South Sudan

Central Africa

644,329 km²



Strongly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 820 recorded species (10th longest bird list of any country in the ABC region)

Shoebill (Adam Riley)
Abyssinian Waxbill (John Caddick)
Cinnamon Weaver (Tom Jenner)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not near-endemics (1/2)
Cinnamon Weaver

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Archer’s Francolin
Schuett’s Spurfowl
Black-shouldered Nightjar
Abyssinian Nightjar
Eastern Black-billed Turaco
Eastern Piping Hornbill
Eastern Little Hornbill
Northern Red-fronted Tinkerbird
Eastern Yellow-billed Barbet
Ethiopian Puffback
Glossy-backed Drongo
Singing Bush Lark
Pale-throated Greenbul
Ethiopian Saw-wing (1/2)
Mangbettu Saw-wing (1/2)
Eastern Crombec
African Reed Warbler
Mongalla Cisticola (1/2)
Eastern Buff-throated Apalis
Tawny-breasted Camaroptera
Ethiopian White-eye
White-winged Scrub Robin
Emin’s Weaver
Abyssinian Waxbill (1/2)
Black-faced Quailfinch
Grey Firefinch
Ethiopian Firefinch

Yellow-billed Shrike (Tasso Leventis)
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler (Tasso Leventis)
Spotted Ground Thrush (Kevin Ravno)

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Common Ostrich (camelus)
African Pygmy Goose
Stone Partridge
Crested Francolin (grantii)
Schlegel’s Francolin
Heuglin’s Spurfowl
Clapperton’s Spurfowl
Yellow-necked Spurfowl
Long-tailed Nightjar
Slender-tailed Nightjar
Standard-winged Nightjar
Pennant-winged Nightjar
White-bellied Go-away-bird
Eastern Plantain-eater
White-crested Turaco
Arabian Bustard (ESS butleri)
Denham’s Bustard
Hartlaub’s Bustard
Blue-headed Coucal
White-browed Coucal
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (ellioti)
Four-banded Sandgrouse
Bruce’s Green Pigeon
Black Crowned Crane
Long-toed Lapwing
Black-headed Lapwing
Egyptian Plover
Lesser Jacana
African Skimmer
Scissor-tailed Kite
Egyptian Vulture
Rüppell’s Vulture
Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle
Western Banded Snake Eagle
Grasshopper Buzzard
Pel’s Fishing Owl
Blue-naped Mousebird
Black Scimitarbill
Abyssinian Scimitarbill
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Northern Red-billed Hornbill
Hemprich’s Hornbill
Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill
Abyssinian Roller
Blue-bellied Roller
Red-throated Bee-eater
African Green Bee-eater
Northern Carmine Bee-eater
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
Red-fronted Barbet
Spot-flanked Barbet
Vieillot’s Barbet
White-headed Barbet
Black-billed Barbet
Double-toothed Barbet
Black-breasted Barbet
D’Arnaud’s Barbet
Fine-spotted Woodpecker
Nubian Woodpecker
Bearded Woodpecker
Speckle-breasted Woodpecker
African Grey Woodpecker
Brown-backed Woodpecker
Fox Kestrel
Niam-niam Parrot
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Red-headed Lovebird
Grey-headed Batis (chadensis)
Western Black-headed Batis
Brown-throated Wattle-eye (nyansae)
Marsh Tchagra
Northern Puffback (malzacii)
Tropical Boubou (major)
Black-headed Gonolek
Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike
Yellow-billed Shrike
Emin’s Shrike
Grey-backed Fiscal
Black-headed Oriole
Fan-tailed Raven
African Blue Flycatcher
White-shouldered Black Tit
Sennar Penduline Tit
Yellow Penduline Tit
Rufous-rumped Lark
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark
Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark (leucotis)
Red-winged Lark (ESS kathangorensis)
Kordofan Lark
White-tailed Lark
Sun Lark
Foxy Cisticola
Red-winged Prinia (jodoptera)
Red-winged Grey Warbler
Buff-bellied Warbler
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Green-backed Eremomela
Rufous Chatterer
Brown Babbler
Dusky Babbler
Yellow-bellied Hyliota
Lesser Blue-eared Starling
Bronze-tailed Starling
Splendid Starling
Purple Starling
Rüppell’s Starling
Long-tailed Glossy Starling
Superb Starling
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Red-billed Oxpecker
Grey Tit-Flycatcher
African Grey Flycatcher (neumanni)
Gambaga Flycatcher
Swamp Flycatcher
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat
Spotted Palm Thrush
Sooty Chat
Heuglin’s Wheatear
White-fronted Black Chat
Western Violet-backed Sunbird
Pygmy Sunbird
Nile Valley Sunbird
Beautiful Sunbird
Red-chested Sunbird
Palestine Sunbird (decorsei)
Sahel Bush Sparrow
Chestnut Sparrow
Shelley’s Sparrow | White Nile Sparrow
Swainson’s Sparrow
White-headed Buffalo Weaver
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver
Grey-capped Social Weaver
Speckle-fronted Weaver
Spectacled Weaver
Heuglin’s Masked Weaver
Northern Masked Weaver
Golden-backed Weaver
Compact Weaver
Grey-headed Silverbill
African Silverbill
Grey-headed Oliveback
Fawn-breasted Waxbill
Black-rumped Waxbill
Black-bellied Seedcracker
Red-winged Pytilia (emini)
Dybowski’s Twinspot
Brown Twinspot
Jameson’s Firefinch
Black-bellied Firefinch
Bar-breasted Firefinch (lateritia)
Jambandu Indigobird
Barka Indigobird
Wilson’s Indigobird
Quailfinch Indigobird
Cameroon Indigobird
Long-tailed Paradise Whydah | Eastern Paradise Whydah
Sahel Paradise Whydah
Exclamatory Paradise Whydah
Cuckoo-finch | Parasitic Weaver
White-rumped Seedeater
Stripe-breasted Seedeater
West African Seedeater
Gosling’s Bunting
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting (septemstriata/tahapisi)
Brown-rumped Bunting
Cabanis’s Bunting

