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Birding in Africa – Part I

Birding in Africa, now that is something not many people would have given a thought to. Apart from the rustic brilliance of Africa, the yearning to see the Big 5 (the Elephant, Cape buffalo, Lion, Rhino and the Leopard ) is what pulls most people to the wildlife parks and reserves of the continent. Very rightly so, these animals hold a charm and attraction of their own. However Africa is an amazingly diverse continent and rich in its bird life too. Africa is home to around 2300 species of birds among which around 1500 are endemic to the continent.

In this and hopefully the next post I want to focus on East Africa, as that is where my trips, thus far, have taken me, mainly Kenya and Tanzania. East Africa is constituted of these countries – “Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi”. Close to 1800 species of birds can be found in this region. I have just begun to scratch the surface here.

In East Africa, the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem is the most well known. Spanning over 30,000, it is a wonder in itself, extending from Tanzania in the south to Kenya in the north. Over 500 bird species can be found there. Apart from this, Tanzania is home to many other national parks like the Lake Manyara National Park, the Tarangire National Park and also the amazingly beautiful and unique Ngorongoro Conservation Reserve. All these boast of a very healthy population of birds too. The highly diverse habitats of these parks, ranging from riverine forests, swamps, woodlands to grasslands enable wide variety of bird life to thrive. On my trip to Tanzania last year, I clocked 104 species of birds, sighted, most of them photographed too.

In no particular order, here we go…

Superb starling – Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

White-browed coucal – Ndutu, Southern Serengeti

Spotted morning thrush – Lake Manyara NP

Narina trogon – Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Grey-headed kingfisher – Ndutu, Southern Serengeti

African Jacana – Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Rufous-naped lark, displaying – Central Serengeti

Yellow-throated longclaw – Central Serengeti

Fischer’s lovebird – Ndutu

Red-necked spurfowl – Central Serengeti

Yellow-throated sandgrouse – Ndutu, Southern Serengeti

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse – Ndutu, Southern Serengeti

White-bellied bustard – Ndutu, Southern Serengeti

Pearl-spotted owlet – Ndutu, Southern Serengeti, Tanzania


Verreaux-Eagle-Owl – Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania


I must say that there is this immense satisfaction when you bird in the land of the big mammals, What do you say ? 😉 Hope you enjoyed reading through. Until the next instalment….

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