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Bird watching in Botswana

Chobe’s impressive diversity of habitats make it home to the highest variety of bird species (468) in Botswana. A drive or boat cruise along the Chobe River will offer plenty of opportunities to see large raptors like Bateleur Eagles, migrant Wahlberg’s Eagles, white-backed or Lapped-faced Vultures, and of course the conspicuous African Fish Eagle. Fish Eagles dominate prime river perches where they throw back their heads and punctuate the air with cries of wild grandeur. African Skimmers arrive at Chobe’s riverbanks in the beginning of winter where they nest in exposed sandbanks and skim across the silvery waters with beaks ajar to snatch up tiny fish that come to the surface looking for warmth. Small flocks of Rock Pranticoles arrive from North Africa laying eggs in the small depressions of rocks that stick out in the river. Other migrant species are Yellow-billed Kites, Woodland Kingfishers and the very striking Carmine Bee Eaters and other common water birds of the area are African Spoonbills, Squacco Herons, Open-billed Storks, Black Herons, Great Egrets, Pied Kingfishers, African Jacanas and Yellow-billed Storks.

Linyanti swamp is a mecca for wildlife and birding

In Chobe’s forested areas, birders should look out for Schalow’s and Purple-crested Turacos, Trumpeter and Crowned hornbills, Crested Guinea fowls, Racket-tailed Rollers, Brown-necked Parrots and Narina Trogons (summer only).

The slaty egret is a threatened species

The Linyanti Swamps are home to the endemic Slaty Egret and a good place to see small waders such as the Lesser Jacana and African Painted Snipe. Gregarious Southern Carmine Bee Eaters nest on Linyanti’s dry floodplains, an unusual choice for a bird that usually favors riverbanks. Here, on the ground, their eggs and chicks are more vulnerable to predators like water monitors, raptors and small carnivorous mammals. Despite these dangers they’ve bred successfully in Linyanti for consecutive years and are a delight for visitors; somersaulting through the air in pink clouds and following closely beside moving game vehicles to snatch up disturbed insects.

The Carmine bee-eater is a vibrant bird

A great spectacle that occurs each year in Chobe (and all across Botswana) happens during the onset of the first rains; the rain acts as a trigger for reproductive winged termites to leave their colonies in pursuit of wet earth to begin new mounds. As they exit in their thousands, they attract birds of every plume and feather – including large raptors and vultures, that congregate around mounds to snatch these sausage-bodied insects from the air. It is a feathered frenzy of unrivaled proportions! Even leopards have been known to partake in the feast, taking advantage of the rich protein source.


Popular Botswana Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Dhow at andBeyond Benguerra Island | Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

Experience the Okavango Delta and the tropical Indian Ocean island of Benguerra for the best of both the bush and the beach...

Camp fire | Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...

 | Highlights of Northern Botswana (8 days)

Highlights of Northern Botswana (8 days)

Experience two of Botswana's best safari destinations; the Savute region and Okavango Delta ...

 | Classic Botswana Family Safari (9 days)

Classic Botswana Family Safari (9 days)

Connect as a family while tracking wildlife and incredible landscapes through some of the most remote stretches of Botswana....

Wildlife  | Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)

Best of the Okavango Delta Safari (6 days)

Explore Botswana's Moremi and Selinda reserves on foot, in a safari vehicle or a mokoro for unforgettable wildlife encounters with big game and rare birds...

 | Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari Adventure (7 days)

Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari Adventure (7 days)

From desert to delta, this safari will show you the two stunning contrasts of beautiful Botswana...

 | Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Africa safari adventure will take you to the tip of the African continent...

 | Wild Botswana and Zimbabwe Safari (10 days)

Wild Botswana and Zimbabwe Safari (10 days)

Tour the pristine habitats of Botswana and Zimbabwe's finest wildlife-rich assets with the twist of refined luxury...

 | Delights of Moremi Game Reserve Safari

Delights of Moremi Game Reserve Safari

Explore the secrets of Botswana's famous Moremi Game Reserve in this short and affordable safari ...

 | Expedition to Zimbabwe and Botswana (8 days)

Expedition to Zimbabwe and Botswana (8 days)

Explore the thundering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the wildlife wonderland of the Okavango Delta...

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