Birding in Africa
Africa is a fantastic continent for a birdwatching holiday, as the range of environments make for a hugely diverse bird population. Flying, soaring, flitting and swooping over mainland Africa are some 2,250 bird species, colouring the most spectacular and varied habitats on the continent . And the dawn chorus is, quite simply, delightful. Bird watching in Africa always involves more than just peering at birds through binoculars. For the birders: Murchison Falls national park Uganda is the best place in the world to see the shoebill – an incredible stork-like bird with an enormous boat-shaped beak. Below are a few species of birds living in Africa. Flying, soaring, flitting and swooping over mainland Africa are some 2,250 bird species, colouring the most spectacular and varied habitats on the continent .
(1)Gray crown crane.
The grey crowned crane is a tall bird that stands at an average of 3 feet tall. That is close to 1 metre in height. The crested crane weighs an average of 3.5 kilograms. The head of a crested crane has a velvet black forehead, a yellowish (almost golden) crown, red inflatable throat pouches and white sides.
The grey crowned crane, also known as the African crowned crane, golden crested crane, golden crowned crane, East African crane, East African crowned crane, African crane, Eastern crowned crane, Kavirondo crane, South African crane and crested crane, is a bird in the crane family, Gruidae. The Crested Crane in Uganda is a symbol of beauty and serenity.
(2)The kori bustard
The kori bustard is the largest flying bird native to Africa. It is one of the four species (ranging from Africa to India to Australia) in the large-bodied Ardeotis genus. In fact, the male kori bustard may be the heaviest living animal capable of flight.
(3) Loten’s sunbird
The collared sunbird , scarlet-chested sunbird , variable sun-bird, and copper sunbird are the most widespread species in Africa, all having populations in central, eastern, southern, and West Africa.
Sunbirds and spiderhunters make up the family Nectariniidae of passerine birds. They are small, slender passerines from the Old World, usually with downward-curved bills. Many are brightly coloured, often with iridescent feathers, particularly in the males. Many species also have especially long tail feathers.The Birds of Africa handbook lists 81 sunbird species in Africa (excluding the Indian Ocean islands species), but there are few longevity records outside southern Africa. Although generally small, many southern African sunbird species have reached longevities over 8 years.
(4)African fish eagle
The African fish eagle or the African sea eagle, is a large species of eagle found throughout sub-Saharan Africa wherever large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply occur. It is the national bird of Malawi, Namibia, Uganda Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. As a result of its large range, it is known in many languages. As you would expect, the African Fish Eagle is generally found living next to bodies of water of almost any type and size. This beautiful bird of prey can be seen perched on trees or other prominent sites near ponds, estuaries, lakes, rivers, streams, coastal waters, and wetlands.
Spoonbills are a genus, Platalea, of large, long-legged wading birds. The spoonbills have a global distribution, being found on every continent except Antarctica. The genus name Platalea derives from Ancient Greek and means “broad”, referring to the distinctive shape of the bill. Roseate spoonbills grow to a height of 32 inches (81 cm), with an average wingspan of 50 inches (127 cm). Their distinguishing characteristics include their pink body and legs, white neck and breast. pale green bald head, spoon-shaped bill, and bright red shoulder patch.
The Hamerkop is an unusual-looking, dark dusky brown, medium-sized bird with long legs. It weighs about 470 g (female) to 530 g (male), stands about 50 cm tall and has a generally heron-like shape, It has a heavy crest and a flattened, boat-shaped, black bill.The hamerkop is a medium-sized wading bird. It is the only living species in the genus Scopus and the family Scopidae. The species and family was long thought to sit with the Ciconiiformes but is now placed with the Pelecaniformes, and its closest relatives are thought to be the pelicans and the shoebill. Hamerkops are known for their huge, domed nests. They build the biggest nests of any bird in Africa! Pairs build a nest together, using hundreds of twigs and other items. A finished nest may contain as many as 8,000 items and weigh over 50 pounds.
(7)Great blue turaco.
