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Mountain Creatures

“The beauty of Gorongosa lies in its diversity." - Wanderlust

Look closely among the leaves, and you may be rewarded with a sight of the mountain’s unique inhabitant, the Mount Gorongosa Pygmy Chameleon. This charming, peaceful lizard was discovered here in 1971, and can be seen nowhere else in the world. 


Look up into the canopy, and you may see Mount Gorongosa’s Green-headed Oriole, a stunningly beautiful bird, also endemic to the mountain. The oriole isn't the only special bird up here. Others like the Square-tailed drone, marina trogon, Livingstone's turaco and the eastern bronze-naped pigeon are ticks that any birder would like to see on their life list.


The rainforest of Mount Gorongosa is teaming with life forms found only here and nowhere else. Scientists have only begun exploring its riches, but we already know that newly discovered katydids sing in its canopy, yet unnamed shrews hunt insects in the leaf litter, and never-before-seen spiny crustaceans browse leaves in the understory. The Field Museum of Chicago conducted a survey here in 2011 and discovered what they believe to be a new species of shrew. 


The foothills of Mount Gorongosa are covered with open grasslands, dissected with deep river ravines, which are filled with dense, riverine forest. The grasslands are dotted with spectacular Aloe plants, and its small rocky outcrops are home to large, brightly orange Girdled lizard, found only here and in the Chimanimani mountains of Zimbabwe.

Discovering Mount Gorongosa

In August 2011, Field Museum and African scientists joined forces in an expedition to Mount Gorongosa in Gorongosa National Park. Their goal was to study the diversity of birds and small mammals from this remote region and the parasites that live on these animals. Watch the 18 minute video on their expedition.