Botswana

SUB-REGION
Southern Africa

SIZE
581,730 km²

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity
Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 590 recorded species

Bradfield’s Hornbill (Kevin Ravno)
Slaty Egret (Kevin Ravno)
Red-billed Spurfowl (Kevin Ravno)

Near-endemics (NE)
Slaty Egret

Birds best found in Botswana but occurring more widely (BT)
Bradfield’s Hornbill

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE or BT (1/2)
Short-clawed Lark

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2)
Luapula Cisticola

Proposed split not yet accepted by IOC
Pretoria Rock Thrush (1/2)

Other taxa of interest
African Pygmy Goose
Red-billed Francolin
Swainson’s Francolin
Northern Black Korhaan
White-backed Night Heron
Black Heron
Secretarybird
Red-crested Korhaan
Wattled Crane
Long-toed Lapwing
Black-winged Pratincole
Burchell’s Sandgrouse
Southern White-faced Owl
Pel’s Fishing Owl
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar
Southern Carmine Bee-eater
Southern Ground Hornbill
Dickinson’s Kestrel
Red-footed Falcon
Pririt Batis
Crimson-breasted Shrike
Ashy Tit
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark
Fawn-coloured Lark
Eastern Clapper Lark
Monotonous Lark
Pink-billed Lark
Long-billed Crombec
Chirping Cisticola
Barred Wren-Warbler
Burnt-necked Eremomela
Hartlaub’s Babbler
Southern Pied Babbler
Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler
Meves’s Starling
Burchell’s Starling
Kalahari Scrub Robin
Chat Flycatcher
Marico Flycatcher
Ant-eating Chat
Boulder Chat
Scaly-feathered Weaver
Brown Firefinch
Violet-eared Waxbill
Shaft-tailed Whydah
Nicholson’s Pipit

Hartlaub’s Babbler (Kevin Ravno)
Racket-tailed Roller (Paul van Giersbergen)
Pel’s Fishing Owl (Tadeusz Rosinski)
Kori Bustard (Kevin Ravno)
Burchell’s Sandgrouse (Kevin Ravno)
Black Heron (Kevin Ravno)

National bird
Kori Bustard | Kgori

MAIN HABITATS
Okavango system, woodlands, Acacia savannas

BIRD AREAS
12 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Chobe for Slaty Egret
Lobatse area for Short-clawed Lark
Shakawe for Pel’s Fishing Owl

TIMING (Dec–Feb)
Being arid, it is best to visit at the start of the main rains (Dec–Feb), when most birds breed
Mid-winter (Jun–Aug) is less productive, especially in the south

RESOURCES (see also South Africa)
Apps
Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)
Roberts Bird Guide 2
Sasol eBirds Southern Africa

Field guides
Birds of Botswana by Peter Hancock & Ingrid Weiersbye (2016) includes species names in Setswana
Sasol Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Warwick Tarboton, Niall Perrins, Dominic Rollinson & Peter G Ryan (2020)
The Botswana Birders’ Companion: 300 Common and Conspicuous Botswana Birds by Pete Hancock (2018)
Beginner’s Guide to Birds of Botswana/Ithute Dinonyane tsa Botswana edited by Kabelo J Senyatso (2005)
Newman’s Birds of Botswana: a Guide to Common Species by Kenneth Newman (1999)
Birds of Botswana by Kenneth Newman (1989)
Wildlife of the Okavango by Duncan Butchart (2017) is a photographic guide covering more than 470 of the area’s most conspicuous and interesting mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes, invertebrates, trees and aquatic plants

Sounds
Southern African Bird Sounds by Guy Gibbon

Site guides
Southern African Birdfinder by Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode & Jonathan Rossouw (2006)
Birds in the Gaborone Area and Where to Find Them by Stephanie J Tyler & Wendy D Borello (1998)

Atlases
Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP2), a member of the African Bird Atlas Project
Bird Atlas of Botswana by Huw Penry (1994)

Further reading
Roberts – Birds of Southern Africa edited by P A R Hockey, W R J Dean & P G Ryan (2005)
Botswana by Stephanie J Tyler & David R Bishop in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
A Review of Waterbird Counts in Botswana, 1991-2000 by Stephanie J Tyler (2001)
Birds of Botswana: an Annotated Working Bibliography, 1835-1995 by Wendy D Borello & Remigio M Borello (1997)
European Swallows in Botswana by Bennie van den Brink, Rob G Bijlsma & Tom M van der Have (1997)
Articles in Babbler and Familiar Chat (Journal and Newsletter of BirdLife Botswana), Bull. ABC, etc.

Websites
Okavango Delta – UNESCO World Heritage List

ORGANISATIONS

BirdLife Botswana (the Botswana Bird Club as was) is the BirdLife Partner in Botswana

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Botswana include –
Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS)
Kalahari Research and Conservation & Raptors Botswana
Botswana Wild Bird Trust
Nata Conservation Trust
Lake Ngami Conservation Trust
Cape Vultures Environmental Association (CVEA)
Gaing-O Community Trust
Gumakutshaa Conservation Trust
Lenao la ga Kwalabe Conservation Trust
Botswana Envirolife Trust
Somarelang Tikologo (Environment Watch Botswana)
Peace Parks Foundation: Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), Greater Mapungubwe TFCA and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

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