Zambia Ornithology

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Bird Watching in Zambia

Zambia offers some of the finest birdwatching opportunities in Africa with habitats ranging from Kalahari sandveld to lakes and forests. The diversity of bird species in Zambia is amongst the highest in the world, with 743 species recorded to date and several more expected as the more remote areas are explored. Diversity combines with abundance during the wet seasons from November to March as migrants make Zambia's pristine bush and wetlands their home again. Zambia features a host of different waders, duck and waterfowl and also some interesting woodland species. But while all the National Parks are rich in birdlife, Kasanka is of particular interest as it attracts species not generally seen in southern Africa. Lochinvar National Park alone shelters 428 different species in its comparatively small 410 kmsq which is a world record for the diversity of type. The Kafue Flats which consist of the Blue Lagoon National Park and Lochinvar National Park has been designated a wetland of international importance by the IUCN and WWF. A management project to encourage the local inhabitants to participate in ecotourism and conservation has been set up with revenue from tourism being directed back into the local communities.

Blue Lagoon

Situated north of the Kafue river, the floodplains of this national park host a huge variety of waterbirds. The fig trees in the Park are home to the rare endemic Chaplin’s barbet.


Situated on the south of the Kafue river, the flats in Lochinvar are covered in lagoons which attract large flocks of birds, including many species not found in such numbers elsewhere, including flocks of wattled crane in the summer. There are 428 recorded species found in the Park.


This is a small 420 kmsq Park centred on the Kapabi Swamp in northern Zambia. In addition to being the perfect environment to see the rare and elusive sitatunga, the variety of vegetation from dry evergreen forests to riverine trees makes this a prime birdwatching destination. There are over 350 recorded species and Shoebill storks congregate in the papyrus swamps at the southern end of the Park in summer months.

To the north of Kasanka lies the Bangweulu Game Management area which is a vast wetland consisting of grassy flatlands, papyrus swamps and river channels. This harbors a myriad of waterfowl, Shoebill storks and Denham’s bustard.

South Luangwa

With such diversity of habitats including woodland, acacia, mopane, grassy plains and riverine forest it is not surprising almost 400 species of birds have been recorded here. Of particular note are over 40 different birds of prey, Pel’s fishing owl, African skimmers and African broadbill.

Lower Zambezi

This wilderness ranges from the river through floodplains, mopane forest and woodland covered hills making birdwatching superb with over 400 recorded species. Species to look out for include Trumpeter hornbills , Meyer’s parrot, Lilian’s lovebird and in the summer Narina trogon.

Last Updated on Thursday 26th November 2009