Namibia

SUB-REGION
Southern Africa

SIZE
824,290 km²

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity

Afrotropical avifauna in the north-east, subtropical in the south
Approximately 640 recorded species

Dune Lark (Kevin Ravno)
Monteiro’s Hornbill (Kevin Ravno)
Herero Chat (Kevin Ravno)

Endemics (E)
Dune Lark (LC)

Near-endemics (NE), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Rüppell’s Korhaan
Damara Tern (breeding)
Gray’s Lark (ESS grayi)
Herero Chat

Rüppell’s Korhaan (Kevin Ravno)
Rüppell’s Parrot (Kevin Ravno)
White-tailed Shrike (Kevin Ravno)

Birds best found in Namibia but occurring more widely (BT), including ESS
Hartlaub’s Francolin (ESS bradfieldi + crypticus)
Red-billed Spurfowl
Double-banded Sandgrouse
Burchell’s Courser
Bradfield’s Swift
Violet Wood Hoopoe
Damara Hornbill
Monteiro’s Hornbill
Rüppell’s Parrot
Rosy-faced Lovebird
White-tailed Shrike
Southern White-crowned Shrike
Carp’s Tit
Stark’s Lark
Rockrunner
Black-faced Babbler
Southern Pied Babbler
Bare-cheeked Babbler (ESS kaokensis)
Dusky Sunbird
Great Sparrow
Red-headed Finch
Cinderella Waxbill

Rosy-faced Lovebird (Kevin Ravno)
Bare-cheeked Babbler (Kevin Ravno)
Carp’s Tit (Kevin Ravno)
Sociable Weaver (Kevin Ravno)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE or BT (1/2), including ESS
Cape Spurfowl
Crowned Cormorant
Bank Cormorant
Karoo Korhaan
Blue Crane
African Black Oystercatcher
Hartlaub’s Gull
Grey Tit
Karoo Long-billed Lark (ESS damarensis)
Benguela Long-billed Lark (ESS kaokoensis)
Cape Long-billed Lark
Black-eared Sparrow-Lark
Barlow’s Lark (ESS barlowi)
Cape Clapper Lark
Sclater’s Lark
Karoo Prinia
Namaqua Warbler
Cinnamon-breasted Warbler
Karoo Eremomela (ESS damarensis)
Layard’s Warbler | Layard’s Tit-Babbler
Orange River White-eye
Karoo Scrub Robin
Angola Cave Chat
Sickle-winged Chat
Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Black-headed Canary

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2), including ESS
South African Shelduck
African Penguin
Cape Gannet
Cape Cormorant
Namaqua Sandgrouse
White-backed Mousebird
Cape Penduline Tit
Sabota Lark
Monotonous Lark
African Reed Warbler
Burchell’s Starling
Pale-winged Starling
Short-toed Rock Thrush
Karoo Chat (ESS schlegelii)
Ant-eating Chat
Tractrac Chat (ESS barlowi + albicans)
Mountain Wheatear (ESS monticola)
Sociable Weaver (ESS xericus + geminus)
Cape Sparrow
Scaly-feathered Weaver
Shaft-tailed Whydah
Black-throated Canary
Yellow Canary
Lark-like Bunting

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Kunene River Francolin (BT jugularis)
Cape Eagle-Owl (1/2)
Northern Olive Woodpecker
Bradfield’s Lark (1/2)
Damara Canary (1/2)

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
Orange River Francolin
Swainson’s Spurfowl
Slaty Egret
Secretarybird
Ludwig’s Bustard
Red-crested Korhaan
Northern Black Korhaan
Chestnut-banded Plover
Double-banded Courser
Burchell’s Sandgrouse
Coppery-tailed Coucal
Southern White-faced Owl
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar
Olive Bee-eater (alternans)
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Bradfield’s Hornbill
Bennett’s Woodpecker (capricorni)
Pygmy Falcon
Greater Kestrel
Fairy Flycatcher
Pririt Batis
Bokmakierie
Crimson-breasted Shrike
Ashy Tit
Spike-heeled Lark
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark
Fawn-coloured Lark
Eastern Clapper Lark
Pink-billed Lark
African Red-eyed Bulbul
Pearl-breasted Swallow
Long-billed Crombec
Grey-backed Cisticola (ESS windhoekensis)
Rufous-eared Warbler (ESS etoshae)
Barred Wren-Warbler
Burnt-necked Eremomela
Hartlaub’s Babbler
Chestnut-vented Warbler | Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler
Cape Starling
Burchell’s Starling
Kalahari Scrub Robin (ESS damarensis)
Chat Flycatcher
Marico Flycatcher
Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush
Shelley’s Sunbird
Chestnut Weaver (trothae)
Brown Firefinch
Violet-eared Waxbill
Black-faced Waxbill
Nicholson’s Pipit (leucocraspedon, palliditinctus)
White-throated Canary (ESS sordahlae)

