List of Southern African birds

List of Southern African birds

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Southern Africa. Southern Africa is defined as Africa south of a line between the Kunene and Zambezi rivers, encompassing Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and southern and central Mozambique, as well as oceanic waters within convert|200|nmi|km|-1 of the coast, covering approximately 3.5 million square kilometres.

Southern Africa consists of eight major habitats which the birds inhabit: Karoo, Moist Savanna, Arid Savanna, Namib Desert, Lowland Forest, Fynbos, Grassland and Montane Forest.


This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of Roberts Birds of southern Africa's 7th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced, accidental and extirpated species are included in the total species counts for Southern Africa.

The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. It must be noted that not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are common occurring, native species.
*(A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in the Southern Africa.
*(E) Endemic A species endemic to the Southern Africa.
*(Ex) Extirpated A species that no longer occurs in the Southern Africa although populations exist elsewhere.
*(I) Introduced A species introduced to the Southern Africa as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.
*(DD) Data deficient A species that are uncertain of its status due to lack of research and information available.


Order: SphenisciformesFamily: Spheniscidae

The number of penguin species has been and still is a matter of debate. Depending on which authority is followed, biodiversity varies between 17 and 20 living species. There are 4 species which occur in Southern Africa.
* African Penguin "Spheniscus demersus"
* King Penguin "Aptenodytes patagonicus" (A)
* Macaroni Penguin "Eudyptes chrysolophus" (A)
* Rockhopper Penguin " Eudyptes chrysocome" (A)


Order: PodicipediformesFamily: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species world-wide and 3 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Little Grebe "Tachybaptus ruficollis"
* Great Crested Grebe "Podiceps cristatus"
* Black-necked Grebe "Podiceps nigricollis"


Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses comprise between 13 and 24 species (the number of species is still a matter of some debate, 21 being the most commonly accepted number) in 4 genera. The four genera are the great albatrosses (Diomedea), the mollymawks (Thalassarche), the North Pacific albatrosses (Phoebastria), and the sooty albatrosses or sooties (Phoebetria). Of the four genera, the North Pacific albatrosses are considered to be a sister taxon to the great albatrosses, while the sooty albatrosses are considered closer to the mollymawks. There are 15 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Tristan Albatross "Diomedea dabbenena"
* Wandering Albatross "Diomedea exulans"
* Southern Royal Albatross "Diomedea epomophora"
* Northern Royal Albatross "Diomedea sanfordi"
* Shy Albatross "Thalassarche cauta"
* Black-browed Albatross "Thalassarche melanophris"
* Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross "Thalassarche chlororhynchos"
* Grey-headed Albatross "Thalassarche chrysostoma"
* Salvin's Albatross "Thalassarche salvini"
* Chatham Albatross "Thalassarche eremita"
* Buller's Albatross "Thalassarche bulleri" (A)
* Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross "Thalassarche carteri"
* Light-mantled Albatross "Phoebetria palpebrata" (A)
* Sooty Albatross "Phoebetria fusca" (A)
* Laysan Albatross "Phoebastria immutabilis" (A)

hearwaters and Petrels

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Procellariidae

The Procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species world wide and 33 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Southern Giant Petrel "Macronectes giganteus"
* Northern Giant Petrel "Macronectes halli"
* Southern Fulmar "Fulmarus glacialoides"
* Antarctic Petrel "Thalassoica antarctica" (A)
* Pintado Petrel "Daption capense"
* Great-winged Petrel "Pterodroma macroptera"
* White-headed Petrel "Pterodroma lessonii"
* Atlantic Petrel "Pterodroma incerta" (A)
* Barau's Petrel "Pterodroma baraui"
* Soft-plumaged Petrel "Pterodroma mollis"
* Kerguelen Petrel "Lugensa brevirostris"
* Blue Petrel "Halobaena caerulea"
* Broad-billed Prion "Pachyptila vittata"
* Salvin's Prion "Pachyptila salvini"
* Antarctic Prion "Pachyptila desolata"
* Fulmar Prion "Pachyptila crassirostris"
* Slender-billed Prion "Pachyptila belcheri" (A)
* Fairy Prion "Pachyptila turtur"
* Bulwer's Petrel "Bulweria bulwerii" (A)
* Jouanin's Petrel "Bulweria fallax"
* White-chinned Petrel "Procellaria aequinoctialis"
* Spectacled Petrel "Procellaria conspicillata"
* Grey Petrel "Procellaria cinerea"
* Cory's Shearwater "Calonectris diomedea"
* Streaked Shearwater "Calonectris leucomelas" (A)
* Great Shearwater "Puffinus gravis"
* Flesh-footed Shearwater "Puffinus carneipes"
* Sooty Shearwater "Puffinus griseus"
* Wedge-tailed Shearwater "Puffinus pacificus"
* Manx Shearwater "Puffinus puffinus"
* Balearic Shearwater "Puffinus mauretanicus"
* Tropical Shearwater "Puffinus bailloni" (A)
* Little Shearwater "Puffinus assimilis"

torm Petrels

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae

The Storm-Petrels are the smallest of seabirds, relatives of the petrels, feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species world wide and 8 species which occur in Southern African Bird.

* White-faced Storm-Petrel "Pelagodroma marina" (A)
* Matsudaira's Storm-Petrel "Oceanodroma matsudairae" (A)
* Wilson's Storm-Petrel "Oceanites oceanicus"
* Leach's Storm-Petrel "Oceanodroma leucorhoa"
* European Storm-Petrel "Hydrobatesn pelagicus"
* Black-bellied Storm-Petrel "Fregetta tropica"
* White-bellied Storm-Petrel "Fregetta grallaria" (A)
* Grey-backed Storm-Petrel "Garrodia nereis"


Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Pelecanoididae

* Common Diving-Petrel "Pelecanoides urinatrix"


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their long wings have black markings, as does the head. There are 3 species world wide and all of them occur in Southern Africa.

* Red-tailed Tropicbird "Phaethon rubricauda"
* Red-billed Tropicbird "Phaethon aethereus" (A)
* White-tailed Tropicbird "Phaethon lepturus" (A)

Boobies and Gannets

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies with only boobies occurring in Southern Africa. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 8 species world wide and 4 species which occur in Southern Africa.

Genus Sula

* Brown Booby "Sula leucogaster"
* Red-footed Booby "Sula dactylatra"

=Genus Morus=

* Cape Gannet "Morus capensis"
* Australian Gannet "Morus serrator"


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Phalacrocoracidae

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage coloration is varied with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being quite colourful. There are 38 species world wide and 5 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* White-breasted Cormorant "Phalacrocorax lucidus"
* Cape Cormorant "Phalacrocorax capensis" (E)
* Bank Cormorant "Phalacrocorax neglectus"
* Reed Cormorant "Phalacrocorax africanus"
* Crowned Cormorant "Phalacrocorax coronatus"


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Anhingidae

There are four living species, one of which is near-threatened. The darters are frequently referred to as “snake-birds” because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. 1 of the species occur in Southern Africa.
* African Darter "Anhinga melanogaster"


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black or black and white, with long wings and deeply-forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There are 5 species world-wide and 2 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Greater Frigatebrid "Fregata minor"
* Lesser Frigatebird "Fregata ariel"


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. There are 8 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Eastern White Pelican "Pelecanus onocrotalus"
* Pink-backed Pelican "Pelecanus rufescens"

Herons, Egrets and Bitterns

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and Egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Unlike other long necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species world wide and 21 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Grey Heron "Ardea cinerea"
* Black-headed Heron "Ardea melanocephala"
* Goliath Heron "Ardea goliath"
* Purple Heron "Ardea purpurea"
* Squacco Heron "Ardeola ralloides"
* Madagascar Heron "Ardeola idae"
* Rufous-bellied Heron "Ardeola rufiventris"
* White-backed Night Heron "Gorsachius leuconotus"
* Black-crowned Night Heron "Nycticorax nycticorax"
* Green-backed Heron "Butorides striatus"
* Little Blue Heron "Egretta caerulea" (A)
* Western Reef-Heron "Egretta gularis" (A)

* Yellow-billed Egret "Egretta intermedia"
* Great Egret "Ardea alba"
* Little Egret "Egretta garzetta"
* Cattle Egret "Bubulcus ibis"
* Black Egret "Egretta ardesiaca"
* Slaty Egret "Egretta vinaceigula" (A)

* Great Bittern "Botaurus stellaris"
* Dwarf Bittern "Ixobrychus sturmii"
* Little Bittern "Ixobrychus minutus"


Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Ciconiidae

Storks have no syrinx and are mute, giving no bird call; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Many species are migratory. Most storks eat frogs, fish, insects, earthworms, and small birds or mammals. There are 19 living species of storks in this world and 8 occur in Southern Africa.

* Black Stork "Ciconia nigra"
* White Stork "Ciconia ciconia"
* Abdim's Stork "Ciconia abdimii"
* Yellow-billed Stork "Ciconia ibis"
* Marabou Stork "Leptoptilos crumeniferus"
* Saddle-billed Stork "Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis"
* Open-billed Stork "Anastomus lamelligerus"
* Woolly-necked Stork "Ciconia episcopus"


Order: Phoenicopteriformes Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingoes are gregarious wading birds, usually 3–5 feet in height, found in both the Western Hemisphere and Eastern Hemisphere. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 6 species world wide and 2 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* Greater Flamingo "Phoenicopterus ruber roseus"
* Lesser Flamingo "Phoenicopterus minor"

Ibises and Spoonbills

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Threskiornithidae

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and, rather surprisingly, given their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species world wide and 5 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* African Spoonbill "Platalea alba"
* Sacred Ibis "Threskiornis aethiopicus"
* Hadeda Ibis "Bostrychia hagedash"
* Glossy Ibis "Plegadis falcinellus"
* Southern Bald Ibis "Geronticus calvus" (E)


Order: Ciconiiformes or PelecaniformesFamily: Scopidae

* Hamerkop "Scopus umbretta"

Ducks, Geese and Swans

Order: Anseriformes Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. There are 131 species world wide and 22 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Mute Swan "Cygnus olor" (I)
* Knob-billed Duck "Sarkidiornis melanotos"
* Egyptian Goose "Alopochen aegyptiacus"
* South African Shelduck "Tadorna cana"
* Spur-winged Goose "Plectropterus gambensis"
* White-faced Duck "Dendrocygna viduata"
* Fulvous Duck "Dendrocygna bicolor"
* White-backed Duck "Thalassornis leuconotus"
* African Pygmy-goose "Nettapus auritus"
* African Black Duck "Anas sparsa"
* African Black Duck "Anas platyrhynchos"
* Northern Shoveler "Anas clypeata" (A)
* Pintail "Anas acuta" (A)
* Garganey "Anas querquedula" (A)
* Cape Teal "Anas capensis"
* Yellow-billed Duck "Anas undulata"
* Red-billed Teal "Anas erythrorhyncha"
* Hottentot Teal "Anas hottentota"
* Cape Shoveler "Anas smithii"
* Southern Pochard "Netta erythrophthalma"
* Maccoa Duck "Oxyura maccoa"
* Tufted Duck "Aythya fuligula"


Order: FalconiformesFamily: Pandionidae

* Osprey "Pandion haliaetus"

Hawks to Old World vultures

Order: Falconiformes Family: Accipitridae

The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers, snake-eagles, goshawks, sparrowhawks, buzzards and old world vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species world wide and 59 species which occur in Southern Africa.

ubfamily: Aegypiinae

* Lappet-faced Vulture "Torgos tracheliotus"
* White-headed Vulture "Triginoceps occipitalis"
* Rüppell's Vulture "Gyps rueppellii" (A)
* Cape Vulture "Gyps coprotheres"
* White-backed Vulture "Gyps africanus"
* Bearded Vulture "Gypaetus barbatus"
* Palmnut Vulture "Gyphohierax angolensis"
* Egyptian Vulture "Neophron percnopterus" (A)
* Hooded Vulture "Necrosyrtes monachus"

ubfamily: Buteoninae

* African Fish-Eagle "Haliaeetus vocifer"
* Bateleur "Terathopius ecaudatus"
* African Hawk-Eagle "Aquila spilogaster"
* Ayres's Hawk-Eagle "Aquila ayresii"
* Wahlberg's Eagle "Aquila wahlbergi"
* Steppe Eagle "Aquila nipalensis"
* Tawny Eagle "Aquila rapax"
* Lesser Spotted Eagle "Aquila pomarina"
* Verreaux's Eagle "Aquila verreauxii"
* Booted Eagle "Aquila pennatus"
* Martial Eagle "Polemaetus bellicosus"
* African Crowned Eagle "Stephanoaetus coronatus"
* African Hawk Eagle "Hieraaetus fasciatus"
* Long-crested Eagle "Lophaetus occipitalis"
* Forest Buzzard "Buteo trizonatus"
* Augur Buzzard "Buteo augur"
* Long-legged Buzzard "Buteo rufinus" (A)
* Steppe Buzzard "Buteo vulpinus"
* Jackal Buzzard "Buteo rufofuscus"

ubfamily: Circaetinae

* Brown Snake-Eagle "Ciraetus cinereus"
* Black-breasted Snake-Eagle "Circaetus pectoralis"
* Southern Banded Snake-Eagle "Ciraetus fasciolatus"
* Western Banded Snake-Eagle "Ciraetus cinerascens"

ubfamily: Perninae

* Honey Buzzard "Pernis apivorus"
* Lizard Buzzard "Kaupifalco monogrammicus"
* African Cuckoo Hawk "Aviceda cuculoides"

ubfamily: Circinae

* African Marsh Harrier "Circus ranivorus"
* European Marsh Harrier " Circus aeruginosus"
* Black Harrier "Circus maurus"
* Montagu's Harrier "Circus pygargus"
* Pallid Harrier "Circus macrourus"
* African Harrier-Hawk "Polyboroides typus"
* Gymnogene "Polyboroides typus"

ubfamily: Milvinae

* Yellow-billed Kite "Milvus parasiticus"
* Black Kite "Milvus migrans"

ubfamily: Elaninae

* Black-shouldered Kite "Elanus caeruleus"

ubfamily: Accipitrinae

* Southern Pale Chanting "Melierax canorus"
* Dark Chanting Goshawk "Melierax metabates"
* Gabar Goshawk "Melierax gabar"
* Ovambo Sparrowhawk "Accipiter ovampensis"
* Gabar Goshawk "Micronisus gabar"
* Little Sparrowhawk "Accipiter minullus"
* Black Sparrowhawk "Accipiter melanoleucus"
* African Goshawk "Accipiter tachiro"
* Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk "Accipiter rufiventris"
* Shikra "Accipiter badius"

Bat Hawk

Family: AccipitridaeGenus: Macheiramphus

* Bat Hawk "Macheiramphus alcinus"

Falcons, Hobbies and Kestrels

Order: Falconiformes Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species world wide and 16 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Pygmy Falcon "Polihierax semitorquatus"
* Lanner Falcon "Falco biarmicus"
* Peregrine Falcon "Falco peregrinus"
* Taita Falcon "Falco fasciinucha"
* Red-necked Falcon "Falco chicquera"
* Eleonora's Falcon "Falco eleonorae" (A)
* Sooty Falcon "Falco concolor"
* Eastern Red-footed Falcon " Falco amurensis"
* Western Red-footed Falcon "Falco vespertinus"

* Lesser Kestrel "Falco naumanni"
* Rock Kestrel "Falco rupicolus"
* Greater Kestrel "Falco rupicoloides"
* Grey Kestrel "Falco ardosiaceus"
* Dickinson's Kestrel "Falco dickinsoni"

* European Hobby "Falco subbuteo"
* African Hobby "Falco cuvierii"

Quails to Peafowl

Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they may vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species world wide and 17 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Orange River Francolin "Scleroptila levaillantoides"
* Red-wing Francolin "Scleroptila levaillantii"
* Grey-wing Francolin "Scleroptila africanus" (E)
* Shelley's Francolin "Scleroptila shelleyi"
* Coqui Francolin "Peliperdix coqui"
* Crested Francolin "Dendroperdix sephaena"
* Swainson's Francolin "Francolinus swainsonii"

* Hartlaub's Spurfowl "Pternistis hartlaubi"
* Red-billed Spurfowl "Pternistis adspersus"
* Cape Spurfowl "Pternistis capensis" (E)
* Natal Spurfowl "Pternistis natalensis"
* Red-necked Spurfowl "Pternistis afer"

* Chukar Partridge "Alectoris chukar" (I)

* Indian Peafowl "Pavo cristatus" (I)

* Common Quail "Coturnix coturnix"
* Harlequin Quail "Coturnix delegorguei"
* Blue Quail "Coturnix adansonii"


Order: StruthioniformesFamily: Struthionidae

Ostrich is the only living species of its family, Struthionidae, and its genus, Struthio. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at speeds of about 65 km/h (40 mph).

* Common Ostrich "Struthio camelus"


Order: Galliformes Family: Numididae

Guineafowls are a group of African seed-eating, ground-nesting birds resembling partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled gray plumage. There are 6 species world wide and 2 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* Crested Guineafowl "Guttera edouardi"
* Helmeted Guineafowl "Numida meleagris"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Turnicidae

The buttonquails or hemipodes are a small family of birds which resemble, but are unrelated to, the true quails. There are 15 species world wide and 3 occur in Southern Africa.

