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

 | Pangolin Photography Tour of Botswana (10 days)

Pangolin Photography Tour of Botswana (10 days)

Immerse yourself in the wildlife and stunning natural beauty of the Chobe riverfront and pristine Okavango Delta as you capture nature's most spectacular beauty...

 | Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Spent three nights at Chobe safari Lodge, two nights at Rra Dinare, two nights Moremi Crossing, as well as a full day visit to Victoria Falls...

Family | Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train (10 days)

Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train (10 days)

Weave your way through a safari medley that introduces you to the mighty Victoria Falls, a remote slice of the Okavango Delta and the African gems in between....

 | Camping in Moremi Game Reserve (5 days)

Camping in Moremi Game Reserve (5 days)

Watch the Okavango Delta come alive with the sounds of bird calls, the roar of lions in one of the most beautiful reserves in 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...

 | Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Moremi Private Game Reserve is home for 4 days on this safari. Highlights are a helicopter flight to the Delta, boat and foot safari's and en-suite tented accommodation...

 | 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...

 | Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Experience the best of two of southern Africa's gems ...

 | 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....

 | Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope in the Okavango ...

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