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Rare Birds to Spot on Your Next Safari: A Birder’s Guide

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Adelle Bell

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Adelle Bell

Author: Adelle Bell - 5 January 2024

Last Update: 16 February 2024

Birding Safaris

Africa offers expansive and diverse climates and regions, with everything from deserts to coastal land and savannah plains. Some 2,477 bird species live in Africa, with many of them rare or unique to this beautiful continent.

Birding safaris present an opportunity to experience rare and amazing African birds with your own eyes, creating memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Read this article to learn more about the rare species of birds that call Africa home, plus incredible birding safaris you can take!

5 Rare Birds to Look For on Your Safari

On a birding safari, you’ll be able to view diverse birdlife and take advantage of incredible photo opportunities and wildlife experiences. Tanzania, Ethiopia, and South Africa have the most endemic species out of all the African countries, making them some of the best locations to visit for any bird-watching enthusiast!

Here are just a few of the rare birds you might see on your birding safari:

1. African Shoebill

The shoebill can be found in swampy areas in several African countries, including:

An African shoebill opens its beak.
An African shoebill opens its beak.

This bird is known for its unusual appearance, which features a giant beak and long, gangly legs. Its feathers are blue-grey in colour and is known for its shy personality. It is also critically endangered, so consider yourself especially lucky if you spot a shoebill!

2. Taita Apalis

Found only in Kenya, the Taita Apalis remains critically endangered due to illegal logging and overall loss of habitat. They live in subtropical and tropical forests in the Taita Hills and are dark grey in colour, with black throats and breasts.

3. Wattled Cranes

Wattled cranes are mainly found in countries like South Africa and Ethiopia. They prefer wetlands, which can make them difficult to access simply due to the locations they tend to frequent. They have large red beaks and long, thin legs with grey plumage. Wattled cranes are currently threatened, mainly by the destruction of wetlands in Africa.

4. White-Wing Flufftail

With a global adult population of less than two hundred and fifty adults, this African bird is one of the rarest of them all. They are found in high-altitude marshlands and grasslands across several countries, including South Africa and Zambia. They have pale feathers and dark heads, with white secondary feathers.

5. Grey Crowned Crane

The grey-crowned crane can be found in nearly every African country but is currently threatened due to challenges presented by development and agricultural pesticides.

A pair of grey-crowned cranes in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
A pair of grey-crowned cranes in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.

It has grey feathers, with a golden crown on its head, and a red throat pouch. This bird is also famous for its elaborate mating dance and loud honks.

Birdwatching with Discover Africa Safaris

A birdwatching safari can be an incredible way to learn more about all of the unique and beautiful birds that are home to Africa, as well as the ways we can all work together to protect them. Discover Africa offers responsible and sustainable birding safaris to a variety of unforgettable destinations.

Book a birding safari with us now!

 

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