Birds – Botswana

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Botswana.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Botswana.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Botswana.

With over 550 recorded species, Botswana is a superb birding destination. It doesn't have endemic species, but several have limited distribution. The habitat ranges from wet delta to desert bush, and both waterbirds and dry-country specials can be seen. Great numbers of migratory birds are present from October to April.

Notable Birds in Botswana
African darter
Common
African skimmer
Rare, localized and migratory
Green-winged pytilia
Common
Long-toed lapwing
Rare , locally common
Pel's fishing-owl
Rare

Birding Rating

Endemic (E) and near-endemic (NE) birds

  • Short-clawed lark (NE)

Other Birding Specials

  • African finfoot
  • African golden oriole
  • African hobby
  • African pygmy goose
  • African skimmer
  • Black-faced babbler
  • Bradfield’s hornbill
  • Brown firefinch
  • Chirping cisticola
  • Collared palm-thrush
  • Copper sunbird
  • Coppery-tailed coucal
  • Greater painted-snipe
  • Greater swamp warbler
  • Lesser jacana
  • Livingstone’s turaco
  • Long-toed lapwing
  • Miombo rock thrush
  • Pel’s fishing-owl
  • Pennant-winged nightjar
  • Racket-tailed roller
  • Rock pratincole
  • Rosy-throated longclaw
  • Slaty egret
  • Striped crake
  • Swamp boubou
  • Three-banded courser
  • Wattled crane
  • Western banded snake eagle
  • White-backed night heron

Best Time for Bird Watching

The birdlife in Botswana is good year-round, but at its best in the Wet season, from November to April, when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and in breeding plumage. Except for January and February, rains are mostly short showers in the afternoon and seldom have a negative impact on your trip. For wildlife viewing, the Dry season is better.

Best Parks for Birding Including Birding Rating

Birdlife is especially rich in the northern parks, where permanent water is present. The other semi-arid parks still offer reasonable birding and the opportunity to see dry-country specials.

Want to Visit Botswana?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Botswana
Bird Species
550+
Migratory Birds
Oct to Apr