a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
Birdwatching in the African savanna is easy and very rewarding. The open habitat means the birds are easy to see compared to the closed habitat of rainforest. The diversity of the birds here is high, and repeated trips will reward the visitor with new species.
Pternistis natalensis, 'Natal Spurfowl/Francolin' (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa).
Turtur chalcospilos, 'Green/Emerald-spotted Wood Dove' (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa).
Tauraco porphyreolophus, 'Purple-crested Turaco', (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa).
Centropus superciliosus, 'White-browed Coucal' (Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda).
Grus paradisea, 'Blue Crane' , 'Paradise/Stanley Crane', (outside of Cape Town).
Burhinus vermiculatus, 'Water Thick-knee'
Ciconis episcopus, 'Woolly-necked Stork' (Enjojo Lodge, Uganda).
Long-crested Eagle (Bigodi, Uganda)
Hornbills are an old world tropical group, found in Africa and Asia, and extending to the Solomon Islands in the east. They are large birds with huge bills, the ecological and morphological equivalent to the new world tropical Toucans.
'Crowned Hornbill' (Enjojo Lodge, Uganda)
One of the most diverse and pretty groups of birds in the African woodlands. They are often very obvious and easy birds to see as they tend to to perch on exposed branches.
Merops albicollis, 'White-throated Bee-eater'.
Merops albicollis, 'Blue-cheeked Bee-eater'. Breeds in dry habitats in the middle east, then most migrate to overwinter in woodlands and forest in tropical Africa.
Halcyon senegaloides, '(African) Mangrove Kingfisher'. Large Kingfisher coloured a very bright blue, which can make it easily visible in open areas, and a contrasting red bill. Similar to Woodland Kingfisher, but that species has lower black mandible and cleaner white head. Found in mangroves, and open habitats, including human settlements, along east coast of Africa.
Halcyon senegalensis, 'Woodland Kingfisher'. Large Kingfisher coloured a very bright blue, which can make it easily visible in open areas, and with a contrasting red bill. Similar to African Mangrove Kingfisher, but that species has an all red bill and grey wash to head. Found in open habitats, including human settlements, throughout tropical Africa.
Yellow-billed Barbet (Bigodi, Uganda)
Lybius bidentatus, Double-toothed Barbet (Isunga Lodge, Uganda).
Campethera abingoni 'Golden-tailed Woodpecker', (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa).
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is Micronesia, New Guinea & Indonesia in 2021 with Silversea.