Birds – South Africa

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author of many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

South Africa has over 840 species listed. It has the highest number of endemic (occurring in South Africa only) and near-endemic (occurring in South Africa and it neighboring countries only) birds in Africa with more than 140 birds in this category. Most of these species are confined to South Africa’s unique biomes (large, naturally occurring communities of flora and fauna): grassland, fynbos and Karoo. The migratory birds are present from November to April.

Notable Birds in South Africa
African penguin
Locally common
Blue crane
Locally common and near-endemic
Crested guineafowl
Locally common
Mocking cliff chat
Locally common
Pel's fishing-owl
Rare

Birding Rating

Endemic & Near-Endemic Birds

(E) endemic = only lives in South Africa
(NE) near-endemic = also lives in neighboring countries

Other Birding Specials– Treats for Avid Birders

Facts & Figures

Birds in South Africa
Bird Species
840+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr

Best Time for Bird Watching

The birdlife in South Africa is at its best 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 are in breeding plumage. However, for wildlife viewing, the Dry season is better.

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

Kruger is great for general birding, while Mkhuze is a real birding hotspot, offering almost as many species in a much smaller area with an incredible number of specials. The dry Kgalagadi is known for its raptors.

Recommended Birding Books

  • Roberts Bird Guide
    Hugh Chittenden, Greg Davies, Ingrid Weiersbye
  • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa
    Ian Sinclair
  • Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa
    Kenneth Newman and Vanessa Newman
  • Pocket Guide: Birds of Southern Africa
    Ian Sinclair

Want to Visit South Africa?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in South Africa
Bird Species
840+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr