BIRDING SOUTH AFRICA
Apart from outstanding infrastructure, accommodation and food, birding in South Africa with its varied landscapes and wildlife make it one of the greatest countries in the world to bird in. It’s not too difficult to find over 500 species in a 3 week trip with the help of a hospitable local. Possibly the best reason to bird in SA is that the country boasts more endemic species than any other country on the African continent.
The national parks offer excellent venues to view these birds and with parks located in all corners of the country in a variety of habitats, each park has its own unique avi-spectrum. South Africa is comprised of 9 distinct biomes – ecological units defined largely by climate & landscape with varying vegetation types. Each of these biomes is home to hundreds of bird species, some uniquely adapted to the area. The Nama & Succulent Karoo & Desert Biomes for example has a great number of specialized insectivorous birds, as well as some of the smallest (e.g. warblers) and largest bird species (ostrich). Grassland, Savanna, Thicket and Coastal biomes all have their own flagship and often endemic species in unique accessible settings.
According to Birdlife South Africa, the Southern African subregion (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland) has over 960 bird species recorded and 177 endemics. In other words, almost 20% of Southern Africa’s birds can be found nowhere else in the world.
The Western Cape is one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots and is a legendary birding gem, hosting 62 endemics. The Fynbos biome and Cape Floral Kingdom is home to the
- Cape Rock Jumper
- Hottentot Buttonquail
- Cape Siskin
- Orange-breasted Sunbird
- Protea Seedeater
- Victorins Warbler
- Southern Black Korhaan
- African Penguin
In a nutshell, there are so many outstanding bird-watching opportunities with such an abundance of magnificent birds in our beautiful country, take time out to appreciate them. Below is a small selection of my favourite photos from all over Southern Africa.