Did you know?
The yellowbilled stork is one of South Africa's 9 stork species.
Birding in South Africa is amazing – whether you're on safari, cruising round the Cape Winelands, hiking in the Drakensberg or sunning yourself by the sea, you won't be far from bird-watching opportunities.
South Africa boasts over 900 bird species, ranging from the familiar – swallows, robins and thrushes – to the lesser known, such as turacos, penguins and sunbirds.
Many birders come for the endemics, those species found in southern Africa and nowhere else. The Blue crane (South Africa's national bird), Cape vulture, Black oystercatcher and Ground woodpecker are among those 113 endemics.
If you're in the Kruger National Park, look out not only for the Big 5, but also the Big 6 birds – the Lappet-faced vulture, the Martial eagle, the Saddle-billed stork, the Kori bustard, the Ground hornbill and Pel's fishing owl. And watch the oxpeckers busily hoovering up ticks and insects from the hides of antelope, buffalo and giraffe.
When in the city suburbs take note of that prehistoric-looking bird flying noisily overhead. This mini pterodactyl is the hadeda ibis. If you're in Cape Town, birder or not, a visit to the penguin colony at Simon's Town's Boulders Beach is non-negotiable. To see these highly endangered, totally loveable little birds at rest and play will be a highlight.
There are some great birding routes all over South Africa; some take just a few hours, others a day or more. Get in touch with one of our many thriving bird clubs for local information on the best routes and times to visit.
Birding in South Africa can be a lark – literally and metaphorically. Among our endemics are 15 kinds of these feathery LBJs (little brown jobs, as larks are known in South Africa). So keep your eyes open.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Birdlife South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 11 789 1122
Fax: +27 (0) 11 789 5188