​Birds – Zambia

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip has traveled through Zambia several times and is the author of more than 20 guidebooks to various African destinations.

Philip is the Zambia expert for SafariBookings and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Philip is our Zambia expert and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Zambia has over 780 bird species. The main national parks (South Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi) offer great birding opportunities. And some lesser-known destinations are equally rewarding. Visit Liuwa Plain National Park to see swarms of migrating black-winged pratincoles. Lochinvar National Park is a wetland birding hot spot of note and Kasanka National Park is home to several interesting Central African species, such as Ross’s turaco and Böhm’s bee-eater. No birding trip is complete without a boat trip in the Bangweulu Wetlands to look for shoebill. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

Notable Birds in Zambia
African fish eagle
Common
Lilian’s lovebird
Common
Schalow’s turaco
Common
Southern carmine bee-eater
Common migrant
Southern ground hornbill
Common

Birding Rating

Endemic & Near-endemic Birds

(E) endemic = only lives in Zambia

Other Birding SpecialsTreats for Avid Birders

Facts & Figures

Birds in Zambia
Bird Species
782
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr

Best Time for Bird Watching

The best time for birding in Zambia is between November and April. It is the Wet season, also called the ‘Emerald season’, when wetland areas come alive, birds are breeding and big flocks of migrants add to the resident species. Note though that some areas become difficult to access and many lodges are closed in the Wet season.

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

North and South Luangwa National Parks are excellent places to see a variety of raptors and waterbirds. Bangweulu Wetlands is another spot where waterbirds gather, and it’s home to the elusive shoebill as well. Kafue National Park is the best place to look for the endemic black-cheeked lovebird.

Recommended Birding Books

  • Birds of Zambia (app)
    The only comprehensive dedicated Zambia field guide; a must!

    Rory McDougall, Derek Solomon and Frank Willems
  • Field Guide to Birds of Greater Southern Africa
    Only southern African guide that’s comprehensive for Zambia.

    John Fanshawe, Terry Stevenson and Keith Barnes
  • Roberts Bird Guide (2nd edition; book and app)
    Superb but omits Zambian species absent south of the Zambezi.

    Hugh Chittenden, Greg Davies and Ingrid Weiersbye
  • The Birds of Zambia: An Atlas & Handbook
    Not a field guide but an atlas aimed at serious birders.

    Robert J. Dowsett, Dylan R. Aspinwall and Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire
  • Birds of Zambia (pocket guide)
    Incomplete (only 425 species) but handy alongside ‘Roberts’.

    Rory McDougall and Derek Solomon

Want To Visit Zambia?

160 Zambia Safaris

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Zambia
Bird Species
782
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr