Fascinating Nature Experiences | Namibia Tours

Birding in Namibia, the birds, the sites and the birding tours we offer

Despite its aridity, Namibia holds plenty of interest for birders.  Namibia's birdlist includes some 670 species. 

A birding trip to Namibia can be done in many different ways.  You may be interested in seeing the local specials, or racking up a nice big list. 

You may be a novice and hoping to learn how to bird, or perhaps an experienced birder hoping to tackle some of the challenging LBJs typical of the dry regions. 

We can put together a Namibian birding tour to cater to your interests and experience. 

On this page we'll cover some of Namibia's interesting birds, some of the places where they can be found and some pointers to tours you can arrange with us if you're keen to do some birding in Namibia

Namibian Rockrunner | Near-endemic bird
One of Namibia's birding specials

Interesting Birds

It's a bit subjective, but below I've listed some of the birds that are interesting for various reasons in Namibia.  If you want to check these pages out, I recommend getting a good bird book to Southern Africa. 

There are various good books, but my favorite is Sasol Birds of Southern Africa.  Get it on Amazon (affiliate link) Sasol Birds of Southern Africa

African Penguin Spheniscus demersus.  Also known as Jackass Penguins, these fairly common penguins make it up to the Namibian coastline.  They're seldom seen in the central coastal area, but it isn't unheard of.  The best place in Namibia to see them is in Luderitz. 

Gray's Lark Ammomanopsis grayi.  A near endemic of the bare coastal plains, this little bird can be a challenge to find. 

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor.  Seen year round in the Walvis Bay Lagoon, these birds are also found in Sandwich Harbor and seasonally at inland bodies of water, most notably in the pans in Etosha. 

At Walvis Bay Lagoon the Greater Flamingos are normally the first ones you see on a tour around the lagoon.  Towards the back (south end) of the lagoon, the water gets saltier and has a higher algae content.  Here you'll more commonly find the Lesser Flamingos. 

When the pans flood in Etosha, flamingos gather on the pans to breed.  The most likely pans to find them on are the pans in the far east.  Especially Fisher's Pan and the eastern edge of the actual Etosha Pan. 

Lappet-Faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus.  The largest Accipitridae (Eagles, Vultures, Buzzards and stuff like that) in Africa.  Lappet-Faced Vultures, like all vultures, face increasing threat from farming practices and loss of conservation land.  In Namibia these birds are monitored carefully to insure their survival. 

Cape Vulture Cyps coprotheres are also worth a mention.  You'll have a hard time finding this bird, but the Waterberg Plateau Park has the largest breeding population of this threatened bird outside South Africa. 

Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus.  From big raptors to small ones.  The Pygmy Falcon is a tiny little raptor, found in association with Sociable Weavers. 

Hartlaub's Francolin Pternistes hartlaubi.  These are near endemic birds that can be a challenge to find.  The best place I've found to see them is in the Erongo Mountains. 

Ostrich Struthio camelus.  They're the largest bird on earth and the fastest running creature on two legs.  They're also amazing desert survivors.  And they're funny! 

Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii.  These large birds have a very significant portion of their population in Namibia.  Freqently found in the deserts, they have an east-west movement depending on weather and season. 

Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori are also worth mentioning.  They are regarded as the heaviest bird that is able to fly.  Etosha has a significant population of these birds, so much so that it's a part of the character of the place. 

Rüppell's Korhaan Eupodotis rueppellii.  The Rüppell's Korhaan is endemic to the eastern Namib Desert, and virtually endemic to Namibia.  It just extends into Angola a little bit. 

Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus.  These birds also have a significant portion of their population in Namibia.  They are best found in the back end of the Walvis Bay Lagoon. 

Damara Tern Sterna balanarum.  This little tern is found along Namibia's coastline, and is increasingly under threat from tourists and development. 

Rüppell's Parrot Poicephalus rueppellii.  This is another near endemic bird found in Namibia.  I find the easiest place to see these birds some of the river beds around the Erongo Mountains. 

Rosy-faced Lovebirds Agapornis roseicollis.  This is perhaps the iconic Namibia bird.  They are found all over the country, especially where riverbeds or gardens are found.  We can often hear these while in our Frantic Naturalist Tours and Safaris office in Windhoek! 

Bradfield's Swift Apus bradfieldi.  This bird is another near-endemic and is probably best found within Windhoek's CBD. 

Monteiro's Hornbill Tockus monteiri.  A near endemic to Namibia, this bird is found in a variety of places, including the area surrounding Windhoek. 

