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Zambia is undoubtedly gifted with a range of wildlife, about 750 types of birds through the entire country and for a few habitats; 400 species found in South Luangwa National Park alone.
This is valid, because of the variety of habitats including riverine forest, lagoons, lakes, swamps and also national parks and reserves, each one providing a range of birds along with mammals.
The riverbank forest happens to be an special place to find types for instance the Arnot Chat and the Racket railed roller. The Chaplin’s Barbet is in fact the only type of birds a native to Zambia.
Best Zambia Spots For Birding
The wetlands on Lake Bangwelu and its banks boasts a few exclusive types like the scarce shoebill, white cheeked bee eater, wattle crane, swamp fly catcher as well as the kingfisher amid other swamp common species.Lochinvar National Park, in the north of Kafue River, is without a doubt thought to be one of several rich swamplands for bird watching in the world, due to something like hundreds of birds to view. At that place, you will discover the egret, wattle crane, sand grounce along with the pratincole among additional bird varieties.
An excellent bird watching destination in Zambia is actually Chimfunshi wildlife Orphanage and it’s also a habitat for the pale billed hornbill, cuckoo, forest warbler, starling, bocage’s robin and many others.
Birding is a form of observation where people go to observe birds in the wilderness in their habitants. Birding can be done using binoculars or your naked eye if the birds are nearby, by listening to the sounds that the birds make, watching through the public webcams and the telescopes.
Birding can also be referred to as twitching and this is where one travels long distances to view rare species. Birding in Zambia is on the rise due to the many birds that can be seen in the parks and the good Zambia government policies on birding.
You should note that there is a slight difference between birding and bird watching that is, you cannot do birding without technology that is using of binoculars, telescopes to view the birds and these act as the go between the wildlife birds and the birder whereas bird watching is where one depends on the geography, weather to view the birds and if you miss seeing a specific bird, you have to wait for another day to view.
With over 750 bird species spread all over the country, Zambia has become one of the best birding destinations in Africa. The best time to visit Zambia for birding is before the rains set in and this is the time that all other birds migrate from other countries into Zambia.
There are several birding spots in Zambia that one can visit and some of these are the Chimfunshi wildlife orphanage, Lochinvar national park, south Luangwa Park, Bangweulu swamps and the Kafue National Park.
According to the Zambian records, there are 750 bird species in the country and there are 600 birds that are either Afro tropical migrants or resident Zambian birds. It should be noted that Zambia has only two Endemic bird species and these are the black cheeked lovebird and the Chaplin’s Barbet. There are also other near endemic birds which are not easy to see.
Best camping places to do birding from
The best camping places where one can go for bird watching are listed below although they are not listed in order.
- Chongwe River camp, this is located in the lower part of the Zambezi National Park and you can view the different bird species from the foothill of the camp. You can also get a chance to see other wild animals I the park.
- crocodile Bushcamp, this offers a great view when it comes to bird viewing and it also has the best birding guides who know everything about the birds found in the area and you can be sure to see some bird species with your binoculars as you are sitting in their lounge.
- Chiawa camp, this is great for both land and water birds and it is a good spot for bird watching and some of the few bird species that you can see while at Chiawa camp include the carmine bee-eater, Osprey, Eagle owl and the African kingfisher.
- Anabezi luxury tented camp, different bird species can be seen here and these include the African golden oriole, Paradise flycatcher and the Pel’s fishing owl. It is located in a wild life setting and it has the best guides to take you through on this wonderful journey.
Tips to follow on how to get started for birding
Before we get to the best birding spots in Zambia, here are a few tips that one needs to follow when it comes to birding
- The field guides, when you start seeing the different birds you will want to know their different names, characters and where they live so a field guide is much needed before you start the birding season.
- Binoculars, these help with enhancing your eyesight. They are adjustable and you feel as if you are viewing the birds that are a long distance away closer to you. they bring you a clear picture of what the bird is up to and can be bought in the different birding shops around Zambia.
- You will need connections with other people. Birding is a social event and the best way that one can learn about the different species is to walk with others and share knowledge about what they know about the different birds that they are spotting. Shared knowledge lets you learn about things that birds do that you were not aware of before.
- A camera is very much needed especially when you are about to start birding. This helps you capture the memories of the trip and take photos of the different birds and it is also another way to identify the bird species.
- The spotting scope, these act like binoculars and they let you view the different bird species that are a distance away from you. They also help I Identifying the different rare bird species found in Zambia and they can be got from the different shops around the country.
Birding spots found in Zambia
There are several birding spots in Zambia and all these are filled with different birding species that one cans see when they visit the area. Some of these hot birding spots include the following:
Kafue National Park
Located in the western part of Zambia, Kafue is known as one of the largest National Parks in Africa and it has several birding habitats which include the wetlands, woodlands and grasslands which are all ideal places for one to live.
Kafue National Park has over 500 bird species that have been recorded and some of the bird species that can be found in Kafue Park include the Fuelleborn’s Longclaw, Black breasted snake Eagle, Wattled crane, Spur winged Goose, Grey crowned crane, African Finfoot, Black cheeked lovebird, Boehm’s bee-eater, pel’s fishing owl, African openbill, Chaplin’s Barbet, Shelley’s sunbird, rufous Vented warbler, Bocage’s Akalat and the saddle billed stork.
