Republic of Angola

Braun's Bush-Shrike Laniarius brauni ©Dubi Shapiro Website
Birding Angola

Angola is diverse country, with lush rainforests in the north, cool mountains, huge waterfalls and arid desert in the southwest. The natural diversity is accompanied by a diversity of local cultures. An enthusiast birder can see well over 400 species in a birding trip of 3 weeks, of which 14 are endemic (depending on taxonomy), while dozens of other near-endemic and highly localised bird species also feature prominently. This is a testament for the many habitats within the country, including desert, dry thorn savanna, mopane, moist baobab savanna, montane forest and grassland, lowland rainforest, and vast areas of miombo broadleaf woodland. Other natural attractions includes the bizarre Welwitschia plant, the endangered Giant Black Sable antelope, the breathtaking Calandula Waterfall, the spectacular Tundavala cliffs, and many other gems.

Most visitors will arrive via international flights into the capital of Luanda. There are direct flights from Lisbon, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, and Sao Paulo. Angola can also be reached overland via border crossings from Namibia. An easy online visa service is available for citizens of most countries. Alternatively, a visa can be obtained in any Angolan embassy.

Contributors
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 1008

    (As at June 2020)
Endemics
  • Number of endemics: 14-18

    Grey-striped Francolin Francolinus griseostriatus, Swierstra's Francolin Francolinus swierstrai, Red-crested Turaco Tauraco erythrolophus, *Pale-throated Barbet Gymnobucco vernayi, *White-bellied Barbet Lybius leucogaster, Red-backed Mousebird Colius castanotus, White-fronted Wattle-eye Platysteira albifrons, Gabela Helmet-Shrike Prionops gabela, Braun’s Bush-Shrike Laniarius brauni, Gabela Bush-Shrike Laniarius amboimensis, *Benguela Long-tailed Starling Lamprotornis benguelensis, Pulitzer's Longbill Macrosphenus pulitzeri, Gabela Akalat Sheppardia gabela, Angola Slaty Flycatcher Melaenornis brunneus, *Huambo Cisticola Cisticola bailunduensis, Hartert's Camaroptera Camaroptera harterti, *Ludwig’s Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris ludovicensis, Angolan Waxbill Coccopygia bocagei.

    In addition the Golden-backed Bishop Euplectes aureus was confined to Angola but has since been introduced to Sao Tome. Those marked thus* are recognised by some authorities but not all.

Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • 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 NHBS.com
  • The Birds of Angola

    | By W R J Dean | British Ornithologists' Union | 2000 | Hardback | 433 pages, 16 pp of colour plates, figs, diagrams, maps | ISBN: 9780907446224 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Special Birds of Angola - As Aves Especiais de Angola

    | By Michael Mills | Go-Away-Birding | 2017 | Paperback | 144 pages, colour photos, 1 colour map | Text English & Portuguese | ISBN: 9780620717267 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Organisations
  • African Bird Club

    Website
    Angola has a bird list of more than nine hundred species but there has been little ornithological activity for some thirty years. Sadly, a long running war and political instability have impacted habitat and species adversely as well limiting opportunities for visiting birders. There is evidence of an improving situation and Birding Africa is running a flagship tour with the African Bird Club in 2005
  • Birds Angola

    Website
    With more than sixty years of combined experience of working on Angolan birds, Birds Angola offers a wealth of expertise to birders, conservationists, environmental consultants, government, ornithologists and other biologists. We are a group of individuals with a passion for Angola that aims to support, promote and conduct research and conservation of Angolan birds. Our work involves various other organisations, including the BirdLife International network, The African Bird Club, The International Turaco Society, The Kissama Foundation and the Angolan Ministry of the Environment.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Bicauri

    InformationSatellite View
    The area has historically been known for large herds of common antelopes, elephants, and other large mammals. All species populations are believed to have been severely reduced during the war (the park was reportedly used as a practice artillery range), poaching, and human encroachment. Since cessation of hostilities, work has begun by the Huila provincial government to rebuild the infrastructure of the park to attract and protect animals.
  • NP Cameia

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is a sample of nature not occurring elsewhere in Angola. Two lakes, Lago Cameia and Lago Dilolo (the largest lake in Angola) lie outside the park boundaries and both have extensive reedbeds and grassy swamps that are rich in aquatic birds.
  • NP Cangandala

    InformationSatellite View
    The park, which covers an area of 600 km², consists of undulating sandlime hills with lowerlying drainage lines. The area receives about 1 350 mm rainfall per year with an average temperature of 21,5 °C. No perennial rivers occur and drainage takes place via grass covered waterlanes. A mosaic of open miombo bushveld and savanna occur. Brachystegia-bushveld are found on the water partitions and open grasslands in the lower-lying drainage lanes.
  • NP Iona

    InformationSatellite View
    Because of its distinctive habitat and climate, Iona and the Kaokoveld Desert have a number of endemic animals, particularly reptiles. 63 species have been recorded in the ecoregion, eight are strictly endemic. The endemics include two lizards, three geckos, and three skinks.[6] The mouth of the Cunene River to the south supports a small wetland area that is important to migrating birds...
  • NP Quiçama

    InformationSatellite View
    The Atlantic Ocean forms the Park's 120 km long western border, while the perennial Cuanza and Longa rivers constitute the northern and southern borders respectively. The eastern border consists of a belt of dense, tall thicket. Quiçama covers an area of roughly 9 960 square kilometres/1.2 million hectares.
Guides & Tour Operators


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  • Birding Africa

    Tour Operator
    Gabela! The name epitomises the excitement of birding in Angola, and the frustration that 27 years of civil war has previously prevented access to the region. With its own akalat, bush-shrike and helmet-shrike, Gabela lies at the centre of the Angolan scarp forest
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    Having thoroughly scouted the destination we will be making regular tours of Angola...
  • Rockjumper Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    With the fourth highest rate of avian endemism on the African continent, Angola is a must-visit destination for any serious birder, and our comprehensive overland safari targets every single endemic species – and many more besides!
Trip Reports


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  • 2011 [09 September] - Michael Mills

    Report
    …Every participant enjoyed outstanding views of every single Angolan endemic bird, plus local specials such as Bocage’s Sunbird, Brazza’s Martin, Black-and-rufous Swallow, Anchieta’s Barbet, Bocage’s Weaver, Bannerman’s Sunbird, White-headed Robin-Chat and Cinderella Waxbill….
  • 2011 [10 October] - Batis Birding

    PDF Report
    Three of the Batis Birding team plus two enthusiastic birders from Namibia visited Angola between the 27 October and 11 November 2011 to access some new potential birding sites primarily in the north where we were interested in searching for the recently recorded Oliveback.
  • 2014 [09 September] - Michael Mills

    Report
    Tour highlights as voted by participants: Swierstra's Francolin, Angolan Cave Chat, Monteiro's Bushshrike, Margaret's Batis, White-headed Robin-Chat, Finsch's Francolin, Bocage's Sunbird, Locust Finch, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Red-crested Turaco, Red-chested Flufftail and Pallid Honeyguide...
  • 2016 [09 September] - David Hoddinott

    PDF Report
    ...On arrival, we were greeted by a superb pair of Spotted Eagle Owls which gave a great show...
  • 2016 [09 September] - Mark Van Biers

    PDF Report
    The magnificent Braun’s Bushshrike, the unique White-headed Robin-Chat, the captivating Angolan Cave Chat and the alluring Red-crested Turaco were the favourites of our third tour to Angola
  • 2016 [09 September] - Michael Mills

    PDF Report
    We fared exceptionally well on the birds, enjoying good views of all of Angola’s endemic species and a whole host of other goodies among the 535 species logged. The charts were topped by a fantastic crowing male Swierstra’s Francolin (overleaf) at Tundavala that gave prolonged views right out in the open and approached me within one metre! Angola’s striking national bird, Red-crested Turaco, was John’s 8000th bird and several people’s final member of the family, and was voted number two of the trip. Some great looks at Braun’s Bushshrike put this bright endemic at number three, and the attractive White-headed Robin-Chat near Kalandula came in fourth. A long walk for exceptional views of a pair of Margaret’s Batis at Mount Moco put this rare species at fifth. The charismatic Angola Cave Chat at Tundavala was voted number six, followed by a trio of Rüppell’s Korhaan in the coastal deserts of Namibe at seven. The localised endemics Gabela Helmetshrike and Gabela Bushshrike came in at eight and nine, and incredible views of Brazza’s Martin at its nest, the first confirmed breeding record for Angola, rounded out the top ten.
  • 2016 [09 September] - Steve Braine

    PDF Report
    This tailor made tour to Angola on the request from Intercontact Germany, commenced in Luanda, Angola and ended in Windhoek Namibia...
  • 2017 [09 September] - Michael Mills

    PDF Report
    ...We started with an introductory stroll around downtown Luanda with Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush, Purple-banded Sunbird and the endemic Red-backed Mousebird, the latter seen regularly throughout the tour. We also took some time to study the large dark brown swifts that breed in the seafront buildings of the Marginal, which I now believe are dark Mottled Swifts based on, in addition to their size and shape, their calls heard for the first time which match those of Mottled Swift....
Other Links
  • Angola Birding

    Website
    Birding sites and more...

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