Résumé: La bande de Caprivi en Namibie est un long couloir étroit de 450 km allant du coin nord-est du corps principal du pays aux plaines inondées et aux îles du fleuve Zambèze. Avec plus de 450 espèces signalées dans cette petite région et une infrastructure raisonnablement bonne, la bande de Caprivi est l'un des meilleurs endroits d'Afrique australe pour observer les oiseaux. Pour les ornithologistes en quête des 'spécialités de l'Okavango', comme l'Aigrette vineuse et le Coucal des Papyrus, cette région a l'avantage d'offrir la chance d'observer ces espèces à une fraction du coût du Botswana voisin.
Namibia's Caprivi Strip is a long narrow extension of land, running about 450 km from the north-east corner of the main body of the country to the flood-plains and islands of the Zambezi River. Named after Chancellor Bismark's successor, Leo Graf von Caprivi, the strip was ceded to colonial Germany by the British. At the time Germany and Portugal wanted both to stop the northward advance of British colonialism and then join their own East African colonies (Tanzania and Mozambique) to their western colonies (now Namibia and Angola).
Cecil Rhodes was quicker off the mark and was able to bamboozle tribal leaders in what is now Botswana, Zambia and Malawi into agreements with his British South Africa Company, thereby halting the German and Portuguese plan. The Germans, however, came to an understanding with the British government and were ceded the Caprivi Strip in order to give them riparian access to the Zambezi. Why the British did this is anyone's guess, but the oddities of a colonial past have certainly opened opportunities for birders.
With more than 450 species recorded in this small area and a reasonably good infrastructure, the Caprivi Strip is one of southern Africa's top birding spots. For birders in pursuit of Okavango specials, such as Slaty Egret and Coppery-tailed Coucal it has the distinct advantage of costing a fraction of the amount one would spend on a journey in neighbouring Botswana.
I have tried to cover most of the important bird sites between Rundu and the eastern flood-plains of the Zambezi River. The best time to visit the area is without doubt the austral summer, particularly the wet season from November to April, when most of the migrants are present and resident species are in breeding plumage.
I have assumed that most visitors to the area will be coming from the south and west (ie. Etosha National Park) and the route described is along the main road from Rundu to Katima Mulilo. The construction of a new tar road through the Caprivi has opened up the region considerably and even during the main wet season from December to March most of the sites described can be accessed by two wheel-drive vehicles. For birders interested in getting out into more remote areas with poor roads a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended, but my advice is to be very careful. Should you get seriously stuck it can be days before someone comes along or a long walk to the nearest settlement to get help. Ask about local road conditions before attempting some of the trickier areas.
Malaria is an endemic, year round problem and prophylaxis are recommended for all visitors. Personal security is not a serious risk and most people are friendly and helpful, but take basic precautions: lock valuables out of sight and don't leave your vehicle unattended in the bigger towns at night. When planning to bird along borders or near borderposts etc, check with local officials and lodge owners on the current security situation. There have been minor flare-ups particularly along the Angolan border and although nothing serious has ever happened, it could spoil your holiday.
The Sites West to East
Rundu makes a good overnight stop for those birders who cannot go all the way through to Popa Falls. There is a wide variety of accommodation, from budget camping to fairly upmarket lodges. There is some reasonable birding around Sarasunga River Lodge (also has a camp ground), but none of the establishments is particularly geared towards birders. It is important to check the current security situation with local lodge owners before birding along the river front. Another drawback with birding in this area is the amount of disturbance from Rundu's large population.
About 5 km south of the town (about 1 km from the turnoff to the airport and military camp) the main road (B8) crosses a well-developed drainage line. All the waste water from the military camp drains into this omuramba and the reedbeds and ponds are sometimes good for waterbirds. Lesser Moorhen, Allen's Gallinule, African Crake, African Snipe and Black Crake are regularly recorded here. African Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Yellow-crowned (Golden) Bishop, Red-shouldered Widow and Common Waxbill are also common. Early mornings and late afternoons are best at this spot and you may be rewarded with views of Greater Painted-Snipe, several species of nightjar and with luck a Bat Hawk.
The best birding spot is the area just to the east of the town by the zoo, golf course and sewage works. The best access is through the golfcourse which is easily found off the old main road. Park near the clubhouse and ask if you may walk around. The acacia thickets and trees along the fairways are excellent for a variety of species, such as White-bellied Sunbird, Burnt-necked Eremomela, Long-billed Crombec, Diederik Cuckoo, Little Bee-eater, Black-eyed Bulbul, Groundscraper Thrush and Brubru. Purple-banded Sunbird, Orange-breasted Bush Shrike and Parasitic Weaver (Cuckoo Finch) have occasionally been seen along the fairways. Capped Wheatear favour the open exposed areas towards the zoo and I have seen both Temminck's and Burchell's Courser in this area. Late evenings are a good time to look out for some of those difficult crepuscular species. Bronze-winged Courser are quite common, as are several species of nightjar including Square-tailed, Fiery-necked and Rufous-cheeked, although Pennant-winged is rarely recorded. Birds like African Hobby and Bat Hawk are infrequently seen, but look for Pearl-spotted Owlet, Common Scops and White-faced Scops Owls around the floodlights at night. Listen out for Red-chested Flufftail in the nearby reedbeds.
The sewage works lie immediately adjacent to the golf club. The security fencing has all been stolen from around the ponds and you will always find a number of people in the area, occasionally hunting. Although this tends to detract from the birding a list of over 100 species should be easily achieved in a morning. The best areas to bird are the upper settling ponds, which are usually good for a variety of terns and waders (including White-fronted Sand-Plover), and the flooded reed areas on the riverside of the ponds. Bird numbers depend to a large extent on water levels, which fluctuate markedly, but several species of heron should be present year round including Little Bittern, Slaty Egret and Dwarf Bittern have also been recorded, usually during the wet season. The latter tends to favour the areas of short grass near dense bush or trees, where they will often perch after being disturbed.
Look out for several species of rallids, including African Water Rail, African Crake, Spotted Crake, Purple Gallinule and Common Moorhen. African Skimmer have been recorded here in the past, as have large concentrations of Collared Pratincole, which tend to occur mostly in the open areas around the golfcourse and zoo. Bee-eaters are always around and flocks of Carmine, Blue-cheeked and European can be present together. Smaller numbers of Little, White-fronted and rarely, Swallow-tailed can also be found. Marsh Owl occurs in small numbers.
Several specialities should be seen relatively easily. Coppery-tailed Coucal occur throughout the area (as do Senegal and White-browed) and are easiest to see in the early morning, when they perch and call from high in the reed beds. White-rumped Babbler, Chirping Cisticola, Swamp Boubou, the blackheaded form of the Spotted-backed (Village) Weaver and Brown Firefinch are all common in the sewage works area. Quail Finch is abundant, but are almost impossible to see, listen out for their distinctive, trilink trilink, call as they shoot out of the grass at your feet.
