Birds – Makgadikgadi Pans NP

Anthony Ham
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.

Makgadikgadi Pans is more a birding destination than a general wildlife destination. Birding is phenomenal in the wet summer months, especially if the pans fill up and flocks of lesser and greater flamingo, accompanied by pelican, come feeding in the shallows. The location of the flamingo varies depending on rain and algae, but the best place to see them is outside the park in the Nata Bird Sanctuary. The flamingo breed on the pans when the water is high enough to protect their nests from predators.

Notable Birds in Makgadikgadi Pans
Burchell's coucal
Great white pelican
Common migrant
Greater flamingo
Common migrant
Lesser flamingo
Common migrant

Birding Rating

Birding Specials Treats for Avid Birders

  • Abdim’s stork
  • African fish eagle
  • Black bustard
  • Black-cheeked waxbill
  • Black-winged stilt
  • Bronze-winged courser
  • Burchell’s coucal
  • Burchell's courser
  • Dusky lark
  • Gabar goshawk
  • Great white pelican
  • Greater flamingo
  • Hartlaub's babbler
  • Kori bustard
  • Lesser flamingo
  • Martial eagle
  • Meyer’s parrot
  • Ostrich
  • Pied avocet
  • Pink-backed pelican
  • Red-billed francolin
  • Red-necked falcon
  • Saddle-billed stork
  • Secretary bird
  • Temminck's courser
  • Violet-eared waxbill
  • Wattled crane
  • White-browed robin-chat

Best Time for Bird Watching

Makgadikgadi Pans is a great park for bird watching throughout the year, but the thousands of flamingo that flock here in the wet summer months are the real highlight. The timing depends on the rain and algae levels and is highly variable, but the best months are in the Wet season, from November to April. This is the best time for migrants in general, and when a lot of birds are breeding and show their breeding plumage.

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 Makgadikgadi Pans NP?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Makgadikgadi Pans NP
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr