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Birds of Africa

Africa, the place where we learned to recognise (and love) our first birds, the area where we have spotted and photographed most birds (more than 700!).

On this page, we have listed the birds in order of how they appear in our bird book (Birds of Africa – south of the Sahara). To keep similar birds together, but make sure the galleries don’t become too large, we have combined our African sightings into 14 groups. In this, we are following the order in which they appear and are grouped in that book.

However, as the birds of Madagascar and the Seychelles are not included in the ‘Birds of Africa – south of the Sahara’ book, we have added one additional group where we have listed the birds we have seen there.

Click on the heading where it describes which birds are in the group to open up the bird pictures. Clicking on another group will automatically close the previous group.

The first group includes sea birds like albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, tropicbirds, frigatebirds, gannets and boobies. They are grouped together with the grebes and penguins which are predominantely and completely flightless. In this group we also have cormorants, darters, the hamerkop (African endemic), (night) herons, egrets, bitterns, flamingos, spoonbills, ibises, pelicans, storks, ducks and geese.

We've seen 58 birds in this group. Despite living on the coast of Tanzania for 3 years, we didn't do very well in adding sea birds to the list...

The diurnal raptors with kites, osprey, fish-eagles, vultures, snake-eagles, harriers, hawks, sparrowhawks, goshawks, buzzards, eagles, falcons, kestrels and hobbies form the next group.

Then we have the gamebirds like peacocks, guineafowls (African endemic), francolins and spurfowls, quails and buttonquails, the quail plover, flufftails, rails, crakes, coots, moorhens, gallinules, finfoot, cranes and bustards.

Large waders and shorebirds make up the next group - the crab plover, oystercatchers, jacanas, thick-knees, sheathbills, pratincoles, coursers, plovers, lapwings, (painted) snipes, waders (like avocets, stilts, godwits, curlew, whimbrel, ruff, redshanks, greenshanks, sandpipers, and stints), skuas, gulls, skimmers, terns and noddies.

The next group consists of sandgrouse, pigeons, doves, parrots, lovebirds, turacos (African endemic), go-away birds (African endemic), plantain-eaters (African endemic), cuckoos, malkohas and coucals.

The nocturnal owls and nightjars are combined with swifts, spinetails, mousebirds (African endemic), trogons, hoopoes, wood-hoopoes (African endemic), scimitarbills (African endemic), kingfishers, rollers and bee-eaters.

The African endemic ostriches, secretarybird and ground-hornbills are grouped together with hornbills, barbets, tinkerbirds, honeyguides, honeybirds, wrynecks and woodpeckers.

In the next gallery we see pittas, broadbills, larks, sparrowlarks, martins, saw-wings, swallows, wagtails, longclaws and pipits.

Cuckooshrikes, drongos, orioles, crows, ravens, (penduline) tits, creepers, rock-jumpers, picathartes (African endemic), babblers, illadopsises, bulbuls, greenbuls, bristle-bills and nicators.

Rufous-thrushes, rock-thrushes, thrushes, akalats, ground-robins, robin-chats, nightingales, scrub-robins, redstarts, stonechats, chats, wheatears and cliff-chats.

This group are all warblers - reed-warblers, woodland warblers, parisomas, tit-babblers, cisticolas, apalises, prinias, eremomelas, crombecs, camaropteras, wren-warblers, longbills and hyliotas.

All flycatchers including paradise-flycatchers, crested flycatchers, batises (African endemic) and wattle-eyes (African endemic) are grouped together with shrikes, including puffbacks, boubous (African endemic), gonoleks (African endemic), bush-shrikes (African endemic), tchagras (African endemic) and helmet-shrikes(African endemic). This group also includes starlings and oxpeckers (African endemic). As you can see this group includes many African endemics.

This gallery groups sugarbirds (African endemic), sunbirds, white-eyes, sparrows, petronias, finches, buffalo-weavers, sparrow-weavers, social-weavers, weavers, malimbes, queleas, bishops and widowbirds.