Southern Africa

581,730 km²


Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 600 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)
Burchell’s Sandgrouse
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
Burchell’s Starling

Proposed splits not yet accepted by IOC
Barrow’s Bustard
Ngami Owlet (BT)
Northern Olive Woodpecker
Grey-headed Parrot
Clancey’s Drongo
African Reed Warbler
Pretoria Rock Thrush (1/2)
Spectacled Quailfinch

Other taxa of interest (see also under Birding Sites), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Common Ostrich
South African Shelduck
Cape Shoveler
Cape Teal
Crested Francolin
Orange River Francolin
Red-billed Spurfowl
Natal Spurfowl
Swainson’s Spurfowl
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar
Square-tailed Nightjar
African Black Swift
Horus Swift
Grey Go-away-bird
Kori Bustard
Red-crested Korhaan | Red-crested Bustard
Northern Black Korhaan | White-quilled Bustard
Burchell’s Coucal
Namaqua Sandgrouse
Yellow-throated Sandgrouse
Double-banded Sandgrouse
Emerald-spotted Wood Dove
Black-necked Grebe | Eared Grebe
Lesser Flamingo
Blacksmith Lapwing
Crowned Lapwing
Double-banded Courser
Three-banded Courser
Black-winged Pratincole
Cape Vulture | Cape Griffon
Verreaux’s Eagle
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Jackal Buzzard
Southern White-faced Owl
White-backed Mousebird
Red-faced Mousebird
Common Scimitarbill
Southern Ground Hornbill
Southern Red-billed Hornbill
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Lilac-breasted Roller
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
White-fronted Bee-eater
European Bee-eater | Golden Bee-eater
Acacia Pied Barbet | Pied Barbet
Black-collared Barbet
Crested Barbet
Bennett’s Woodpecker
Bearded Woodpecker
Pygmy Falcon
Rock Kestrel
Greater Kestrel
Cape Batis
Chinspot Batis
Pririt Batis
Black-backed Puffback | Southern Puffback (okavangensis)
Southern Boubou
Crimson-breasted Shrike | Crimson-breasted Gonolek
Retz’s Helmetshrike
Magpie Shrike
Southern White-crowned Shrike | White-crowned Shrike
Southern Fiscal
Black-headed Oriole | African Black-headed Oriole
Cape Crow
Fairy Flycatcher
Southern Black Tit
Ashy Tit
Grey Penduline Tit | African Penduline Tit
Cape Penduline Tit | Southern Penduline Tit
Spike-heeled Lark (ESS barlowi)
Dusky Lark
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark
Sabota Lark
Fawn-coloured Lark
Eastern Clapper Lark (ESS nata)
Monotonous Lark
Stark’s Lark
Pink-billed Lark (ESS crypta)
Red-capped Lark
Yellow-bellied Greenbul
African Red-eyed Bulbul | Black-fronted Bulbul
Pearl-breasted Swallow
White-throated Swallow
Greater Striped Swallow
Long-billed Crombec | Cape Crombec
Lesser Swamp Warbler
Lazy Cisticola
Tinkling Cisticola
Neddicky | Piping Cisticola
Black-chested Prinia
Bar-throated Apalis
Rufous-eared Warbler
Barred Wren-Warbler
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Burnt-necked Eremomela
Chestnut-vented Warbler
Cape White-eye
Arrow-marked Babbler
Southern Pied Babbler
Cape Starling
Red-winged Starling
Red-billed Oxpecker
Boulder Chat
Groundscraper Thrush
Kurrichane Thrush
Karoo Thrush
Kalahari Scrub Robin
Grey Tit-Flycatcher
Chat Flycatcher
Marico Flycatcher | Mariqua Flycatcher
Fiscal Flycatcher
White-throated Robin-Chat
Ant-eating Chat | Southern Anteater Chat
Capped Wheatear
Amethyst Sunbird
White-bellied Sunbird | White-breasted Sunbird
Marico Sunbird | Mariqua Sunbird
Dusky Sunbird
Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow
Cape Sparrow
Great Sparrow | Great Rufous Sparrow
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver
White-browed Sparrow-Weaver
Sociable Weaver
Scaly-feathered Weaver | Scaly Weaver
Lesser Masked Weaver
Southern Masked Weaver
Chestnut Weaver
Southern Red Bishop
Long-tailed Widowbird
Black-faced Waxbill
Red-headed Finch
Violet-eared Waxbill
Blue Waxbill | Southern Cordon-bleu
Jameson’s Firefinch
Purple Indigobird
Shaft-tailed Whydah
Long-tailed Paradise Whydah | Eastern Paradise Whydah
Cape Wagtail
Cape Longclaw | Orange-throated Longclaw
Nicholson’s Pipit
Buffy Pipit (ESS exasperatus)
Striped Pipit
Bushveld Pipit | Bush Pipit
Black-throated Canary
Yellow Canary
Streaky-headed Seedeater
Black-eared Seedeater
Lark-like Bunting
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting
Cape Bunting

Hartlaub’s Babbler (Kevin Ravno)
Racket-tailed Roller (Paul van Giersbergen)
Pel’s Fishing Owl (Tadeusz Rosiński)
Kori Bustard (Kevin Ravno)
Burchell’s Sandgrouse (Kevin Ravno)
Short-clawed Lark (John Caddick)

National bird
Kori Bustard | Kgori

Okavango system, woodlands, arid savanna

12 Important Bird Areas

Chobe National Park, Linyanti Swamp and Okavango Delta for Slaty Egret and other waterbirds including White-backed Duck, African Pygmy Goose, African Finfoot, Wattled Crane, Long-toed Lapwing, White-crowned Lapwing, Lesser Jacana, Collared Pratincole, Rock Pratincole, African Skimmer, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork, White-backed Night Heron and Rufous-bellied Heron as well as swamp and woodland species including Swamp Nightjar, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Schalow’s Turaco, Senegal Coucal, Coppery-tailed Coucal, White-browed Coucal, Black Coucal, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Mourning Collared Dove, African Green Pigeon, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Marsh Owl, Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Wood Owl, Trumpeter Hornbill, Racket-tailed Roller, Half-collared Kingfisher, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Meyer’s Parrot, African Broadbill, Swamp Boubou, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Rufous-bellied Tit, Flappet Lark, Terrestrial Brownbul, Dark-capped Bulbul, Grey-rumped Swallow, Wire-tailed Swallow, Greater Swamp Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Chirping Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Southern Yellow White-eye, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Black-faced Babbler, Miombo Blue-eared Starling, Meves’s Starling, Sharp-tailed Starling, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Bearded Scrub Robin, White-browed Robin-Chat, Collared Palm Thrush, Miombo Rock Thrush, Arnot’s Chat, Collared Sunbird, Purple-banded Sunbird, Copper Sunbird, Thick-billed Weaver, Spectacled Weaver, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Orange-winged Pytilia, Brown Firefinch, Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah, Cuckoo-finch and Rosy-throated Longclaw
Lobatse area for Short-clawed Lark
Kgalakgadi Transfrontier Park for arid savanna species
Kubung Dam for Maccoa Duck and Great Crested Grebe

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)
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

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)

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.

Okavango Delta – UNESCO World Heritage List


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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