Wild Birds of Africa

“Tame birds sing of freedom. Wild birds fly.” — John Lennon

When you think of watching wild life in Africa, everyone talks about the Big Five. And yes, we spotted elephants, water buffalo, lions, and giraffes, everything except the leopard (which for all kinds of funny reasons makes me really happy. It means we have to go back!)

The birds in southern Africa are amazing too. We saw an array of bird life so varied and exotic that halfway through our trip we bought a book on Birds of Southern Africa. It would have been too annoying to get home again and have no way of identifying them without having to spend days on the Internet trying to find them.

African hoopoe, Etosha National Park, Namibia

At our last lodge in Namibia, Uwe and I both spent hours sitting on the little balcony to our room. We were watching the weaver birds making new nests and feeding their broods only a few meters away from where we sat.

Along the Caprivi Strip hundreds of bee eaters live on the river banks.

Southern carmine bee eaters in the Caprivi Strip

The bee eaters colonies will wash away when the rains come and the Kavango River rises.

In Chobe National Park in Botswana, we saw herons, eagles, storks, and shore birds beyond counting. We did an early morning boat cruise and literally had the river delta and the rich wildlife to ourselves.

purple heron
African jacana (aka ‘Jesus birds’). They use their long toes to cross via plants and lily pads on the Chobe River
African skimmer. Lower bill is longer and used to skim the river for fish
African openbill stork, Chobe

We saw marabou storks who happily scavenge carcasses.

We smelled the dead buffalo before we spotted it. Then, like a comedy routine, the  stork’s head popped up from where he was feeding on the other side of the water buffalo carcass.

African darter

More birds to follow. In my next post I’ll give you Uwe’s photographs of birds interacting with other animals.

NOTES: ©2024 Jadi Campbell. Photos ©2023 Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photos of our trips and his photography may be viewed at viewpics.de.

one last Southern carmine bee eater

My books are Broken In: A Novel in Stories, Tsunami Cowboys,  Grounded and The Trail Back Out.

Tsunami Cowboys was longlisted for the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Award. Broken In: A Novel in Stories was semifinalist for the international 2020 Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award from Hidden River Arts and Finalist for Greece’s 2021 Eyelands Book of the Year Award (Short Stories).

The Trail Back Out was the 2023 San Francisco Book Festival Winner for General Fiction, American Book Fest 2020 Best Book Award Finalist: Fiction Anthologies, Runner-Up for the 2021 Top Shelf Award, 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award Short Story Collection Finalist, and awarded a 2021 Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon. The title story The Trail Back Out was longlisted for the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Award.

Click here for my author page to learn more about me and purchase my books.

6 thoughts on “Wild Birds of Africa”

  1. All lovely and interesting! Thanks for the info, such as why the African Skimmer has a longer lower bill.

  2. You’re right, Jadi, the extraordinary variety of birds are worth the trip on their own. SOoooo many, every type imaginable and several that aren’t imaginable, and every colour of the rainbow. Simply magnificent.

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