubru Nilaus afer

Bulbul, Dark-capped Pycnonotus tricolor

Bunting, Golden-breasted Emberiza flaviventris

Bush-shrike, Gorgeous Chlorophoneus viridis

Bush-shrike, Grey-headed Malaconotus blanchoti

Bush-shrike, Orange-breasted Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus

Bustard, Black-bellied Lissotis melanogaster

Buttonquail, Common (Kurrichane) Turnix sylvaticus

Buzzard, Common (Steppe ) Buteo buteo

Buzzard, European Honey Pernis apivorus

Buzzard, Lizard Kaupifalco monogrammicus

Camaroptera, Green-backed Camaroptera brachyura

Canary, Brimstone Crithagra sulphurata

Canary, Lemon-breasted Crithagra citrinipectus

Canary, Yellow-fronted Crithagra mozambica

Cisticola, Croaking Cisticola natalensis

Cisticola, Rattling Cisticola chiniana

Cisticola, Rufous-winged Cisticola galactotes

Cisticola, Short-winged Cisticola brachypterus

Cisticola, Zitting Cisticola juncidis

Cormorant, Reed Microcarbo africanus

Cormorant, White-breasted Phalacrocorax lucidus

Coucal, Burchell’s Centropus burchellii

Crake, Black Amaurornis flavirostra

Crane, Wattled Bugeranus carunculatus


Crombec, Long-billed Sylvietta rufescens

Crombec, Red-faced Sylvietta whytii

Crow, Pied Corvus albus

Cuckoo, Black Cuculus clamosus

Cuckoo, Common Cuculus canorus

Cuckoo, Diederik Chrysococcyx caprius

Cuckoo, Klaas’s Chrysococcyx klaas

Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuculus solitarius

Cuckoo, Thick-billed Pachycoccyx audeberti

Cuckooshrike, Black Campephaga flava

Curlew, Eurasian Numenius arquata


Darter, African Anhinga rufa

Dove, Cape Turtle Streptopelia capicola

Dove, Emerald-spotted Wood Turtur chalcospilos

Dove, Red-eyed Streptopelia semitorquata

Dove, Tambourine Turtur tympanistria

Drongo, Fork-tailed Dicrurus adsimilis

Drongo, Square-tailed Dicrurus ludwigii

Duck, Fulvous Whistling Dendrocygna bicolor

Duck, Knob-billed Sarkidiornis melanotos

Duck, White-backed Thalassornis leuconotus

Duck, White-faced Whistling Dendrocygna viduata

Duck, Yellow-billed Anas undulata

Eagle, African Fish Haliaeetus vocifer

Eagle, Ayre’s Hawk Hieraaetus ayresii

Eagle, Black-chested Snake Circaetus pectoralis

Eagle, Crowned Stephanoaetus coronatus


Eagle, Martial Polemaetus bellicosus


Eagle, Southern Banded Snake Circaetus fasciolatus

Eagle, Wahlberg’s Hieraaetus wahlbergi

Egret, Great Egretta alba

Egret, Little Egretta garzetta

Egret, Western Cattle Bubulcus ibis

Egret, Yellow-billed (Intermediate) Ardea intermedia

Eremomela, Green-capped Eremomela scotops

Falcon, Peregrine Falco peregrinus

Firefinch, Jameson’s Lagonosticta rhodopareia

Firefinch, Red-billed Lagonosticta senegala

Flamingo, Greater Phoenicopterus roseus

Flamingo, Lesser Phoeniconaias minor


Flufftail, Red-chested Sarothrura rufa

Flycatcher, African Dusky Muscicapa adusta

Flycatcher, African Paradise Terpsiphone viridis

Flycatcher, Ashy Muscicapa caerulescens

Flycatcher, Grey Tit– Myioparus plumbeus

Flycatcher, Pale Bradornis pallidus

Flycatcher, Southern Black Melaenornis pammelaina

Flycatcher, Spotted Muscicapa striata

Frigatebird, Great Fregata minor


Frigatebird, Lesser Fregata ariel

Gannet, Cape Morus capensis



Godwit, Bar-tailed Limosa lapponica


Goose, African Pygmy Nettapus auritus

Goose, Egyptian Alopochen aegyptiaca

Goose, Spur-winged Plectropterus gambensis

Goshawk, African Accipiter tachiro

Goshawk, Dark Chanting Melierax metabates

Goshawk, Gabar Melierax gabar

Grebe, Little Tachybaptus ruficollis

Greenbul, Sombre Andropadus importunus

Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Chlorocichla flaviventris

Greenshank, Common Tringa nebularia

Guineafowl, Crested Guttera pucherani

Guineafowl, Helmeted Numida meleagris

Gull, Common Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus


Gull, Grey-headed Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus

Hamerkop Scopus umbretta

Harrier, African Marsh Circus ranivorus

Harrier, Pallid Circus macrourus