* Kurrichane Buttonquail "Turnix sylvaticus"
* Black-rumped Buttonquail "Turnix nanus"
* Hottentot Buttonquail "Turnix hottentottus"

Rails to Gallinules

Order: Gruiformes Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, moorhens, coots, flufftails and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species world wide and 19 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* African Crake "Crecopsis egregia"
* Corn Crake "Crex crex"
* Black Crake "Amaurornis flavirostris"
* Baillon's Crake "Porzana pusilla"
* Spotted Crake "Porzana porzana"
* Striped Crake "Aenigmatolimnas marginalis"

* African Rail "Rallus caerulescens"

* Red-knobbed Coot "Fulica cristata"

* Allen's Gallinule "Porphyrio alleni"
* American Purple Gallinule "Porphyrio martinicus" (A)
* African Purple Swamphen "Porphyrio madagascariensis"

* Buff-spotted Flufftail "Sarothrura elegans"
* Red-chested Flufftail "Sarothrura rufa"
* Streaky-breasted Flufftail "Sarothrura boehmi" (A)
* Striped Flufftail "Sarothrura affinis"
* White-winged Flufftail "Sarothrura ayresi" (A)
* Long-toed Flufftail "Sarothrura lugens"

* Common Moorhen "Gallinula chloropus"
* Lesser Moorhen "Gallinula angulata"


Order: Gruiformes Family: Heliornithidae

The Finfoots are a small family of tropical birds with webbed lobes on their feet similar to those of grebes and coots. There are 3 species and 1 occur in Southern Africa.

* African Finfoot "Podica senegalensis"


Order: Charadriiformes Family: Jacanidae

The Jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species world wide and 2 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* African Jacana "Actophilornis africanus"
* Lesser Jacana "Microparra capensis"


Order: GruiformesFamily: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds of the order Gruiformes, and family Gruidae. There are 15 living species of cranes world wide and 3 occur in Southern Africa.

* Grey Crowned Crane "Balearica regulorum"
* Blue Crane "Anthropoides paradiseus"
* Wattled Crane "Bugeranus carunculatus"


Order: FalconiformesFamily: Sagittariidae

The Secretary Bird, Sagittarius serpentarius, is an extraordinary bird of prey. Endemic to Africa, this mostly terrestrial bird is usually found in the open grasslands and savannas of the sub-Sahara.

* Secretarybird "Sagittarius serpentarius"

Bustards and Korhaans

Order: GruiformesFamily: Otididae

Bustards and Korhaans are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They make up the family Otididae (formerly known as Otidae). Bustards and Korhaans are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips, and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays. There are 27 species world wide and 11 of the species occur in Southern Africa.

* Denham's Bustard "Neotis denhami"
* Ludwig's Bustard "Neotis ludwigii"
* Kori Bustard "Ardeotis kori"
* Black-bellied Bustard "Lissotis melanogaster"
* Red-crested Korhaan "Lophotis ruficrista"
* Southern Black Korhaan "Afrotis afra"
* Northern Black Korhaan "Afrotis afraoides"
* Rüppell's Korhaan "Eupodotis rueppellii" (A)
* Karoo Korhaan "Eupodotis vigorsii"
* Blue Korhaan "Eupodotis caerulescens" (E)
* White-bellied Korhaan "Eupodotis senegalensis"

Crab Plover

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Dromadidae

The Crab Plover "Dromas ardeola" is a bird related to the waders, but sufficiently distinctive to merit its own family Dromadidae. Its relationship within the Charadriiformes is unclear, some have in close to the Thick-knees, or the pratincoles, or even closer to the auks and gulls. It is the only member of the genus Dromas.

* Crab Plover "Dromas ardeola"


Order: Charadriiformes Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are 11 species world-wide and 2 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Eurasian Oystercatcher "Haematopus ostralegus"
* African Black Oystercatcher "Haematopus moquini"

tilts and Avocets

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species world wide and 2 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Black-winged Stilt "Himantopus himantopus"
* Pied Avocet "Recurvirostra avosetta"

Plovers and Lapwings

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are 66 species world wide and 21 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Pacific Golden Plover "Pluvialis fulva" (A)
* American Golden Plover "Pluvialis dominica" (A)
* Grey Plover "Pluvialis squatarola"
* Common Ringed Plover "Charadrius hiaticula"
* Little Ringed Plover "Charadrius dubius"
* Kittlitz's Plover "Charadrius pecuarius"
* Three-banded Plover "Charadrius tricollaris"
* Chestnut-banded Plover "Charadrius pallidus"
* Kentish Plover "Charadrius alexandrinus" (A)
* White-fronted Plover "Charadrius marginatus"
* Lesser Sand Plover "Charadrius mongolus"
* Greater Sand Plover "Charadrius leschenaultii"
* Caspian Plover "Charadrius asiaticus"
* Long-toed Lapwing "Vanellus crassirostris" (A)
* Blacksmith Lapwing "Vanellus armatus"
* Spur-winged Lapwing "Vanellus spinosus"
* White-crowned Lapwing "Vanellus albiceps"
* African Wattled Lapwing "Vanellus senegallus"
* Senegal Lapwing "Vanellus lugubris"
* Black-winged Lapwing "Vanellus melanopterus"
* Crowned Lapwing "Vanellus coronatus"

andpipers to Phalaropes

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae

The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 86 species world wide and 37 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

Shanks and tattlers (Genera: Xenus, Actitis, Tringa, Catoptrophus and Heteroscelus)
* Marsh Sandpiper "Tringa stagnatilis"
* Spotted Redshank "Tringa erythropus" (A)
* Common Redshank "Tringa totanus" (A)
* Common Greenshank "Tringa nebularia"
* Greater Yellowlegs "Tringa melanoleuca" (A)
* Lesser Yellowlegs "Tringa flavipes" (A)
* Green Sandpiper "Tringa ochropus"
* Wood Sandpiper "Tringa glareola"
* Terek Sandpiper "Xenus cinereus"
* Common Sandpiper "Actitis hypoleucos"

Calidrids and turnstones (Genera: Calidris, Aphriza, Eurynorhynchus, Limicola, Tryngites, Arenaria and Philomachus)

* Red Knot "Calidris canutus"
* Great Knot "Calidris tenuirostris" (A)
* Sanderling "Calidris alba"
* Baird's Sandpiper "Calidris bairdii" (A)
* White-rumped Sandpiper "Calidris fuscicollis" *(A)
* Pectoral Sandpiper "Calidris melanotos" (A)
* Dunlin "Calidris alpina" (A)
* Curlew Sandpiper "Calidris ferruginea"
* Buff-breasted Sandpiper "Tryngites subruficollis" (A)
* Broad-billed Sandpiper "Limicola falcinellus" (A)
* Little Stint "Calidris minuta"
* Red-necked Stint "Calidris ruficollis" (A)
* Temminck's Stint "Calidris temminckii" (A)
* Long-toed Stint "Calidris subminuta" (A)
* Ruddy Turnstone "Arenaria interpres"
* Ruff "Philomachus pugnax"

Snipe and woodcocks (Genera: Coenocorypha, Lymnocryptes, Gallinago and Scolopax)
* Great Snipe "Gallinago media" (A)
* African Snipe "Gallinago nigripennis"

Godwits (Genus: Limosa)
* Black-tailed Godwit "Limosa limosa"
* Hudsonian Godwit "Limosa haemastica" (A)
* Bar-tailed Godwit "Limosa lapponica"

Curlews (Genus: Numenius)
* Common Whimbrel "Numenius phaeopus"
* Eurasian Curlew "Numenius arquata"

Phalaropes (Genus Phalaropus)
* Wilson's Phalarope "Steganopus tricolor" (A)
* Red-necked Phalarope "Phalaropus lobatus"
* Red Phalarope "Phalaropus fulicaria"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Rostratulidae
Painted snipes are three distinctive wader species placed together in their own family Rostratulidae. They are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but much more brightly coloured. There are 3 species of Painted-snipe world wide and 1 of the species occur in Southern Africa.

* Greater Painted-snipe "Rostratula benghalensis"

Pratincoles and Coursers

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Glareolidae

Glareolidae is a family of birds in the wader suborder Charadri. There are 17 species world wide and 8 species occur in Southern Africa.

The Pratincoles have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails. They typically hunt their insect prey on the wing like swallows

* Collared Pratincole "Glareola pratincola"
* Black-winged Pratincole "Glareola nordmanni" (DD)
* Rock Pratincole "Glareola nuchalis" (A)

The Coursers have long legs, short wings and long pointed bills which curve downwards. They inhabit deserts and similar arid regions.

* Double-banded Courser "Rhinoptilus africanus"
* Bronze-winged Courser "Rhinoptilus chalcopterus"
* Three-banded Courser "Rhinoptilus cinctus" (A)
* Burchell's Courser "Cursorius rufus"
* Temminck's Courser "Cursorius temminckii"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Burhinidae

The Stone-curlews or Thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia.

They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes—which give them a reptilian appearance—and cryptic plumage. There are 9 species world wide and 2 of the species occur in Southern Africa.
* Water Thick-knee "Burhinus vermiculatus"
* Spotted Thick-knee "Burhinus capensis"

kuas and Jaegers

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species world wide and 5 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Subantarctic Skua "Catharacta antarctica"
* South Polar Skua "Catharacta maccormicki" (A)
* Pomarine Jaeger "Stercorarius pomarinus"
* Parasitic Jaeger "Stercorarius parasiticus"
* Long-tailed Jaeger "Stercorarius longicaudus"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Chionididae

The sheathbills are the two species of birds in the genus Chionis in the Chionididae family. They are confined to Antarctic regions, and are the only Antarctic birds without webbed feet. There are 2 species world wide and 1 occur in Southern Africa.