The Rundu Divundu road (B8)
The 240 km between Rundu and Divundu is on a good-quality tarmac road, which runs parallel with the Okavango River, and can be covered in a few hours. However, it is definitely worth making an early start, to bird the broad-leaved woodlands en route, to find a good list of typical species. Don't bother stopping near settlements and on cleared agricultural land as there is much pristine woodland.
In the summer months the woodlands are good for a variety of migrant raptors including Steppe Eagle and Lesser Spotted Eagle, which can be seen in large numbers at termite emergences (throughout the Caprivi) during the early part of the wet season from November to late January, depending on the pattern of rainfall. Termite emergences take place synchronously over large areas and are a major food source for large numbers of birds. Termites can only be described as the popcorn of the bird world. If you are lucky enough to come across an emergence, the variety and numbers of birds feeding will astound you. Aerial feeders include Hobby, Red-footed Falcon, Black Kite (both the African Yellow-billed and the migrant races), Lanner and Peregrine Falcons, African Hobby and accipiters such as African Little Sparrowhawk. Check all the big feeding groups for small numbers of Eastern Red-footed Falcon, Lesser Kestrel (they tend to favour very open habitats such as grasslands and airfields) and Dickinson's Kestrel. The larger raptors tend to feed on the ground and feeding parties may include most species of vulture, Secretary Bird, Wahlberg's Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle and Dark Chanting Goshawk.
Large numbers of Abdim's, Marabou and Woolly-necked Storks are also found at termite emergences. Grey Hornbill show a deft touch in catching termites on the wing, with Red-billed, Southern Yellow-billed and Bradfield's Hornbills all tending to feed on the ground. In one particularly wet year I saw several hundred Whiskered and White-winged Terns feeding at a big emergence in the Lake Liambezi area of eastern Caprivi.
Regular stops along the way in tall, mature woodland should give good views of African Golden Oriole, Tinkling (Grey) Cisticola, Neddicky (Piping Cisticola), Southern Black Tit, Pale Flycatcher and Black (Amethyst) Sunbird. Keep a look out for Sharp-tailed Starling and Rufous-bellied Tit in any stand of tall woodland east of the Omuramba Omatako (about 90 km from Rundu). The woodlands around Katere have reached near mythical status as the place to see these species but I have found that they are readily seen in mature woodland all along the main road.
The Okavango River is broken up into a maze of small channels and wooded islands in the Andara area (signposted off the B8) by a broad band of quarzites which run at right angles through the river. Outside of Popa Falls this is the easiest place to see Rock Pratincole, which occur in fairly large numbers on boulders and rocky outcrops from May through to February. The dense riparian forest and scrub on the river bank and islands is also good habitat for African Emerald and Red-chested Cuckoos, Long-crested Eagle, African Wood Owl, Retz's Red-billed Helmet Shrike, Collared Sunbird and, very rarely, Red-capped Robin-Chat (Natal Robin). If you are in the area at about sunset listen out for the distinctive 'kow kow kow' of Freckled Nightjar this is the best place to see it in the north-east of Namibia and look out for Bat Hawk and African Hobby hunting over the river. The area is most easily reached through the Roman Catholic Mission at Andara where you should ask permission to walk around. A number of the islands are traditional burial grounds and you should not go onto these under any circumstances.
Popa Falls and the Mahango Section of the Okavango National Park
Popa Falls is about 30 ha in extent and is a very popular camping and accommodation site administered by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. It is named after a low series of rapids which drop about 5 m.
Popa Falls and the Mahango Section of the about to be re-proclaimed Okavango National Park are without doubt the prime sites for birding in the western section of the Caprivi. With over 420 species, including all the Okavango specialities, recorded in an area covering only some 25,000 ha, this is the place no birder should miss.
Popa Falls park can be broadly divided into four distinct habitats. The area around the hutted accommodation is made up largely of very tall knobthorn, Acacia nigrescens, forest, with a dense understorey of shrubs where it hasn't been cleared. African Wood Owl and African Barred Owlet can easily be called up here at night but please use tapes sparingly. African Emerald, African and Red-chested Cuckoo are regularly recorded in the tall trees here but are difficult to see. Patient searching in these taller trees should yield at least African Little Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk and Shikra (Little-banded Goshawk). Other species should include Golden-tailed, Cardinal and Bearded Woodpeckers, African Green Pigeon (especially in the early morning when they tend to sit out to sun themselves) and Black-collared Barbet. The dense understorey in this area of the camp is excellent for Terrestrial Brownbul, White-browed Robin-Chat (Heuglin's Robin), Red-capped (Natal) Robin (rare), White-rumped Babbler, Swamp Boubou, Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Ashy Flycatcher and a range of Palaearctic warblers.
The drier rocky slopes of the middle of the camp are covered with relatively low scrubby vegetation in which it is difficult to see birds. Yellow-breasted Apalis favour this area, as do Brown-headed Tchagra, Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting (rare), Blue and Violet-eared Waxbill and Emerald-spotted Wood Dove. The more open areas of exposed rock are the favoured roosting and nesting sites for Freckled Nightjar. Other species of nightjar recorded here include Fiery-necked, Rufous-cheeked and Square-tailed. Pennant-winged Nightjar tends to favour open woodland habitats closer to the Mahango. In the campground area of Popa Falls the drier scrub comes down to the edge of a small side channel of the river. Look out in the small stands of candelabra acacias, Acacia hebeclada, for Brown, Red-billed and Jameson's Firefinches, Golden Weaver, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Collared Sunbird and Tawny-flanked Prinia. At both the campground and the huts there are several Black Crake which are very tame and feed on scraps around the fireplaces.
The small island on the eastern side of the camp is also good for most of the species listed above, but provides access to the riverine habitats where a number of specialities occur. As you cross the small zigzag footbridge turn left along the small channel. The papyrus, Cyperus papyrus, beds here are the favoured haunt of Greater and Lesser Swamp-Warblers, Winding and Chirping Cisticolas. Thick-billed Weaver make their neat nests in the reeds along this section. The more forested sections are good for Crested, Black-collared and Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Terrestrial Brownbul, Kurrichane Thrush, African Mourning Dove, Eastern Black-headed Oriole, Grey Tit-Flycatcher (Fan-tailed Flycatcher) and African Green Pigeon.
On the far side of the island there is good view over the top of the 'falls' and the rocky outcrops here are favoured roosting sites for Rock Pratincole. Another good area is at the junction of the camp boundary fence and the river. The best times to see this species are the early morning and late afternoon when they can be seen hunting and displaying over the falls.
During the heat of the day search the rocks for basking Crocodile. Hippo occur in the area and it is for this reason that it is inadvisable to walk around on the island at night when they come ashore to graze. Early morning walks along the river may be rewarded with views of Cape Clawless Otter.
South of Popa Falls, about 15 km on the main road to Botswana (D3403), is the Mahango Section of the Okavango National Park, one of Namiba's birding hotspots. The reason for this is the variety of habitats, ranging from open water, flood-plains and swamps to dry, dense broad-leaved woodland. The most important areas are accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicle (except the western section) and you are allowed to walk in the park. However, you should exercise extreme caution when birding in the Mahango. Elephant, buffalo, hippo and lion all occur and are, needless to say, highly dangerous.
