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birds

800+ bird species

The diverse landscape of South Africa plays a vital role in the large number of bird species that live here. Over 800 different species, of which about 160 are near-endemic or endemic to South Africa. The variety of birds is enormous; birds of prey, waterfowl, hornbills, shorebirds, kingfishers, cranes, bustards, perching birds, flamingos, woodpeckers, ostrich and many more.

 

For those of us who aren’t die-hard bird watchers, there still are some impressive birds to watch for, like the Kori Bustard, Secretary Bird, Southern Ground Hornbill and the Ostrich.

 

There is an entire bird watching industry in South Africa with many tour operators providing the best accommodations, daytrips and bushwalks. Kruger National Park is considered the best place for general bird watching, the southwestern interior region of South Africa is known for the highest density per square kilometer and if you want to see the most in the shortest period of time, you might want to visit the Tembe Elephant Park which has over 300 species of birds in a relatively small area.

 

In general, the best time for bird watching is the rainy spring and the summer months between September to April. The peak lies in the months of November to February due to the migratory birds arriving from Europe and Northern Africa.

birds of prey

accipitriformes
falconiformes
strigiformes

  • hawks

  • eagles

  • kites

  • vultures

  • falcons

  • owls

colorful birds

coraciiformes
cuculiformes
musophagiformes
piciformes

  • kingfishers

  • bee-eaters

  • rollers

  • cuckoos

  • turacos

  • woodpeckers

  • barbets

ground birds

galliformes
gruiformes
otidiformes
pterocliformes
struthioniformes

  • quails

  • landfowl

  • cranes

  • bustards

  • korhaans

  • sandgrouse

  • ostriches

hornbills and hoopoes

bucerotiformes

  • hornbills

  • hoopoes

songbirds

passeriformes

  • larks

  • oxpeckers

  • warblers

  • drongos

  • swallows

  • shrikes

  • sunbirds

  • weavers

  • sugarbirds

  • bulbuls

  • starlings

  • thrushes