* Greater Sheathbill "Chionis albus" (A)

Gulls and kittiwakes

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 55 species world wide and 13 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Kelp Gull "Larus dominicanus"
* White-eyed Gull "Larus leucophthalmus"
* Ring-billed Gull "Larus delawarensis"
* Lesser Black-backed Gull "Larus fuscus"
* Heuglin's Gull "Larus heuglini" (A)
* Caspian Gull "Larus cachinnans" (A)
* Grey-headed Gull "Larus cirrocephalus"
* Hartlaub's Gull "Larus hartlaubii"
* Common Black-headed Gull "Larus ridibundus" (A)
* Slender-billed Gull "Larus genei"
* Franklin's Gull "Larus pipixcan" (A)
* Sabine's Gull "Larus sabini"
* Black-legged Kittiwake "Rissa tridactyla" (A)


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Rhynchopidae

The Skimmers are a small family of tern-like birds in the order Charadriiformes. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish. There are 3 species world wide and 1 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* African Skimmer "Rynchops flavirostris"

Terns and Noddies

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Sternidae

Terns and Noddies are a group of generally general medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects of the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25-30 years. There are 44 species world wide and 22 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Gull-billed Tern "Sterna nilotica" (A)
* Caspian Tern "Sterna caspia"
* Royal Tern "Sterna maxima"
* Lesser Crested Tern "Sterna bengalensis"
* Swift Tern "Sterna bergii"
* Sandwich Tern "Sterna sandvicensis"
* Roseate Tern "Sterna dougallii"
* Black-naped Tern "Sterna sumatrana" (A)
* Common Tern "Sterna hirundo"
* Arctic Tern "Sterna paradisaea"
* Antarctic Tern "Sterna vittata"
* Little Tern "Sterna albifrons"
* Damara Tern "Sterna balaenarum"
* White-cheeked Tern "Sterna repressa" (A)
* Bridled Tern "Sterna anaethetus" (A)
* Sooty Tern "Sterna fuscata"
* Whiskered Tern "Chlidonias hybrida"
* White-winged Tern "Chlidonias leucopterus"
* Black Tern "Chlidonias niger"
* White Tern "Gygis alba"
* Brown Noddy "Anous stolidus" (A)
* Lesser Noddy "Anous tenuirostris" (A)


Order: PteroclidiformesFamily: Pteroclididae

The sandgrouses are a group of 16 near passerine bird species in the order Pteroclidiformes. They are restricted to treeless open country in the Old World, such as plains and semi-deserts. Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. There are 16 species world wide and 4 occur in Southern Africa.

* Namaqua Sandgrouse "Pterocles namaqua"
* Yellow-throated Sandgrouse "Pterocles gutturalis"
* Double-banded Sandgrouse "Pterocles bicinctus"
* Burchell's Sandgrouse "Pterocles burchelli"

Pigeons and Doves

Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species world wide and 15 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Rock Dove "Columba livia"
* Speckled Pigeon "Columba guinea"
* African Olive Pigeon "Columba arquatrix"
* Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon "Columba delegorguei"
* Lemon Dove "Aplopelia larvata"
* Turtle Dove "Streptopelia turtur" (A)
* Laughing Dove "Streptopelia senegalensis"
* African Mourning Dove "Streptopelia decipiens"
* Cape Turtle Dove "Streptopelia capicola"
* Red-eyed Dove "Streptopelia semitorquata"
* Emerald-spotted Wood Dove "Turtur chalcospilos"
* Blue-spotted Wood Dove "Turtur afer"
* Tambourine Dove "Turtur tympanistria"
* Namaqua Dove "Oena capensis"
* African Green Pigeon "Treron calvus"

Lovebirds, Parakeets and Parrots

Order: Psittaciformes Family: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and the have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. There are 335 species world wide and 9 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Cape Parrot "Poicephalus robustus"
* Grey-headed Parrot "Poicephalus fuscicollis"
* Meyer's Parrot "Poicephalus meyeri"
* Brown-headed Parrot "Poicephalus cryptoxanthus"
* Rüppell's Parrot "Poicephalus rueppellii"

* Peach-faced Lovebird "Agapornis roseicollis"
* Lilian's Lovebird "Agapornis lilianae"
* Black-cheeked Lovebird "Agapornis nigrigenis"

* Rose-ringed Parakeet "Psittacula krameri" (I)


Order: CuculiformesFamily: Musophagidae

The turacos, plantain eaters and go-away birds make up the bird family Musophagidae (literally banana-eaters). In southern Africa both turacos and go-away birds are commonly known as louries. Traditionally, this group has been placed in the cuckoo order Cuculiformes, but Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy raises this group to a full order Musophagiformes. There are 23 species world wide and 6 of the species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Schalow's Turaco "Tauraco schalowi"
* Livingstone's Turaco "Tauraco livingstonii"
* Knysna Turaco "Tauraco corythaix"
* Ross's Turaco "Musophaga rossae"
* Purple-crested Turaco "Gallirex porphyreolophus"
* Grey Go-away-bird "Corythaixoides concolor"


Order: Cuculiformes Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, coucals, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. There are 138 species world wide and 21 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Jacobin Cuckoo "Clamator jacobinus"
* Levaillant's Cuckoo "Clamator levaillantii"
* Great Spotted Cuckoo "Clamator glandarius"
* Thick-billed Cuckoo "Pachycoccyx audeberti"
* Red-chested Cuckoo "Cuculus solitarius"
* Black Cuckoo "Cuculus clamosus"
* Common Cuckoo "Cuculus canorus"
* African Cuckoo "Cuculus gularis"
* Lesser Cuckoo "Cuculus poliocephalus" (A)
* Madagascar Cuckoo "Cuculus rochii" (A)
* Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo "Cercococcyx montanus"
* Klaas's Cuckoo "Chrysococcyx klaas"
* African Emerald Cuckoo "Chrysococcyx cupreus"
* Diderick Cuckoo "Chrysococcyx caprius"

* Yellowbill "Ceuthmochares aereus"

* Green Malkoha "Ceuthmochares aereus"
* Black Coucal "Centropus grillii"
* Coppery-tailed Coucal "Centropus cupreicaudus"
* Senegal Coucal "Centropus senegalensis"
* White-browed Coucal "Centropus superciliosus"
* Burchell's Coucal "Centropus burchellii"

Barn Owls

Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species world wide and 2 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* Barn Owl "Tyto alba"
* African Grass-Owl "Tyto capensis"

Typical owls

Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species world wide and 10 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* African Scops-Owl "Otus senegalensis"
* Southern White-faced Scops-Owl "Ptilopsis granti"
* Cape Eagle-Owl "Bubo capensis"
* Spotted Eagle-Owl "Bubo africanus"
* Verreaux's Eagle-Owl "Bubo lacteus"
* Pel's Fishing-Owl "Scotopelia peli"
* African Wood-Owl "Strix woodfordii"
* Pearl-spotted Owlet "Glaucidium perlatum"
* African Barred Owlet "Glaucidium capense"
* Marsh Owl "Asio capensis"


Order: Caprimulgiformes Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species world wide and 7 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Fiery-necked Nightjar "Caprimulgus pectoralis"
* Freckled Nightjar "Caprimulgus tristigma"
* Swamp Nightjar "Caprimulgus natalensis"
* Square-tailed Nightjar "Caprimulgus fossii"
* Rufous-cheeked Nightjar "Caprimulgus rufigena"
* European Nightjar "Caprimulgus europaeus"
* Pennant-winged Nightjar "Macrodipteryx vexillarius"

wifts and Spinetails

Order: Apodiformes Family: Apodidae

Swifts and Spinetails are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 98 species world wide and 13 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Scarce Swift "Schoutedenapus myoptilus"
* African Palm-Swift "Cypsiurus parvus"
* Alpine Swift "Tachymarptis melba"
* Mottled Swift "Tachymarptis aequatorialis"
* Common Swift "Apus apus"
* Pallid Swift "Apus pallidus"
* African Black Swift "Apus barbatus"
* Bradfield's Swift "Apus bradfieldi"
* Little Swift "Apus affinis"
* Horus Swift "Apus horus"
* White-rumped Swift "Apus caffer"

* Mottled Spinetail "Telacanthura ussheri"
* Böhm's Spinetail "Neafrapus boehmi"


Order: TrogoniformesFamily: Trogonidae

The trogons and quetzals feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons do not migrate. There are 39 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* Narina Trogon "Apaloderma narina"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Pittidae
Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards, and stocky, with longish strong legs, very short tails and stout bills. Many, but not all, are brightly coloured. There are 32 species world wide and 1 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* African Pitta "Pitta angolensis"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Eurylaimidae

Broadbills are brightly coloured birds that feed on fruit and also take insects in flycatcher fashion, snapping their broad bills. Their habitat is canopies of wet forests, so despite their colours, they are difficult to observe. There are 16 species world wide and 1 of the species occurs in Southern Africa.

