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Birdwatching Safaris: 8 Birds You Should Not Miss

by Cris Puscas

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Did you know that Africa is a fantastic destination for bird watching holidays? Offering a vast geographical range, coastlines on both the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, a large range of endemic species, and a variety of migrating ones, Africa is heaven for a variety of birds.

Interested to know what birds that may be seen during a birdwatching safari in Africa? The team at BookAllSafaris.com has put together a list of the most interesting and beautiful birds you may be able to see during a birdwatching holiday.


The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)


birdwatching safaris: african penguin

Photo Credit: timabbott Flickr via Compfight

Listed as a vulnerable species, the African penguin is endemic to Southern Africa. They breed in two groups, one in Western Cape and one in Eastern Cape. Also known as the black-footed penguin, this 50cm / 1.6ft tall bird looks rather weird on land but is magnificent underwater. Their bodies are black above and white below, with a narrow black band crossing the chest and runs down towards the legs.

Two of the best places to see them is on Boulders Beach in Simon's Town and Stony Point in Betty's Bay.


The Knysna Lourie (Tauraco corythaix)


birdwatching safaris: knysna lourie

Photo Credit: Johann du Preez Flickr via Compfight

This large green bird can be spotted in South Africa and particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, along the Garden Route. It also lives in Swaziland. It has brilliantly red wings and a short hooked orange-red bill. The eyes are brown. Its long and heavy tail is mostly green. It also has a tall, rounded crest, tipped with white.

To spot this lovely bird, keep your eyes on the sky. It is usually seen flying between trees or hopping in trees, along branches.


The Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer)


birdwatching safaris: cape sugarbird

Photo Credit: Derek Keats Flickr via Compfight


This brown bird with a bright yellow tail can be seen in Western Cape, South Africa. The female has a white chest and belly. What sets apart the male is its very long tail (twice the side of its body). This is a species endemic to the Eastern Cape and can be easily spotted in urban areas and rural gardens. To see them, look for protea bushes, where they like to stay in pairs or groups.


The Martial Eagle (Polemaetus Bellicosus)


birdwatching safaris: martial eagle

Photo Credit: BrianScottImages Flickr via Compfight


Africa’s largest eagle is usually seen soaring high in the skies about the hills. Known for the superior eyesight, the Martial Eagle is able to spot the prey from great distances. The adult has dark brown feathers, with a white streaked with black underpart. The female is usually larger than the male.

You can spot this marvelous bird in Kruger National Park, South Africa, but make sure you have binocular handy. They can also be in seen in many other places south of Sahara.


The Ostrich (Struthio Camelus)


birdwatching safaris: ostrich

The largest living bird on Earth, the ostrich, is a flightless bird, which can be easily spotted in the drier regions of Africa. The bird has black feathers on its back and white feathers on its wings. The bird reaches heights of up to 1.6m / 5.2 ft, it can weigh up to 135 kg/ 300 lbs and can run up to 70kmph / 43.5 mph.

Both male and females have bare necks and thighs. The way to distinguish them is by skin color, which is pinkish gray in females and blue or pink in males.

The ostrich can be spotted in South Africa, Sudan, Kenya, and Tanzania.


The Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus)


birdwatching safaris: wattled crane

Photo Credit: dgazdar Flickr via Compfight


The wattled crane is one of most endangered African birds. It can still be seen in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. It is a large bird, having a height of about 1.5m / 5 ft. It has a long, white neck and gray body. It as a black underside and white wattles that dangle from its throat.


The Southern Pied Babbler (Turdoides bicolor )


birdwatching safaris: southern pied babbler

Photo Credit: sussexbirder Flickr via Compfight


This medium-sized bird can be found in the dry savannah of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The adult birds have a white head and body, with dark brown feathers on wings and tail.

The bird forages mainly on the ground and is rarely seen flying more than a few meters at a time.


The Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus)


birdwatching safaris: pygmy falcon

Photo Credit: Eric Kilby Flickr via Compfight


The pygmy falcon lives in eastern and southern Africa and is the smallest raptor on the continent. The adult birds are white on the face and below. They have gray feathers above. The females have a chestnut back.

Only 19-20cm tall, the pygmy falcon inhabits dry bush. You can see them from Uganda to Tanzania, as well as in northern South Africa.


Ready to see these beautiful birds in the wild? With plenty of exciting wildlife safaris to choose from in Africa, you’re sure to one to find one that best suits your preferences at BookAllSafaris.com!

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