Birding Factoids

624 species

7 of the 10 families 
endemic to 
mainland Africa are 
represented here.
1 endemic species
66 speciality species
7 endangered species 
4 week trip expectation -
about 300 species

CIA Travel AdvisoryChecklist of Namibia BirdsTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Country Information
Check out Cliff Buckton's Namibia Bird Photos
as well as Chris Gibbin's Namibia's Birds on Postage Stamps
Namibia Specialities
Crimson Breasted Gonolek (Shrike) - Namibia National Bird - Photo courtesy of the Zoo in the Wild
Photo copyright the Zoo in the Wild
Northern Black Korhaan (Black Bustard) - Photo copyright Cliff Buckton
Photo copyright Cliff Buckton
Coqui Francolin - Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley
Photo copyright Lynnette Oxley
Red-faced Mousebird - Photo copyright the ZOO in the Wild
Photo copyright Zoo in the Wild
Burchell's Glossy Starling - Courtesy of Birdlife On-Line Magazine
Photo copyright Birdlife On-Line Magazine
White Helmetshrike - Photo copyright Graham Cooke
Photo copyright Graham Cooke
Wahlberg's Eagle - Photo copyright Tina MacDonald
Photo copyright Tina MacDonald
Grey Tit - Photo copyright Clement Francis and Vijaykumar Thondaman
Photo copyright Clement Francis and Vijaykumar Thondaman
Crowned Cormorant - VULNERABLE - Photo copyright Callan Cohen
Photo copyright Callan Cohen
Cape Cormorant - THREATENED - Photo copyright Eric Van Poppel
Photo copyright Eric Van Poppel
Bennett's Woodpecker - Photo copyright Birdlife On-Line Magazine
Photo copyright Birdlife On-Line Magazine
Chestnut-banded Plover - Photo copyright Nigel Blake
Photo copyright Nigel Blake
    ....Namibia Birding Sites - includes detailed information on:
      • Aus
      • Katima Mulilo 
      • Kwando 
      • Popa Falls 
      • Cunene 
      • Etosha 
      • Spitzkoppe 
      • Walvis Bay 
      • Waterberg 
      • Windhoek 
    ....Namibia - A Birder's Paradise - from the National Museum of Namibia.
      Namibia, with its wide variety of habitats, ranging from extreme desert to thorntree savanna to subtropical riverine and swamp habitats, understandably has a lot to offer in the way of birds, and, with a well developed network of roads, most of the region is easily accessible. Namibia's political boundaries straddle the greater part of this arid region, which extends into the northern Cape province of South Africa, and the southwestern corner of Angola. Of some 680, mostly African, species of birds one can see in Namibia, nearly 100 species are unique to this arid region. 
    ....Namibia's Etosha National Park - The Place of Dry Water -
      Ostrichesshare the grasslands with the hoofed animals. The huge kori bustard, weighing over 30 pounds, lives mostly on the ground as well, seldom summoning the strength to propel its enormous mass into flight. Yellow-billed hornbills are common and over 300 more birds have been spotted. In years of good rain, the salt pan becomes a temporary lagoon. Flamingos and white pelicans wing in to breed.
    ....Namibia Birding - Trek into Africa - From desert dunes to flamingos in
      the ocean, Namibia is an interesting and unusual country in which to bird, an example of unspoilt nature. It is an country of extremes, from the largest national park in the world to some of the tallest sand dunes, from penguins to flamingos. 
    ....The Ephemeral Wetlands of Central Northern Namibia - The
      ephemeral wetland system of central northern Namibia consists of the Etosha Pan, Lake Oponono and the Cuvelai inland delta/drainage. This is by far the largest wetland system in Namibia, covering some 30,000km2.
    ....Namib-Naukluft Park - covering over 49 768 km is not only the
      largest nature conservation area in Namibia, but it is rated as the fourth largest in the world, as well as being the most  unusual. Landscapes range from an impressive mountain massif to desert plains and high dunes, from deep gorges to an estuarine lagoon.
    ....Namibia's Caprivi Strip - by Christopher Hines, from Bulletin of the
