Ornithology

The highest concentration of endemic bird species can be found in the southwestern parts of Africa. Namibia’s birding checklist boasts 676 of Southern Africa’s 887 species.

While the Dune Lark is Namibia’s only true endemic, several near-endemic species can be found including the Gray’s Lark, Rüppell’s Korhaan and the Herero Chat which occur in the Namib Desert.

Augur Buzzard, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Red-capped Lark, Gray’s Lark, Bokmakierie, Common Fiscal, Acacia Pied Barbet, Namaqua Sandgrouse, White-backed Mousebird, Sabota Lark, Redeyed Bulbul, Mountain Wheatear, Rufous-vented Wabler, Black-chested Prinia, Chat Flycatcher, Pririt Batis, Bokmakierie, Cape Glossy Starling, Dusky Sunbird, Southern Great Sparrow, Cape Sparrow, Yellow Canary, White-throated Canary and Lark-like Bunting can all be found in the Namib Desert.

Several waterbirds can be found along the Atlantic coast at Walvis Bay and Swakopmund including the Chestnut-banded Plover, Cape Gannet, Cape, Bank & Crowned Cormorant, White Pelican, Greater and Lesser Flamingo’s, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Whimbrel, Curlew Sandpiper, White-fronted, Three-banded and Common Ringed Plovers, Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Cape, Bank, Great & Crowned Cormorant, African Black Oystercatcher, Hartlaub’s, Grey-hooded and Kelp Gull, Damara, Swift, Caspian, Common and Sandwich Terns.

Birds seen in the central escarpment include Sociable Weaver, Common Ostrich, Cape Sparrow, Scaly Weaver, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Dusky Sunbird, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Pygmy Falcon, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Short-toed Rock-thrush, Ruppel’s Parrot, Red Bishop, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Red and Yellowbilled Hornbills, Pearl-spotted Owl, Rockrunner, Pin-, Shaft and Long-tailed Whydah’s.

Several Raptors including Tawny Eagle, Booted Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, Martial Eagle, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, Pale Chanting Goshawk are bountiful in the northern parts of Namibia.

Burchell’s Courser, Burchell’s and Double-banded Sandgrouse, Monotonous Lark, Long-billed Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Red-capped Lark, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Green-winged Pytilia, African Hoopoe, Giant Eagle Owl, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Burntnecked Eremomela, Abdmin’s Stork, Blue Crane, Red-crested Korhaan, Northern Black Korhaan, Kori Bustard, Secretary Bird are just a few of the many species that can be seen in the northern parts of the country around Etosha National Park.

The Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush and the enigmatic Cinderalla Waxbill can be seen along the Kunene River in the far northwest of Namibia.

The Caprivi Strip is especially rich in birdlife due to higher rainfall. The Okavango River flows from the highlands of Angola, through Namibia and into the Okavango Delta in Botswana and offers spectacular sighting opportunities. The Pel’s Fishing Owl is a favorite on the birding checklist. Others include the Carmine Bee-eater and even the localized Greater Swamp Warbler.

The Mahango National Parks marks the western-most limit of several other Okavango specialities including Wattled Crane, Lesser Jacana, Coppery-tailed Coucal and Black Coucal.

Dickinson’s Kestrel, Western-banded Snake Eagle, Cuckoo Hawk and Racket-tailed Roller are some species that can be found surrounding the Katima Mulilo area.

Birding in Namibia can be done all year round, but generally the summer months are the best time for birding when the northern European migrants can be seen.