Pel's Fishing Owl Scotopelia peli ©Jonathan Rossouw Website
Birding Africa

When this Fat Birder went to the Gambia, and when he went to Kenya he took his old binoculars with him to give to a local so that they could make a living out of visitors by learning about the local birds and being able to show them to tourists. It may sound patronising but several people we know have said the same thing – that young men guiding tourists in the Gambia were just about the best at spotting the birds and ID of anyone ever encountered and usually with the crudest of optics. So this is one way many of us can help out and know that what we give goes direct to someone who could use a leg up.

Now the young man who guided me in Gambia many years ago not only guides groups there but all over the place including Europe and we meet him annually the the British Bird Fair.

I have been lucky enough to visit many of the countries in southern Africa and enjoy many southern African endemics as well as lots of other taxa like meercats in Namibia, baboons in Zambia and Hippos in Botswana. Perhaps the highlight for me was sitting in a small boat on the Okavanga River six feet from a Carmine Bee-eater colony and, in the same day seeing Pel’s Fishing Owl and Slaty Egret – it doesn’t get any better than that!

This page is sponsored by Birding Ecotours

This page is sponsored by Avian Safaris - The East African Specialists

This page is sponsored by Rockjumper Birding

This page is sponsored by LeafLove Safaris

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 2340

    (As at September 2018) - This figure is, of course, approximate - and represents nearly a quarter of the world total.
  • Number of endemics: 1561

    14 Entire families containing 156 species are endemic to Africa as a whole, as are all of the African members of seven other families.
Useful Reading

  • Birds of Africa: South of the Sahara

    | By Ian Sinclair, Peter G REyan, Norman Arlott, Peter Hayman & Alan Harris | Random House Struik | 2010 | Paperback | 767 pages, 340 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781770076235 Buy this book from
  • Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi

    | By Terry Stevenson, John Fanshawe, Brian E Small & John Gale | Christopher Helm | 2004 | Paperback | 640 pages, colour plates, colour distribution maps, colour & b/w maps | ISBN: 9780713673470 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Western Africa

    | By Nik Borrow & Ron Demey | Christopher Helm | 2014 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 592 pages, 266 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781472905680 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Western and Central Africa

    | By Ber van Perlo | Princeton University Press | 2003 | Paperback | 384 pages, 109 plates with colour illustrations; colour & b/w illustrations, 1500+ b/w distribution maps, colour maps | ISBN: 9780691007144 Buy this book from
  • Birds of the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Socotra

    | By Nigel Redman, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe | Christopher Helm | 2011 | Paperback | 512 pages, 213 colour plates, 1000+ colour distribution maps, colour & b/w maps | ISBN: 9781408157350 Buy this book from
  • Southern African Birdfinder

    | By Callan Cohen, Claire Spottiswoode & Jonathan Rossouw | New Holland Publishers | 2006 | Paperback | 456 pages, 80 col photos, 100 maps, pull-out route map | ISBN: 9781868727254 Buy this book from
  • The Birder's Guide to Africa

    | By Michael Mills & Tasso Leventis | Go-Away-Birding | 2017 | Paperback | | 544 Pages | Numerous illustrations & 2 Colour Maps | ISBN: 9780620717250 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Africa, Volume 8: The Malagasy Region

    | By Roger Safford, Frank Hawkins, John Gale & Brian Small | Christopher Helm | 2013 | Hardback | 1024 pages, 63 plates with colour illustrations; 1 colour illustration, colour distribution maps, 9 colour maps, 8 colour tables | ISBN: 9780713665321 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds in Africa

    | By Nigel Wheatley | Princeton University Press | 2000 | Paperback | 432 pages, 51 line illustrations, 110 maps | ISBN: 9780691070476 Buy this book from
Birding Aps
  • *Individual Country Bird Apps

    See Individual country pages for apps relating to that country

  • Roberts Bird Guide 2

    | Southern African Birding CC | 1.5 GB | Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch |

    ROBERTS BIRD GUIDE 2 is a new app based on the new publication "Roberts Bird Guide (second edition)" with all new illustrations, distribution maps and bird texts for 977 Southern African bird species, including all the new species and names, and including new app functions and features*.
  • eGuide to Birds of East Africa