* African Broadbill "Smithornis capensis"


Order: ColiiformesFamily: Coliidae

Mousebirds are slender greyish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers and very long thin tails. They are arboreal and scurry through the leaves like rodents in search of berries, fruit and buds. There are 6 species world wide and 3 of the species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Red-faced Mousebird "Colius indicus"
* Speckled Mousebird "Colius striatus"
* White-backed Mousebird "Colius colius"


Kingfishers are medium sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 94 species world wide and 10 species which occur in Southern Africa.

River kingfishers

Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Alcedinidae

* Half-collared Kingfisher "Alcedo semitorquata"
* Malachite Kingfisher "Alcedo cristata"
* African Pygmy-Kingfisher "Ispidina picta"

Tree Kingfisher

Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Halcyonidae

* Grey-headed Kingfisher "Halcyon leucocephala"
* Woodland Kingfisher "Halcyon senegalensis"
* Mangrove Kingfisher "Halcyon senegaloides"
* Brown-hooded Kingfisher "Halcyon albiventris"
* Striped Kingfisher "Halcyon chelicuti"

Water Kingfisher

Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Cerylidae

* Giant Kingfisher "Megaceryle maximus"
* Pied Kingfisher "Ceryle rudis"


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Meropidae

Bee-eaters are gregarious. They form colonies by nesting in burrows tunneled into the side of sandy banks, such as those which have collapsed on the edges of rivers. Their eggs are white and they generally produce 2-9 eggs per clutch (depending on species), which are widely distributed and common. As they live in colonies, large numbers of these holes are often seen together, white streaks from their accumulated droppings accentuating the entrances to the nests. Most of the species in the family are monogamous, and have biparental care of the young. There are 26 species world wide and 9 species occur in Southern Africa.

* White-fronted Bee-eater "Merops bullockoides"
* Little Bee-eater "Merops pusillus"
* Swallow-tailed Bee-eater "Merops hirundineus"
* White-throated Bee-eater "Merops albicollis" (A)
* Böhm's Bee-eater "Merops boehmi"
* Blue-cheeked Bee-eater "Merops persicus"
* Madagascar Bee-eater "Merops superciliosus" (A)
* European Bee-eater "Merops apiaster"
* Southern Carmine Bee-eater "Merops nubicoides"


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Coraciidae The Rollers are an Old World family of near passerine birds. They resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups, blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but not the outer one. There are 11 species world wide and 5 speices occur in Southern Africa.

* European Roller "Coracias garrulus"
* Lilac-breasted Roller "Coracias caudatus"
* Racket-tailed Roller "Coracias spatulatus"
* Purple Roller "Coracias naevius"
* Broad-billed Roller "Eurystomus glaucurus"


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Bucerotidae
Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 57 species world wide and 10 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Monteiro's Hornbill "Tockus monteiri"
* Red-billed Hornbill "Tockus erythrorhynchus"
* Damara Hornbill "Tockus damarensis"
* Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill "Tockus leucomelas"
* Crowned Hornbill "Tockus alboterminatus"
* Bradfield's Hornbill "Tockus bradfieldi"
* African Grey Hornbill "Tockus nasutus"
* Trumpeter Hornbill "Bycanistes bucinator"
* Silvery-cheeked Hornbill "Bycanistes brevis"
* Southern Ground-Hornbill "Bucorvus leadbeateri"


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Upupidae

* African Hoopoe "Upupa africana"

Wood-Hoopoes and Scimitar-bill

Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Phoeniculidae

Wood-Hoopoes have metallic plumage, often blue, green or purple, and lack an erectile crest. They are more gregarious than the Hoopoe, and can often be seen in small groups. There are 7 species world wide and 3 occur in Southern Africa.

* Green Wood-Hoopoe "Phoeniculus purpureus"
* Violet Wood-Hoopoe "Phoeniculus damarensis"
* Common Scimitar-bill "Rhinopomastus cyanomelas"


Order: PiciformesFamily: Indicatoridae

Most honeyguides are dull-colored, though a few have bright yellow in the plumage. All have light outer tail feathers, which are white in all the African species. There are 17 species world wide and 6 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Scaly-throated Honeyguide "Indicator variegatus"
* Greater Honeyguide "Indicator indicator"
* Lesser Honeyguide "Indicator minor"
* Pallid Honeyguide "Indicator meliphilus"
* Green-backed Honeybird "Prodotiscus zambesiae"
* Brown-backed Honeybird "Prodotiscus regulus"

Barbets and Tinkerbirds

Order: PiciformesFamily: Capitonidae

The barbets and tinkerbirds are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured. Most species of barbet live in tropical forest, although several species of African barbet inhabit woodlands, scrub and even semi-arid environments. There are 84 species world wide and 10 species occur in Southern Africa.

* White-eared Barbet "Stactolaema leucotis"
* Whyte's Barbet "Stactolaema whytii"
* Green Barbet "Stactolaema olivacea"
* Green Tinkerbird "Pogoniulus simplex"
* Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird "Pogoniulus bilineatus"
* Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird "Pogoniulus chrysoconus"
* Red-fronted Tinkerbird "Pogoniulus pusillus"
* Acacia Pied Barbet "Tricholaema leucomelas"
* Black-collared Barbet "Lybius torquatus"
* Crested Barbet "Trachyphonus vaillantii"

Woodpeckers and Wrynecks

Order: Piciformes Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers and wrynecks are small to medium sized birds with chisel like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species world wide and 10 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Red-throated Wryneck "Jynx ruficollis"
* Bennett's Woodpecker "Campethera bennettii"
* Speckle-throated Woodpecker "Campethera scriptoricauda"
* Golden-tailed Woodpecker "Campethera abingoni"
* Knysna Woodpecker "Campethera notata" (E)
* Green-backed Woodpecker "Campethera cailliautii"
* Ground Woodpecker "Geocolaptes olivaceus" (E)
* Cardinal Woodpecker "Dendropicos fuscescens"
* Bearded Woodpecker "Dendropicos namaquus"
* Olive Woodpecker "Dendropicos griseocephalus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. They feed on insects and seeds. There are 94 species world wide and 31 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Monotonous Lark "Mirafra passerina"
* Melodious Lark "Mirafra cheniana"
* Rufous-naped Lark "Mirafra africana"
* Flappet Lark "Mirafra rufocinnamomea"
* Cape Clapper Lark "Mirafra apiata"
* Eastern Clapper Lark "Mirafra fasciolata"
* Rudd's Lark "Heteromirafra ruddi"
* Sabota Lark "Calendulauda sabota"
* Fawn-coloured Lark "Calendulauda africanoides"
* Red Lark "Calendulauda burra" (E)
* Karoo Lark "Calendulauda albescens" (E)
* Barlow's Lark "Calendulauda barlowi"
* Dune Lark "Calendulauda erythrochlamys"
* Dusky Lark "Pinarocorys nigricans"
* Gray's Lark "Ammomanopsis grayi"
* Spike-heeled Lark "Chersomanes albofasciata"
* Cape Long-billed Lark "Certhilauda curvirostris"
* Algulhas Long-billed Lark "Certhilauda brevirostris" (E)
* Eastern Long-billed Lark "Certhilauda semitorquata" (E)
* Karoo Long-billed Lark "Certhilauda subcoronata"
* Benguela Long-billed Lark "Certhilauda benguelensis"
* Short-clawed Lark "Certhilauda chuana"
* Red-capped Lark "Calandrella cinerea"
* Stark's Lark "Spizocorys starki"
* Pink-billed Lark "Spizocorys conirostris"
* Botha's Lark "Spizocorys fringillaris" (E)
* Sclater's Lark "Spizocorys sclateri" (E)
* Large-billed Lark "Galerida magnirostris"
* Black-eared Sparrow-lark "Eremopterix australis"
* Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark "Eremopterix leucotis"
* Grey-backed Sparrow-lark "Eremopterix verticalis"

wallows and Martins

Order: Passeriformes Family: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species world wide and 22 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Sand Martin "Riparia riparia"
* Brown-throated Martin "Riparia paludicola"
* Banded Martin "Riparia cincta"
* Mascarene Martin "Phedina borbonica"
* Grey-rumped Swallow "Pseudhirundo griseopyga"
* Barn Swallow "Hirundo rustica"
* Angola Swallow "Hirundo angolensis"
* White-throated Swallow "Hirundo albigularis"
* Wire-tailed Swallow "Hirundo smithii"
* Blue Swallow "Hirundo atrocaerulea"
* Pearl-breasted Swallow "Hirundo dimidiata"
* Greater Striped Swallow "Hirundo cucullata"
* Lesser Striped Swallow "Hirundo abyssinica"
* Red-breasted Swallow "Hirundo semirufa"
* Mosque Swallow "Hirundo senegalensis"
* Red-rumped Swallow "Hirundo daurica"
* South African Cliff-Swallow "Hirundo spilodera"
* Rock Martin "Hirundo fuligula"
* Common House-Martin "Delichon urbicum"
* White-headed Saw-wing "Psalidoprocne albiceps"
* Black Saw-wing "Psalidoprocne holomelaena"
* Eastern Saw-wing "Psalidoprocne orientalis"

