Whether soaring or flying, darting, or diving across the skies over the varied habitats of Africa, the thousands of avian species that call the continent home, provide ample opportunities for first-class birding safaris.
In preparation for ticking off those special lifers on that, all-important must-see list, travellers should make sure to pack a field guide specific to the area on the itinerary. A good pair of binoculars is non-negotiable and essential, along with a camera to capture those special moments.
Travellers can embark on a birding adventure in small groups with a dedicated and knowledgeable guide, and organised by a specialist tour operator. These can last from a handful of days to longer excursions that include whole regions. It is not uncommon to see hundreds of species during such a trip.
With more than 2,600 species of the feathered kind crisscrossing the African sky, enthusiastic twitchers are sure to experience numerous exciting encounters. From the endemic species that occur in Tanzania (30), South Africa (16), Ethiopia (15), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12) and Kenya (11), to the migrants that make full use of the warmer summer months of the southern hemisphere.
Some of the big and small creatures of the sky, as well as those who can’t fly, include the African fish eagle, the helmeted guineafowl, the yellow-billed stork, the lilac-breasted roller, the Southern ground hornbill, the African hoopoe, the ostrich, the marabou stork, the white-backed vulture, and red-billed oxpecker.
The Okavango Delta is the best place to spot speciality species such as the wattled crane, less jacana, slaty egret, herons, larks, and babblers.
The pristine coastline is home to coastal migrant waders, while further afield the red and blue double-collared sunbirds, mangrove kingfisher, tiny greenbul, and olive-headed weaver can be observed.
Over 20 endemic species have been recorded in this East African location, with the flamingo occuring in huge numbers in and around various lakes.
With the Kafue, Luangwa, and Zambezi Rivers providing sustenance, beautiful birds like the African pitta and shoebill stork will be a thrill to the searching eyes of birders.
More than 100 edemic species occur in Madagascar, with countless other special species making their home between Seychelles, Comoros, São Tomé, and Principe.