Violet Wood-hoopoe Phoeniculus damarensis.  This beautiful near-endemic can be found in Etosha National Park. 

Dune Lark Certhilauda erythrochlamys.  This bird is totally endemic to Namibia, found only in the Namib Sand Sea and surrounding sandy regions.  It is the most dune adapted bird there is. 

Barlow's Lark Certhilauda barlowi is another important but hard to get lark species found in Namibia.  Because this birds population is within Namibia's restricted diamond area, it isn't that easy to access. 

On the whole there are a good number of larks found in Namibia's dry country. 

Carp's Tit Parus carpi.  Another one of Namibia's near-endemics, this little bird is best seen in the dryer part of Etosha and the surrounding region. 

Bare-cheeked Babbler Turdoides gymnogenys.  I find the best place to see these guys is in Halali restcamp in Etosha. 

Short-toed Rock-thrush Monticola brevipes.  Another bird with a large part of it's total population in Namibia.  These guys can be hard to find, but they occur all over, and are often even seen in the grounds of hotels or gardens. 

Herero Chat Namibornis herero.  This near-endemic can be really tough to find.  Apparently best seen near Spitzkoppe, I've had most luck at Etendeka further north. 

Karoo Eremomela Eremomela gregalis.  A small bird that can be tough to find, these guys are best found in the hilly Karoo country.  I've seen them at Zebra River Lodge as well as in various hills along the eastern Namib. 

Rockrunner Achaetops pycnopygius.  This is a really special Namibian near-endemic.  It is found in various places, including the Erongo Mountains.  But this bird can also be found near Windhoek.  Contact us if you want to organize an outing in Windhoek to see one. 

Cinnamon-breasted Warbler Euryptila subcinnamomea.  This bird can be super tough to find, but I've found with patience you can find them in a fair bit of the dry hilly country in Namibia's south. 

Souza's Shrike Lanius souzae.  This Angolan bird apparently shows with regularity in some areas in the far north.  We haven't seen this bird yet, but we'd love to join you to try. 

White-tailed Shrike Lanioturdus torquatus.  Another contender for the most iconic Namibian bird, this must be the only shrike that can be described as cute.  They can be seen in various places, and the patient birder should have no problem finding them. 

Sociable Weaver Philetairus socius.  This bird is far from rare, but it's a special one in Namibia.  This bird is significant for it's ecology - they build massive haystack like nests in trees.  The saving in thermoregulation provided by these nests allow the Sociable Weavers to have a massive saving in energy requirement, and therefore they're the only communal nesting bird found in the dry regions. 

Cinderella Waxbill Estrilda Thomensis.  This bird is another one of the Angolan neighbors that sneaks into Namibia.  Found only in a small region in the far center north, they're another special one for local birders. 

Some Birding Locations

Namibia has some good birding spots all over.  This is just a list of some of the good ones. 

  • Mahango Game Park is located on the Okavango River in the far north-east of Namibia where the Caprivi Strip starts.  Visitors to this area can stay in various lodges just north of the park, and visit the park by day. 

    Mahango is really, really small for a game reserve, but packed with so many birds.  This is the location where the Okavango River starts to become the Okavango Delta. 

    The Caprivi as a whole has more rain and rivers, and therefor much more birdlife than the rest of the country.  Anyone looking for a good size birdlist on tour should do the Caprivi. 

  • The Walvis Bay Lagoon, found along the southern part of Walvis Bay on Namibia's central coast.  The area has been declared a Ramsar site. 

    Walvis Bay hosts loads of birds, including both Greater and Lesser Flamingos and a whole host of waders. 

    I've written a bit about the Walvis Bay Bird Counts on the blog.  I wrote about the history, the summer count, and the winter count

    The central coast as a whole is a great area for coastal birding and nearby Sandwich Harbor is excellent, though hard to reach.  Swakopmund also has a few spots worth visiting, mainly the Swakop River Mount and the salt works north of the town. 

  • The Erongo Mountains and Omaruru is an area known to be the hub of Namibia's specials. 

    This area must be the best place to find Hartlaub's Francolin. 

  • Etosha is Namibia's main large national park and a wonderful place for any visiting birder.  Etosha itself is large, and the different parts of the park offer different birding opportunities. 

    Of special interest for birders, during the rains some of the pans get flooded.  How much differs every year, and so the birding opportunities provided also differ. 

    Most of the flooding will occur in the east of the park. 

Namibia Birding related link

Namibia Bird Club and the their Facebook page

Namibian Coastal Birds Conservation Group - NACOMA

Another general birding info page by the Namibia Tourism Board. 

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