​Birds – Tanzania

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Tanzania.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Tanzania.

Tanzania is an incredible birding destination. It has one of the largest species lists of any African country: over 1,100 birds have been recorded, of which more than 800 are resident and nearly 200 are regular migrants. About 40 endemic species are recognized (some are controversial splits). Some endemics easily seen in the Northern circuit include ashy starling, yellow-collared and Fischer’s lovebird and grey-breasted spurfowl. Most other national endemics are restricted to the Eastern Arc Mountains, the country’s most important birding area. Migrants are present from November to April.

Notable Birds in Tanzania
Fischer’s lovebird
Locally common and endemic
Ostrich
Common
Palm-nut vulture
Occasional
Red-and-yellow barbet
Locally common
Superb starling
Common

Birding Rating

Endemic Birds

Endemic birds only occur in Tanzania.

Other Birding SpecialsTreats for Avid Birders

Facts & Figures

Birds in Tanzania
Bird Species
1,100+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr

Best Time for Bird Watching

The birdlife in Tanzania is good year-round, but is at its best from November to April when Palearctic and intra-African migratory birds are present. At this time, many resident bird species are in breeding plumage and nesting. The migratory period occurs during the Wet season (November to May), which is also the hottest time of the year. The coastal region, especially, can get uncomfortably hot. The wettest months are March to May, when part of the country experiences daily rainfall. For wildlife viewing, the Dry season (June to October) is better.

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

Although you’ll have to go off the beaten track to find most of the national endemic and near-endemic birds, all the popular wildlife destinations offer great birding opportunities. Specials can be found pretty much everywhere you go. The often-overlooked Arusha National Park has a large diversity of habitats that host an incredible list of 400 species in a small area. Lake Manyara National Park offers a good variety of waterbirds and Tarangire National Park harbors several dry-country specials.

Recommended Birding Books

  • Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi
    Only field guide with complete Tanzania coverage; a must.

    Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe
  • eGuide to Birds of East Africa (app)
    The app version of the above book is comprehensive for Tanzania.

    Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe
  • Birds of Kenya & Northern Tanzania
    Complete for the north but omits birds found further south.

    Dale A. Zimmerman, Donald A. Turner and David J. Pearson
  • East Africa Birds – A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species in Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda
    Of limited use with only 140 species described.

    James Kavanagh
  • Pocket Guide: Birds of East Africa
    Kenya-centric beginner’s guide has fewer than 300 species.

    Dave Richards

Want To Visit Tanzania?

4,660 Tanzania Safaris

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Tanzania
Bird Species
1,100+
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr