Africa’s endangered mammals get a lot of attention (as they should) but its smaller, just-as-lovely feathered creatures deserve time in the spotlight, especially because they’re harder to spot! Here a few places where you can get a look at Africa’s rare bird species.
Bwindi is located in Southwestern Uganda and among the highest number of different animal species living in one area in East Africa. The park is home to hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, butterflies and birds. Some rare birds include the Grauer’s swamp warbler, forest ground thrush, and the African green broadbill.
The Mabamba Wetland runs along the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda and is also home to many hard-to-find bird species like the shoebill stork and the lesser Jacana.
In Northwestern Uganda sits this bird-lovers’ treasure trove. One area that draws a particularly high number of the feathered creatures is Lake Albert, where astute observers can see more than 450 species of birds including the martial eagle, the lesser flamingo, and the papyrus gonolek.
Murchison Falls offers so much that most visitors want to spend at least one night there. The best place to do this is at the Paraa Safari Lodge overlooking the Nile River in Uganda. Notable guests have included Queen Elizabeth and The Queen Mother in the 1950s. Since then the lodge has been a historical landmark within the park.
This Zambian park is home to more than 500 bird species—the wide range of natural habitats in the park make it an easy place for almost every type of Zambian bird to nest. Here visitors can spot the rare wattled crane and the Chaplin’s barbet, along with the black-cheeked lovebird, the Pel’s fishing owl, the African finfoot and the Bohm’s bee eaters.
This park in Eastern Uganda is home to around 400 of the country’s 732 bird species. Almost 40 of those are birds of prey and almost 50 are migrant species like the Steppe eagle and the Steppe buzzard from Russia. Rare birds that live here include the gray crowned-crane, the ground hornbill and Heuglin’s robin.
For an in-depth experience of Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, sign up for the Green Season Birding Safari with Norman Carr Safaris. The “Green Season” months (mid-November through March) are the best for birding in Africa. It’s this time of year when many local birds are in full breeding plumage. Safari leaders teach guests how to listen for bird calls, as well as give lessons on the physiology, behavior and distribution of birds.
The famous Kruger National Park in South Africa houses more than 500 bird species like the ground hornbill, Pel’s fishing owl, the lappet-faced vulture, the Bataleur eagle and the martial eagle. Visitors hoping to stay overnight should check into the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve, an upscale camp and the first ever established in the park.
Arguably one of the cutest and most sociable bird species, the African penguin is tragically endangered. But there are a couple places you can still spot these adorable creatures: the stunning Boulders Beach and Stony Point in Betty’s Bay, South Africa.
Although this isn’t a natural habitat, it is a great place to see hundreds of bird species in one visit. World of Birds is Africa’s largest bird park a short drive out of Cape Town in Hout Bay. The park features more than 100 walkable tropical aviaries, each mimicking the species’ natural habitats. Some highlights include hornbills, parrots, emus and the giant eagle owl.