      African Bird Club, volume 3.2, September 1996. With more than 450 species recorded in this small area and a reasonably good infrastructure, the Caprivi Strip is one of southern Africa's top birding spots.
    ....A Tour around Namibia - Africa's Undiscovered Jewel - By Bert 
      du Plessis, Fish Eagle Safaris. What are the ingredients for the 'perfect' African safari destination? Lot's of animals, few people, good roads, great weather and reasonable prices? How about political stability, a low crime rate and a currency which is at an all-time low against the US Dollar? Add to all that a low incidence of malaria, fascinating cultural experiences, interesting cuisine, and a long list of things to see and do other than just viewing wildlife. Namibia is surely the only African country which boasts all of these, and more. 
    ....How to Survive Namibia - not a lot about birds, but a great deal
      (both instructive and humerous) about travelling in Namibia on your own.
    ....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. 
    ....Trip Report: Namibia - “The Living Desert”  with Kunene/Caprivi 
      extension. 19 December 2002 - 8 January 2003. Tour Leader: Richard White (a Tropical Birding Trip). Although this trip was designed with a fair bit of mammal-watching and relaxation in mind, we managed to see a very respectable 391 bird species on tour. Amongst these were all of the Namib endemics, all of the Okavango Swamps specials as well as a variety of other seldom-seen birds such as White-backed Night Heron, Lesser-spotted Eagle, Wattled Crane, Bradfield’s Hornbill and Rufous-tailed Palm-Thrush. Other highlights included eight species of owl, seven species of bee-eater and the recently elevated Orange River White-eye, formerly a subspecies of Cape White-eye. In amongst this were Lions, Leopards, Elephants and hoards of other game, making this, as usual, the quintessential African birding safari. 
    ....Birdwatching in Namibia and South Africa Sep.-Oct. 1990, by 
      Erik Mølgaard, Jesper Meedom & Torben Pallesen.(NOTE: this is a downloadable report in WORD format from the Danish Ornithological Society´s website). The main purpose of the journey was to observe birds and animals and experience the magnificent and varied nature of Southern Africa. The journey was definitely a succes, as we registered a total of 583 species of birds and 61 species of mammals. The weather was very hot and dry in central Namibia, more humid with a few showers in Caprivi, nice and fresh springtime with some wind in the Cape, cold and sunny in the Drakensberg, humid with a few showers in Natal and hot and dry in Transvaal. In Namibia it was the end of the dry season, in Natal and Kruger the wet season should just have started by the time of our visit, but the rains had failed in Kruger. Birdwatching was never restricted by weather or weather conditions.
    ....Trip Report: Namibia - September 14 - 30, 2000 - Although we had
      done our homework beforehand, Namibia still far exceeded our expectations in almost all respects but especially the high standards of infrastructure and service, the vast open uninhabited space, and the freedom to explore by car even in Etosha where there is a lot of big game.This was a very enjoyable holiday with a trip list of 209 species and 123 lifers. It would be nice to return again during or just after the rainy season when the vegetation is green and there would be more migrants and birds in breeding plumage around.
    ....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: 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: 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: Namibia - October-November 1996. By Dave Hanford. 
      We saw 264 species in Namibia, and we travelled to Epupa Fal1s and Katima Mulilo in the North, to Fish River Canyon in the South, and lots in between.
    ....Namibia Trip Reports - you can find more Namibia trip reports on John
      Girdley's BirdTours website. 
    Factoids taken from Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley.

