Birds – Zambia

Alan Murphy
Expert
By Alan Murphy

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and authored the Lonely Planet guidebook to Zambia.

Alan has authored the Lonely Planet guide to Zambia.

Zambia offers over 750 bird species, of which 120 or so are not found south of the Zambezi. It has only one endemic and one near-endemic. It is, arguably, the best place to search for one of Africa's most desired specials: the African pitta. Zambia is also a good place to look for the famous shoebill. Migratory birds are present from October to April.

Notable Birds in Zambia
Böhm's bee-eater
Locally common
Hooded vulture
Common
Little bee-eater
Common
Three-banded courser
Locally common
Verreaux's eagle owl
Locally common

Birding Rating

Endemic & Near-Endemic Birds

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

Other Birding Specials– Treats for Avid Birders

Best Time for Bird Watching

From October to April, the migratory birds are present, and this is the best time for birding in Zambia. This is also the time when the bird’s food is most abundant, and birds are nesting. However, it is the most difficult time to visit remote areas of the country, and roads could be difficult to navigate. Wildlife viewing is better in the Dry season, from May to September.

Best Parks for Birding Includes Birding Rating

North and South Luangwa are excellent for waterbirds and raptors, while Kafue has a great variety of birds. Bangweulu Wetlands is home to the elusive shoebill as well as significant numbers of waterbirds.

Recommended Birding Books

  • The Birds of Zambia: An Atlas and Handbook
    Francoise Dowsett-Lemaire and Robert J. Dowset

Want to Visit Zambia?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Zambia
Bird Species
750+
Migratory Birds
Oct to Apr