The loop road running down along the Mahango Omuramba and onto the flood-plain margin provides the best viewing opportunities. From the gate to the turnoff onto the loop road (c 1 km) the vegetation is short, broad-leafed woodland and scrub and is an excellent area to see African Cuckoo Falcon, Pale Flycatcher, Bradfield's Hornbill, Mosque Swallow and flocks of Black-throated Canary. Striped Kingfisher breed in the large false mopane, Guibortia coleosperma, at the main gate. Turn left (east) along the omuramba (deep sand on the road west necessitates four-wheel-drive vehicles) and search the tops of the large trees for raptors in the early morning. Martial Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, Dickinson's Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Lanner Falcon, African Hobby and Dark Chanting Goshawk are regularly seen along the first 2 km of the road.
Secretary Bird can often be found striding through the short grasslands in the omuramba bottom. Dusky, Red-capped, Fawn-coloured, Rufous-naped and Flappet Larks commonly occur. Waders found in the short grasslands include Temminck's Courser, Crowned Plover, Spotted Dikkop and Bronze-winged Courser (late evening). Blue Wildebeest, Burchell's Zebra, Tsessebe, Roan Antelope and Warthog favour this area, particularly when there is a green flush following rain. Small herds of Red Lechwe move into this area when the lower sections flood.
About 4 km from the turnoff the road passes a series of small wetlands on the west and this is an excellent area for waterbirds, including Red-billed Duck, Greater Painted-Snipe, African Snipe and Three-banded Plover. Baillon's, African and Spotted Crake have been found in the grassier areas. Slaty Egret, Rufous-bellied Heron, Squacco Heron and Dwarf Bittern occur here following good rains.
The flood-plains of the Okavango River are variable in width and character through the northern end of the park. On quieter lagoons and backwaters African Pygmy Goose, African and Lesser Jacana (rare), White-backed Duck and Allen's Gallinule should be looked for. Listen out for Chirping Cisticola, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Swamp Boubou and Winding Cisticola in dense stands of papyrus and Phragmites reedbeds.
There are three resident pairs of Wattled Crane in the Mahango and these are mostly seen on the northern flood-plains and near the Giant Baobab picnic site, which is also the best place to watch the flood-plain. Long-toed Lapwing, Wattled Plover, Coppery-tailed and Black Coucals, Black Heron, Goliath Heron, African Open-billed Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, Glossy Ibis, several species of Bee-eater, Banded Martin, Grey-rumped, Wire-tailed and Lesser Striped Swallow and White-winged Widow can all be seen from here. Pink-throated Longclaw, Collared Pratincole, African Skimmer (dry season only), Parasitic Weaver, Osprey and African Marsh Harrier occur directly in front of the baobab. This area is also good for mammals including, with luck, more elusive species such as Sable and Sitatunga (very early morning).
The picnic site at Kwetche (about 4 km south of the Baobab) is set in a narrow strip of riparian woodland and overlooks a broad backwater. Kwetche is a good spot to see White-fronted Bee-eater, Golden and Southern Brown-throated Weaver and Swamp Boubou. Playing tapes near the papyrus reed swamps for Greater Swamp-Warbler, Chirping Cisticola and African Water Rail is often successful. African Barred Owlet, Crested Barbet, Yellow-billed and Red-billed Oxpeckers and African Little Sparrowhawk have all been recorded breeding in the very tall trees just to the south of the picnic site. Pel's Fishing Owl and Smaller Banded Snake Eagle have been recorded in this area in the past, but there are few recent records.
Have a look at the (former) woodlands just to the south and west of the picnic spot to get an idea of the destruction that Elephants can cause. The area around Kwetche used to be an excellent site to see 'forest' species such as Terrestrial Brownbul, Collared Sunbird and White-browed Robin-Chat - no more. This was also the favoured habitat of Chobe Bushbuck which is now rare within the park. There is a strong case to be made for culling of Elephant in the Mahango, but no decision has been made because of the intense pressure brought to bear on the wildlife authorities by international 'green' groups.
The dry woodlands in the western section of the park are mostly only accessible by four wheel drive vehicle. However, birding in the woodlands about 500 m south of the loop road turnoff (ie about 1.5 km from the park gates) is quite good. Long-billed Pipit of the race, nyassae, (often known as Wood Pipit) is a rare species which favours open woodland habitat where it feeds in the grassy areas. When flushed it tends to fly up and perch on an exposed branch fairly high up.
Look in the canopy of the taller trees for small bird parties which often contain Yellow White-eye, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Green-capped Eremomela, White Helmet Shrike, African Golden Oriole and Southern Black Tit. Bennett's Woodpecker is most commonly seen in broad-leafed woodlands such as these. Check the undergrowth for Grey Cisticola and Neddicky. Rufous-bellied Tit is rare and difficult to find in the park as is Sharp-tailed Starling. They are more easily seen outside the park in the vicinity of some livestock pens and a cattle crush about 3 km north of the park gates.
Dense teak, Baikiaea plurijuga, woodlands in the extreme west of the Mahango may yield views of White-headed Black Chat, Racket-tailed Roller, Stierling's Wren-Warbler and Wahlberg's Honey-bird (Sharp-billed Honeyguide), but they are sparsely distributed and very hard to find. Meyer's Parrot is found throughout the park but the Brown-necked Parrot tends to favour the drier woodlands and they can be most often seen flying up the omurambas in the early morning on their way to feeding grounds.
A frustration for birders is that the park closes at sunset and it is difficult to see nocturnal species. However, a slow drive back towards Popa Falls is often quite profitable and you can pick up Barn Owl and European Nightjar as well as most of the nightjars and owls mentioned earlier. However, Fiery-necked and Rufous-cheeked Nightjars are the commonest species, while Spotted Eagle-Owl is the commonest large owl in the area, with Verreaux's Eagle-Owl being heard more often than seen. Spotlighting along the road may yield views of Lesser Bushbaby and Common Genet.
There is no accommodation in the park, but there is a range of facilities in the area. Popa Falls Rest Camp (administered by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism) has inexpensive campsites and pleasant hutted accomodation. Ngepi Camp, about 5 km south of Popa, has basic camping facilities but is sometimes difficult to get to. Ndhovu Lodge, 2 km north of the Mahango Gate, is a luxury tented camp, set right on the river and the owners are sensitive to birder's needs. A short boat trip here may yield White-backed Night Heron and Pel's Fishing Owl, while Bat Hawk and African Hobby have been seen hunting over the river in front of the camp on several occasions. If Pel's Fishing Owl is a 'have to see' on your trip you may be tempted to dash down to Shakawe Fishing Camp or Drotsky's Cabins about 30 km south in Botswana.