Drongos and Flycatchers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Dicruridae

The family Dicruridae is a relatively recent grouping of a number of seemingly very different birds, mostly from the southern hemisphere, which are more closely related than they at first appear. There are 139 species world wide and 6 species occur in Southern Africa.

ubFamily: Dicrurinae

* Square-tailed Drongo "Dicrurus ludwigii"
* Fork-tailed Drongo "Dicrurus adsimilis"

ubFamily: Monarchinae

* Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher "Trochocercus cyanomelas"
* African Paradise-Flycatcher "Terpsiphone viridis"
* Livingstone's Flycatcher "Erythrocercus livingstonei"
* White-tailed Crested Flycatcher "Elminia albonotata"

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes Family: Muscicapidae

Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. There 274 species world wide and 44 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* Pale Flycatcher "Bradornis pallidus"
* Chat Flycatcher "Bradornis infuscatus"
* Marico Flycatcher "Bradornis mariquensis"
* Southern Black Flycatcher "Melaenornis pammelaina"
* Fiscal Flycatcher "Sigelus silens"
* Spotted Flycatcher "Muscicapa striata"
* African Dusky Flycatcher "Muscicapa adusta"
* Ashy Flycatcher "Muscicapa caerulescens"
* Grey Tit-Flycatcher "Myioparus plumbeus"
* Collared Flycatcher "Ficedula albicollis"
* White-starred Robin "Pogonocichla stellata"
* Swynnerton's Robin "Swynnertonia swynnertoni"
* East Coast Akalat "Sheppardia gunningi"
* Thrush Nightingale "Luscinia luscinia" (A)
* Cape Robin-Chat "Cossypha caffra"
* White-throated Robin-Chat "Cossypha humeralis"
* White-browed Robin-Chat "Cossypha heuglini"
* Red-capped Robin-Chat "Cossypha natalensis"
* Chorister Robin-Chat "Cossypha dichroa"
* Collared Palm-Thrush "Cichladusa arquata"
* Rufous-tailed Palm-Thrush "Cichladusa ruficauda"
* Bearded Scrub-Robin "Cercotrichas quadrivirgata"
* Brown Scrub-Robin "Cercotrichas signata"
* White-browed Scrub-Robin "Cercotrichas leucophrys"
* Kalahari Scrub-Robin "Cercotrichas paena"
* Karoo Scrub-Robin "Cercotrichas coryphoeus"
* Herero Chat "Namibornis herero"
* Common Redstart "Phoenicurus phoenicurus" (A)
* Whinchat "Saxicola rubetra"
* African Stonechat "Saxicola torquatus"
* Buff-streaked Chat "Oenanthe bifasciata"
* Mountain Wheatear "Oenanthe monticola"
* Northern Wheatear "Oenanthe oenanthe" (A)
* Pied Wheatear "Oenanthe pleschanka" (A)
* Capped Wheatear "Oenanthe pileata"
* Isabelline Wheatear "Oenanthe isabellina"
* Sickle-winged Chat "Cercomela sinuata"
* Karoo Chat "Cercomela schlegelii"
* Tractrac Chat "Cercomela tractrac"
* Familiar Chat "Cercomela familiaris"
* Ant-eating Chat "Myrmecocichla formicivora"
* Arnot's Chat "Myrmecocichla arnoti"
* Mocking Cliff-Chat "Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris"
* Boulder Chat "Pinarornis plumosus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Campephagidae

Cuckoo-shrikes are medium to small arboreal birds, generally long and slender. They are predominantly greyish with white and black. There are 84 species world wide and 3 species occur in Southern Africa.

* White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike "Coracina pectoralis"
* Grey Cuckoo-shrike "Coracina caesia"
* Black Cuckoo-shrike "Campephaga flava"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Oriolidae

Orioles are colourful Old World passerine birds in the family Oriolidae. They are not related to the New World orioles, which are Icterids, family Icteridae. There are 25 species world wide and 4 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Eurasian Golden Oriole "Oriolus oriolus"
* African Golden Oriole "Oriolus auratus"
* Green-headed Oriole "Oriolus chlorocephalus"
* Black-headed Oriole "Oriolus larvatus"

Ravens and Crows

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Corvidae

Ravens and crows are medium to large birds with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). There are 120 species world wide and 4 occur in Southern Africa.
* House Crow "Corvus splendens" (I)
* Cape Crow "Corvus capensis"
* Pied Crow "Corvus albus"
* White-necked Raven "Corvus albicollis"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Paridae

The tits, chickadees, and titmice, family Paridae, are a large family of small passerine birds, mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. Many species will live around human habitation and come readily to bird feeders for nuts or seed, and learn to take other foods. There are 59 species world wide and 5 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Southern Black Tit "Parus niger"
* Rufous-bellied Tit "Parus rufiventris"
* Miombo Tit "Parus griseiventris"
* Ashy Tit "Parus cinerascens"
* Grey Tit "Parus afer"

Penduline tits

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Remizidae

There are 15 species world wide and 2 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Cape Penduline-Tit "Anthoscopus minutus"
* Grey Penduline-Tit "Anthoscopus caroli"

potted Creeper

Order: PasseriformesFamily: CerthiidaeSubFamily: Salpornithinae

* Spotted Creeper "Salpornis spilonotus"

Old World babbler

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Timaliidae
Old World babblers have strong legs, and many are quite terrestrial. This group is not strongly migratory, and most species have short rounded wings, and a weak flight. There are 6 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Black-faced Babbler "Turdoides melanops"
* Hartlaub's Babbler "Turdoides hartlaubii"
* Southern Pied Babbler "Turdoides bicolor"
* Arrow-marked Babbler "Turdoides jardineii"
* Bare-cheeked Babbler "Turdoides gymnogenys"
* Bush Blackcap "Lioptilus nigricapillus"

Bulbuls and Nicators

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Pycnonotidae

Bulbuls and Nicators are mostly frugivorous birds. Some are colorful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throat or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive brown to black plumage. Some have very distinct crests. Many of these species inhabit tree tops, while some are restricted to the undergrowth. Up to five purple-pink eggs are laid in an open tree nests and incubated by the female. There are 130 species world wide and 10 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Dark-capped Bulbul "Pycnonotus tricolor"
* African Red-eyed Bulbul "Pycnonotus nigricans"
* Cape Bulbul "Pycnonotus capensis" (E)
* Sombre Greenbul "Andropadus importunus"
* Stripe-cheeked Greenbul "Andropadus milanjensis"
* Yellow-bellied Greenbul "Chlorocichla flaviventris"
* Terrestrial Brownbul "Phyllastrephus terrestris"
* Yellow-streaked Greenbul "Phyllastrephus flavostriatus"
* Tiny Greenbul "Phyllastrephus debilis"
* Eastern Nicator "Nicator gularis"


Order: Passeriformes Family: Turdidae

The Thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species world wide and 10 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Cape Rock-Thrush "Monticola rupestris" (E)
* Sentinel Rock-Thrush "Monticola explorator"
* Short-toed Rock-Thrush "Monticola brevipes"
* Miombo Rock-Thrush "Monticola angolensis"
* Orange Ground-Thrush "Zoothera gurneyi"
* Spotted Ground-Thrush "Zoothera guttata"
* Groundscraper Thrush "Psophocichla litsitsirupa"
* Kurrichane Thrush "Turdus libonyanus"
* Olive Thrush "Turdus olivaceus"
* Karoo Thrush "Turdus smithi"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Chaetopidae

The Rock-jumpers are medium-sized insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Chaetops that constitutes the entire family Chaetopidae. There are 2 species world wide and all occur in Southern Africa.

* Cape Rock-jumper "Chaetops frenatus" (E)
* Drakensberg Rock-jumper "Chaetops aurantius" (E)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Turdidae

There are 5 species world wide and 1 occurs in Southern Africa.