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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 Namibia Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
African Black Oystercatcher - Photo copyright Jeff Blincow
Photo copyright Jeff Blincow

Pale Chanting Goshawk - Photo copyright Eric Van Poppel

Photo copyright Eric Van Poppel

Slaty Egret - ENDANGERED - Photo copyright the Zoo in the Wild

Photo copyright the Zoo in the Wild
    **..Namibian Tours with Tropical Birding. Our trips are generally 
      for keen birders, both experienced and inexperienced. It is not necessary to be an expert or a super-lister to enjoy yourself. Our tours are designed for enthusiastic travellers who enjoy spending most, if not all, of their holiday time birding. Our goal is to get birders to the world's most amazing places, seeing the world's most amazing birds, in as much comfort as possible. Our trips range from shorter day-trips out of Cape Town to intensive three-week birding safaris throughout the continent and we offer both set departure and custom-made tours.
    **..Namibia Birding Tour wih Rainbow Tours - A land of swirling 
      apricot-coloured dunes and shimmering white flats, mirages and dust devils, Namibia has a number of primary geographic regions and over 600 bird species. Our journey takes us from Windhoek, on the inland high plateau, to the Erongo Mountains, famed for an abundance of near-endemic species. We travel to the desert coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, known for its shorebirds, flamingoes and huge numbers of cormorants. We visit the Twyffelfontein rock engravings and Etosha National Park - the ‘place of dry water’.- before heading south, to the Waterberg Plateau. 
    **..Namibia & 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 & Botswana - August 16 - 30, 2003 (15.0 days - Limit 11 ) with leader Geoff Lockwood
      • Namibia & Botswana - September 2 - 16, 2003 (15.0 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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Karoo Prinia - Photo copyright Stefan Tewinkel
Photo copyright Stefan Tewinkel

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Endemics and Specialities

in Namibia

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 Namibia. 

Endemics in Namibia
___ Dune Lark
Endangered Birds in Namibia
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Blue Crane
___ Black-cheeked Lovebird
___ Cape Griffon
___ Ferruginous Lark
___ Slaty Egret
___ Wattled Crane
___ Lesser Kestrel


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

___ African Oystercatcher
___ Angola Babbler
___ Bank Cormorant
___ Bare-cheeked Babbler
___ Black Harrier
___ Black-cheeked Lovebird
___ Black-eared Sparrow-Lark
___ Black-lored Babblers
___ Blue Crane
___ Bradfield's Hornbill
___ Bradfield's Lark
___ Bradfield's Swift
___ Brown Firefinch
___ Cape Cormorant
___ Cape Francolin
___ Chat Flycatcher
___ Cinderella Waxbill
___ Clapper Lark
___ Coppery-tailed Coucal
___ Crowned Cormorant
___ Damara Canary
___ Damara Rockjumper
___ Dusky Sunbird
___ Fairy Warbler
___ Gray's Lark
___ Grey Tit
___ Hartlaub's Francolin
___ Hartlaub's Gull
___ Herero Chat
___ Jackal Buzzard
___ Jackass Penguin
___ Karoo Bustard
___ Karoo Chat
___ Karoo Lark
___ Karoo Prinia
___ Karoo Scrub-Robin
___ Kopje's Warbler
___ Layard's Warbler
___ Long-billed Lark
___ Ludwig's Bustards
___ Monteiro's Hornbill
___ Mountain Wheatear
___ Pale-winged Starling
___ Pink-billed Lark
___ Red-headed Cisticola
___ Rosy-faced Lovebird
___ Ruepell's Bustard
___ Ruepell's Parrot
___ Rufous-eared Warbler
___ Rufous-tailed Palm-Thrush
___ Sclater's Lark
___ Short-toed Rock-Thrush
___ Sicklewing Chat
___ Slaty Egret
___ Social Weaver
___ South African Shelduck
___ Southern Double-collared
___ Sunbird
___ Southern Pied-Babbler
___ Stark's Lark
___ Tractrac Chat
___ White-backed Mousebird
___ White-breasted Prinia
___ White-tailed Shrike
___ White-throated Canary
___ Yellow-rumped Eremomela

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