West Caprivi and the Divundu Kongola road
The road between Divundu and the Kongola bridge on the Kwando River is currently being upgraded, with only the first 40 km tarred. This road is notoriously bad during the wet season and extreme caution should be exercised. The road passes through extensive tracts of typical broad-leafed woodland on Kalahari sand, occasionally dissected by belts of acacia woodland and scrub or grasslands along omurambas or interdunes. Birding is not particularly good anywhere along this road but look out for Bradfield's Hornbill, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Dickinson's Kestrel, Purple Roller and a number of larger raptor species. Towards the Kwando River the interdunes become more defined and some contain small pans which provide some interesting birding in the wet season. Lesser Moorhen, Yellow-crowned Bishop and Sedge Warbler can be common at these small wetlands.
The west bank of the Kwando River
The Kwando River is a narrow, highly channelised river, which rarely floods, with a narrow flood-plain. The riparian habitats are similar to those along the Okavango River but are generally fairly limited in extent and the flood-plains are drier. Large Kalahari sand dunes come down directly onto the flood-plains and are covered by large, tall, mature stands of broad-leafed woodlands, dominated by teak. The junction of the dune and the flood-plain is dominated by typically dense riparian woodland vegetation, and it is in these areas that birding is best.
Just before the bridge over the Kwando River turn north on the road to the main Ministry of Environment and Tourism office at Susuwe (about 4 km). This area has some of the best birding along the Kwando, is accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicle and has a fairly basic unserviced campground. The area is currently unproclaimed but falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, who are planning to proclaim the area in the near future.
Around the office complex search the large trees for Narina's Trogon or listen out for their distinctive two syllable 'ghoo ghoo' call. They are common in these dune slope woodlands and respond readily to tapes. Another speciality of the area is Racket-tailed Roller which should be searched for in the tall teak woodlands just to the south of the office complex. In the summer months Broad-billed Roller and Woodland Kingfisher are both common. Coppery Sunbird is another summer visitor to the area and can be most easily seen feeding on the large purple flowers of the teak trees on the dunes. Retz's Red-billed Helmet Shrike, African Emerald Cuckoo, Red-chested Cuckoo, African Striped Cuckoo, Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Greater Honeyguide, Bradfield's Hornbill, Crested Barbet, Purple-banded Sunbird, Eastern Black-headed and African Golden Orioles and several species of woodpecker, particularly Bearded, should be seen in these woodlands. White-browed Scrub Robin and White-browed Robin-Chat are easily seen, but Red-capped Robin-Chat remains extremely difficult to find, although their mimicking calls can be heard every morning.
The understorey of scrub is good for Palaearctic migrants, but species such as Thrush Nightingale and Eurasian River Warbler are more often heard than seen. Raptors are also well represented in the area. Wahlberg's Eagle is common in the summer months and Steppe, Lesser Spotted and other Palaearctic migrants should be searched for following good rains or at termite emergences. Black Sparrowhawk has been recorded at Susuwe but is very rare. Other accipiters include African Little and Ovampo Sparrowhawk, Gabar, Little-banded and African Goshawk and Lizard Buzzard. Search the trees along the margins of open areas for African Cuckoo Falcon which are not uncommon here. African Wood, White-faced Scops, Barn and Marsh Owls, Spotted Eagle-Owl and Pearl-spotted and African Barred Owlets, have all been recorded around the camp. Be careful not to confuse the booming calls of Ground Hornbill (most often heard in the early morning) with Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, which can also be heard calling at Susuwe.
The backwaters, channels and grasslands of the flood-plains directly to the north of Susuwe hold a wide suite of wetland birds, including cormorants, herons, storks, ibis, wildfowl and crakes. Early morning is the best time to search for Black and Coppery-tailed Coucal as they tend to sit out sunning themselves during this period. The 'kapok kapok' call of Black Coucal is heard often, but this is a notoriously difficult bird to see. Breeding colonies of the distinctive black headed subspecies of Spotted-backed Weaver, Red-headed Quelea, Southern Brown-throated Weaver and isolated nests of Golden Weaver can be found in the reed beds.
The flood-plain grasslands are the best areas to see Denham's Bustard and Black-bellied Bustard, but these two species are never abundant, tend to be eruptive and can be very sneaky. Desert and Fan-tailed Cisticola call constantly during the wet season and Little Button Quail and Harlequin Quail should be easily flushed, especially in the early morning. Collared Pratincoles breed in fairly large numbers on islands which have been denuded of grass.
Mammals are not as abundant as in the Mahango, but caution is still necessary and it is inadvisable to walk around at night as Hippo often feed in close proximity to the campsite. Birding towards the Angolan border is not very different to the Susuwe area and as this area is largely uncontrolled, I do not advise going more than about 5 km north of Susuwe. Ask about current conditions before taking off.
The main mammal populations along the Kwando River occur south of the main road (B8) but this area is unfortunately only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles. To access this area drive south along the sandy track directly opposite the Susuwe turnoff. The birds are largely the same as around Susuwe as the habitats are the same. The appeal of travelling here is that the tracks take you through some of the best unspoiled countryside in Namibia this is real 'wild Africa'. About 10 km south of the main road is Nambwa campsite which is beautifully laid out under some large trees on a small flood-plain island. A little further south along the flood-plain lies a large cutoff lagoon (called 'Lagoon') and Horseshoe, an old river oxbow, which are excellent areas for watching all kinds of wildlife. Large herds of Hippo can be seen at both sites. Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Impala, Greater Kudu, Red Lechwe, Reedbuck, Buffalo and Elephant are regularly seen here. Search the grassier areas for Cheetah and Serval, especially in the early morning. Wild Dog are irregularly recorded all along the flood-plain.
Mudumu National Park
Mudumu National Park lies on the east bank of the Kwando River about 40 km south of the main Kongola Katima road (B8) on the D3511 which runs to Sangwali and Linyanti. It constitutes about 85,000 ha of mixed woodlands and narrow flood-plains along the main channel of the Kwando River. Large areas of the eastern part of the park are nutrient-poor sands which are covered by silverleaf terminalia, Terminalia sericea, and coarse grasslands. These areas are relatively unproductive from both a birding and other wildlife point of view. Closer to the river on heavier soils called 'black cotton soils' the woodlands are dominated by mopane, Colophospermum mopane, a distinctive tree with a large leaf shaped like a cow's footprint. These woodlands are also relatively unproductive but have their own distinctive suite of birds. The narrow fringe of riparian woodland and the narrow flood-plain are the most diverse from a vegetation point of view and it is here that birding is at its best and over 350 species have been recorded in the park.
The road infrastructure within the park is limited. There is a track that turns west off the D3511 to Lianshulu Lodge about 5 km from the northern park boundary. This joins a track that runs south close to the river to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism ranger station at Nakatwa, which is also directly connected via a narrow road to the D3511. Lianshulu Lodge is a beautifully laid out luxury lodge on the banks of the Kwando River. They offer a variety of activities including boating and game drives. The only other accommodation available within the park is an unserviced camp site at Nakatwa. Both places can be reached in ordinary cars but the road between Nakatwa and Lianshulu should not be attempted following heavy rains. Other tracks should only be attempted with four wheel-drive vehicles.
