South-Central Africa

752,620 km²



Strongly Afrotropical avifauna
Approximately 780 recorded species

Chaplin’s Barbet (Kevin Ravno)
Lilian’s Lovebird (Paul van Giersbergen)
Fülleborn’s Longclaw (Pete Morris)

Endemics (E)
White-chested Tinkerbird (DD)
Chaplin’s Barbet | Zambian Barbet (VU)
Black-cheeked Lovebird (VU)

Near-endemics (NE)
Shelley’s Sunbird

Birds best found in Zambia but occurring more widely (BT)
Rufous-bellied Heron
Chestnut-headed Flufftail
Laura’s Woodland Warbler (eustacei)
Bamboo Warbler (kungwensis)
Dambo Cisticola (dambo)
Katanga Masked Weaver (katangae)
Bar-winged Weaver
Red-throated Twinspot
Grimwood’s Longclaw

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not NE or BT (1/2)
Whyte’s Double-collared Sunbird
Tanzanian Masked Weaver

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2)
Streaky-breasted Flufftail
Anchieta’s Barbet
Miombo Pied Barbet
Margaret’s Batis (kathleenae)
Angola Lark
Black-and-rufous Swallow
Livingstone’s Flycatcher
Luapula Cisticola
Black-necked Eremomela
Sharp-tailed Starling
Bocage’s Akalat (chapini)
Böhm’s Flycatcher
Bannerman’s Sunbird
Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Weaver
Bocage’s Weaver
Locust Finch
Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah
Fülleborn’s Longclaw
Short-tailed Pipit
Reichard’s Seedeater
Black-eared Seedeater

Black-necked Eremomela (Pete Morris)
Anchieta’s Barbet (Pete Morris)

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Eastern Black-backed Barbet (BT)
Northern Olive Woodpecker
East African Pitta (BT)
Anchieta’s Tchagra
Zambian Yellow Warbler (E)
Black-chinned Quailfinch (B2)
Benguela Seedeater (1/2)

Livingstone’s Flycatcher (Pete Morris)
Miombo Pied Barbet (Pete Morris)
Bannerman’s Sunbird (Nik Borrow)

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
White-backed Duck
White-throated Francolin (dewittei)
Shelley’s Francolin
Whyte’s Francolin
Blue Quail
Slaty Egret
Ovambo Sparrowhawk
African Finfoot
Striped Crake
Lesser Moorhen
Wattled Crane
Black-rumped Buttonquail
Forbes’s Plover
Greater Painted-snipe
Lesser Jacana
Bronze-winged Courser
Lemon Dove (samaliyae)
Schalow’s Turaco
Ross’s Turaco
Coppery-tailed Coucal
Thick-billed Cuckoo
African Grass Owl
Böhm’s Spinetail
Racket-tailed Roller
Blue-breasted Bee-eater (bangweoloensis)
Böhm’s Bee-eater
Pale-billed Hornbill
Whyte’s Barbet
Lilian’s Lovebird | Nyasa Lovebird
Grey-headed Parrot
African Broadbill
Black-throated Wattle-eye
Black-fronted Bushshrike (manningi)
Souza’s Shrike
Rufous-bellied Tit
Miombo Tit
Eastern Nicator
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark (ESS harti)
Eastern Clapper Lark (ESS jappi)
Joyful Greenbul (schoutedeni)
Grey-olive Greenbul
Black-collared Bulbul
Red-throated Cliff Swallow
Long-billed Crombec (adelphe)
Red-capped Crombec
White-winged Warbler
Tinkling Cisticola
Chirping Cisticola
Long-tailed Cisticola
Cloud Cisticola (anselli)
Pale-crowned Cisticola
Miombo Wren-Warbler | Pale Wren-Warbler (katangae)
Spotted Thrush-Babbler (upembae)
Southern Hyliota (inornata)
Miombo Blue-eared Starling
Splendid Starling (bailundensis)
Meves’s Starling
Babbling Starling
Miombo Scrub Robin
Swamp Flycatcher (ESS grimwoodi)
Collared Palm Thrush
Miombo Rock Thrush
Arnot’s Chat
Ruaha Chat
Anchieta’s Sunbird
Eastern Miombo Sunbird
Western Miombo Sunbird
Oustalet’s Sunbird (rhodesiae)
Marsh Widowbird
Long-tailed Widowbird (delacouri)
Orange-winged Pytilia
Brown Firefinch
Grey Waxbill
Black-and-white Mannikin (woltersi)
Zambezi Indigobird
Rosy-breasted Longclaw
Wood Pipit
Striped Pipit
Black-faced Canary
Vincent’s Bunting