    Apple iOS | Android
    | Paintings; 1300+ species | | 516.1 MB | Requires iOS 9.3 or later |

    The eGuide to Birds of East Africa is an interactive companion to Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe's Birds of East Africa field guide – the essential guide for birdwatchers visiting this spectacular region. It covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This application has specific features that will enhance your birding experience.
Useful Information
  • Urgent Bird Conservation Priorities in Africa & its Islands

    This note was written for the bulletin of the African Bird Club ( (ABC) and is published here on our blog with permission from them. We highly recommend you join the ABC if you want to contribute to bird conservation on the vast African continent.
  • African Bird Club

    African Bird Club, UK registered charity 1053920, has been established: to provide a worldwide focus for African ornithology; to encourage an interest in the conservation of the birds of the region; to liaise with and promote the work of existing regional societies; to publish a twice-yearly colour bulletin; to encourage observers to visit lesser known areas of the region, and search actively for globally threatened and near-threatened species; to develop a Conservation Fund.
  • Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network)

    The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) is a regional conservation organization with the mission to enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in the Albertine Rift region, Africa Great Lakes region and African Mountains through the promotion of collaborative conservation actions for nature and people.
  • Bushmeat Project

    The Bushmeat Project has been established to develop and support community based partnerships that will help the people of Cameroon, the Congos, Gabon, Nigeria, and Central African Republic to develop alternatives to unsustainable bushmeat. The programme is a long-term effort to provide economic and social incentive to people to protect great apes and other endangered wildlife. For more organizational and program details about the Bushmeat Project please read our Action Agenda, as well as the Project's Mission, Goals and Driving Principles. If you want to join this effort please contact us at
  • Conservation Volunteers for Africa

    We arrange for young people to work on Game and Nature Reserves throughout Southern Africa, playing an active role in Conservation and the maintenance of the Environment – working in intimate association with Game Rangers and Conservationists in the Wild!
  • Peace Parks Foundation

    The primary objective of the Peace Parks Foundation is to promote Transfrontier Conservation Areas in Southern Africa. Through these proposed peace parks the Foundation is working with governments, the private sector and local communities to protect our environment and unlock the huge economic potential of the region`s tourist industry. The peace parks will help to bind together Southern Africa`s nations in a vast network of sustainable and environmental partnerships, protecting their unique natural inheritance for generations, and promoting a culture of peace and cooperation. We encourage you to support one of the most important initiatives.
  • TUSK Trust

    Advancing Conservation Across Africa - Tusk is a dynamic and adaptable organisation with almost 30 years' experience initiating and funding wildlife conservation programmes across Africa.
  • West African Ornithological Society

    The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists

Abbreviations Key

  • List of Africa's National Parks

    WebpageSatellite View
    This is a list of national parks in Africa by country. The nature of the parks varies considerably not only between countries but also within some nations – the degree of protection, accessibility and type of environment for which it is intended to deliver protection. Some parks have been cleared of their original human population, others have always been essentially uninhabited, while yet others contain significant population centres.
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • African Birding Group

    Mailing Groupm & Forum
    AfricanBirding is an email discussion group that is administered by ABC. Topics range widely but include discussion about identification, trip reports, request for information and announcements. Unique in scope, it covers the whole of Africa and is for those people interested in birds, birding and conservation in the region. Membership is open to all and is FREE!
Guides & Tour Operators
  • *Specialists & Local Guides

    Each country page lists tour companies based there and operating just in those countries or a number of countries close by. Local guides are also listed when we have their details. In this section we list a number of companies which offer birding trips and tours in MANY African countries.
  • 2 by 2 African Holidays

    Specialists in travel to Southern & East Africa for over 10 years - we offer outstanding value safari packages & self drive vacations, as well as unique tailor made holiday, private and group tours. Combine your ideas with our local knowledge, and let us help you create a holiday of a lifetime! All our holidays are fully financially protected…
  • Africa Odyssey

    Tour Operator
    Africa Odyssey is the culmination of decades of travel knowledge and long safari experience. Our MD, Marc Harris, is a director of the African Travel and Tourism Association and a judge of the Good Safari Guide, Our Tanzania director is the author of the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and all of our team have worked, lived or travelled extensively in their specialist African countries….
  • BirdQuest

