Birding Guides of Africa

“Sasol Birds of Southern Africa” by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Warwick Tarboton, and Peter Ryan This guide is a popular choice for birders in southern Africa, covering the region’s diverse avifauna with detailed illustrations and concise text.

“Birds of East Africa” by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe Focused on the birds of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, this guide offers comprehensive information and detailed illustrations.

“The Birds of Africa: Volume I-VIII” edited by Leslie Brown and Emil K. Urban This eight-volume series provides an extensive reference to the birds of Africa, with detailed species accounts and distribution maps.

“Roberts Birds of South Africa” by Hugh Chittenden and Greg Davies A classic guide for birders in South Africa, this comprehensive book features illustrations and information about the region’s avian species.

“Birds of Western Africa” by Nik Borrow and Ron Demey Covering the birds of the West African region, this guide provides detailed descriptions, illustrations, and range maps.

“Field Guide to the Birds of Madagascar” by Frank Hawkins, Roger Safford, and Adrian Skerrett Focusing on the unique bird species of Madagascar, this guide offers insights into the island’s diverse avifauna.

“Birds of Africa South of the Sahara” by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan Covering a broad range of African countries, this guide provides information on over 2,000 species with illustrations and distribution maps.

“Birds of Africa: From Seabirds to Seed Eaters” by Peter Goodfellow and Phil Hockey This guide covers a wide range of bird families found in Africa, offering a comprehensive look at the continent’s avian diversity.

“A Field Guide to the Birds of Africa” by Michael Walters and Ron Compton This guide features illustrations of over 2,300 species along with concise descriptions and range maps.

“Birds of Africa” by Ber van Perlo This compact guide offers illustrations and distribution maps for bird species across the African continent.

Remember to consider the specific regions you plan to explore and the level of detail you need when choosing a field guide. It’s a good idea to read reviews and preview sample pages before making a decision.

Here’s a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) related to birds of Africa:

Why is Africa known for its diverse birdlife? 

Africa’s diverse range of ecosystems, from rainforests to deserts, savannas to wetlands, contributes to a wide variety of bird species adapted to different habitats.

How many bird species are found in Africa? 

Africa is home to over 2,300 bird species, making it one of the most species-rich continents for avian diversity.

Which countries in Africa are famous for birdwatching?

Countries like South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Madagascar are renowned for their exceptional birdwatching opportunities due to their rich and unique avifauna.

What are some iconic bird species of Africa? 

Iconic African bird species include the African Fish Eagle, Secretarybird, African Grey Parrot, Lilac-breasted Roller, and Ostrich.

Are there any endangered bird species in Africa? 

Yes, several African bird species are endangered, including the African Penguin, Northern Bald Ibis, Rüppell’s Vulture, and Yellow-eyed Penguin.

What are some important bird migration routes in Africa?

The East Atlantic Flyway and the Rift Valley-Red Sea Flyway are critical migration routes for birds traveling between breeding and wintering grounds.

Are there any specific conservation efforts for African birds?

Organizations such as BirdLife International and local conservation groups work to protect African bird species and their habitats through various initiatives.

When is the best time for birdwatching in Africa?

Birdwatching is often best during the dry season, which varies depending on the region. Migratory species can be seen during their respective migration periods.

What are some unique birding experiences in Africa?

Unique experiences include tracking the Shoebill in Uganda, observing the massive migration of raptors in Kenya’s Maasai Mara, and exploring Madagascar’s endemic species.

How can I contribute to African bird conservation efforts?

You can support African bird conservation by donating to reputable organizations, participating in citizen science projects, and promoting sustainable tourism practices.

Are there any challenges facing African bird populations?

Habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, climate change, and pollution are among the challenges affecting African bird populations.

What resources can help me learn more about African birds? 

Reputable field guides, birding websites, birdwatching clubs, and local experts can provide valuable information for learning about African bird species and their habitats.

Here are some of the top birding destinations in Africa, along with a few notable bird species you might encounter at each location. Keep in mind that the species you’ll see can vary depending on the season and specific habitats within these destinations.

South Africa (Kruger National Park)

  • African Fish Eagle
  • Southern Ground Hornbill
  • Lilac-breasted Roller
  • Bateleur Eagle
  • Saddle-billed Stork

Kenya (Maasai Mara and Great Rift Valley)

  • Secretarybird
  • African Crowned Crane
  • African Jacana
  • Superb Starling
  • Grey-crowned Crane

Tanzania (Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater)

  • Kori Bustard
  • Yellow-billed Stork
  • Fischer’s Lovebird
  • Rüppell’s Long-tailed Starling
  • Grey-breasted Spurfowl

Uganda (Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park)

  • Shoebill
  • African Green Broadbill
  • African Finfoot
  • African Grey Parrot
  • Great Blue Turaco

Namibia (Etosha National Park)

  • Violet Wood Hoopoe
  • Secretarybird
  • Northern Black Korhaan
  • Crimson-breasted Shrike
  • Sociable Weaver

Zambia (South Luangwa National Park)

  • Lilian’s Lovebird
  • Pel’s Fishing Owl
  • White-fronted Bee-eater
  • Mwamba Owl
  • African Skimmer


  • Madagascar Pochard
  • Helmet Vanga
  • Verreaux’s Coua
  • Red-tailed Newtonia
  • Madagascar Fish Eagle

Ethiopia (Simien Mountains and Rift Valley)

  • Lammergeier
  • Wattled Ibis
  • Abyssinian Longclaw
  • Thick-billed Raven
  • Rouget’s Rail

Rwanda (Nyungwe Forest National Park)

  • Ruwenzori Turaco
  • Albertine Rift Endemics (e.g., Grauer’s Rush Warbler)
  • Rwenzori Batis
  • Regal Sunbird
  • Handsome Francolin

Ghana (Kakum National Park and Mole National Park)

  • African Grey Hornbill
  • Violet Turaco
  • Egyptian Plover
  • White-necked Picathartes
  • Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

These destinations offer a wide range of landscapes and bird species, including many endemics and rarities. Research the best times to visit for optimal birdwatching experiences, and remember to respect local regulations and conservation efforts while enjoying these incredible birding opportunities.