National bird
African Fish Eagle | Onkwalukugo | Nwanyi | Mpungu

MAIN HABITATS
Desert, arid savanna, woodlands along the Caprivi Strip

BIRD AREAS
Western Angola Endemic Bird Area
Karoo Secondary Area (SA)
Namib desert SA
Namibian escarpment SA
19 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Spitzkoppe and Spreetshoogte pass for escarpment species, including Herero Chat
Walvis Bay area for Damara Tern, Gray’s Lark and Dune Lark
Brandberg for Benguela Long-billed Lark
Etosha National Park for arid savanna species
Also Windhoek area, Erongo Mountains and Ruacana

TIMING (Oct, Mar–Apr)
Being a dry country, it is best after the main rains (Jan–Apr)
Spring (Sep–Oct), when some birds start to breed, can also be a good time to visit
The cold winter months (May–Aug) are less productive

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 G Ryan (2020)
A Photographic Guide to Birds of Namibia by Ian & Jackie Sinclair (2002)
Pocket Guide Birds of Namibia by Ian Sinclair & Joris Komen (2017)

Sounds
Southern African Bird Sounds by Guy Gibbon
Namibia Soundscapes/Paysages de Namibie by Anthony Walker

Site guides
Southern African Birdfinder by Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode & Jonathan Rossouw (2006)
Birding in Namibia: an Illustrated Guide to Selected Sites by Eckart Demasius (1999)
Namibia’s Caprivi Strip by Christopher Hines (1996)

Atlases
Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP2), a member of the African Bird Atlas Project
Atlasing in Namibia: Bird Information System by the Environmental Information Service (EIS) Namibia

Further reading
Roberts – Birds of Southern Africa edited by P A R Hockey, W R J Dean & P G Ryan (2005)
Birds to Watch in Namibia: Red, Rare and Endemic Species by Rob Simmons, Christopher J Brown & Jessica Kemper (2015)
Namibia by Robert E Simmons, Christian Boix-Hinzen, Keith Barnes, Alice M Jarvis & Antony Robertson in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Birds of Namibia: a Photographic Journey by Pompie Burger (2008)
Birds of the Eastern Caprivi by J H Koen (1988)
Birds of the Etosha National Park by R A C Jensen & C F Clinning (1983)
Articles in Lanioturdus (Journal of the Namibia Bird Club), Namibia Bird News, Namibia Scientific Society Journal, Namibian Journal of Environment, Madoqua (Journal of Arid Zone Biology and Nature Conservation Research), Bull. ABC, etc.

Websites
The Namibian Avifaunal Database includes all available information on birds in Namibia including SABAP1 data, nest record cards, wetland bird counts, raptor road counts, and museum specimens
Birdwatching in Namibia is a website owned by Neil MacLeod, who runs SafariWise, a tour operator based in Namibia specializing in birding tours
Birds in Etosha National Park
Namib Sand Sea – UNESCO World Heritage List

Blogs
Birds in Namibia from the Gondwana Collection
Namibia’s 15 Key Birds – 10,000 Birds by Adam Riley

Facebook groups
Birds of Namibia is a group for sharing photos and posts of bird species found in Namibia

ORGANISATIONS

There is currently no BirdLife Partner in Namibia

Bird or conservation organisations active in Namibia include –
Namibia Bird Club (formerly the Ornithological Working Group of the Namibia Scientific Society)
Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF)
Namibian Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS)
Vultures Namibia
Wild Bird Trust
Rare & Endangered Species Trust (REST)
Namibia Animal Rehabilitation Research and Education Centre (NARREC)
Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC)
Coastal Environmental Trust of Namibia (CETN)
Lüderitz Marine Research
NamibRand Conservation Foundation (NRCF)
African Safari Foundation (ASF)
Peace Parks Foundation: Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) and /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
WWF
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

NNF supports two working groups who focus on the conservation of Namibia’s birdlife and their habitats –
Namibia Crane Working Group, who publish Namibia Crane News
Raptors Namibia Working Group

The National Museum of Namibia, Windhoek holds the world’s largest collection of Namibian bird specimens

Gobabeb Namib Research Institute is a catalyst for gathering, understanding and sharing knowledge about arid environments, especially the hyper-arid Namib Desert

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