Summer Birding in Full Swing

By 21 January 2016 News No Comments

Summer has arrived in Botswana and we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. Every year, the warmer and rainy weather heralds the arrival of hundreds of species of birds to the Chobe National Park and riverine systems, which creates a colourful spectacle for both the novice bird watcher and experienced twitcher alike. Want to know which birds our intrepid guides have spotted out on the water recently? We chatted to them to find out some of their summer birding highlights:

The Jesus Bird

You may wonder about this bird’s unique name and the reason is fairly simple. As Jesus was said to walk on water, so too does the African Jacana bird (its official name) because of the way its huge feet and claws are able to grip on floating vegetation.


African Jacana

Fish Eagle

This regal looking creature is a highlight in the Botswana birding experience and also a joy to photograph. If you snap it at just the right moment, you could get a shot as it swoops down into the water and catches its prey.


Fish Eagle

Yellow-billed Oxpecker

Look out for their distinctive red and yellow bill as they fly around collecting animal hair to line their nests. These birds are also known to eat ticks and other parasites off cows, buffalo and other large mammals, hence their name.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

Carmine is a vivid crimson colour, which explains why this striking bird is such a joy to see. They’re normally spotted by birders in Botswana up until November or December, before moving on to South Africa.

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

African Openbill Stork

This literally-named bird has a curious gap in its closed bill, which has evolved to help it pry open its favourite meal of aquatic snails.

African Openbill Stork

Pied Kingfisher

These beautiful black and white birds prefer to spend time in pairs or small family units. Look out for the unique way they hover perfectly still in the air or raise their crest in the air when perched.

Pied Kingfisher

An African Darter

Also sometimes called the “snake bird”, this bird swims with its long head sticking out of water – resembling a snake as it does so.


African Darter

Malachite Kingfisher

This stunning small bird bears plumage in shades of yellows and blues and has bright red legs. You’ll spot it flying low over water with its wings moving so rapidly that they become a blur.

Malachite Kingfisher

Great Egret

This large heron is all white, with a large wingspan, a yellow bill and black legs and feet.

Great Egret

Marabou Stork

Not the most attractive of birds but certainly one of the most distinctive, this wading bird is sometimes called “the undertaker bird”, because from behind it appears to be wearing an ominous black cloak and may even display a shock of white hair.

Marabou Stork

Black-Winged Stilt

This leggy wader has long orange-red legs and a straight black bill. It emits a high-pitched barking call and is quite a social bird, preferring to hang out in small groups.

Black-Winged Stilt

If you want to enjoy a true Botswana, Chobe River, birding experience, take a trip on one of our luxury houseboats. Our smaller motorised boats allow you to glide silently through the water, where you can get up close and personal with birds like these, and observe their behaviour without disturbing them. While these are the birds we’ve spotted lately, who knows what gems we’ll encounter over the next few months, as some species migrate away and others arrive.

Book a trip on one of our luxurious floating hotels today and enjoy an unparalleled Botswana birding and photography experience – we’d love you to join us.

References:

http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Himantopus-himantopus
www.wikipedia.com
http://www.photodestination.co.za/choose-river-birding.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_carmine_bee-eater
http://10000birds.com/the-storks-of-africa.htm
http://www.arkive.org/pied-kingfisher/ceryle-rudis/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_darter