Birds and birding 2013-2020 at Macaneta, Southern Mozambique
Keywords:birds, bird records, birding tourism, birding tourism revenue, annotated checklist, Macaneta, Mozambique.
The Macaneta area lies in the Incomati River estuary in northern Maputo Bay, Maputo Province, southern Mozambique. The 56 km2 area of study was selected based on access from tracks and follows no formal boundaries. The site comprises a 10 km stretch of ocean beach, coastal dunes with patchy thicket forest, and low lying wet grasslands inland to the Incomati River. The wetlands have complex hydrology offering diverse salinity and temporal conditions. The peninsula of Praia de Macaneta is also included in the study site but with few data. Improved access to the site in Oct 2016 enabled over 200 field ornithological visits Oct 2016-Oct 2020 and the sightings are analysed and reported herein. A total of 295 species was recorded including eight Globally Threatened birds (three Endangered, five Near-threatened) and Internationally Important numbers of White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and Whiskered Terns Chlidonias hybrida were found. Three new birds for Mozambique were discovered; Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata (first for Africa), White-rumped Sandpiper C. fuscicollis and Pearl-breasted Swallow Hirundo dimidiate. An annotated checklist of selected species is presented. The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in particular drew much birder interest with 254 international visitor days over the 12 weeks of its first visit Feb-Apr 2018, contributing over US$12,000 into the local economy. The bird returned for two further seasons but it was not possible to gather further data.
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