Bird Watching in Tanzania
Bird Watching is one of the main reasons people come to Tanzania. There are an estimated 9000 bird species in the world, with 2000 in Africa. The avifauna of Tanzania include a total of 1050 species, of which 26 are endemic, 30 are accidental, and two have been introduced by humans.
Tanzania is truly a bird safari paradise; with higher species numbers only found in a few Latin American countries. This is due in no small part to the country’s diverse mix of environments, including mountain woodland, Miombo forest, savanna, dry fields, and coastline, the latter of which makes the country an important migratory stop off point.
Tanzania Bird Safaris
If you are on a bird safari in Tanzania you stand a good chance of seeing at least sixty per cent of all African bird species, and to see more than 100 bird species in a day’s outing is not uncommon.
Tanzania with its divers geography, shifting pattern of rainfall and dynamic ecology- provides environments that support a vast number of species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Even in the last few decades more species are being discovered especially in the wildlife hotspot of Udzungwa Mountains.
Add to the list the migrants that enter in East Africa from their summer breeding ground in the northern hemisphere and the year round diversity of the country’s birdlife is staggering.
Located in the tropics, the varied topography in Tanzania gives rise to a large variety of ecosystems all of which attrat their own diverse mix of bird species. The ecosystems range from mountain woodland to a tropical coast, and each possible elevation includes deserts, open savanna grasslands, swamp land, montane forests, rainforests, lakes and mudflats.
Some of the best places to witness Tanzania’s extensive bird life include Mount Kilimanjaro, the Tanzania rift valleys and the endless plains of the Serengeti National Park. Some of these may well already be on your safari itinerary as they are host to an abundance of unique animals and awe inspiring scenery. The rift valley lake of Lake Manyara contains over 400 bird species – this is more than the total number found in the United Kingdom.
Prominent bird species include secretary birds, various vultures, falcons and birds of prey, yellow-throated sandgrouses, bare-confronted go-away birds, lilac-breasted rollers, Gabon nightjars, red-throated tits, ground hornbills, sooty chats, and a range of warblers, widowbirds and pipits. The thick riverine forest are home to African finfoots, giant kingfishers, Livingstone’s & Ross’ turacos, double-toothed barbets, blue flycatchers, and the uncommon Pel’s fishing owl. Lake Natron is also located close to the National Parks and is the spectacular host to one to two million lesser flamingo.
Arusha is another location well known for its abundant bird life, especially the beautiful Lake Duluti and its forested shores. With the help of a guide, some sturdy walking boots and a decent pair of binoculars, this region makes for a perfect area to see a diverse range of species. Highlights include the chance to see Maccoa ducks swimming on the lake, or the splendid Peters’ twinspot up in the trees. The area is also well known for its black-throated apalis and bar-tailed trogons, both of which you have a good chance of encountering on a bird walk.
Tanzania Bird Safaris When To Go
The birdlife in Tanzania is good year-round, but at its best from November to April when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in breeding plumage. The wettest months are March and April, when parts of the country may experience storms on a daily basis. The Wet season is also the hottest time of the year. This may make it uncomfortably hot on the coast. For wildlife viewing, the dry season is better.
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