* White-chested Alethe "Pseudalethe fuelleborni"

Old World Warblers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Sylviidae

The Old World Warblers are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are 280 species world wide and 37 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Garden Warbler "Sylvia borin"
* Common Whitethroat "Sylvia communis"
* Blackcap "Sylvia atricapilla"
* Moustached Grass-Warbler "Melocichla mentalis"
* Victorin's Warbler "Cryptillas victorini" (E)
* Broad-tailed Warbler "Schoenicola brevirostris"
* River Warbler "Locustella fluviatilis"
* Little Rush-Warbler "Bradypterus baboecala"
* Knysna Warbler "Bradypterus sylvaticus" (E)
* Barratt's Warbler "Bradypterus barratti"
* Sedge Warbler "Acrocephalus schoenobaenus"
* Eurasian Reed-Warbler "Acrocephalus scirpaceus"
* African Reed-Warbler "Acrocephalus baeticatus"
* Marsh Warbler "Acrocephalus palustris"
* Great Reed-Warbler "Acrocephalus arundinaceus"
* Basra Reed-Warbler "Acrocephalus griseldis" (A)
* Greater Swamp-Warbler "Acrocephalus rufescens"
* Lesser Swamp-Warbler "Acrocephalus gracilirostris"
* Olive-tree Warbler "Hippolais olivetorum"
* Icterine Warbler "Hippolais icterina"
* Dark-capped Yellow Warbler "Chloropeta natalensis"
* Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler "Phylloscopus ruficapilla"
* Willow Warbler "Phylloscopus trochilus"

* Fairy Flycatcher "Stenostira scita"

* Yellow-bellied Eremomela "Eremomela icteropygialis"
* Green-capped Eremomela "Eremomela scotops"
* Karoo Eremomela "Eremomela gregalis"
* Burnt-necked Eremomela "Eremomela usticollis"

* Rockrunner "Achaetops pycnopygius"

* Cape Grassbird "Sphenoeacus afer"

* Layard's Tit-Babbler "Parisoma layardi"
* Rufous-vented Warbler "Parisoma subcaeruleum"

* Red-capped Crombec "Sylvietta ruficapilla"
* Red-faced Crombec "Sylvietta whytii"
* Long-billed Crombec "Sylvietta rufescens"

* Yellow-bellied Hyliota "Hyliota flavigaster"
* Southern Hyliota "Hyliota australis"

Apalises, Cisticolas and Prinias

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Cisticolidae

Cisticolidae are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. They are often difficult to see and many species are similar in appearance, so the song is often the best identification guide. These are insectivorous birds which nest low in vegetation. There are 110 species world wide and 37 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Bar-throated Apalis "Apalis thoracica"
* Yellow-breasted Apalis "Apalis flavida"
* Rudd's Apalis "Apalis ruddi"
* Black-headed Apalis "Apalis melanocephala"
* Chirinda Apalis "Apalis chirindensis"

* Red-faced Cisticola "Cisticola erythrops"
* Singing Cisticola "Cisticola cantans"
* Lazy Cisticola "Cisticola aberrans"
* Rattling Cisticola "Cisticola chiniana"
* Tinkling Cisticola "Cisticola rufilatus"
* Grey-backed Cisticola "Cisticola subruficapilla"
* Wailing Cisticola "Cisticola lais"
* Rufous-winged Cisticola "Cisticola galactotes"
* Luapula Cisticola "Cisticola luapula"
* Chirping Cisticola "Cisticola pipiens"
* Levaillant's Cisticola "Cisticola tinniens"
* Croaking Cisticola "Cisticola natalensis"
* Neddicky "Cisticola fulvicapilla"
* Short-winged Cisticola "Cisticola brachypterus"
* Zitting Cisticola "Cisticola juncidis"
* Desert Cisticola "Cisticola aridulus"
* Cloud Cisticola "Cisticola textrix"
* Pale-crowned Cisticola "Cisticola cinnamomeus"
* Wing-snapping Cisticola "Cisticola ayresii"

* Tawny-flanked Prinia "Prinia subflava"
* Black-chested Prinia "Prinia flavicans"
* Karoo Prinia "Prinia maculosa"
* Drakensberg Prinia "Prinia hypoxantha"

* Green-backed Camaroptera "Camaroptera brachyura"
* Grey-backed Camaroptera "Camaroptera brevicaudata"

* Barred Wren-Warbler "Calamonastes fasciolatus"
* Stierling's Wren-Warbler "Calamonastes stierlingi"
* Cinnamon-breasted Warbler "Euryptila subcinnamomea"
* Namaqua Warbler "Phragmacia substriata"
* Roberts's Warbler "Oreophilais robertsi"
* Red-winged Warbler "Heliolais erythropterus"
* Rufous-eared Warbler "Malcorus pectoralis"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Zosteropidae

White-eyes are mostly of undistinguished appearance, the plumage above being generally either mouse-coloured or greenish olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. They have rounded wings and strong legs. The size ranges up to 15 cm (6 inches) in length. There are 97 species world wide and 3 occur in Southern Africa.

* African Yellow White-eye "Zosterops senegalensis"
* Cape White-eye "Zosterops virens"
* Orange River White-eye "Zosterops pallidus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Platysteiridae

Wattle-eyes get their name from the brightly coloured fleshy eye decorations found in most species in this group. These insect-eating birds are found in usually open forests or bush. They hunt by flycatching, or by taking prey from the ground like a shrike. There are 30 species world wide and 8 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Black-and-white Flycatcher "Bias musicus"
* White-tailed Shrike "Lanioturdus torquatus"
* Cape Batis "Batis capensis"
* Woodwards' Batis "Batis fratrum"
* Chinspot Batis "Batis molitor"
* Pale Batis "Batis soror"
* Pririt Batis "Batis pririt"
* Black-throated Wattle-eye "Platysteira peltata"

Wagtails, Longclaws and Pipits

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. They are ground nesters, laying up to six speckled eggs. There are 60 species world wide and 25 species occur in Southern Africa. Wagtails
* African Pied Wagtail "Motacilla aguimp"
* Cape Wagtail "Motacilla capensis"
* Yellow Wagtail "Motacilla flava"
* Citrine Wagtail "Motacilla citreola"
* Grey Wagtail "Motacilla cinerea" (A)
* Mountain Wagtail "Motacilla clara"

* Golden Pipit "Tmetothylacus tenellus" (A)
* Yellow-breasted Pipit "Anthus chloris" (E)
* Striped Pipit "Anthus lineiventris"
* African Rock Pipit "Anthus crenatus"
* African Pipit "Anthus cinnamomeus"
* Mountain Pipit "Anthus hoeschi"
* Plain-backed Pipit "Anthus leucophrys"
* Buffy Pipit "Anthus vaalensis"
* Long-tailed Pipit "Anthus longicaudatus" (E)
* Long-billed Pipit "Anthus similis"
* Kimberley Pipit "Anthus pseudosimilis"
* Wood Pipit "Anthus nyassae"
* Short-tailed Pipit "Anthus brachyurus"
* Bushveld Pipit "Anthus caffer"
* Tree Pipit "Anthus trivialis"
* Red-throated Pipit "Anthus cervinus" (A)

* Yellow-throated Longclaw "Macronyx croceus"
* Cape Longclaw "Macronyx capensis"
* Rosy-throated Longclaw "Macronyx ameliae"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Laniidae

A shrike is a passerine bird of the family Laniidae which is known for its habit of catching insects, small birds or mammals and impaling their bodies on thorns. This helps them to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently-sized fragments, and serves as a "larder" so that the shrike can return to the uneaten portions at a later time. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey, reflecting its predatory nature. There are 32 species world wide and 6 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Red-backed Shrike "Lanius collurio"
* Souza's Shrike "Lanius souzae"
* Lesser Grey Shrike "Lanius minor"
* Common Fiscal "Lanius collaris"
* Magpie Shrike "Corvinella melanoleuca"
* Southern White-crowned Shrike "Eurocephalus anguitimens"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Prionopidae

The helmetshrikes are smallish passerine bird species. They were formerly classed with the true shrikes in the family Laniidae, but are now considered sufficiently distinctive to be separated from that group as the family Prionopidae. There are 11 species world wide and 3 species occur in Southern Africa.

* White-crested Helmet-Shrike "Prionops plumatus"
* Retz's Helmet-Shrike "Prionops retzii"
* Chestnut-fronted Helmet-Shrike "Prionops scopifrons"

Bush-Shrikes to Tchagras

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Malaconotidae

The Bush-Shrikes, Boubous and Tchagras are smallish passerine bird species. They were formerly classed with the true Shrikes in the family Laniidae, but are now considered sufficiently distinctive to be separated from that group as the family Malaconotidae. There are 43 species world wide and 16 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Bokmakierie "Telophorus zeylonus"
* Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike "Telophorus sulfureopectus"
* Olive Bush-Shrike "Telophorus olivaceus"
* Black-fronted Bush-Shrike "Telophorus nigrifrons"
* Gorgeous Bush-Shrike "Telophorus viridis"
* Grey-headed Bush-Shrike "Malaconotus blanchoti"
* Crimson-breasted Shrike "Laniarius atrococcineus"
* Tropical Boubou "Laniarius aethiopicus"
* Swamp Boubou "Laniarius bicolor"
* Southern Boubou "Laniarius ferrugineus"
* Anchieta's Tchagra "Antichromus anchietae"
* Black-crowned Tchagra "Tchagra senegalus"
* Brown-crowned Tchagra "Tchagra australis"
* Southern Tchagra "Tchagra tchagra"
* Brubru "Nilaus afer"
* Black-backed Puffback "Dryoscopus cubla"

tarlings and Oxpeckers

Order: Passeriformes Family: Sturnidae
Starlings and oxpeckers are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species world wide and 16 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Pale-winged Starling "Onychognathus nabouroup"
* Red-winged Starling "Onychognathus morio"
* Black-bellied Starling "Lamprotornis corruscus"
* Cape Glossy Starling "Lamprotornis nitens"
* Greater Blue-eared Starling "Lamprotornis chalybaeus"
* Miombo Blue-eared Starling "Lamprotornis elisabeth"
* Sharp-tailed Starling "Lamprotornis acuticaudus"
* Burchell's Starling "Lamprotornis australis"
* Meves's Starling "Lamprotornis mevesii"
* Violet-backed Starling "Cinnyricinclus leucogaster"
* Pied Starling "Spreo bicolor"
* Wattled Starling "Creatophora cinerea"
* Common Starling "Sturnus vulgaris" (I)
* Common Myna "Acridotheres tristis" (I)
* Yellow-billed Oxpecker "Buphagus africanus"
* Red-billed Oxpecker "Buphagus erythrorhynchus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Promeropidae

The two species of sugarbird make up one of only two bird families restricted entirely to southern Africa, the other being the rock-jumpers Chaetopidae. They are specialist nectar feeders, but will also take insects.

