Grey crowned crane

Grey crowned crane reach about one meter tall with a wingspan of two meters. Grey crowned crane is one of the easiest African birds to recognize by their bright red throat pouch, white face, blue eyes and eye-catching crown of bright gold feathers.

Like many birds, grey crowned cranes have an elaborate mating dance involving bowing, Jumping, spreading their wings and hopping but they don’t just do this during mating season. You can see this display at any time of the year. Grey crowned cranes are endangered.

Grey crowned crane can be found across Eastern and southern Africa including Tanzania, Kenya and south Africa. It is also a national bird of Uganda and appears in the Centre of the country’s flag.


This scarily-looking bird captures the imagination because it really does a look like the dinosaurs from birds are descended.

The shoebill is huge measuring up to 1.5m tall with a wingspan of 2.5m. it named after its enormous bill which some say looks like a shoe that can grow up to 24cm long and 20cm wide but they are mostly silent, they use this huge to make loud, scary clattering sounds to communicate with other birds.

The shoebill is a solitary bird living alone in marshy swamp areas where it can sit still waiting for fish, frogs and water snakes for long periods without moving.

You can see shoebill in freshwater swamps in central and eastern Africa including Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, western Tanzania and Northern Zambia.

Common ostrich

The ostrich is the largest living bird too heavy to fly but fastest bird or animal that move on two legs and can sprint at 70km/hr. covering up to 5m in a single stride.

Ostriches spend the winter months in pairs or alone but during breeding season these birds congregate in herds with one male presiding over a harem of up to seven females.

If you to see ostrich, you can see ostrich across the whole Africa all the way from North Africa including Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco to east and southern Africa.

They prefer grassland and savanna areas like the Serengeti and Masai Mara where they are fairly easy to spot due to their size. In south Africa you can also visit ostrich farms if you want to get up close.


There are six species of flamingo which two live in Africa; the greater and lesser flamingos. Adult flamingos can be four to five feet tall but weighs only 4-8 pounds.

Flamingos feed by scooping up mud from the lakebed and use their adapted bills to filter out small crustacean and plankton. They are pick in color of the tiny shellfish that they eat.

Flamingos mainly congregate at specific bleeding grounds around salty lakes including Lake Natron in Tanzania, Lake Nakuru, lake Bogoria and lake elmenteita in Kenya, kamfers dam in south Africa.


Vultures are nature’s rubbish collectors scavenge on the flesh and bones of dead and dying animals and a flock of vultures can pick a carcass clean in just few hours.

These birds have few feathers on their heads and necks so that when they bury their faces inside rotting carcasses, bacteria and other parasites cannot infect them so easily.

A vulture’s senses of sight and smell are among the best of any other bird and they are able to find a dead animal from far. Vultures have huge territories and spend a lot of time flying around looking for their next meal.

You can see vultures from savanna areas of many sub-Saharan countries including Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana and south Africa.

Secretary bird

The secretary bird is one of the most impressive looking birds of Africa standing more than four feet tall, this mostly ground based bird of prey is instantly recognisable from its long pick legs, bare red face and sharp, curved yellow beak. The name comes from the idea that with its knee length black pantaloons black coat and quill-like head feathers, the bird looks like 19th century clerk or secretary.

Secretary birds are one of only two birds of prey that hunt on the ground instead of from the air. They eat small rodents, amphibians and reptiles and famously use their sharp claws and powerful feet to stomp their prey to death.

The secretary bird is usually found in open grasslands and savanna of the sub-Saharan region from Senegal to Somalia and down to south Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.

Marabou stork.

Marabou stork is sometimes referred to as the undertake bird because of its cloak-like wings, hunched posture and sinister-looking expression. They are scavengers and can frequently be seen feeding around Africa’s landfill sites and rubbish dumps.

Marabou stock is absolutely massive and were once thought to be the largest living bird and it is very easy to spot due to its enormous size, powerful bill and naked head, lack feathers on its face helps this bird keep clean when scavenging amongst rotting waste.

They often in ugly five list because they are so unattractive. In hot weather, marabou stock pee down their own legs to keep themselves cool.

Marabou storks are not afraid of humans and can even be quite intimidating. They nest in colonies in treetops and you can see them on east in African countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and also in Ethiopia around the cities.

Kori Bustard

Kori Bustard is one of the largest and heaviest flying birds in Africa spends most of its time on the ground, taking to air only to escape from predators and landing again as soon as possible. It can reach 3 feet tall and males can weigh up to 40 pounds which is quite a different from the agile flamingo.

