Birding Safaris

Birding in Africa

Ornithology has never been given the glory that this science deserves, much to most birdwatchers’ disappointment. But when you go out into the heart of Africa, albeit on a safari, it is imperative that you spend some time knowing the birds that flock over to this magnificent country.

Where to Go Birding

May it be in East Africa or Southern Africa, birders say that what they are doing is far from just a pastime or a relaxation thing. For them, they do such to study not only the species of birds but also their patterns. They don’t base their analogies on mere observation and they invest on the latest optical equipment to strengthen their claims.

Instead of going where the birdwatchers usually go, the birders are always on the lookout for new and unexplored sites, hoping to find more information. They would even allot a budget for travel, however far it will take them, just to expand their knowledge and to discern a lot more about the subject that they are most interested about, birds.

When to Go

Bird watching on regions that have temperate weather are most active in the spring and fall migrations. During such time, the widest array of birds could be seen as these birds relocate northbound or southbound in trying to find nesting sites.

For the hobbyists and professionals, it is advisable to do the act in the early morning where the birds are looking for food. This way, observation can be done at a lengthier time and you can see them easily while they are onto their task.

Guide to Birding for Beginners

So what does a beginner do when going out into the fields for the first time for the purpose of bird-watching…here’s discovering just that!!

Step 1:

Familiarize yourself with birds in Africa:

Penguins: Almost 17 to 20 living species are to be found in Africa.

African Penguin Spheniscus demersus
King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus
Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus
Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome

Grebes: 3 species of this freshwater bird are to be found in S.A.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis

Albatrosses: 13 to 24 species are to be found in Africa…

Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena
Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans
Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora
Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi
Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta
Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos
Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma
Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche salvini
Chatham Albatross Thalassarche eremita
Buller’s Albatross Thalassarche bulleri
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri
Light-mantled Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata
Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca
Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis

Along with multiple species of Petrels, Pelecanoididae, Tropicbirds, Cormorants etc, the variety and number of birds to be observed in S.A alone, makes this country a bird-watchers’ paradise….

Next up, Bird watching tips: