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Namibia

Birds

Namibia’s desert landscape is too harsh and inhospitable to support a great variety of birdlife. The exception to this is the lush green Caprivi Strip which borders the Okavango Delta. Here, in the Mahango Game Reserve, you’ll find the same exotic range of species as in Botswana, including the gorgeous lilac-breasted rollers, pygmy geese (actually a duck) and white-fronted, carmine and little bee-eaters. Other wetland species include the African jacanas, snakebirds, ibis, storks, egrets, shrikes, kingfishers, great white herons and purple and green-backed herons. Birds of prey include Pel’s fishing owl, goshawks, several species of vultures, and both bateleurs and African fish eagles.

Likewise, the coastal wildfowl reserves support an especially wide range of birdlife: white pelicans, flamingos, cormorants and hundreds of other wetland birds. Further south, around Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, flamingos and jackass penguins share the same desert shoreline.

Situated on a key migration route, Namibia also hosts a range of migratory birds, especially raptors, who arrive around September and October and remain until April. The canyons and riverbeds slicing across the central Namib are home to nine species of raptor, as well as the hoopoe, the unusual red-eyed bulbul and a small bird known as the familiar chat. Throughout the desert regions, you’ll also see the intriguing social weaver, which builds an enormous nest that’s the avian equivalent of a 10-storey block of flats. Central Namibia also boasts bird species found nowhere else, such as the Namaqua sand-grouse and Grey’s lark.