Southern Africa

824,292 km²



Afrotropical avifauna in the north-east, subtropical in the south
Approximately 680 recorded species

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

Near-endemics (NE), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Rüppell’s Korhaan | Rüppell’s Bustard (ESS fitzsimonsi)
Damara Tern
Gray’s Lark (ESS grayi)
Dune Lark
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 Spurfowl
Red-billed Spurfowl
Bradfield’s Swift
Double-banded Sandgrouse
Burchell’s Courser
Violet Wood Hoopoe
Damara Red-billed Hornbill | Damara Hornbill
Monteiro’s Hornbill
Rüppell’s Parrot
Rosy-faced Lovebird
White-tailed Shrike | Ground Batis
Southern White-crowned Shrike | White-crowned Shrike
Carp’s Tit
Stark’s Lark
Rockrunner | Damara Rockjumper
Bare-cheeked Babbler (ESS kaokensis)
Southern Pied Babbler
Black-faced Babbler
Dusky Sunbird
Great Sparrow | Great Rufous 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
Karoo Korhaan | Karoo Bustard
African Oystercatcher
Hartlaub’s Gull
Crowned Cormorant
Bank Cormorant
Benguela Long-billed Lark (ESS kaokoensis)
Cape Long-billed Lark
Cape Clapper Lark
Sclater’s Lark
Namaqua Warbler
Cinnamon-breasted Warbler | Kopje Warbler
Karoo Eremomela | Yellow-rumped Eremomela (ESS damarensis)
Orange River White-eye
Angola Cave Chat
Cape Weaver

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2), including ESS
South African Shelduck
Ludwig’s Bustard
Namaqua Sandgrouse
African Penguin
Cape Gannet
Cape Cormorant
Black Harrier
Jackal Buzzard
White-backed Mousebird
Cape Penduline Tit | Southern Penduline Tit
Karoo Long-billed Lark (ESS damarensis)
Black-eared Sparrow-Lark
Sabota Lark (ESS naevia)
Monotonous Lark
Layard’s Warbler | Layard’s Tit-Babbler (aridicola)
Pale-winged Starling
Karoo Thrush
Karoo Scrub Robin
Short-toed Rock Thrush
Karoo Chat (ESS schlegelii)
Tractrac Chat (ESS nebulosa + barlowi + albicans)
Ant-eating Chat | Southern Anteater Chat
Mountain Wheatear (ESS atmorii)
Cape Sparrow
Sociable Weaver
Scaly-feathered Weaver | Scaly Weaver
Shaft-tailed Whydah
Black-throated Canary
Yellow Canary
Black-headed Canary
Lark-like Bunting

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Kunene Francolin (BT)
Cape Gull (B2)
Ngami Owlet
Cape Eagle-Owl (1/2)
Northern Olive Woodpecker
Grey-headed Parrot
Clancey’s Drongo
Bradfield’s Lark (1/2)
Barlow’s Lark (1/2)
African Reed Warbler (B2)
Kunene Starling (1/2)
Spectacled Quailfinch
Ansorge’s Firefinch (B2)
Benguela Seedeater
Damara Canary (1/2)

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
Common Ostrich
Cape Shoveler
African Black Duck
Southern Pochard
Maccoa Duck
Crested Francolin
Orange River Francolin (levalliantoides)
Swainson’s Spurfowl
Rufous-cheeked Nightjar
Fiery-necked Nightjar
Freckled Nightjar
Square-tailed Nightjar
African Black Swift | African Swift
Grey Go-away-bird
Kori Bustard
Red-crested Korhaan | Red-crested Bustard
Northern Black Korhaan | White-quilled Bustard
Burchell’s Sandgrouse
African Green Pigeon (ESS vylderi)
Blacksmith Lapwing
Crowned Lapwing
Caspian Plover
Double-banded Courser (ESS erlangeri)
Three-banded Courser
Cape Vulture | Cape Griffon
Booted Eagle
Verreaux’s Eagle
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Augur Buzzard
Southern White-faced Owl
Red-faced Mousebird
Common Scimitarbill (cyanomelas)
Southern Ground Hornbill
Southern Red-billed Hornbill
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Lilac-breasted Roller
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (hirundineus)
European Bee-eater | Golden Bee-eater
Acacia Pied Barbet | Pied Barbet
Bennett’s Woodpecker (capricorni)
Bearded Woodpecker
Pygmy Falcon
Rock Kestrel
Greater Kestrel
Meyer’s Parrot
Chinspot Batis
Pririt Batis
Black-backed Puffback | Southern Puffback (okavangensis)
Crimson-breasted Shrike | Crimson-breasted Gonolek
Southern Fiscal
Cape Crow
Fairy Flycatcher
Ashy Tit
Grey Tit | Southern Grey Tit
Spike-heeled Lark (ESS erikssoni + boweni)
Dusky Lark
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark
Fawn-colored Lark
Eastern Clapper Lark
Pink-billed Lark (ESS damarensis)
Large-billed Lark
Red-capped Lark
African Red-eyed Bulbul | Black-fronted Bulbul
Pearl-breasted Swallow
White-throated Swallow
Greater Striped Swallow
South African Cliff Swallow | South African Swallow
Long-billed Crombec | Cape Crombec
Lesser Swamp Warbler (cunenensis/gracilirostris)
Rattling Cisticola (ESS frater)
Tinkling Cisticola
Grey-backed Cisticola | Red-headed Cisticola (ESS windhoekensis)
Levaillant’s Cisticola
Desert Cisticola
Black-chested Prinia
Karoo Prinia
Rufous-eared Warbler (ESS etoshae)
Barred Wren-Warbler
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Burnt-necked Eremomela
Chestnut-vented Warbler | Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler (cinerascens)
Cape Starling
Burchell’s Starling
Groundscraper Thrush
Kalahari Scrub Robin
Chat Flycatcher
Marico Flycatcher | Mariqua Flycatcher
Cape Robin-Chat
Sickle-winged Chat
Capped Wheatear
Familiar Chat
Amethyst Sunbird
Malachite Sunbird
Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Marico Sunbird | Mariqua Sunbird
White-bellied Sunbird | White-breasted Sunbird
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver
White-browed Sparrow-Weaver
Lesser Masked Weaver
Southern Masked Weaver
Chestnut Weaver (trothae)
Southern Red Bishop
Black-faced Waxbill (erythronotos)
Common Waxbill (ESS damarensis)
Violet-eared Waxbill
Blue Waxbill | Southern Cordon-bleu
Long-tailed Paradise Whydah | Eastern Paradise Whydah
Cape Wagtail
African Pied Wagtail (aguimp)
Nicholson’s Pipit (leucocraspedon + palliditinctus)
Buffy Pipit (ESS namibicus)
White-throated Canary
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting (nivenorum)
Cape Bunting (ESS bradfieldi)