Clapperton’s Spurfowl (Kevin Ravno)

National bird
African Fish Eagle | Kuëi

Afromontane forest, Guinea woodlands, moist savannas, swamps

12 Important Bird Areas

The Sudd for Cinnamon Weaver as well as Saddle-billed Stork, Shoebill and Lesser Swamp Warbler
Imatong Mountains, Dongotona Mountains and Didinga Hills for montane and some lowland forest species including, at least formerly, African Black Duck, Scarce Swift, African Olive Pigeon, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon (sharpei), Dusky Turtle Dove, Striped Flufftail, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Mountain Buzzard, Augur Buzzard, White-headed Wood Hoopoe (jacksoni), Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Cassin’s Honeybird, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Chinspot Batis, Pink-footed Puffback, Lühder’s Bushshrike, Grey Cuckooshrike (purus), Purple-throated Cuckooshrike (martini), Sharpe’s Drongo, White-bellied Tit, Dusky Tit, Joyful Greenbul, Cabanis’s Greenbul (sucosus), Toro Olive Greenbul, White-headed Saw-wing, Brown Woodland Warbler (mackenzianus), Mountain Yellow Warbler, Bamboo Warbler, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler (cavei), Highland Rush Warbler (sudanensis), Rock-loving Cisticola (petrophilus), Wing-snapping Cisticola (imatong), Black-collared Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Grey Apalis, Grey-capped Warbler, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Rufous-crowned Eremomela (ESS latukae), African Hill Babbler, Brown Parisoma (jacksoni), Waller’s Starling (elgonensis), Stuhlmann’s Starling, Sharpe’s Starling, Spotted Ground Thrush (ESS maxis), Abyssinian Ground Thrush (ESS hadii), Abyssinian Thrush, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher (fischeri), African Dusky Flycatcher (pumila), Brown-chested Alethe (ESS giloensis), Cape Robin-Chat, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat (bartteloti), White-starred Robin (ESS pallidiflava), Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Equatorial Akalat (ESS acholiensis), African Stonechat (albofasciatus), Grey-chinned Sunbird, Amethyst Sunbird (kirkii), Tacazze Sunbird (jacksoni), Malachite Sunbird (cupreonitens), Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Black-billed Weaver (stephanophorus), Dark-backed Weaver (mentalis), Brown-capped Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe, Yellow-bellied Waxbill (quartinia), Green Twinspot (chubbi), Abyssinian Crimsonwing (kilimensis), Grey-headed Nigrita (schistaceus), Black-crowned Waxbill, Oriole Finch (elgonensis), Southern Citril (brittoni), Streaky Seedeater and Yellow-crowned Canary
Bengengai, at least formerly, for Niam-niam Parrot and lowland forest species including Hartlaub’s Duck, Latham’s Francolin, Blue Malkoha, White-naped Pigeon, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, White-spotted Flufftail, Long-tailed Hawk, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Black-headed Bee-eater, Spotted Honeyguide, Buff-spotted Woodpecker (herberti), Little Green Woodpecker (permista), Lowland Sooty Boubou, African Shrike-Flycatcher, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Dusky Crested Flycatcher (nigromitrata), Yellow-eyed Bristlebill (ugandae), Simple Greenbul, Red-tailed Greenbul (emini), Yellow Longbill, Spotted Thrush-Babbler (turdina), Puvel’s Illadopsis (strenuipes), Fire-crested Alethe, Yellow-breasted Forest Robin, Splendid Sunbird, Black-necked Weaver and Blue-billed Malimbe
Bengengai and Imatong Mountains for Western Crested Guineafowl, Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Grey-throated Barbet, Least Honeyguide, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Western Oriole, Black-winged Oriole, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Western Nicator, Red-tailed Bristlebill (woosnami), Honeyguide Greenbul, Plain Greenbul, White-throated Greenbul, Green Crombec, Green Hylia, White-chinned Prinia, Brown Illadopsis (ugandae), Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Little Green Sunbird, Green-throated Sunbird and Red-headed Bluebill
