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Birding Destinations

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Tanzania is an extensive, untouched wilderness and has the second largest lake in the world; Lake Victoria – a freshwater lake, home to 400 species of bird, and one of the seven summits, Mount Kilimanjaro. It is also considered one of the best places for wilderness viewing in the world including Arusha, Serengeti, Norongoro Crater, Tarangire and Manyara National Parks.

The National parks in Tanzania are made up of a variety of landscapes including open savannah grassland, bush and scrub with large rivers running through them. This means that these parks host an incredible array of birdlife including the Secretary Bird, numerous vultures, eagles and hawks, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Gabon Nightjar, Lilac-breasted Roller, Ground Hornbill, Red-throated Tit, Sooty Chat, and a wide variety of larks, pipits and widowbirds. The thick riverine forest bordering the Mara and Talek rivers hold African Finfoot, Livingstone’s & Ross’s Turaco, Giant Kingfisher, Blue Flycatcher, Double-toothed Barbet and the rare Pel’s Fishing Owl; while the feeding ground for the largest concentration of Lesser Flamingo’s on the planet (being about 2 million) is found at Lake Natron.

Tanzania Top Birding destinations

Arusha National Park

The verdant grassy hills surround the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, all shimmering in shades of green and blue. Their shallows sometimes host Pink Flamingos in their thousands. These lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and shaggy waterbucks line the watery fringes. Giraffes lope along the grassy hills between dazzling zebra herds, while pairs of wide-eyed Dik-Dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.

Lake Victoria

This Lake is home to over 400 species of birds, which makes it easy to view them in a few days. White and Pink-backed Pelican, Cormorant and Long-tailed Cormorant, Little Bittern, Goliath, Purple and Squacco Heron, Little, Yellow-billed and Great-white Egrets, Hammerkop, Yellow-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, Fish Eagle, Black Crake, Allen’s and Purple Gallinules, Jacana, and Pied and Malachite Kingfishers are all residents. With a surface area of just under 70 000 km², Lake Victoria is the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. But despite its size, it is fairly shallow, only reaching 75m at its deepest.

By NASA – NASA World Wind, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.phpcurid=42445846

Mount Kilimanjaro

This is the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, the summit of which is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. Highland species here include several extremely uncommon birds such as Green Ibis, Rufous Sparrowhawk, Mountain Buzzard, Crowned Eagle, Jackson’s Francolin, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-fronted Parrot, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Scarce Swift, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Montane Oriole, Alpine Chat, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Slender-billed Chestnut-winged Starling, and 13 species of sunbirds including the Northern Double-collared, Golden-winged, Tacazze, Green-headed and Scarlet-tufted Malachite.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve across the border in Kenya, protect the largest and most diverse collection of terrestrial wildlife on Earth, and remains one of the last great migratory systems still intact. The Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania’s protected areas, which calculated together, make up some 14% of the country’s land area. This is a conservation record that few countries come close to.

Usambara Mountains

These mountains and tropical forests are considered incredibly significant ecologically and as a Biodiversity hotspot. There are protected zones throughout the range which are still being expanded and contributed to by the Tanzanian government, associated NGO’s and research teams, and donor countries. The Usambara Mountains are fairly unique in East Africa with their natural areas still being cloaked in tropical forests, which are otherwise seen primarily in Western Africa.

If you are looking at one of these popular destinations for your birding tour, consider our experienced guides to get you in the best spots to see that bird you have been waiting to see. You can get in touch with us from our website.

Sources: Fatbirder, Go2Africa, Nasa

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Although 2019 seems to be racing away from us, there’s still time to book your next birding holiday. In this article, we list the top 10 bird watching destinations for 2019.

#1 Tanzania

Tanzania is the largest of the Eastern African countries, with a land area of 945,097 square kilometres (of which 25% is gazetted as protected areas). To draw you a picture, Tanzania is four times larger than Great Britain and seven times larger than England.

Tanzania has one of the largest species lists of any African country:

  • 800+ resident species 
  • 200 regular migrants, generally present from November to April
  • 22 species are endemic (Tanzania only)
  • 43 species are near-endemic (Tanzania and neighbouring countries only). 

Keen to experience a taste (or full-on smorgasbord) of Tanzania? Get in touch with Tanzania Birding to find out more about our Tanzania tours: https://www.tanzaniabirding.com/contactus.html.

#2 Peru

Recommended by National Geographic, Peru’s mountains and jungle are begging to be explored by birders. In some areas, the mid-altitude ranges allow for lowland and mountain birds to occur together. Peru is home to 500+ bird species.

#3 Colombia

With 1,850 species and counting, Colombia is the most bird-rich country in the world. From wildlife-rich wetlands to tropical plains as well as the Andean mountains, the country is home to a wide array of habitats and bird species. Must-see birds include the scores of hummingbirds,  Jabiru, a towering stork, and the critically endangered Glittering Starfrontlet.

#4 Spain

Spain’s diverse landscape and varied habitats make this European country a birder’s paradise. Species include Lammergeiers, Great and Little Bustards, Calandra Larks, migrating raptors and flocks of Greater Flamingos.

#5 Australia

Popular birding destinations in Australia include:

  • Queensland – for South Cassowary (the world’s third-tallest bird) and Satin Bowerbird
  • Melbourne – for Superb Lyrebird
  • South Australia – for the neon and cobalt Splendid Fairywren
  • The island of Tasmania – with its dozen endemic birds

#6 The Gambia

A week-long trip to the Gambia typically offers 270 species, many of which burst with rainbow colours – Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Yellow-crowned Gonoleks, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatchers, Egyptian Plovers and more.

#7 England

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Bempton Cliffs is home to England’s biggest seabird colony. If you visit in spring or summer next year, you could get enchantingly close to Gannets, Puffins and Kittiwakes.

#8 Botswana

The famous Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s best destinations for wildlife watching. These expansive wetlands are home to African Pygmy Geese, African Skimmers and the Western Banded Snake Eagle. Birdwatching in Botswana’s drier east also has its charms, where you may see species such as the Orange River Francolin and Boulder Chat.

Find out more about our Southern Africa tours:  https://www.tanzaniabirding.com/south-africa/namibia-botswana-zambia/

#9 Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise that is easily explored by the visiting birdwatcher, with a number of ecolodges in and around protected areas. Be amazed by the dancing manakins, expect to be deafened by the song of Three-wattled Bellbird and go on a search for the rare Mangrove Hummingbird.

#10 Chilean Patagonia

Last year, the Chilean government expanded the country’s protected areas by an area almost the size of Switzerland. A large proportion of this land can be found in Patagonia, an area with fantastic birding, with species including the mighty Andean condor, the strange Magellanic Plover, world’s southernmost-living hummingbird and parrot and colonies of King and Magellanic penguins.

What are you waiting for?

There’s so much to explore and so many species to see! Choosing where to go is the hard part. If you have your heart set on Africa, we can help! Get in touch to find out more about our beautiful, exotic and one-of-a-kind birding destinations: https://www.tanzaniabirding.com/contactus.html.

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