Kori Bustard bird is not like other African birds because they don’t have a preening gland that produces oil to keep their feathers clean from parasites. In some parts of Africa Kori Bustards are hunted for their meat.

You can see these birds in eastern and southern Africa especially in Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania. They mainly leave in open grassy areas and Savannas and always follow herds of zebras or antelopes looking creatures that always disturb their hooves.

Yellow-billed stork

Yellow billed stork is a medium sized wading storks that live around rivers and wetlands, preying mainly on small freshwater fish, crustaceans, frogs, insects and worms.

These birds are intelligent and quick to adapt when hunting, they use one foot to stir the riverbed disturbing any potential prey from hiding place and is able to quickly grab it from the water.

You can see yellow billed stock around freshwater wetlands and lakes in eastern and southern Africa from Senegal, south Africa and some parts of Madagascar.

Saddle billed stork

Saddle billed stork is another interesting looking stork that you may see on your African safari. This is the tallest stork in the world, taller than the enormous marabou but not heavy as such.

It gets its name from its eye-catching colorful beak with the vivid red bands and bright yellow frontal shield the saddle. It has an area of bare skin richly supplied with blood capillaries that is used during bleeding season to make sure body heat can easily be transferred between the parent and the egg.

Saddle billed stork live alone or in pairs and you can see them in sub-Saharan Africa including in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in east Africa and Gambia Senegal and Chad in west Africa and you can also see them in South Africa.

African openbill

The African openbill is an elegant wading stork found in sub–Saharan Africa. This stork is easily recognized by its distinctive bill which has a gap between the top and bottom halves the gap helps the bird easily pick up its favorite pray of aquatic snails and mollusks with a mainly black plumage and stands at approximately 90cm tall.

Openbills like to walk around slowly in shallow water with their bills submerged and partially open. when it finds a snail, they snap their bill shut and carry the snail back to the shore and eat it.

You can see African openbills in wetland, marshes, lakes, rivers, across Central, and southern Africa in Botswana, Kenya, south Africa and Zambia.

African spoonbill

African spoonbill is a captivating wader inhabiting wetlands throughout Africa. It is distinguished by its long, spatula shaped bill and it stands around 80cm tall.

African spoonbill swinging its specialized spoon-shaped bill from side to side in water for easily catches its prey of aquatic invertebrates and its long legs and slender pointed toes allow it to wade easily through the water.

You can find African spoonbills area easily seen in wetland and marshy areas across Africa and Madagascar including Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


Pelican is a large charismatic waterbird often seen swimming in tight flotillas on open lakes, coasts, rivers and is easily recognized by their long bill and large throat pouch which they use to scoop up fish and drain away the water before swallowing. They are closely related to shoebill and fossil.

You can see Pelicans right across sub-Saharan, Uganda and southern Africa.


Cormorants are another type of African waterbird commonly found around rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Cormorants dive underwater and use their wings like fins to swim to catch fish. That’s why you often see these birds standing with their wings outspread drying them in the sun.

You can see cormorant in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and Uganda.

Cattle egret

The cattle egret is a medium-sized related to the Heron and they gather in flocks around wetlands, farmlands and grasslands with their dazzling white plumage they are very conspicuous.

Unlike other bird species that have suffered due to human activity and loss of habitat, cattle egrets have adapted to living alongside humans and are often found near herds of cattle.

You can see Cattle egret are very common birds across the whole Africa around lakes and marshy areas and alongside herds of buffalo or zebras.


Hamerkops may look like ducks but they are most closely related to Pelicans and shoebills. They are wading African birds with partially webbed feet about the same size as a duck.

The name means hammerhead in Africans and said to come from the brown crest on the back of the head along with the broad bill makes them look like a hammer.

Hamerkops are famous for the huge, bulky nests they build in trees. Nests can reach as much as 5 feet across and are strong enough to support the weight.

You can see a Hamerkop across the whole of sub-Saharan Africa and Uganda near shallow water such as rivers, reservoirs, marshes and estuaries, their huge nests are easily to spot and their owner may not be far away.

Knob Billed Duck.

Knob billed duck is also known as the African comb duck and also a very distinctive African duck.

Knob Billed ducks are one of the largest species of ducks and only males have the Knob on their bill which is thought to be a feature designed to attract females. Knob Billed ducks are almost completely silent perhaps with that impressive bill.

You can see Knob Billed ducks inhabit various tropical and sub-tropical wetlands and waterways across southern and central Africa in countries of Kenya, Uganda Nigeria and Botswana.