National bird
African Fish Eagle | Onkwalukugo | Nwanyi | Mpungu

Desert, escarpments, arid savanna, woodlands and wetlands along the Caprivi Strip

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

Namib-Naukluft National Park (NP) for desert species including Gray’s Lark and Dune Lark
Walvis Bay and Offshore for Damara Tern as well as Cape Teal, Great Crested Grebe and Black-necked Grebe, Greater Flamingo and Lesser Flamingo, waders/shorebirds including African Oystercatcher and Eurasian Oystercatcher, Chestnut-banded Plover, Red Knot, Red-necked Phalarope and Red Phalarope, seabirds including Sabine’s Gull, Caspian Tern, Greater Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Brown Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Black-bellied Storm Petrel, Snowy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Shy Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, European Storm Petrel, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Southern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Cape Petrel, Antarctic Prion, Great-winged Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Spectacled Petrel, Cory’s Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Great Shearwater and Manx Shearwater, as well as White-breasted Cormorant and Great White Pelican
Erongo Mountains, Spitzkoppe and Spreetshoogte Pass for escarpment species including Herero Chat
Brandberg for Benguela Long-billed Lark
Etosha NP for Blue Crane and arid savanna species including Egyptian Vulture
Zebra Mountains for Angola Cave Chat
Kunene River at Ruacana for Cinderella Waxbill and Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush as well as Red-necked Spurfowl (afer), Grey Kestrel and Olive Bee-eater (alternans)
Caprivi Strip (Bwabwata NP, Mudumu NP and Nkasa Rupara NP) for waterbirds and woodland and swamp species including White-backed Duck, African Pygmy Goose, Swamp Nightjar, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Böhm’s Spinetail, Horus Swift, Schalow’s Turaco, Denham’s Bustard, Senegal Coucal, Coppery-tailed Coucal, White-browed Coucal, Black Coucal, Thick-billed Cuckoo, African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, African Finfoot, Lesser Moorhen, Striped Crake, Wattled Crane, Long-toed Lapwing, White-crowned Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Greater Painted-snipe, Lesser Jacana, Collared Pratincole, Rock Pratincole, African Skimmer, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork, White-backed Night Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Slaty Egret, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Marsh Owl, Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Wood Owl, Narina Trogon, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, Trumpeter Hornbill, Racket-tailed Roller, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Half-collared Kinfisher, White-fronted Bee-eater, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Black-collared Barbet, Crested Barbet, Green-backed Honeybird, Dickinson’s Kestrel, African Broadbill, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Tropical Boubou, Swamp Boubou, Retz’s Helmetshrike, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Magpie Shrike, Souza’s Shrike, Black-headed Oriole, Southern Black Tit, Rufous-bellied Tit, Grey Penduline Tit, Eastern Nicator, Flappet Lark, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, Dark-capped Bulbul, Banded Martin, Grey-rumped Swallow, Wire-tailed Swallow, Greater Swamp Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Red-faced Cisticola, Luapula Cisticola, Chirping Cisticola, Neddicky, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Southern Yellow White-eye, Arrow-marked Babbler, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Miombo Blue-eared Starling, Meves’s Starling, Sharp-tailed Starling, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Red-billed Oxpecker, Kurrichane Thrush, Bearded Scrub Robin, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Southern Black Flycatcher, Pale Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, White-browed Robin-Chat, Collared Palm Thrush, African Stonechat, Arnot’s Chat, Collared Sunbird, Shelley’s Sunbird, Purple-banded Sunbird, Copper Sunbird, Yellow-throated Bush Sparrow, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Thick-billed Weaver, Spectacled Weaver, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Village Weaver, Fan-tailed Widowbird, White-winged Widowbird, Bronze Mannikin, Orange-breasted Waxbill, Orange-winged Pytilia, Jameson’s Firefinch, Brown Firefinch, Purple Indigobird, Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah, Cuckoo-finch, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Wood Pipit and Yellow-fronted Canary

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)
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)

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)

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.

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

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


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
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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