Aloma Plateau for Afep Pigeon, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Congo Pied Hornbill, Black-casqued Hornbill, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Red-tailed Leaflove, Fraser’s Rufous Thrush, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Sooty Flycatcher and Vieillot’s Black Weaver
Boma Plateau for White-cheeked Turaco, Kori Bustard, Lemon Dove (bronzina), Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Half-collared Kingfisher, Ethiopian Bee-eater, Eastern Grey Woodpecker, Brown-throated Wattle-eye (aethiopica), Ethiopian Boubou, White-rumped Babbler, Boran Cisticola, Red-winged Starling, Abyssinian Ground Thrush (piaggiae), Rüppell’s Robin-Chat, White-crowned Robin-Chat, Baglafecht Weaver (baglafecht) and Rüppell’s Weaver
Extreme south-east for arid savanna species, including Sombre Nightjar, Donaldson-Smith’s Nightjar, Star-spotted Nightjar, Heuglin’s Bustard, Buff-crested Bustard, Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (sukensis), Crowned Lapwing, Somali Courser, Jackson’s Hornbill, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Olive Bee-eater, Black-throated Barbet, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Pygmy Batis, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Three-streaked Tchagra, Slate-coloured Boubou, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Taita Fiscal, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Chestnut-headed Sparrow-Lark (harrisoni), Pink-breasted Lark, Red-winged Lark (kidepoensis), Northern Brownbul, Red-faced Crombec, Ashy Cisticola, Tiny Cisticola, Pale Prinia (erlangeri), Red-fronted Prinia (smithi), Brown-tailed Apalis, Grey Wren-Warbler, Shelley’s Starling, Magpie Starling, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Hunter’s Sunbird, Shining Sunbird (turkanae), Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow, Parrot-billed Sparrow, White-billed Buffalo Weaver, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Lesser Masked Weaver, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Purple Grenadier, Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, Steel-blue Whydah, Straw-tailed Whydah, Golden Pipit, Reichenow’s Seedeater, White-bellied Canary and Somali Bunting

TIMING (Jan–Mar)
Best in the dry season (Nov–Mar) when access is easier and Afro-Palearctic migrants are present

Birds of Africa (iOS or Android)

Field guides
Birds of Africa South of the Sahara by Ian Sinclair & Peter Ryan (2010)
Birds of East Africa by Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe (2020) treats almost all species
Birds of the Horn of Africa by Nigel Redman, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe (2011) and Birds of Western Africa by Nik Borrow & Ron Demey (2014) each have most species

African Bird Sounds Vol 2: West and Central Africa by Claude Chappuis

Distribution Atlas of Sudan’s Birds with Notes on Habitat and Status by Gerhard Nikolaus (1987)

Further reading
Birds of South Sudan by Gerhard Nikolaus (1989)
Sudan by Peter Robertson in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Bird Observations from South-east Sudan by Marc de Bont (2009)
Bird Observations around Juba, South Sudan by Mark Mallalieu (2013)
Articles in Scopus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Birding South Sudan by Mark Mallalieu (2011-2012)
South Sudan Safaris – Bahr el Jebel Safaris (2015-2016)
Wildlife Advocacy South Sudan


There is currently no BirdLife Partner in South Sudan

Bird or conservation organisations active in South Sudan include –
South Sudan Wildlife Society (SSWS)
South Sudan Nature Conservation Organisation (SSNCO)
Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
WCS South Sudan

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