The Terminalia woodlands are unlikely to produce large numbers of either species or birds, but are the best place to see Coqui Francolin, Orange River Francolin (rare), Fawn-coloured Lark, Flappet Lark, Grey Cisticola, Lilac-breasted Roller and in the grassland patches, Black-bellied Bustard and, rarely, Denham's Bustard. Look out for the elusive Oribi in the grasslands running along Lianshulu's airfield, as well as Temminck's Courser.
The mopane woodlands are the preferred habitat of the stunning White-headed Black Chat which can seen virtually anywhere. Bennett's, Golden-tailed, Cardinal and Bearded Woodpecker are relatively common, as are Crested and Pied Barbets. Several small raptors including Lizard Buzzard, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Shikra and African Little Sparrowhawk should be seen on most visits. Mopane woodlands seem to be the habitat in which to find Common Scops Owl and you should hear them throughout the night. White-faced Scops and Barn Owls, African Barred and Pearl-spotted Owlets have also been recorded here. Bird parties occur in this woodland type and usually comprise Southern Black Tit, Long-billed Crombec, Black Cuckoo-shrike, White Helmet Shrike and Burnt-necked Eremomela. Long-tailed and White-crowned Shrikes are also relatively common in these woodlands.
The riverine fringe should yield typical species such as Yellow-bellied and Terrestrial Brownbul, White-browed Robin-Chat, Ashy and Paradise Flycatchers, Swamp and Tropical Boubous, Orange-breasted Bush Shrike and Retz's Red-billed Helmet Shrike. The gardens at Lianshulu are particularly pleasant to bird in and you should get good views of Lesser Striped Swallow, White-rumped Babbler, Black Crake, Violet-backed Starling, Collared Sunbird and Thick-billed Weaver. Pin-tailed, Shaft-tailed and Paradise Whydahs have all been recorded in the area.
The flood-plains and river are not generally accessible except via Lianshulu's boats, but patient viewing at Nakatwa should produce a good range of wetland birds. Black, White-browed and Coppery-tailed Coucal all occur here but are difficult to see.
Mamili National Park
Mamili National Park lies at the southern most point of the Caprivi where the Kwando River, now the Linyanti River, makes a right angled turn to the north east. This 32,000 ha park is made up of a mosaic of flooded grasslands, braided flood-plain channels, extensive reedbeds and papyrus swamps, heavily wooded islands and open water habitats. The two largest islands, Nkasa and Lupala, form the central focus of the park and seldom, if ever, flood. The rest of the park is inundated at least once every few years during the winter months. The park is really only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicle even when it is completely dry as the tracks are unserviced and rough. Mamili is now accessed off the D3511 through the villages of Sangwali or Malengalenga. There are several tracks in the park and it is advisable to check the maps at the ranger stations so that you know roughly where you are going as none of them are signposted. Accommodation is limited to unserviced campsites at Nyanda and Lyadura, both of which are quite attractive.
Waterlevel fluctuations strongly influence the occurrence of birds in the park. During the drier periods the extensive grasslands are good for Denham's and Kori Bustard, as well as Black-bellied Bustard. During the rains these grasslands should produce Little Button Quail, Harlequin and Common Quail, Rufous-naped Lark and Red-faced Cisticola. When they have been flooded these grasslands are excellent for Pink-throated Longclaw, Wattled Crane, Slaty Egret and Black Coucal. They are, however, difficult to reach and extreme caution is advised before walking around in the water here as crocodiles come up into these flooded areas to feed. Other wetland habitats yield species typical of these northern swamps and you should see a good range of herons, ducks, rails, weavers (including Thick-billed), Red-headed Quelea, Red-shouldered and White-winged Widows and a number of firefinch species.
The wooded islands are centres of diversity in a seemingly uniform landscape and the species occurring here are typical of the riverine fringe habitats of the Mahango, Mudumu, Susuwe and Zambezi River areas. Southern Long-tailed Starling occurs here in small numbers, as do Narina's Trogon, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, African Emerald Cuckoo and Ashy Flycatcher. African Wood Owl and African Barred Owlet are the commonest nightbirds, with several species of nightjar, including Swamp, recorded from the area. Three-banded Courser have been recorded from Nkasa in the past. It is extremely rare but look for it in areas of dense tree cover with a sparse shrub layer.
Game is not abundant in the park but be aware that Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo, Lion and Leopard are regularly recorded. There are a variety of antelope species but heavy poaching before proclamation in 1989 has resulted in low numbers of all species, with only a slow recovery
Katima Mulilo and the Zambezi River
Katima Mulilo is the administrative centre of the Caprivi Region and situated as it is, on the banks of the Zambezi River, has some of the best birding in the Caprivi. It has four distinctive vegetation types or habitats, each of which provides opportunties for different birding. From the west, Katima can be approached by driving directly along the B8 from Kongola or via Mudumu and Mamili along the D3511 which swings north from the village of Linyanti.
West of Katima the vegetation is dominated by Kalahari sand broad-leafed woodland (out to Mpacha Airport, 20 km from town on the B8) and the birds here are much the same as in similar habitat elsewhere in the Caprivi. Pale and Southern Black Flycatchers, Long-billed (Wood) Pipit, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Green-capped Eremomela, Grey Cisticola and African Golden Oriole are all present in broad-leafed woodland. African Hobby is regularly seen on the stretch of road between Mpacha and Katima, especially in the late afternoon.
Much of the area to the south and east of Katima, away from the river, is dominated by mopane woodland and the birds here are much the same as those described for Mudumu National Park, with the significant addition of Black-cheeked Lovebirds. There have been no confirmed records in recent years, but Tim Dodman's recent work on the Zambian side of the river indicates the possibilities for this species in the Caprivi.
The Katima Sewage works are situated in an area which may be regarded as transitional between broad-leafed woodland and mopane woodland. It is on the main road to Kongola (B8) and can be approached directly down a small track marked Buche Buche Brickmaking Project, running west off the main road. Alternatively, the settling ponds can be accessed by driving down the side of Namib Mills and the Likwama Farmers Cooperative (both clearly signposted), turning left and then right down a line of power pylons. The northern settling ponds are excellent for a variety of waterfowl including Hottentot Teal, Fulvous Whistling Duck, White-faced Whistling Duck, White-backed Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Dabchick and this is the most likely site in Namibia to see Yellow-billed Duck. The reeds around the settling ponds host Little Rush Warbler, Lesser Swamp-Warbler and African Reed-Warbler, as well as Purple and Allen's Gallinule, Black Crake and African Water Rail. Barn and other swallows roost in large numbers here at night and Hobby and several species of accipiters can be seen actively hunting them at dusk. The overflow ponds on the southern side of the sewge ponds have fluctuating waterlevels and attract several interesting groups of birds.