The great blue turaco is a bird species of the family . At 70–76 cm (28–30 in) in length, it is the largest species of the turaco family.Known for their bright blue feathers, red and yellow beaks and loud calls, the great blue turaco (Corythaeola cristata) is native to the forests of central and west Africa. It is the most widespread of the 23 turaco species, with habitats ranging from Sierra Leone to Uganda. There are 23 species in the turaco family (Musophagidae); all are found only in Africa. Many turacos have bright reds on their wings that are only visible in flight.
(8) Secretary bird.
The secretary bird or secretary bird is a large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. Endemic to Africa, it is usually found in the open grasslands, savanna of the sub-Saharan Africa.the reason why it’s called ” the secretary bird. Its common name is thought to derive from the crest of feathers. These quill-like feathers give the appearance of a secretary with quill pens tucked behind his/her ears. However a fairly recent hypothesis has been proposed, a French take on the Arabic sagr-et-tair which translates to “hunter-bird”
The lilac-breasted roller is an African bird of the roller family, Coraciidae. It is widely distributed in Southern and Eastern Africa, and is a vagrant to the southern Arabian Peninsula. It prefers open woodland and savanna, and it is for the most part absent from treeless places. In total, it has around 8 colours: green, white, black, yellow, turquoise, dark blue, reddish-brown, and lilac.
(10) Gray go-away bird
The grey go-away-bird (Corythaixoides concolor), also known as grey lourie, grey loerie, or kwêvoël, is a bold and common bird of the southern Afrotropics. it’s called go away bird due to it’s call that sounds like the bird is telling you to go away. The calls include a series of grumpy yelps and the. classic nasal g’wa-ay” call.
The martial eagle is a large eagle native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is the only member of the genus Polemaetus. A species of the booted eagle subfamily, it has feathering over its tarsus. Martial Eagles are the largest of the African eagles and incredibly powerful, capable of knocking an adult man off his feet. They reputedly have enough power in one foot to break a man’s arm. The largest eagle in Africa, the Martial eagle weighs in at almost 14 pounds (6.5 Kg.)
(12) Pin- tailed whydah
The pin-tailed whydah is a small songbird with a conspicuous pennant-like tail in breeding males. It is a resident breeding bird in most of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. The pin-tailed whydah (Vidua macroura) is a small songbird with a conspicuous pennant-like tail in breeding males, a small, gregarious, and tame species that is found in wide variety of open habitats including agricultural fields, parks, and gardens.
13 African penguin
Penguins can’t fly in the air. Underwater, it’s a different story. With a rocket-shaped body and paddle-like wings, penguins fly through the water with ease as they snap up fish, squid, and crustaceans to eat.
The African penguin, also known as Cape penguin or South African penguin, is a species of penguin confined to southern African waters. Like all extant penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat.This penguin grows to be about 26.5 to 27.5 inches tall and weighs between 4.4 and 11 pounds. It has a black stripe and a pattern of unique black spots on its chest, as well as pink glands above its eyes that become pinker as the penguin gets hotter. Males are larger than females and have larger beaks.ome species of penguins can march up to about 60 miles across sea ice to get to their breeding grounds. Penguin feet are also adapted to help the birds steer while swimming. They use their feet like rudders, angling them to help control direction.
But there are other birds that can’t fly (like emus, ostriches and cassowaries), and penguins fulfil all the biological requirements to be classified as birds – they have feathers, they lay eggs and they’re warm-blooded.
Hoopoes are colorful birds found across Africa, Asia, and Europe, notable for their distinctive “crown” of feathers. Three living and one extinct species are recognized, though for many years all of the extant species were lumped as a single species
Famous for its distinctive crown of feathers, Hoopoe bird is found in Afro-Euro Asia. The Latin name for this colorful bird is Upupa while the English name is an onomatopoeic form, which basically imitates the cry or sound which the bird makes. In the family Upupidae, it is the only extant species. The Madagascar subspecies are sometimes referred to or considered as full species. Its subspecies Saint Helena Hoopoe is extinct. There are nine known subspecies of the Hoopoe as recognized by Kirsten in The Handbook of the Birds of the Worldin the year 2001. These species differ in their size, colors, shades and the plumage. Meanwhile, two more species of Hoopoe have been proposed; one in East Africa and Southern Africa.
