Eswatini

SUB-REGION
Southern Africa

SIZE
17,364 km²

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity
Mostly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 490 recorded species

Blue Swallow (Kevin Ravno)
Cape Rock Thrush (Kevin Ravno)
Buff-streaked Chat (Kevin Ravno)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not near-endemic (1/2)
Knysna Turaco
Drakensberg Prinia
Bush Blackcap
Chorister Robin-Chat
Forest Canary

Proposed splits not yet accepted by IOC
Southern Red-winged Francolin (1/2)
Barrow’s Bustard
Grey-breasted Green Pigeon
Ngami Owlet
Southern Red-fronted Tinkerbird
Southern Olive Woodpecker
Four-colored Bushshrike
Southern Crested Flycatcher (1/2)
African Reed Warbler
Red-backed Mannikin
Spectacled Quailfinch

Other taxa of interest (see also under Birding Sites)
White-backed Duck
African Black Duck
Southern Crested Guineafowl
Crested Francolin
Shelley’s Francolin
Natal Spurfowl
Swainson’s Spurfowl
Red-necked Spurfowl
Square-tailed Nightjar
African Black Swift
Horus Swift
Grey Go-away-bird
Purple-crested Turaco
Red-crested Korhaan
Burchell’s Coucal
Thick-billed Cuckoo
African Olive Pigeon
African Finfoot
African Rail
Blacksmith Lapwing
Senegal Lapwing
Crowned Lapwing
Saddle-billed Stork
White-backed Night Heron
Southern White-faced Owl
Red-faced Mousebird
Common Scimitarbill
Southern Ground Hornbill
Southern Red-billed Hornbill
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Crowned Hornbill
Trumpeter Hornbill
Lilac-breasted Roller
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Half-collared Kingfisher
White-fronted Bee-eater
Southern Carmine Bee-eater
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
Acacia Pied Barbet
Black-collared Barbet
Crested Barbet
Scaly-throated Honeyguide
Red-throated Wryneck
Bennett’s Woodpecker
Bearded Woodpecker
Brown-headed Parrot
Cape Batis
Chinspot Batis
Olive Bushshrike
Black-backed Puffback
Southern Boubou
Retz’s Helmetshrike
Magpie Shrike
Southern Fiscal
Black-headed Oriole
Square-tailed Drongo
Southern Black Tit
Grey Penduline Tit
Eastern Nicator
Sabota Lark
Sombre Greenbul
Yellow-bellied Greenbul
Terrestrial Brownbul
Pearl-breasted Swallow
Long-billed Crombec
Lesser Swamp Warbler
Little Rush Warbler
Neddicky
Rudd’s Apalis
Green-backed Camaroptera
Stierling’s Wren-Warbler
Burnt-necked Eremomela
Chestnut-vented Warbler
Cape White-eye
Southern Yellow White-eye
Arrow-marked Babbler
Black-bellied Starling
Cape Starling
Burchell’s Starling
Red-billed Oxpecker
Groundscraper Thrush
Olive Thrush
Kurrichane Thrush
Bearded Scrub Robin
Grey Tit-Flycatcher
Fiscal Flycatcher
African Dusky Flycatcher
White-throated Robin-Chat
White-browed Robin-Chat
Red-capped Robin-Chat
Grey Sunbird
Amethyst Sunbird
Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Marico Sunbird
Purple-banded Sunbird
White-bellied Sunbird
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver
Spectacled Weaver
Eastern Golden Weaver
Holub’s Golden Weaver
Lesser Masked Weaver
Southern Masked Weaver
Dark-backed Weaver
Southern Red Bishop
Fan-tailed Widowbird
Green Twinspot
Grey Waxbill
Blue Waxbill
Pink-throated Twinspot
Jameson’s Firefinch
Dusky Indigobird
Long-tailed Paradise Whydah
Cape Wagtail
Striped Pipit
Buffy Pipit
Bushveld Pipit
Streaky-headed Seedeater

Southern Bald Ibis (Kevin Ravno)

National bird
Purple-crested Turaco | Ligwalagwala

MAIN HABITATS
Montane grassland, montane forest, savanna

BIRD AREAS
South African forests Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
South-east African coast EBA
3 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Malolotja Nature Reserve, Mahamba Gorge and Lubombo Mountains for montane species including Common Quail, Denham’s Bustard, Blue Crane, Black-winged Lapwing, African Snipe, Southern Bald Ibis, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Jackal Buzzard, Marsh Owl, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Ground Woodpecker, Rock Kestrel, Bokmakierie, Southern Tchagra, Grey Cuckooshrike, Cape Crow, White-necked Raven, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Red-capped Lark, Black Saw-wing, Large Rock Martin, Blue Swallow, White-throated Swallow, Greater Striped Swallow, Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler, Cape Grassbird, Lazy Cisticola, Wailing Cisticola, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cloud Cisticola, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Bar-throated Apalis, Gurney’s Sugarbird, Pied Starling, Red-winged Starling, Cape Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Cape Rock Thrush, Buff-streaked Chat, Mocking Cliff Chat, Mountain Wheatear, Capped Wheatear, Familiar Chat, Malachite Sunbird, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Cape Weaver, Yellow Bishop, Red-collared Widowbird, Long-tailed Widowbird, Swee Waxbill, Mountain Wagtail, Cape Longclaw, Nicholson’s Pipit, Cape Canary, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and Cape Bunting
Hlane Royal National Park and Mbuluzi Game Reserve for lowland species
Also Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

TIMING (Nov–Jan)
Best at the start of the rains, when most birds breed
Highland areas are unproductive in winter (May–Aug)

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

Field guides
Sasol Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Warwick Tarboton, Niall Perrins, Dominic Rollinson & Peter Ryan (2020)
Birds of Greater Southern Africa by Keith Barnes, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe (2024)

Sounds
Southern African Bird Sounds by Guy Gibbon

Site guides
Southern African Birdfinder by Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode & Jonathan Rossouw (2006)

Atlases
Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP2), a member of the African Bird Atlas Project
Swaziland Bird Atlas 1985-1991 by Vincent Parker (1994)

Further reading
Roberts – Birds of Southern Africa edited by P A R Hockey, W R J Dean & P G Ryan (2005)
The 2015 Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland edited by Martin R Taylor, Faansie Peacock & Ross M Wanless (2015)
Birds of the Malolotja Nature Reserve, Swaziland by Richard Boycott & Vincent Parker (2003)
Swaziland by Keith Barnes & Ara Monadjem in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Articles in Ostrich, Bull. ABC, etc.

Websites
Eswatini’s Birds Database contains detailed information and distributions

Facebook groups
Eswatini Birding Spectacular
Birding in the Kingdom of Eswatini

ORGANISATIONS

There is currently no BirdLife Partner in Eswatini

Eswatini National Trust Commission (ENTC) is the parastatal organisation responsible for the conservation of the country’s cultural and natural heritage

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Eswatini include –
Yonge Nawe Environmental Action Group (YNEAG)
Peace Parks Foundation: Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area

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