Swaziland is a land locked country which is located in south eastern part of the African continent. The total number of bird species that have been recorded is 520 bird species although they could more and some of these bird species are endemic while others are near endemic. When it comes to the birding world, there are two terms that you should have in mind that is Endemic (E) which means that the bird species only live in Swaziland and Near endemic (NE) which means that the bird species you are looking at also lives both within and outside Swaziland. Swaziland also has about 48 raptures that are best seen around the month of December.
These are found in the different parts of the country and are a perfect place for tourists that love birding and these are majorly the different National Parks and reserves, Mountains that are found in Swaziland. The habitats are separated into two that is those that are found in Eswatini that is those that are found in Lowveld and those that are found in Maldives.
The different birding spots that are found in Maldives include the Malolotja Nature reserve, the Mlilwane wild life sanctuary, the Maguga dam and the Phophonyane Nature reserve. Some of the bird species that you should expect to see in any of these spots include the red winged francolin, the southern bald Ibis, the ground woodpecker, the blue swallow, Denham’s bustard, the greater stripped swallow and the Narina Trogon.
The different birding spots that are found in the Lowvelds include the Mbuluzi game Reserve, Hlane Royal National Park, Mlawula Game Resreve, Nisela Game Reserve and the Mkhaya game reserve. The bird species that you should look out for while here include the ground woodpecker, the cape Rock thrush, ostriches, blue swallow, the African wood owl, the red winged Francolin and the Gurney’s sugarbird, , the African scops owl, the purple banded sunbird and the southern yellow billed hornbill.
Below is detailed information about the different birding spots both within the Maldives and the Lowvelds.
The Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary has 240 birds and above that have been recorded and these include both endemic and migratory birds. There are several habitats for birds in the sanctuary and these include grasslands, wetlands and trees. Some of the bird species that you will able to see in the Mlilwane wild life sanctuary include the Emerald spotted dove, ostriches, the Jackal Buzzard, the brown hooded king fisher, the buffy pipit, the African finfoot, the African grass owl, the crested guinea fowl, the greater painted snipe, the African pygmy kingfisher, the blue crane, Denham’s bustard, the violet backed starling, the Senegal lapwing and many more others. The best time for tourists to go for birding at the Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary is between the months of November to April and this is because this is the time when most birds can easily be spotted including the migratory ones.
The Phophonyane nature reserve which is a home to the Phophonyane falls has about 240 bird species that have been recorded by the authorities. Some of the birds that habitate within the Phophonyane include the sharp talon eagle, the red Narina Trogon and many more other. The best way to spot these birds is by hiking around the falls which act as a breeding ground for most of the bird species.
The Malolotja Nature reserve has over the years been declared as the best birding spot in Swaziland. It has a home to some of the most endangered species in the whole world and this is why every tourist should at least try to make an effort and go enjoy the bird species that are found in the area. There are about fourteen species in Malolotja that have been declared endangered in Swaziland and there are nine species that have been declared endangered all over the world.
Besides the endangered species, the overall number of bird species that have been recorded in the Malolotja Reserve amounts to about 280 and some of them include the bald Ibis, Stanley’s bustard, the blue swallow bird, the blue crane bird, ground woodpeckers, black winged plovers, bush shrikes, the half collared Kingfisher, bee-eaters and many more other species.
Mbuluzi game Reserve has a recorded number of about 300 bird species that can be seen during the rainy season that is experience between the months of October to March. Birding here is majorly done in the morning because this is the best time for one to spot all the different bird species which include the African finfoot, thick billed cuckoo, the Dwarf bittern, the grey headed kingfisher, Narina Trogon and many more other species.
The Hlane royal National park has a recorded number of bird species that amounts to 250 and above and these can be viewed at any time that one visits the Park. And although it is considered to be an all year round destination, the best time to go birding at the Hlane Royal National park is from the month of November to the month of April. Some of the bird species that you will be able to see here include the blue mantled crested flycatcher, the African broadbill, the bush blackcap, the brown backed honeybird, buff streaked flufftail, the burnt necked Eremomela, the African finfoot, the crowned eagle, the green twin spot, the yellow-billed oxpecker and the white eared barbet among others.
The Mkhaya game reserve is located in the Lowveld areas of Swaziland near Manzini and it is a good birding spot due to the bird species that habitate within it that amount to about 140 species. There are many breeding places within the reserve that is the grasslands and the woodlands and some wetlands. Some of the bird species that you will get here include the brown headed parrot, the common Cuckoo, the African scops owl, the common waxbill, the crowned eagle and many more others.
The Nisela game Reserve is a private Reserve that has quite a number of bird species that will pique your interest. When you get to Nisela, some of the bird species you should look out for include the yellow fronted canary, the red billed oxpecker, the crested barbet, African broadbill and many more others. Since the Resreve does not have any predatory animals habituating within it, it is safe to walk through the Park while you enjoy your birding either with or without a tour guide.
The Mlawula game reserve is found in the Northern part of Swaziland and considered to be one of the top birding spots in the country with an estimated 350 bird species habituating in there. Found next to the Mbuluzi game reserve, it has quite a number of bird species that can be seen during the rainy season and these include the Grey sunbird, the scooty tern, the whisked tern bird, the European nightjar, the white backed night heron, the African broadbill, white faced duck, Egyptian goose, the African black duck, the red billed teal, the African palm swift, three banded plover and the crowned Lapwing among others.
The best time to go for birding in Swaziland is from November to April because this is the time when migratory birds fly into the country from the neighboring countries joining the local ones which at this time are always in the breeding process which means you will get to see both the young and older birds.