Birding Factoids

604 species
in 70  families

No endemic species
5 endangered species
10 speciality species
2 week trip expectation -
about 320 species

Checklist of Botswana BirdsTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Country InformationClimate
Check out Guiliano Gerro and Silvio Sommazzi's Botswana Birds
and Birds of the Okavango and Selinda by Yaser Yacoub
See also images of Botswana's Birds on Stamps
Botswana Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name.) 
Lilac-breasted Roller - NATIONAL BIRD - Photo copyright John Milbank
Photo copyright John Milbank
....Lappet-faced Vulture - Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Photo copyright Nick Lowton
African Green-Pigeon - Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley
Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley
Woodland Kingfisher - Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris
Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris
Red-billed Firefinch - Photo copyright Gerard Mornie
Photo copyright Gerard Mornie
Tawny Eagle - Photo cpyright Tony Galvan
Photo copyright Tony Galvan
Double-banded Courser - Photo copyright Greg Lasley
Photo copyright Greg Lasley
Wattled Starling - Photo copyright Pat Goltz
Photo copyright Pat Goltz
    ....Botswana Birding - from the FatBirders Site!
    ....Birdlife Botswana - BirdLife Botswana aims to conserve and  ...
    ....Botswana Birding Sites: includes information on:
      • Northern Chobe National Park and Kasane
      • Nata Lodge
      • Okovango
      • Shakawe 
    ....Birding Gaborone (Botswana) - Gaborone Birding Sites and Area 
      Bird List - by Andrew Hester, Stephanie J. Tyler & Dragan Simic. In an effort to answer the questions where to see the birds that epitomize the southeast Botswana, which sites should be visited and when is the best time to go there, this short guide describes 9 birding spots in and around Gaborone. See also a Gaborone Birding Map, by Dragan Simic.
    ....Gaborone and Surrounds - by Andrew Hester. The Gaborone area
      provides the birder with variety of species and habitats to explore, and gives one an opportunity to pick up a number of typical bushveld species, including several Kalahari specials. Depending on rainfall, a full midsummer day birding could yield anything up to 230 species. The following sites can easily be visited in a day and are well worth the effort if you are passing through or have a day to spend in Gaborone. An early start to any birding day is essential, particularly in summer, where mid-day temperatures often climb into the forties. 
    ....A visit to Botswana 1999 - by Ruud and Kitty Kampf.
    ....Okavango Region and Moremi Game Reserve
      Birds and game are thought to draw the biggest number of visitors and it is probably the former for which the Delta is rightly most famous. More than 350 bird species are to be found and guides at any one of the dozen or more camps are very good at providing serious bird watches with matchless opportunities. Kingfishers and bee-eaters, perching at night of reeds, are a favourite subject that can provide wonderfully satisfying opportunities for photographers. 
    ....Okavango Delta -- the world’s largest
      Ramsar site - The magnificent delta fans out across the northwestern corner of Botswana, creating a paradise of islands and lagoons teeming with birds and wildlife.
    ....Birding Adventure in Botswana - Experiencing the greatest
      concentration of species on earth in the Okavango Delta - by Bert du Plessis.
    ....Birds of Southern Africa - With so many different habitats in Southern
      Africa, the bird life is diverse with over 950 species. There are photos, maps, slide shows, satellite images, and recorded bird songs. 
    ....Trip Report: Zambia, Namibia & Botswana - The Miombo, Mavunda
      and Mwinilunga and living deserts of Namibia. A Tropical Birding Trip Report. 22 October – 12 November 2003. Zambia is curiously underestimated as a birding destination despite a long list of selling points: it has a high diversity of habitats, many localised species, stable politics and reasonable infrastructure. This trip delivered a huge number of birds, and we managed 505 species (including heards) in 20 days of birding. 
    ....Selinda- land of lions - (Botswana 2000-2002) - by John Milbank.
      'The Selinda' is a safari reserve in northern Botswana, stretching south-west from the Linyanti swamps on the border of Namibia's Caprivi strip, to the panhandle of the Okavango Delta. Running the full length of the reserve is a mostly dry channel, the so-called Selinda spillway, by which an overflow in the delta would head towards the Linyanti in very wet years. There's prolific birdlife at Selinda.
    ....Out of Goleta, California and into Africa - June 13 - 21, 2001. Tony
      Galvan's richly illustrated account of an eclipse chasing expedition through Botswana and Zimbabwe and the birds and critters encountered along the way.
    ....Trip Report: Botswana, Namibia and Victoria Falls "Deserts, 
      Wetlands and Wilderness" - September 2001, by Ian Broadbent. This was the first trip to Africa for my wife and I, and it proved to be an excellent introduction to the wildlife and culture of the region. This was not intended to be an all out birding holiday, and so some key sites were not visited and a few of the Namibian endemics missed, but the tour still facilitated a lot of great birding and game viewing and we had a wonderful time. We ended up with a bird list of 318 species and a mammal list of 40, both of which exceeded all expectations considerably. 
    ....Trip Report - Botswana - October, 2002. By Tony Coatsworth. 
    ....Botswana Trip 2001 - Jaci's camp, Madikwe Game Reserve. 
      By Nigel Blake. In January this year my friends moved to Botswana in connection with their work, so it was partly a social visit  to see them, I also took my daughter Holly, for her first taste of Africa. The reserve boasts a bird list of 230 species, plus 27 of the larger species of mammals including Wild dog, one of the rarer mammals that is in decline throughout the African continent. Being winter at the time of our visit the bird list however was not as high.
    ....Trip Report: Zimbabwe (including parts of Botswana & South Africa),
      18 February - 5 March, 2000. By Gruff Dodd,This was an excellent trip, with loads of birds (382 species including 179 lifers in 2 weeks), and we escaped almost unscathed from Cyclone Eline, the fuel shortages and the political uncertainty afflicting Zim at present. The most lasting memories, among all the birds, are of a stunningly beautiful country, and some of the friendliest people I've ever been privileged to meet.
    ....Trip Report: Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe - September 27 - 
      October 24, 1998 by David Kelly. This is a report on my visit to Southern Africa this autumn. This was my third visit to the region, I visited Zimbabwe in 1993 and Cape Town/Zimbabwe in 1996. On this trip the first part was an overland tour of Namibia with Kumuka, this was on a MAN truck and there were twelve passengers. This meant that birding was done where we stopped and that some of the classic Namibian sites and endemics were missed. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the trip and was very happy with the birds (and mammals) I could see. The overland ended with two days in Chobe NP in Botswana and two days at Victoria Falls.
    ....Trip Report: Zimbabwe and South Africa. The pictures were taken 
      during a three-weeks trip in Botswana and Zimbabwe Aug/Sept. 1999
    ....Trip Report: Northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip - July, 1998. By 
      Andrew Hester. In July of this year (1998) our family ventured up north to the Northern parts of Botswana and Caprivi. The Caprivi is a fascinating area. It provides drainage for most of the south-eastern side of Angola, and three large rivers effectively drain Angola and move through the Caprivi. They are the Kavango which ends up as the Okavango Swamps, and disappears into the Kalahari desert. The Kwando, which flows into the Linyanti Swamp system eventually to become the Chobe and lastly the Zambezi, which flows
      eastwards towards the Indian Ocean. With its myriad's of rivers, channels and waterways the area provides a home for many water and swamp birds as well as birds associated with forest and woodland adjacent to the waterways.
    ....Trip Report: Zimbabwe & Botswana, October 29 - December 4, 1998
      by Linda Lee Baker. This trip was taken by my non-birding husband and myself. Our trip was divided into sections -- Zimbabwe national parks, a private game camp, and Botswana game reserves. 
    ....Trip Report: Magnificent birding in Botswana and Zimbabwe
      August/September 1996. Article and photos by Lynette Oxley. One of the highlights of our three week overland trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe was the prolific birdlife experienced. From the pretty duets of the Swamp Boubous in the Okavango Delta and the Linyanti swamps (Chobe National Park) to the baby-like cries of the Trumpeter hornbills on the mighty Zambezi which produced a birding  extravaganza not to be forgotten for a very long time.
    ....Trips Reports: Botswana - there are a number of Botswana trip reports
      on John Girdley's BirdTours website as well. 

