Everyone loves owls: African edition

10,000 Birds

There are few families of birds where despite a cosmopolitan distribution I’m always so pleased to see any species of the family. The species is a common one, found from the Gambia to Somalia and from the Sudan to South Africa. Who doesn’t love a good owl? owls aren’t rare, but they are seldom easy.

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Pink in Africa

10,000 Birds

Its mostly found on the ground in thickets or the edges of dense vegetation and usually in small family parties. This attractive (for a lark anyway) species is restricted to the dry savannah Somali-Maasai biome of north-east Africa (northern Tanzania, Kenya, southern Ethiopia and Somalia). It is found in higher-elevation woodlands from northern Zambia and Malawi northwards through Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia and into the Arabian peninsula.

Introducing the African Birding Beat

10,000 Birds

Families that are endemic to the continent include such strange birds as Shoebill , Secretarybird , Hamerkop , mousebirds and rockfowl ( picathartes ) and delightful groups including bushshrikes, sugarbirds, rockjumpers, woodhoopoes, turacos and hyliotas. Besides these truly African families, Africa abounds in a wealth of species in other more widespread groups; weavers, barbets, kingfishers, sunbirds, rollers, bee-eaters, and dare I mention them, cisticolas!

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The Bee-eaters of Africa

10,000 Birds

The wonderful family Meropidae contains 27 dazzling species, of which Africa is endowed with no less than 20 species, the balance occurring across Asia and with one as far afield as Australia. Furthermore, they are far more secretive, quietly perching on forest edges (where their predominantly green plumage makes them tough to spot), usually solitarily or in small family groups and inconspicuously making short sallies to catch bees and other prey.


10,000 Birds

This group of 4 species (as well as all the remaining “weavers” that are covered below) are not even placed in the weaver family ( Ploceidae ) but in Passeridae – the Old World Sparrow family. Its sister species, Chestnut-backed, shows a similar range but in the Miombo woodland zone of south-central Africa, and finally Donaldson-Smith’s occurs in the Somali-Maasai arid zone, with a rather restricted range from northern Kenya to southern Ethiopia and Somalia.

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