White Faced Whistling Duck

White faced whistling duck is a gregarious waterfowl native to sub–Saharan Africa distinguished by its striking black and white facial marking and long neck and also known for its melodious whistling calls.

White faced whistling calls feeds on aquatic vegetation, invertebrates and often forage by dabbling in shallow waters.

You can see white faced whistling duck in Botswana, central, east and southern Africa and South America.

African skimmer

The charismatic African Skimmer is a captivating bird known for its unique feeding strategy. with this specially adopted tool, African skimmer does what its name suggests; it flies down and skims the water surface catching small fish.

African skimmer nesting in colonies on the ground on the ground on sandbanks, skimmers are vulnerable to ground predators and changes in water levels.

You can see African skimmers inhabit riverbanks and large lakes in tropical and southern Africa in Zambezi, Chobe and Okavango rivers, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Spur-winged goose.

The spur-winged goose is the largest waterfowl found in Africa and the largest species of goose in the world recognized by its brown back and brown wings, bright red beak and legs plus large size with a wingspan of over six feet.

Spur-winged goose got its name from spur or sticky out pointy bit that can see about halfway down the edge of the wing. The poison is stored in the bird’s tissues making them toxic as well.

Spur winged goose can be seen in grassland, river and wetland, landscapes across sub-Saharan Africa in countries like Kenya, Botswana, Ghana and south Africa.

Goliath Heron

Goliath heron is the world’s largest heron with a wingspan exceeding to meters, it boasts a distinct hunched posture, long neck and dagger-like bill.

This bird is solitary and excel in patient fishing, wading through shallow waters with stealth before striking rapidly to catch larger fish and swallow whole.

Like all Herons, Goliath thrives in diverse wetland landscapes and are never far from water and can be seen in south Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Okavango Delta and Chobe rivers

African fish eagle

There are 60 species of eagles. African fish eagle are large, powerful birds of prey with extraordinary eyesight stronger than that of a human which allows them to spot even a tiny meal like a rabbit more than a mile away.

The African fish eagle is one of the most iconic of all African birds of prey and one the African eagles with a wingspan reaching 2.4 meters. It mostly eats fish and has sharp barbs on its toes to help to help it grip onto its slippery prey.

You can see African fish eagle in sub-Saharan, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and it is the national bird of both Namibia and Zambia.

Tawny eagle

Tawny eagle is a medium- sized eagle recognizable by its lighter brown head, dark brown body and feather covered legs.

This bird prefers semi-dry habitats like desert areas and open savanna plains and mainly hunts small mammals though they will also scavenge for carrion and even still food from other birds.

You can see Tawny eagle in Morocco, Mali, Chad, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Botswana, Africa and is one of the most common types of eagles in Africa.

Brown snake eagle.

Brown snake eagle is striking raptor indigenous to west, east and southern Africa distinguished by its dark brown plumage, white underparts, distinctive yellow eyes and its huge wingspan of about 1.5 meters.

This eagle is a specialist in eating snakes, to catch them it soars high, scanning the ground for reptilian prey before capturing and killing venomous snakes with remarkable precision using its powerful and sharp beak and talons. Brown snake eagle is a solitary bird.

You can see a brown snake eagle Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, south Africa, Botswana. They prefer savanna and open woodlands, arid regions to more densely vegetation areas.


Bateleur is related to the snake eagle and is a very distinctive looking bird with a large black head and that bright red face and feet.

Juveniles look quite different with a specked light brown colouring. The name Bateleur means clown or Juggler in French. Bateleur takes up to 8 years to reach its full Maturity.

You can see Bateleur in protected areas like in National Parks of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and also Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

Augur Buzzard

Augur buzzard is another large African bird of prey like eagles, buzzards are powerful predators with impressive eye sight but they tend to be smaller than eagles and their tails are more fan shaped.

Augur Buzzard is particularly distinctive to its bright white belly and speckled wing tips. They feed on small vertebrates, reptiles and small mammals and birds as well as insects and carrion.

You can see Augur Buzzard in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Yellow Billed kite

Yellow Billed kite is a medium sized bird of prey that you can recognize from its bright yellow beak and feet and V-shaped tail and this bird measures about 55 cm tall and have a wingspan of 1.5 meters.

Kites are fast and quick fliers, capable of sudden bursts of speed and can catch and eat insects in flight. They are also scavengers and are bold around humans and even sometimes stealing food from picnic tables or other birds.

Yellow billed kites are not considered threatened and can be seen in all-over Sub-Saharan Africa like western side of Botswana and many other countries.

Unique and memorable African birds


Hornbill is a native to Africa and Asia but easily recognized by their long-curved bill. To support its weight, hornbill is the only bird that has their first and second neck vertebrae fused together and also have very strong neck muscles.

There are 55 species of hornbill of which 24 are found in Africa. Hornbills come in a wide range of sizes from tiny black dwarf hornbill which is about the size of a pigeon and lives in the tropical rainforest to southern ground hornbill which lives in savanna of southern Africa and has nearly 2 meters wingspan.

Hornbills are famous for their breeding behaviour where female lays eggs in a hole of a tree or crevice and then completely seals herself inside with mud and droppings, leaving a tiny opening then the male brings her food while she is incubating the eggs.

You can see a hornbill open woodland and savanna, dense forests, eastern and southern Africa.

Go away bird

Go away bird is an iconic African bird, pretty easy to see in southern and eastern Africa, officially a type turaco and sometimes referred to as loeries. Often perched conspicuously on a tall or dead trees where they serve as sentinels warning of approaching threats.

Go away bird feed on fruits and insects and they contribute on seed disposal, their complex vocalizations involve duets and mimicry adding to their communicative powers in flocks.

You can see Go away bird in Botswana and Kenya.

African Penguin

African penguin is quite small and like all other penguins that cannot fly, very charismatic birds and have a loud donkey like bray which has given them the nick name Jackass penguins.

African penguins’ mate for life and spend about 10 months hunting for fish out at the sea and returning to the same colonies every year to breed.

You can see African penguins in south Africa, Namibia, colony at Boulders beach and foxy Beach near Cape Town.

Guinea fowl

Guinea fowl is a ground dwelling African bird about the size of chicken with tiny head and a round body covered with spotty black and white feathers.

They are sociable birds and hang out in large flocks often following large herds of large mammals like Zebras, antelopes and Monkeys looking for food like insects and seeds where they also play a great role in keeping ticks, locusts and flies under control.

Today Guinea fowls are hunted for consumption and also kept as domestic birds. In groups they can be very noisy and quite funny to watch as they are madly scurry.

You can see all six species of Guinea across sub–Saharan Africa in open habitants like grasslands and savanna where they are easily spotted.

African sacred ibis

African sacred ibis with its bright white body, black head and tail and long, elegantly curved bill. The African sacred ibis is one of the most distinctive African birds and natives to Africa and middle East.

Sacred ibis is a medium sized wading birds about 60cm tall with a wingspan of about 120cm. They hangout in flocks and mainly eat insects, worms, fish, flogs and crustaceans.

You can see African sacred ibis across sub–Saharan Africa especially in Uganda, Tanzania and many more others.

Recent Articles
  •   Gorilla Tracking destinations Uganda Rwanda Congo 2024 / 2025
  •  An Exclusive Kenya Safari
  •  Visit Phung village, best place to see rice terraces Hoang Su Phi Ha Giang, Vietnam
  •  Beyond an Africa Safari - Top things to look out for on an Africa Safari
  •  Gorilla Trekking From Tanzania
  •  Guided nature walk in Maramagambo Forest - Queen Elizabeth National Park
  •  Top 10 Luxury Lodges in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  •  Top 10 Traditional Vietnamese Foods For Tet
  •  Kidepo Valley National Park
  •  Vietnam Tipping Culture - How To Tip In Vietnam?
  •  Review From Mr. Julien: Explore Vietnam In 15 Days
  •  Apply for a Vietnamese e-visa
  •  Exploring Vietnam: A 7-Day Adventure by Kaylin Alva
  •  MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE – KENYA (Masai Mara tours and safaris)
  •  Tips on Using money on a Uganda safari - Money mistakes to Avoid on a Uganda Safari
  •  A complete Guide to Bwindi Impenetrable national Park
  •  Rwanda’s Visa-Free Declaration - A Step Towards African Unity and Travel Accessibility
  •  Laws Governing Wildlife and Nature Conservation in Uganda
  •  Birding in Rwanda - Birding safaris in Rwanda
  •  The Uganda western Circuit Safari destinations
  •  Adventure Activities on a Uganda Safari - Top 10 Adventure Safari Activities in Uganda
  •  Commonly Spoken Languages in Uganda - Uganda Safari Language Guide
  •  Last-Minute Travel To Uganda - Places To Visit Incase You Are On The Rush
  •  What To See and Do in Kibale Forest National Park?
  •  What to see and do in Queen Elizabeth National Park?
  •  The Ultimate Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda