Birds – Namibia

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

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

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

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

With just over 700 recorded species, many of them seasonal, Namibia doesn't have as many resident bird species as some other African destinations. However, the arid habitat is home to a high number of dry-country specials with limited distribution, which is of particular interest to birders. Although dune lark is the only endemic species in Namibia, there are many near-endemics, which are easier to see here than in neighboring countries. The intra-African and Palaearctic migrants from Europe are present from September to April.

Notable Birds in Namibia
Great white pelican
Locally common
Greater kestrel
Monteiro's hornbill
Locally common and near-endemic
Pale chanting goshawk
Shaft-tailed whydah

Birding Rating

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

  • African black oystercatcher (NE)
  • Bare-cheeked babbler (NE)
  • Barlow’s lark (NE)
  • Carp’s tit (NE)
  • Cinderella waxbill (NE)
  • Damara red-billed hornbill (E)
  • Damara tern (NE)
  • Dune lark (E)
  • Gray's lark (NE)
  • Hartlaub's francolin (NE)
  • Herero chat (NE)
  • Ludwig’s bustard (NE)
  • Monteiro's hornbill (NE)
  • Rockrunner (NE)
  • Rüppell's bustard (NE)
  • Rüppell's parrot (NE)
  • Violet wood-hoopoe (NE)
  • White-tailed shrike (NE)

Other Birding Specials

  • Benguela long-billed lark
  • Black-faced babbler
  • Blue crane
  • Burchell's courser
  • Damara tern
  • Lesser jacana
  • White-quilled bustard
  • Pel’s fishing-owl
  • Racket-tailed roller
  • Rosy-faced lovebird
  • Rufous-bellied heron
  • Rufous-eared warbler
  • Slaty egret
  • Wattled crane

Best Time for Bird Watching

The birdlife in Namibia is at its best from September to April, when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in breeding plumage. After good rains, the pans in Etosha and Bushmanland become a hotspot for aquatic birds, including flocks of flamingo. 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

Etosha National Park is home to 380 bird species and is one of Namibia’s birding hotspots. The parks in the Zambezi Region (Caprivi Strip) offer bird-rich habitats, including an impressive selection of Okavango specials.

Want to Visit Namibia?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Namibia
Bird Species
Migratory Birds
Sep to Apr