Waders are generally well represented and you should see Greater Painted-Snipe and African Snipe, several species of Palearctic migrant waders including Ruff and Green Sandpiper (rare), Long-toed Lapwing, Wattled Plover and Three-banded Plover. Rufous-bellied, Squacco, Green-backed, Purple and Grey Herons are the commonest species of heron, but Slaty Egret and Black Herons have been recorded here as well. Both species of Night Heron have been recorded here, but the chances of seeing White-backed are very small. Rallids are also well represented with African Water Rail and African, Baillon's, Spotted and Black Crakes being regularly recorded. Striped Crake and Red-chested Flufftail have been reported here but are exceedingly difficult to see. Look out in the woodlands surrounding the sewage works for a variety of cuckoos including African Striped, Jacobin, Great Spotted and Klaas's. Both Retz's Red-billed and White Helmet Shrikes occur here and are often in bird parties with Black Cuckoo-shrike and Yellow White-eye. This is a good area for raptors as well and I have regularly seen African Cuckoo Falcon, Lanner Falcon and Dark Chanting Goshawk here.
West of Katima on the road to the Zambian border and ferry crossing is the Katima Farm. This is a good area for Smaller Banded Snake Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Dickinson's Kestrel, Brown-necked Parrot and in the mopane areas, White-headed Black Chat. This road is relatively quiet at night as the border is closed and is quite good for nightbirds. Pennant-winged, Fiery-necked and Square-tailed Nightjar are present, as are Bronze-winged Coursers and Water Dikkop. The whole of the Katima area is good for owls and you should hear African Wood, White-faced and Common Scops and Barn Owls and Pearl-spotted and African Barred Owlets if you overnight here. Verreaux's Eagle-Owl is also regularly recorded in the town.
The dense forest and woodlands fringing the Zambezi River provide very good birding and the best areas are the conservation area just downstream of the golf course and the woodlands near Hippo Lodge. These woodlands are the favoured haunts of Green (Livingstone's) Turaco, Trumpeter Hornbill, African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Goshawk, African Little Sparrowhawk, Crested Barbet, African Emerald Cuckoo, African Wood Owl, White-browed and Red-capped Robin-Chats, Coppery Sunbird and Grey Tit-Flycatcher. Yellow-bellied Bulbul and Terrestrial Brownbul are common here, as are Orange-breasted Bush Shrike, Black-crowned Tchagra and Grey-headed Bush Shrike. The golfcourse is a good area to look out for Bat Hawk at dusk and several species of nightjar can be seen hunting insects around the spotlights at night.
The rocky outcrops, sandbanks and flooded river margin woodlands of the Zambezi River have a distinct avifauna as well. Rock Pratincole, African Pied Wagtail and Common Sandpiper can be easily seen on the rocky outcrops and rapids on the western side of Katima. The pumpstation area (near the town generator) is the best site for Rock Pratincole. African Skimmer, Collared Pratincole, White-crowned and Wattled Plover are commonest on exposed sandbanks, the Skimmers using these for roosting and breeding during periods of low water. The larger islands and backwaters of the Zambezi are often fringed with a distinctive flooded woodland of waterberry, Syzigium guineense, and these are the best areas to see African Finfoot, Pel's Fishing Owl, White-backed Night Heron and African Giant Kingfisher. Access to these areas is easiest by boat which can be hired at a number of places in Katima. Reedbeds and flooded grasslands are good areas for Black and Coppery-tailed Coucal, Red-headed Quelea, Chirping and Red-faced Cisticola.
There is plenty of accommodation in Katima. The Zambezi Lodge is in the centre of town and offers luxury hotel style accommodation and a separate campsite. Hippo Lodge is about 5 km out of town on the Ngoma road and offers cheaper rooms and camping. Kalizo Lodge is nearly 40 km out of town and has rooms and a campsite. Boats can be hired at all three sites, but make prior arrangements. The best areas to explore are around the Hippo Island and the wooded waterways of the Maningi Manzi area, where African Finfoot, Pel's Fishing Owl and White-backed Night Heron are all a possibility.
The Eastern flood-plains, and the Chobe River area
For those with access to a four-wheel-drive vehicle, an adventurous spirit and few qualms about sleeping rough the eastern flood-plains and the Chobe River area provide the opportunity for some interesting birding. It is unlikely that you will find anything markedly different from the sites described above, but the area is poorly watched and anything is possible. The area is criss-crossed by numerous small, rough tracks which can be very difficult to drive on during the wet season.
The area is principally made up of extensive flooded grasslands, traversed by drainage lines and the occasional wooded island. In areas where the grasslands are flooded Long-toed Lapwing, Pink-throated Longclaw, Rufous-bellied Heron, Little Bittern and African Jacana are common. Slaty Egret and Black Heron have been recorded in this type of habitat. Open water with water lilies is the favoured habitat for African Pygmy Goose and White-backed Duck. The wooded islands may contain typical forest species such as White-browed Robin-Chat, Terrestrial Brownbul, Green Turaco and Collared Sunbird. The margins of these wooded areas are a good place to look for Orange-breasted Waxbill, firefinches and Red-faced Cisticola. They are occasionally used as roosts by Pel's Fishing Owl. At night listen out for the distinctive, slow, chop chop chop, call of Swamp Nightjar, which is seemingly quite common.
The majority of the areas described in this article are controlled by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and all carry some sort of entrance fee or accommodation cost. These are generally low so please pay them willingly as the income provides an incentive to continue conserving and managing these magnificent areas. For more information about Namibia in general please write to:
Namibia Tourism, 6 Chandos Street, London W1M 0LQ. Tel: (+44) 171 636 2928/24 or Fax: (+44) 171 636 2969 or: Tourism Section, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Private Bag 13267, Windhoek, Namibia.
They put together a good package of information including a roadmap with all the road numbers referred to above and an accommodation guide giving the addresses, telephone numbers and rates of all the facilities mentioned in the article. This package is free.
There are three books worth using, none of which adequately reflects species distributions in the Caprivi. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, by G. L. Maclean, Newman's Birds of Southern Africa, by Ken Newman and, The Illustrated Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa, by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton.
There are several birding companies doing trips to Namibia, but few actually take in the whole Caprivi Strip. Anyone wanting to do a group trip to Namibia is welcome to contact me directly and I will be happy to provide further information regarding some of the trips I lead in the area. (Contact Christopher Hines, PO Box 22527, Windhoek, Namibia.)
My thanks to Richard Webb for inviting this article. Kevin Bartlett is thanked for the loan of his photographs and much entertainment during field work in the area. Thanks also to all those people who have willingly put me up on many occasions in the past: Lynne and Roy Vincent at Ndhovu, Marie and Grant at Lianshulu and Dick and Katy Sharpe in Katima. Thanks also to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for allowing me access to the areas under their jurisdiction.
Appendix: scientific names of birds and other animals mentioned in the text.
Bird nomenclature follows, Birds of Africa, where published. For species later in the taxonomic order (warblers onwards) scientific names largely follow Dowsett & Forbes-Watson and common practice in Africa. Where alternative English names in common use are very different these are included in brackets.
Dabchick, Tachybaptus ruficollis; Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis; Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus; Dwarf Bittern, I. sturmii; White-backed Night Heron, Gorsachius leuconotus; Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax; Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides; Rufous-bellied Heron, A. rufiventris; Green-backed Heron, Butorides striatus; Black Heron, Egretta ardesiaca; Slaty Egret, E. vinaceigula; Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea; Grey Heron, A. cinerea; Goliath Heron, A. goliath; African Open-billed Stork, Anastomus lamelligerus; Abdim's Stork, Ciconia abdimii; Woolly-necked Stork, C. episcopus; Saddle-billed Stork, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis; Marabou, Leptoptilos crumeniferus; Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus; Fulvous Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna bicolor; White-faced Whistling Duck, D. viduata; White-backed Duck, Thalassornis leuconotus; African Pygmy Goose, Nettapus auritus; Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata; Red-billed Duck, A. erythrorhyncha; Hottentot Teal, A. hottentota; Osprey, Pandion haliaetus; African Cuckoo Falcon, Aviceda cuculoides; Bat Hawk, Macheirhamphus alcinus; 'Yellow-billed' Kite, Milvus migrans parasitus; Black Kite, M. m. migrans; African Fish Eagle, Haliaeetus vocifer; Brown Snake Eagle, Circaetus cinereus; Smaller Banded Snake Eagle, C. cinerascens; Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus; African Marsh Harrier, Circus ranivorus; Gabar Goshawk, Micronisus gabar; Dark Chanting Goshawk, Melierax metabates; African Goshawk, Accipiter tachiro; Shikra (Little Banded Goshawk), A. badius; African Little Sparrowhawk, A. minullus; Ovampo Sparrowhawk, A. ovampensis; Black Sparrowhawk, A. melanoleucus; Lizard Buzzard, Kaupifalco monogrammicus; Lesser Spotted Eagle, Aquila pomarina; Tawny Eagle, A. rapax rapax; Steppe Eagle, A. r. nipalensis; Wahlberg's Eagle, A. wahlbergi; African Hawk Eagle, Hieraaetus spilogaster; Long-crested Eagle, Lophaetus occipitalis; Martial Eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus; Secretary Bird, Sagittarius serpentarius; Lesser Kestrel, Falco naumanni; Common Kestrel, F. tinnunculus; Dickinson's Kestrel, F. dickinsoni; Red-footed Falcon, F. vespertinus; Eastern Red-footed Falcon, F. amurensis; Hobby, F. subbuteo; African Hobby, F. cuvieri; Lanner Falcon, F. biarmicus; Peregrine Falcon, F. peregrinus; Common Quail, Coturnix coturnix; Harlequin Quail, C. delegorguei; Coqui Francolin, Francolinus coqui; Orange River Francolin, F. levaillantoides; Little Button Quail, Turnix sylvatica; Red-chested Flufftail, Sarothrura rufa; African Crake, Crex egregia; African Water Rail, Rallus caerulescens; Baillon's Crake, Porzana pusilla; Spotted Crake, P. porzana; Striped Crake, Aenimatolimnas marginalis; Black Crake, Amaurornis flavirostris; Allen's (Lesser) Gallinule, Porphyrio alleni; Purple Gallinule, P. porphyrio; Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus; Lesser Moorhen, G. angulata; Wattled Crane, Bugeranus carunculatus; African Finfoot, Podica senegalensis; Denham's Bustard, Neotis denhami; Kori Bustard, Ardeotis kori; Black-bellied Bustard, Eupodotis melanogaster; African Jacana, Actophilornis africanus; Lesser Jacana, Microparra capensis; Greater Painted-Snipe, Rostratula benghalensis; Spotted Dikkop, Burhinus capensis; Burchell's Courser, Cursorius rufus; Temminck's Courser, C. temminckii; Three-banded Courser, C. cinctus; Bronze-winged Courser, C. chalcopterus; Collared (Red-winged) Pratincole, Glareola pratincola; Rock Pratincole, G. nuchalis; Three-banded Plover, Charadrius tricollaris; White-fronted Sand-Plover, C. marginatus; Wattled Plover, Vanellus senegallus; White-crowned Plover, V. albiceps; Crowned Plover, V. coronatus; Long-toed Lapwing, V. crassirostris; Ruff, Philomachus pugnax; African Snipe, Gallinago nigripennis; Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus; Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos; Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybridus; White-winged Tern, C. leucopterus; African Skimmer, Rynchops flavirostris; African Green Pigeon, Treron calva; Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Turtur chalcospilos; African Mourning Dove, Streptopelia decipiens; Brown-necked (Cape) Parrot, Poicephalus robustus; Meyer's Parrot, P. meyeri; Black-cheeked Lovebird, Agapornis lilianae nigrigenis; Green (Livingstone's) Turaco, Tauraco persa livingstonii; Jacobin Cuckoo, Oxylophus jacobinus; African Striped Cuckoo, O. levaillantii; Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator glandarius; Red-chested Cuckoo, Cuculus solitarius; African Cuckoo, C. gularis; African Emerald Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx cupreus; Klaas's Cuckoo, C. klaas; Diederik Cuckoo, C. caprius; Coppery-tailed Coucal, Centropus cupreicaudus; White-browed Coucal, C. superciliosus; Black Coucal, C. grillii; Senegal Coucal, C. senegalensis; Barn Owl, Tyto alba; Common Scops Owl, Otus scops; White-faced Scops Owl, O. leucotis; Spotted Eagle-Owl, Bubo africanus; Verreaux's (Giant) Eagle-Owl, B. lacteus; Pel's Fishing-Owl, Scotopelia peli; Pearl-spotted Owlet, Glaucidium perlatum; African Barred Owlet, G. capense; African Wood Owl, Strix woodfordi; Marsh Owl, Asio capensis; Swamp Nightjar, Caprimulgus natalensis; Square-tailed Nightjar, C. fossii; Fiery-necked Nightjar, C. pectoralis; Freckled Nightjar, C. tristigma; European Nightjar, C. europaeus; Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, C. rufigena; Pennant-winged Nightjar, Macrodipteryx vexillaria; Narina's Trogon, Apaloderma narina; Woodland Kingfisher, Halcyon senegalensis; Striped Kingfisher, H. chelicuti; African Pygmy Kingfisher, Ceyx picta; African Giant Kingfisher, Megaceryle maxima; Little Bee-eater, Merops pusillus; Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, M. hirundineus; White-fronted Bee-eater, M. bullockoides; Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, M. persicus; European Bee-eater, M. apiaster; Carmine Bee-eater, M. nubicus; Rufous-crowned Roller, Coracias naevia; Lilac-breasted Roller, C. caudata; Racket-tailed Roller, C. spatulata; Broad-billed Roller, Eurystomus