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Tours and Guides

>>>>>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Botswana Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Pearl-spotted Owlet - Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley
Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley

Marabou Stork - Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley

Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley
          Regular bird walks are organised by Birdlife Botswana on 
      the first Sunday of each month, and visitors are welcome. Meet at the National Museum, Gaborone, at 06h30 (October to April) or 07h15 (May to September). For more details you can contact: Birdlife Botswana, IUCN Private Bag 00300, Plot 2403 Hospital Way, Gaborone, Botswana, Tel/Fax 371584. E-mail is: or
    **..Namibia and Botswana with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours
      (VENT). Little known, but among the last great wildlife strongholds on earth, Namibia and Botswana offer fabulous game-watching, a host of special birds, and abundant photographic opportunities. This tour provides a cross section of southern Africa that contrasts the arid hills and plains of Namibia with the lush swamps and woodlands of Botswana, ending at Zimbabwe's famed Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. We stay at camps and lodges within prime wildlife habitat, traveling between them in small aircraft. These camps and lodges offer an unforgettable wilderness experience, with the luxury of comfortable accommodations and great food. Other tourists are few, and here one truly has the feeling of visiting the old Africa. 
      • Namibia and Botswana - August 16 - August 30, 2003 (20.0 days - Limit 11 ) with leader Rhett Butler 
      VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.

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Endemics and Specialities

in Botswana

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.05, supplemented by material found in Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley. African speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Africa. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Botswana. 

Endemics in Botswana
Endangered Birds in Botswana
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Blue Crane
___ Cape Griffon
___ Slaty Egret
___ Wattled Crane
___ Lesser Kestrel

Other Speciality and Spectacular Birds in Botswana
(adapted from Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley.)

___ Bradfield's Hornbill
___ Brown Firefinch
___ Cape Griffon
___ Gabon Boubou
___ Lesser Jacana
___ Pel's Fishing-Owl
___ Rufous-bellied Heron
___ Slaty Egret
___ Southern Carmine Bee-eater
___ Wattled Crane

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Weather and Best Birding

 Information obtained fromand
from Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley.

Month Birding Conditions Gabarone
F / C
79.5 / 26.4
February Good Birding
78.4 / 25.8
March Good Birding
72.5 / 22.5
68.2 / 20.1
May Peak water in Okovango Delta
61.2 / 16.2
June Peak water in Okovango Delta
55.2 / 12.9
July Peak water in Okovango Delta
55.6 / 13.1
August Peak water in Okovango Delta
60.6 / 15.9
69.1 / 20.6
October Best Birding
74.1 / 23.4
76.6 / 24.8
77.9 / 25.5
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