Hawk, African Cuckoo Aviceda cuculoides

Hawk, African Harrier- Polyboroides typus

Helmet-shrike, Chestnut-fronted Prionops scopifrons

Helmet-shrike, White-crested Prionops plumatus

Heron, Black Egretta ardesiaca

Heron, Black-crowned Night Nycticorax nycticorax

Heron, Black-headed Ardea melanocephala

Heron, Goliath Ardea goliath

Heron, Green-backed Butorides striata

Heron, Grey Ardea cinerea

Heron, Purple Ardea purpurea

Heron, Rufous-bellied Ardeola rufiventris

Heron, Squacco Ardeola ralloides

Honeyguide, Greater Indicator indicator

Honeyguide, Lesser Indicator minor

Honeyguide, Scaly-throated Indicator variegatus

Hoopoe, African Upupa africana

Hornbill, African Grey Tockus nasutus

Hornbill, Crowned Tockus alboterminatus

Hornbill, Trumpeter Bycanistes bucinator

Ibis, African Sacred Threskiornis aethiopicus

Ibis, Glossy Plegadis falcinellus

Ibis, Hadeda Bostrychia hagedash

Jacana, African Actophilornis africanus

Jacana, Lesser Microparra capensis

Kingfisher, African Pygmy Ispidina picta

Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Halcyon albiventris

Kingfisher, Giant Megaceryle maxima

Kingfisher, Malachite Alcedo cristata

Kingfisher, Mangrove Halcyon senegaloides

Kingfisher, Pied Ceryle rudis

Kingfisher, Striped Halcyon chelicuti

Kite, Black-shouldered Elanus caeruleus

Kite, Yellow-billed Milvus aegyptius

Lapwing, Blacksmith Vanellus armatus

Lapwing, Long-toed Vanellus crassirostris

Lark, Rufous-naped Mirafra africana

Longclaw, Yellow-throated Macronyx croceus

Malkoha, Green Ceuthmochares australis

Mannikin, Bronze Lonchura cucullata

Mannikin, Red-backed Lonchura nigriceps

Martin, Brown-throated Riparia paludicola

Martin, Common House Delichon urbicum

Martin, Mascarene Phedina borbonica

Martin, Sand Riparia riparia

Moorhen, Common Gallinula chloropus

Mousebird, Red-faced Urocolius indicus

Mousebird, Speckled Colius striatus

Neddicky Cisticola fulvicapilla

Nicator, Eastern Nicator gularis

Nightjar, Fiery-necked Caprimulgus pectoralis

Nightjar, Square-tailed Caprimulgus fossii

Noddy, Lesser Anous tenuirostris


Openbill, African Anastomus lamelligerus

Oriole, Black-headed Oriolus larvatus

Osprey, Western Pandion haliaetus

Owl, African Scops Otus senegalensis

Owl, African Wood Strix woodfordii

Owl, Spotted Eagle- Bubo africanus

Owl, Western Barn Tyto alba

Oxpecker, Red-billed Buphagus erythrorynchus

Oystercatcher, African Black Haematopus moquini



Oystercatcher, Eurasian Haematopus ostralegus



Pelican, Pink-backed Pelecanus rufescens

Penduline-tit, Grey Anthoscopus caroli

Petronia, Yellow-throated Gymnoris superciliaris

Pigeon, African Green Treron calvus

Pipit, African Anthus cinnamomeus

Plover, Caspian Charadrius asiaticus

Plover, Chestnut-banded Charadrius pallidus


Plover, Common Ringed Charadrius hiaticula

Plover, Crab- Dromas ardeola

Plover, Greater Sand Charadrius leschenaultii

Plover, Grey Pluvialis squatarola

Plover, Kittlitz’s Charadrius pecuarius

Plover, Lesser Sand Charadrius mongolus

Plover, Three-banded Charadrius tricollaris

Plover, White-fronted Charadrius marginatus

Pochard, Southern Netta erythrophthalma

Pratincole, Collared Glareola pratincola

Prinia, Tawny-flanked Prinia subflava

Puffback, Black-backed Dryoscopus cubla

Quail, Harlequin Coturnix delegorguei

Quail-finch, African Ortygospiza fuscocrissa

Quelea, Red-billed Quelea quelea

Robin, Bearded Scrub Cercotrichas quadrivirgata

Robin, White-browed Scrub Cercotrichas leucophrys

Robin-chat, Red-capped Cossypha natalensis

Robin-chat, White-throated Cossypha humeralis

Roller, European Coracias garrulus

Roller, Lilac-breasted Coracias caudatus

Roller, Purple Coracias naevius

Roller, Racket-tailed Coracias spatulatus

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Sanderling Calidris alba

Sandpiper, Common Actitis hypoleucos

Sandpiper, Curlew Calidris ferruginea


Sandpiper, Marsh Tringa stagnatilis

Sandpiper, Terek Xenus cinereus

Sandpiper, Wood Tringa glareola