The saddle-billed stork or saddlebill is a large wading bird in the stork family, Ciconiidae. It is a widespread species which is a resident breeder in sub-Saharan Africa from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya south to South Africa, and in The Gambia, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Chad in west Africa. The Saddle-billed Stork is one of the tallest and most vibrantly colored storks and one of the most striking water-birds in sub-Saharan Africa. It is named for the yellow, fleshy patch at the dorsal base of the bill, a characteristic unique in the stork family.
Storks are carnivorous predators, taking a range of reptiles, small mammals, insects, fish, amphibians and other small invertebrates.
Guineafowl are birds of the family Numididae in the order Galliformes. They are endemic to Africa and rank among the oldest of the gallinaceous birds. Phylogenetically, they branched off from the core Galliformes after the Cracidae and before the Odontophoridae. Guinea fowl often referred to as guineas, are gamebirds that are increasingly popular among keepers of small and backyard flocks. Guineas are vigorous, hardy, and largely disease-free birds. There are many reasons people raise guinea fowl.
The birds sound an alarm whenever anything unusual occurs on the within the savannah are omnivores whose diet consists of various plant life and small insects. Some species are very fond of termites and often spend hours hunting for them in the ground. They also enjoy eating ants, grasshoppers, worms, and many other small insects and invertebrates.
The bee-eaters are a group of birds in the family Meropidae, containing three genera and thirty species. Most species are found in East Africa, southern Africa. They are characterized by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies, and usually elongated central tail feathers. The bee-eater’s bill is moderately long, slightly downcurved, and sharply pointed. Brilliant plumage is characteristic; green predominates, but many species are partially coloured with red, yellow, blue, or purple. Many have elongated central tail feathers.
Bee-eaters feed on bees, wasps, and other insects. Bee-eaters can eat several hundred bees a day, so they are obviously resented by beekeepers, but their damage is generally balanced by their role in keeping pest insects such as locusts, hornets, and wasps under control.Built for the Kill. As with all bee-catcher birds African bee-eaters are well adapted for their lifestyle. Their long, curved beaks are sharp and perfect for keeping prey in a tight grip. They have sharp claws for perching on trees and on vertical surfaces where they excavate their burrows.
Hornbills are a family of bird found in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Melanesia. They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly coloured and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible. Hornbills are omnivorous birds, eating fruit, insects and small animals. Hornbills occupy open bushveld, thornveld, mopaneveld, thickets along streambeds and semi-arid woodland, where they prefer to search for food.
Hornbills, specifically yellow-billed, red-billed and grey, have a remarkable nesting strategy. They can fly up to 18 miles an hour and has an impressive wingspan that reaches about four feet across. Hornbills are omnivorous birds, eating fruit, insects and small animals. Hornbills are tropical birds named for their unusually large, curved bills, some of which are adorned with a large casque.
(19) long crested eagle
The long-crested eagle is an African bird of prey. Like all eagles, it is in the family Accipitridae. It is currently placed in a monotypic genus Lophaetus. It is characterized by the feathers making up the shaggy crest with large, chunky, blackish eagle with a towering, floppy crest. In flight, the wing shows much white below and less above. Found in woodland, plantations, and open forest. Perches for long periods, and only occasionally soars. It might come as a surprise that this eagle has also taken other raptor species, such as the African Wood-Owl. It will also take reptiles, arthropods, and sometimes even fish or fruit. This species is a still hunter.
The shoebill also known as the whalebill, whale-headed stork, and shoe-billed stork is a very large long-legged wading bird. It derives its name from its enormous shoe-shaped bill.
Its wings are held flat while soaring and, as in the pelicans and the storks of the genus Leptoptilos, the shoebill flies with its neck retracted. Its flapping rate, at an estimated 150 flaps per minute, is one of the slowest of any bird, with the exception of the larger stork species.
The shoebill, or Balaeniceps rex, stands at an average height of four and a half feet. Its massive seven-inch beak is strong enough to decapitate a six-foot lungfish, so it’s no wonder why this bird is frequently compared to a dinosaur. Reaching up to five feet tall with an eight-foot wingspan, shoebills have yellow eyes, gray feathers, white bellies, and a small feathered crest on the back of their heads.