Lochinvar National park
The Lochinvar Park has over 420 different bird species and it also has several bird habitats which include a lagoon, grasslands and it is known as the best park to visit for all those who want to go for birding. The park is found in one of the remote areas of Zambia and it is largely dominated by the lagoon.
There are no dangerous animals found in this park besides the buffalo therefore people can walk freely through the park without worry while bird watching. The best time to visit Lochinvar is during the rainy season where many birds are attracted to areas where they can easily get food and water and habitate easily.
It should be noted however that the Park has no campsites or lodges and food stalls, therefore the birders are expected to take care of their personal needs on their own. The different bird species that can easily be seen include the Fulvous duck, African skimmer, Lesser and greater Flamingo, the whistling duck, the Great white pelican, Marabou stork, and the endangered wattle crane.
The park is also a home to different bird species of raptors and some of these include the Peregrine falcons, Yellow throated sand grouse, Sparrow hawks, Narina Trogon and the Black sparrow hawk.
The Mosi-oa Tunya National Park
This is found between Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. The River is a main attraction for the birds and the woodland since they act as habitants for the birds. You can view the birds as you cross the Zambezi River or drive through the Miombo woodland.
The birds can be seen walking around the River banks and the best time to go bird watching at Mosi-oa Tunya is between December and February as this is the rainy season period and it is known to attract different aquatic bird species and other birds.
The park has 450 bird species and some of these bird species include the Taita Falcon, Miombo pied Barbets, Black cheeked lovebirds, shoebill stork, Red billed Hornbills, Sacred Ibises, African fish Eagle, Collared palm thrush, pied kingfisher, African skimmer, Egyptian goose, and the Black stork.
The South Luangwa National park
This is a home to over 400 bird species out of over 732 birds found in the whole of Zambia. The best time to visit south Luangwa is during the dry season as this is when the amphibians and fish are trapped due to the reduction of water in the lagoons creating a feast for the birds. The best time to visit South Luangwa is between November and March.
The park has marked out clear birding routes, good accommodation and birding guides who help you by describing the different bird species in this area. Some of the bird species found in Luangwa include the crowned crane found in the salt pans, the shoebill, Heuglins Robins, yellow billed stork, nightjars, Great white pelican, African skimmer, ground hornbills, little bee-eater, verreaux’s eagle owl, southern carmine bee-eater and the African fish Eagle.
The park also has swamps which are habitants to some bird species and these include the flamingos, the Black Egret, swamp flycatcher, Prantincoles and the Marsh Tchagra.
Tips For Birdwatching
To the Zambia-Congo boundary, you’ll come across the town of Mwinilunga on the west of River Lunga, which has a unique plethora of migratory birds coming from the Congo forests; offering a unique spot for birding enthusiasts. There is the Grim longclaw, bulbul, Angola lark, the cisticola, that brown eared wood pecker, sunbirds and also the spotted thrush bubbler.Some other important habitats consist of the Nkanga Conservation Area, Nyika National Park and also Shiwa Ng’andu reserve and that is renowned for horse back riding safaris; enable you to enjoy birds along the riding tracks.Safari lodges are cheap and have excellent facilities to make your stay comfortable.
Zambia is actually wealthy with diverse flora and fauna, about 750 types of birds through the country and then for some habitats; 500 species found in South Luangwa National Park alone. This is valid, thanks to the variety of habitats including riverine woodland, lagoons, lakes, wetlands and national parks and reserves, many providing a range of birds in addition to animals.
The riverbank forest is definitely a special home to varieties for instance the Arnot Chat and also the Racket railed roller. The Chaplin’s Barbet is in fact one type of birds endemic to Zambia. The swamps around Lake Bangwelu and its particular banks has a number of distinctive varieties like the unique shoebill, white cheeked bee eater, wattle crane, swamp fly catcher as well as the kingfisher among other swamp endemic species.
Lochinvar National Park, found in the north of Kafue River, is without a doubt thought to be one of the rich swamplands for birding in the world, because of around 800 birds to watch. There, you’ll locate the egret, wattle crane, sand grounce and also the pratincole among additional bird kinds.
One more great birding location in Zambia is actually Chimfunshi wildlife Orphanage which happens to be a home for the pale billed hornbill, cuckoo, forest warbler, starling, bocage’s robin and many more.
Across the Zambia-Congo border, you’ll come across the town of Mwinilunga around the west of River Lunga, which features a distinctive fuse of migratory birds from the Congo forests; offering an incomparable spot for birding enthusiasts. There is the Grim longclaw, bulbul, Angola lark, the cisticola, this brown eared wood pecker, sunbirds plus the spotted thrush bubbler.
A few other tremendous habitats comprise of the Nkanga Conservation Area, Nyika National Park in addition to Shiwa Ng’andu reserve and that is renowned for horse back riding safaris; a way to watch birds during the riding trails.