African Finfoot (Pete Morris)
Wattled Crane (John Caddick)
Böhm’s Spinetail (Pete Morris)
Souza’s Shrike (Pete Morris)
African Fish Eagle (Kevin Ravno)

National bird
African Fish Eagle | Cembe

Miombo woodlands, dambo grasslands, mopane woodland, moist savanna, gallery forest

Tanzania – Malawi mountains Endemic Bird Area
North-west Zambia Secondary Area (SA)
South-west Tanzanian swamps SA
Southern Zambia SA
42 Important Bird Areas

Nkanga River Conservation Area for Chaplin’s Barbet
Siavonga area for African Pitta
Mwinilunga for Guinea-Congolian forest species
Mutinondo Wilderness for miombo species
Mulobezi and Simungoma for Black-cheeked Lovebird
Bangweulu wetlands for Shoebill

TIMING (Sep–Oct, Dec)
Best at the start of the rains when most birds breed (Sep–Dec)
African Pitta starts to display in Dec, and Chestnut-headed Flufftail is best found Dec–Jan
Where Black-cheeked Lovebird occurs is more accessible in the dry season (Jul–Nov)
May–Jul is least productive

Birds of Zambia

Field guides
Birds of Africa South of the Sahara by Ian Sinclair & Peter Ryan (2010)
Birds of Southern Africa by Ber van Perlo (2009)
A Field Guide to Zambian Birds Not Found in Southern Africa by Dylan R Aspinwall & Carl Beel (1998) covers species not treated in Sasol Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Warwick Tarboton, Niall Perrins, Dominic Rollinson & Peter Ryan (2020)
Pocket Guide Birds of Zambia by Rory McDougall & Derek Solomon (2021)
Common Birds of Zambia: a First Identification Guide by Zambian Ornithological Society (1993)

Sounds of Zambian Wildlife by Bob Stjernstedt features recordings of over 570 bird species
African Bird Sounds Vol 2: West and Central Africa by Claude Chappuis also covers most species
Bird Songs of Zambia by Bob Stjernstedt contains songs and calls of 415 species

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

Further reading
The Birds of Zambia: an Atlas and Handbook by Robert J Dowsett, Dylan R Aspinwall & Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire (2008)
A Contribution to the Ornithology of Zambia edited by Robert J Dowsett (2009)
The Zambia Barn Swallow Project 2007-2008 edited by Bennie van den Brink (2008)
Important Bird Areas in Zambia: Priority Sites for Conservation by Peter Leonard (2005)
Zambia by P M Leonard in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Zambia Bird Reports (1997-1999)
Articles in Bull. Zambian Orn. Soc. (1969-1984), Zambia Museums Journal, BWZ/ZOS Newsletter, Bull. ABC, etc.

Birding Zambia
Mosi-oa-Tunya – UNESCO World Heritage List

Facebook groups
Birding Zambia brings Zambia’s top birders and conservationists together, to help you enjoy Zambia’s astounding wilderness areas and its 782 bird species
BirdWatch Zambia Forum is for people interested in birds and birding in Zambia


BirdWatch Zambia (BWZ), formerly the Zambian Ornithological Society (ZOS), is the BirdLife Partner in Zambia

African Cuckoos are a group of evolutionary biologists studying brood parasites in the field in Choma, Zambia

The Zambia Barn Swallow Project was a collaboration between Stichting Hirundo and the BirdLife Partners in Zambia and the Netherlands

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Zambia include –
Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia (WECZ)
Zambia CBNRM (Community-Based Natural Resources Management) Forum
Kasanka Trust
Conservation South Luangwa (CSL)
Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ)
African Parks: Bangweulu Wetlands and Liuwa Plain
Peace Parks Foundation: Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), Liuwa Plains-Mussuma TFCA, Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools TFCA and Malawi-Zambia TFCA
Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS)
WWF Zambia
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

The Livingstone Museum’s Ornithology Section curates collections of bird specimens, eggs and nests

Shopping Cart