    Tour Operator
    BirdQuest, founded in 1981, has an unequalled repertoire of birding tours and combined birdwatching and wildlife holidays and cruises that will appeal to every kind of birder. Our tours are celebrated as the very best available, and we have shown our clients and friends over 10,200 bird species worldwide, more than any other birding tour company (and not that far off the total for all other birding tour companies combined!), as well as an extraordinary variety of mammals and many other fascinating aspects of the natural world.
  • Birding Africa

    Tour Operator
    Birding tours from Cape Town to Cameroon and Madagascar, with the only African Birding Specialist
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    Birding Ecotours, a South African company, aims to provide world-wide birding experiences of superb quality, while contributing to environmental conservation and disadvantaged communities. Please contact us for detailed information, queries and quotations. We are affiliated to Cape Town (South Africa) based pelagic trips and we are happy to help you in every aspect of planning your birding holiday.
  • Eagle-Eye Tours

    Tour Operator
  • Expert Africa

    Expert Africa does not currently offer trips which we label as “birdwatching holidays to Africa". However, we do have bird-watchers among our expert team, and so can advise you on the best lodges and areas for your birding interests – and we do put together many tailor-made trips for travellers who want to go on a primarily bird-watching holiday.
  • FieldGuides

    Tour Operator
    Endemic-rich birding, spectacular landscapes, and a unique flora are the highlights of our energetic survey tour of this beautiful country.
  • Lawson's Safaris

    Tour Operator
    Welcome to our new website, the online home of Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris, a specialized Birding and Wildlife Safari Company. The site was designed with a ‘simple and clean’ motto in mind. The imagery is mostly all ours (we had a bit of help with Botswana and Malawi), and we’ll be changing things regularly to keep it current. We have some great information on destinations as well, so we invite you to grab a cup of coffee and spend some time here as you ponder an African birding and wildlife experience. Get in touch with us if you have any questions or queries, we’re always happy to chat about birds, wildlife and travel!
  • Limosa

    Tour Operator
  • Nature Travel Birding

    Tour Operator
    Nature Travel Birding specialise in birding trips in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Spain, Namibia and South Africa.
  • Natures Wonderland Safaris

    Tour Operator
    Birding & Nature tours throughout eastern Africa
  • Naturetrek

    Tour Operator
    When people think of visiting Africa, safari holidays are regularly at the top of the list. Riding in an open-top jeep along dusty tracks and looking out across the sun-baked savannah teeming with big game is arguably one of life’s best experiences.
  • Njewa Safaris

    Tour Operator
    Birding Safaris - There are over 1,000 different bird species in Kenya
  • Rainbow Tours

    Tour Operator
    If you know where in Africa you are interested in visiting, you can browse our website by country - just click on the relevant destination in the left hand menu. Here you’ll find background information, Africa holiday examples, ideas on where to stay, answers to frequently asked questions and customers reviews.
  • Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures

    Our comprehensive tour portfolio encompasses many of the most breathtaking and biologically diverse destinations on the planet. To provide you with the particular travel experience you desire, we have classified our tours into six categories…
  • Wildside Nature Tours

    Tour Operator
    Since 1993, Wildside Nature Tours has been offering quality worldwide wildlife adventures. Our dedicated, enthusiastic leaders are as excited about your trip as you! We have done extensive ‘hands on’ research into many different areas of the regions we visit, in order to offer you the best opportunity and safest experience for birding, photography and nature exploration.
  • Wings

    Tour Operator
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • Trip Repoprts for African Countries

    Trip Repoprts for African Countries appear on the appropriate country page... if a trip covers more than one nation it will apperar on each of those countries' page.
Places to Stay

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • Eco-resorts East Africa

    Welcome to eco-resorts, your online resource for East African eco-tours and safaris! We would like to personally welcome you to the fascinating world of eco-safaris and eco adventures in Kenya and Tanzania. Take your time - visit some of the delightful camps, hotels and lodges available for your safari.
Other Links
  • Birds of East Africa

    Page with travel tips and pictures of birds in Africa
  • Southern Africa Birding

    Birding Resources for Southern Africa. This site is about birds and birding in South Africa and the Southern African region, including Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Zambia. The region`s best birding sites are featured under Birding Spots, together with birding resources under Bird guides, tours and Accommodation

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

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