Saw-wing, Black Psalidoprocne pristoptera

Scimitarbill, Common Rhinopomastus cyanomelas

Seedeater, Black-eared Crithagra mennelli

Shikra Accipiter badius

Shrike, Lesser Grey Lanius minor

Shrike, Red-backed Lanius collurio

Skimmer, African Rynchops flavirostris



Sparrow, House Passer domesticus


Sparrow, Southern Grey-headed Passer diffusus

Spoonbill, African Platalea alba

Spurfowl, Red-necked Pternistis afer

Starling, Black-bellied Notopholia corrusca

Starling, Violet-backed Cinnyricinclus leucogaster

Stilt, Black-winged Himantopus himantopus

Stint, Little Calidris minuta

Stork, Saddle-billed Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

Stork, Woolly-necked Ciconia episcopus

Stork, Yellow-billed Mycteria ibis

Sunbird, Amethyst Chalcomitra amethystina

Sunbird, Collared Anthodiaeta collaris

Sunbird, Grey Cyanomitra veroxii

Sunbird, Neergard’s Cinnyris neergaardi


Sunbird, Olive Cyanomitra olivacea

Sunbird, Plain-backed Anthreptes reichenowi

Sunbird, Purple-banded Cinnyris bifasciatus

Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Chalcomitra senegalensis

Sunbird, White-bellied Cinnyris talatala

Swallow, Barn Hirundo rustica

Swallow, Grey-rumped Pseudhirundo griseopyga

Swallow, White-throated Hirundo albigularis

Swamphen, African (Purple) Porphyrio madagascariensis

Swift, African Palm Cypsiurus parvus

Swift, Horus Apus horus

Tchagra, Black-crowned Tchagra senegalus

Tchagra, Brown-crowned Tchagra australis

Teal, Cape Anas capensis

Teal, Hottentot Anas hottentota

Teal, Red-billed Anas erythrorhyncha

Tern, Caspian Sterna caspia

Tern, Common Sterna hirundo

Tern, Gull-billed Gelochelidon nilotica


Tern, Lesser Crested Thalasseus bengalensis

Tern, Little Sterna albifrons

Tern, Roseate Sterna dougallii


Tern, Sandwich Thalasseus sandvicensis

Tern, Sooty Onychoprion fuscatus

Tern, Swift Thalasseus bergii

Tern, Whiskered Chlidonias hybrida

Tern, White-winged Chlidonias leucopterus

Thick-knee, Spotted Burhinus capensis

Thick-knee, Water Burhinus vermiculatus

Thrush, Kurrichane Turdus libonyanus

Tinkerbird, Yellow-fronted Pogoniulus chrysoconus

Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped Pogoniulus bilineatus

Tit, Southern Black Parus niger

Trogon, Narina Apaloderma narina

Turaco, Purple-crested Tauraco porphyreolophus

Turnstone, Ruddy Arenaria interpres

Wagtail, African Pied Motacilla aguimp

Wagtail, Cape Motacilla capensis

Wagtail, Western Yellow Motacilla flava

Warbler, African Reed Acrocephalus baeticatus

Warbler, Great Reed Acrocephalus arundinaceus

Warbler, Icterine Hippolais icterina

Warbler, Lesser Swamp Acrocephalus gracilirostris

Warbler, Little Rush Bradypterus baboecala

Warbler, Marsh Acrocephalus palustris

Warbler, Willow Phylloscopus trochilus

Wattle-eye, Black-throated Platysteira peltata

Waxbill, Blue Uraeginthus angolensis

Waxbill, Common Estrilda astrild

Waxbill, Grey Estrilda perreini

Weaver, Dark-backed Ploceus bicolor

Weaver, Lesser Masked Ploceus intermedius

Weaver, Southern Masked Ploceus velatus

Weaver, Spectacled Ploceus ocularis

Weaver, Thick-billed Amblyospiza albifrons

Weaver, Village Ploceus cucullatus

Weaver, Yellow Ploceus subaureus

Whimbrel, Common Numenius phaeopus

White-eye, African Yellow Zosterops senegalensis

Whydah, Pin-tailed Vidua macroura

Widowbird, Fan-tailed Euplectes axillaris

Widowbird, White-winged Euplectes albonotatus

Wood-hoopoe, Green Phoeniculus purpureus

Woodpecker, Bearded Dendropicos namaquus

Woodpecker, Cardinal Dendropicos fuscescens


Critically Endangered










Near Threatened


Least Concern


Extinct (regionally)


Data Deficient


Not Recognised by BirdLife International


Not Assessed

Red List § Refer to footnote

ENDEMISM IN MOZAMBIQUE (E) (not southern Africa, as in field guides)

* endemic (*) near endemic (i.e. ~70% or more of population in Mozambique) B* breeding endemic BM breeding in Mozambique W* winter endemic
(Source: The Santuary Brochure)