glaucurus; Southern Ground Hornbill, Bucorvus cafer; Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus; Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, T. leucomelas; Bradfield's Hornbill, T. bradfieldi; Grey Hornbill, T. nasutus; Trumpeter Hornbill, Ceratogymna bucinator; Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus chrysoconus; Pied Barbet, Tricholaema leucomelaina; Black-collared Barbet, Lybius torquatus; Crested Barbet, Trachyphonus vaillantii; Wahlberg's Honeybird (Sharp-tailed Honeyguide), Prodotiscus regulus; Greater Honeyguide, Indicator indicator; Bennett's Woodpecker, Campethera bennettii; Golden-tailed Woodpecker, C. abingoni; Cardinal Woodpecker, Dendropicos fuscescens; Bearded Woodpecker, D. namaquus; Rufous-naped Lark, Mirafra africana; Flappet Lark, M. rufocinnamomea; Fawn-coloured Lark, M. africanoides; Dusky Lark, Pinarocorys nigricans; Red-capped Lark, Calandrella cinerea; Banded Martin, Riparia cincta; Grey-rumped Swallow, Pseudhirundo griseopyga; Mosque Swallow, Hirundo senegalensis; Lesser Striped Swallow, H. abyssinica; Wire-tailed Swallow, H. smithii; African Pied Wagtail, Motacilla aguimp; Long-billed (Wood) Pipit, Anthus similis, , nyassae; Pink-throated Longclaw, Macronyx ameliae; Black Cuckoo-shrike, Campephaga flava; White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Coracina pectoralis; Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Chlorocichla flaviventris; Terrestrial Brownbul, Phyllastrephus terrestris; Black-eyed Bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus; Thrush Nightingale, Luscinia luscinia; White-browed Robin-Chat (Heuglin's Robin), Cossypha heuglini; Red-capped Robin-Chat (Natal Robin), C. natalensis; White-browed Scrub Robin, Cercotrichas leucophrys; Capped Wheatear, Oenanthe pileata; White-headed Black Chat, Myrmecocichla arnotti; Groundscraper Thrush, Psophocichla litsipsirupa; Kurrichane Thrush, Turdus libonyanus; Eurasian River Warbler, Locustella fluviatilis; Little Rush-Warbler (African Bush-Warbler), Bradypterus baboecala; Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus; African Reed-Warbler (African Marsh Warbler), A. baeticus; Greater Swamp-Warbler, A. rufescens; Lesser Swamp-Warbler (Cape Reed-Warbler), A. gracilirostris; Red-faced Cisticola, Cisticola erythrops; Winding (Black-backed) Cisticola, C. galactotes; Chirping Cisticola, C. pipiens; Grey (Tinkling) Cisticola, C. rufilata; Neddicky (Piping Cisticola), C. fulvicapillus; Fan-tailed Cisticola, C. juncidis; Desert Cisticola, C. aridula; Tawny-flanked Prinia, Prinia subflava; Yellow-breasted Apalis, Apalis flavida; Bleating (Bush-)Warbler (Grey-backed Camaroptera), Camaroptera brachyura; Stierling's Wren-Warbler, C. stierlingi; Green-capped Eremomela, Eremeomela scotops; Burnt-necked Eremomela, E. usticollis; Long-billed Crombec, Sylvietta rufescens; Pale Flycatcher, Bradornis pallidus; Southern Black Flycatcher, Melaenornis pammelaina; Ashy (Blue-Grey) Flycatcher, Muscicapa caerulescens; Grey Tit-Flycatcher (Fan-tailed Flycatcher), Myioparus plumbeus; African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis; White-rumped Babbler, Turdoides leucopygius; Long-tailed Shrike, Corvinella melanoleuca; Tropical Boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus; Swamp Boubou, L. bicolor; Brubru, Nilaus afer; Brown-headed (Three-streaked) Tchagra, Tchagra australis; Black-crowned Tchagra, T. senegala; Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Malaconotus sulfureopectus; Grey-headed Bush Shrike, M. blanchoti; White Helmet Shrike, Prionops plumatus; Retz's Red-billed Helmet Shrike, P. retzii; White-crowned Shrike, Eurocephalus anguitimens ; Violet-backed (Plum-coloured) Starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster; Southern Long-tailed Starling, Lamprotornis mevesi; Sharp-tailed Starling, L. acuticaudus; Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus africanus; Red-billed Oxpecker, B. erythrorhynchus; Southern Black Tit, Parus niger; Rufous-bellied Tit, P. rufiventris; Collared Sunbird, Anthreptes collaris; Coppery Sunbird, Nectarinia cuprea; Purple-banded Sunbird, N. bifasciata; White-bellied Sunbird, N. talatala; Amethyst (Black) Sunbird, N. amethystina; Yellow White-eye, Zosterops senegalensis; African Golden Oriole, Oriolus auratus; Eastern Black-headed Oriole, O. larvatus; Thick-billed Weaver, Amblyospiza albifrons; Spotted-backed (Village or Black-headed) Weaver, Ploceus cucullatus; Golden Weaver, P. xanthops; Southern Brown-throated Weaver, P. xanthopterus; Parasitic Weaver (Cuckoo Finch), Anomalospiza imberbis; Red-headed Quelea, Quelea erythrops; Golden (Yellow-crowned) Bishop, Euplectes afer; Red-shouldered Widow, E. axillaris; White-winged Widow, E. albonotatus; Jameson's Firefinch, Lagonosticta rhodopareia; Red-billed Firefinch, L. senegala; Brown Firefinch, L. nitidula, (sometimes merged into L. rufopicta); Blue Waxbill, Uraeginthus angolensis; Violet-eared Waxbill, U. granatinus; Common Waxbill, Estrilda astrild; Quail Finch, Ortygospiza atricollis; Orange-breasted (Zebra) Waxbill, Amandava (Sporaeginthus) subflavus; Pin-tailed Whydah, Vidua macroura; Shaft-tailed Whydah, V. regia; (Long-tailed) Paradise Whydah, V. paradisaea; Black-throated Canary, Serinus atrogularis; Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting, Emberiza tahapisi,
Crocodile, Crocodilus niloticus; Lesser Bushbaby, Galago senegalensis; Wild Dog, Lycaon pictus; Cape Clawless Otter, Aonyx capensis; Common Genet, Genetta genetta; Serval, Felis serval; Lion, Panthera leo; Leopard, P. pardus; Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus; Elephant, Loxodonta africana; Burchell's Zebra, Equus burchelli; Hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius; Warthog, Phacochoerus aethiopicus; Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros; Sitatunga, T. spekei; Roan Antelope, Hippotragus equinus; Sable Antelope, H. niger; Red Lechwe, Kobus leche; Southern (Chobe) Reedbuck, Redunca arundinum; Tsessebe, Damaliscus lunatus; (Blue) Wildebeeste, Connochaetes taurinus; Impala, Aepyceros melampus; Oribi, Ourebia ourebi; Buffalo, Syncerus caffer.
(Chris Hines, who is ABC Representative for Namibia, leads tours in Namibia – write to: Christopher Hines, PO Box 22527, Windhoek, Namibia.)