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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 endemic birds we have seen there.

Marine and coastal birds

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 predominantly 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.

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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.

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Game birds

This group includes birds like peacocks, guineafowls (African endemic), francolins and spurfowls, quails and buttonquails, the quail plover, flufftails, rails, crakes, coots, moorhens, gallinules, finfoot, cranes and bustards.

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Waders and shorebirds

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.

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Parrots, turacos, doves and coucals

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.

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Nocturnal, kingfishers and bee-eaters

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.

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Ground dwelling birds, hornbills and woodpeckers

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

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Swallows and pipits

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

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Crows, tits and babblers

This group has all the cuckooshrikes, drongos, orioles, crows, ravens, (penduline) tits, creepers, rock-jumpers, picathartes (African endemic), babblers, illadopsises, bulbuls, greenbuls, bristle-bills and nicators.

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Thrushes, robins and chats

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

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

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Flycatchers, shrikes and starlings

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.

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Weavers and sunbirds

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