* Gurney's Sugarbird "Promerops gurneyi"
* Cape Sugarbird "Promerops cafer" (E)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Nectariniidae

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are approximately 131 species world wide and 22 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Plain-backed Sunbird "Anthreptes reichenowi" (A)
* Western Violet-backed Sunbird "Anthreptes longuemarei"
* Orange-breasted Sunbird "Anthobaphes violacea" (E)
* Olive Sunbird "Cyanomitra olivacea"
* Grey Sunbird "Cyanomitra veroxii"
* Amethyst Sunbird "Chalcomitra amethystina"
* Scarlet-chested Sunbird "Chalcomitra senegalensis"
* Bronzy Sunbird "Nectarinia kilimensis"
* Malachite Sunbird "Nectarinia famosa"
* Collared Sunbird "Hedydipna collaris"
* Miombo Double-collared Sunbird "Cinnyris manoensis"
* Southern Double-collared Sunbird "Cinnyris chalybeus"
* Greater Double-collared Sunbird "Cinnyris afer"
* Neergaard's Sunbird "Cinnyris neergaardi"
* Variable Sunbird "Cinnyris venustus"
* White-bellied Sunbird "Cinnyris talatala"
* Copper Sunbird "Cinnyris cupreus"
* Dusky Sunbird "Cinnyris fuscus"
* Shelley's Sunbird "Cinnyris shelleyi"
* Marico Sunbird "Cinnyris mariquensis"
* Purple-banded Sunbird "Cinnyris bifasciatus"


Order: Passeriformes Family: Passeridae

Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or greyish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. There are 35 species world wide and 6 species which occurs in Southern Africa.

* House Sparrow "Passer domesticus" (I)
* Great Sparrow "Passer motitensis"
* Cape Sparrow "Passer melanurus"
* Southern Grey-headed Sparrow "Passer diffusus"
* Northern Grey-headed Sparrow "Passer griseus"
* Yellow-throated Petronia "Petronia superciliaris"

Weavers to Widowbirds

Order: Passeriformes Family: Ploceidae

Weavers, Queleas, Bishops and Widowbirds are a group of small passerine birds related to the finches. These are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills, most of which breed in sub-Saharan Africa, with fewer species in tropical Asia. Weavers get their name from the large woven nests many species make. They are gregarious birds which often breed colonially. There are 114 species world wide and 27 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver "Bubalornis niger"
* White-browed Sparrow-Weaver "Plocepasser mahali"
* Sociable Weaver "Philetairus socius"
* Lesser Masked-Weaver "Ploceus intermedius"
* Spectacled Weaver "Ploceus ocularis"
* Cape Weaver "Ploceus capensis" (E)
* Yellow Weaver "Ploceus subaureus"
* Golden Weaver "Ploceus xanthops"
* Southern Brown-throated Weaver "Ploceus xanthopterus"
* Southern Masked-Weaver "Ploceus velatus"
* Village Weaver "Ploceus cucullatus"
* Chestnut Weaver "Ploceus rubiginosus"
* Dark-backed Weaver "Ploceus bicolor"
* Olive-headed Weaver "Ploceus olivaceiceps"
* Red-headed Weaver "Anaplectes melanotis"
* Thick-billed Weaver "Amblyospiza albifrons"
* Red-headed Quelea "Quelea erythrops"
* Red-billed Quelea "Quelea quelea"
* Yellow-crowned Bishop "Euplectes afer"
* Black-winged Bishop "Euplectes hordeaceus"
* Southern Red Bishop "Euplectes orix"
* Yellow Bishop "Euplectes capensis"
* Fan-tailed Widowbird "Euplectes axillaris"
* Yellow-mantled Widowbird "Euplectes macrourus"
* White-winged Widowbird "Euplectes albonotatus"
* Red-collared Widowbird "Euplectes ardens"
* Long-tailed Widowbird "Euplectes progne"

Whydahs and Indigobirds

The Indigobirds and whydahs, are small passerine birds native to Africa. These are finch-like species which usually have black or indigo predominating in their plumage. The birds named as "whydahs" have long or very long tails. All of the species are brood parasites, which lay their eggs in the nests of estrildid finch species; most indigobirds use fire-finches as hosts, whereas the paradise whydahs chose pytilias. There are 19 species world wide and 8 species occur in Southern Africa.

* Pin-tailed Whydah "Vidua macroura"
* Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah "Vidua obtusa"
* Long-tailed Paradise-Whydah "Vidua paradisaea"
* Shaft-tailed Whydah "Vidua regia"
* Village Indigobird "Vidua chalybeata"
* Dusky Indigobird "Vidua funerea"
* Purple Indigobird "Vidua purpurascens"
* Twinspot Indigobird "Vidua codringtoni"

Estrildid finchs

Order: Passeriformes Family: Estrildidae

The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have a wide variation in plumage colours and pattern. There are 139 species world wide and 28 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Green-winged Pytilia "Pytilia melba"
* Orange-winged Pytilia "Pytilia afra" (A)
* Red-billed Firefinch "Lagonosticta senegala"
* African Firefinch "Lagonosticta rubricata"
* Jameson's Firefinch "Lagonosticta rhodopareia"
* Blue-breasted Cordonbleu "Uraeginthus angolensis"
* Violet-eared Waxbill "Uraeginthus granatina"
* Black-faced Waxbill "Estrilda erythronotos"
* Grey Waxbill "Estrilda perreini"
* Cinderella Waxbill "Estrilda thomensis"
* Common Waxbill "Estrilda astrild"
* Violet-eared Waxbill "Granatina granatina"
* Blue Waxbill "Uraeginthus angolensis"
* Yellow-bellied Waxbill "Coccopygia quartinia"
* Swee Waxbill "Coccopygia melanotis"
* Zebra Waxbill "Sporaeginthus subflavus"
* Bronze Mannikin "Spermestes cucullatus"
* Black-and-white Mannikin "Spermestes bicolor"
* Magpie Mannikin "Spermestes fringilloides"
* African Quailfinch "Ortygospiza atricollis"
* Red-headed Finch "Amadina erythrocephala"
* Cut-throat Finch "Amadina fasciata"
* Locustfinch "Paludipasser locustella"
* Red-throated Twinspot "Hypargos niveoguttatus"
* Pink-throated Twinspot "Hypargos margaritatus"
* Green Twinspot "Mandingoa nitidula"
* Red-faced Crimson-wing "Cryptospiza reichenovii"
* Lesser Seedcracker "Pyrenestes minor"

Fringilline Finches and Allies

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 137 species world wide and 15 species which occur in Southern Africa.

* Common Chaffinch "Fringilla coelebs" (I)
* Cape Canary "Serinus canicollis"
* Black-headed Canary "Serinus alario"
* Yellow-fronted Canary "Crithagra mozambicus"
* Black-throated Canary "Crithagra atrogularis"
* Lemon-breasted Canary "Crithagra citrinipectus"
* Forest Canary "Crithagra scotops" (E)
* Yellow Canary "Crithagra flaviventris"
* Brimstone Canary "Crithagra sulphuratus"
* White-throated Canary "Crithagra albogularis"
* Protea Seedeater "Crithagra leucopterus" (E)
* Streaky-headed Seedeater "Crithagra gularis"
* Black-eared Seedeater "Crithagra mennelli"
* Cape Siskin "Crithagra totta" (E)
* Drakensberg Siskin "Crithagra symonsi" (E)


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Emberizidae

The Emberizidae are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are species 275 world wide and 5 occur in Southern Africa.

* Lark-like Bunting "Emberiza impetuani"
* Cinnamon-breasted Bunting "Emberiza tahapisi"
* Cape Bunting "Emberiza capensis"
* Golden-breasted Bunting "Emberiza flaviventris"
* Cabanis's Bunting "Emberiza cabanisi"

ee also

* List of African birds
* List of birds
* Lists of birds by region
* List of birds of South Africa


* Illustrated guide to the Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton ISBN 1-86825-785-1
* Southern African Birds A Photographic Guide by Ian Sinclair and Ian Davidson ISBN 1-85368-281-0
* Newman's Birds of Southern Africa The Green Edition by Kenneth Newman ISBN 1-86812-611-0
* Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, A 'new' southern African bird list; Available at: [ Roberts VII Project]

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