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Field Guides Tour Report
NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA (private group tour) 2017
Nov 14, 2017 to Dec 3, 2017
Terry Stevenson


Our group at Hakusembe Lodge. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

In November 2017, Field Guides arranged for 6 participants and Terry Stevenson to a make a private tour to Namibia and Botswana. We were told to expect rather hotter temperatures than usual and low water levels in the Okavango Delta, so we started with a few worries about just exactly what birds we'd find and what, perhaps, we'd miss! Well, any of these apprehensions were soon put aside, as we found all the south-west African endemics, and the most 'special birds' of the Okavango Delta - including Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane, African Skimmer, and no less than 3 Pel's Fishing-Owls. The mammals were great too, with some fabulous encounters with Elephants, Lion, Leopard and a record 17 Black Rhino.

Starting in Windhoek we made a first afternoon visit to the local sewage works, finding South African Shelduck, Hottentot Teal, Southern Pochard, Little Bittern and Black Crake at the ponds, and White-backed Mousebird, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Pririt Batis, and Black-fronted Bulbul in the surrounding acacia bush country. We then went to the local swift roost, where the localized Bradfield's Swift and at least 40 Alpine's put on a good show. And lastly, we finished the day back at our very nice guest house with an excellent dinner and some good South African wine - all in all, a great start to the tour!

The following day found us driving south-west, firstly through the rolling hills around Windhoek, then through dry ranch lands, and finally across arid desert near Solitaire. A picnic lunch on the banks of a seasonal wetland at Guisis provided us with our only Cape Shovelers and Maccoa Ducks of the tour, while a variety of random stops along the way gave us nice views of Lappet-faced Vulture, Pale Chanting-Goshawk, African Cuckoo, Pied Barbet, the striking Crimson-breasted Gonolek, Pearl-breasted Swallow, Ashy Tit, Burnt-neck Eremomela, and Kalahari Scrub-Robin.

After a night at the Namib Desert lodge, we made an early start and headed to Sossusvlei and the giant red sand dunes there. Our main target here was the endemic Dune Lark and we'd found about six of them by 8:30 a.m. All being well satisfied with our views of those, we then searched out another endemic - Rueppell's Bustard, plus of course a variety of other more common desert birds, including the enormous Common Ostrich, colorful Rosy-faced Lovebirds, boldly patterned Mountain Wheatears, many tame Pale-winged Starlings (right at our lodge), and hundreds of Social Weavers at their huge 'haystack-like' nests. We also enjoyed our first big mammals, with Gemsbok and Springbok being present in good numbers.

We now headed to Walvis Bay at the coast, seeing Namaqua and Double-banded sandgrouse, a very nice Pygmy Falcon, and Karoo and Tractrac chats along the way. A stop at the Tropic of Capricorn turned out to be good for mammals, with our only Mountain Zebra and Damara Ground Squirrels of the tour. Then, after checking-in at another very comfortable guesthouse in Walvis Bay, we were soon birding along the lagoon seeing thousands of Great Flamingos, and many hundreds of shorebirds, including Pied Avocet, Common Ringed and Chestnut-banded plovers, a flock of 480 Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Common Greenshank. Hartlaub's and Kelp gulls were common, while terns included Caspian, Common, Great Crested, Sandwich, and the tiny Damara.

After breakfast the following day, we went to a local spot for Orange River White-eye, and then drove north to the gravel plains near Swakopmund for the very localized and super-well camouflaged Gray's Lark. Finding the lark quite easily was a relief, and we then were back on the road and heading inland for three nights (at two different lodges) in both the north and south Erongo Mountains. This is an area of rocky mountains and dry scrub, crossed here and there by large dry riverbeds. It is also home to many of the most wanted birds of the tour; with just some of the highlights being Hartlaub's Francolin (extremely difficult this tour, one was heard by all, but only seen by a couple of us), Red-crested Bustard, Grey Go-away-bird, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Freckled Nightjar (super looks), Violet Woodhoopoe, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, Rosy-faced Lovebird (dozens), Rueppell's Parrots (at least 8), the striking White-tailed Shrike, Carp's Tit, Rockrunner (great views in the scope), Herero Chat, Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Great Rufous Sparrow, and gorgeous Violet-eared Waxbills. Mammals included Dassie Rat (sole member of the family Petromuridae), Chacma Baboon, Rock Hyrax, Common Giraffe and Greater Kudu.

We then continued further north for two nights inside Etosha National Park, and a third night just outside. The dry conditions meant many of the waterholes were exceptional for mammals, and by driving to many of the best ones we were able to watch and photograph Black-backed Jackal, Spotted Hyaena, 6 Lions, well over 100 African Elephants, over a thousand Burchell's Zebra, perhaps 100 Giraffe, Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, and thousands of Springbok. Most impressive of all though was the number of endangered Black Rhino, with 2 in the day, and at least 15 at night at the floodlit lodge waterholes. Of course, birds were well represented too, with Common Ostrich, Secretary-bird, Kori, Ludwig's and White-quilled bustards, Spotted Thick-knee, Burchell's and Double-banded coursers, and 8 species of larks (including Spike-heeled, Stark's and Pink-billed) out on the open plains. Blue Crane and Greater Painted-snipe were together with a variety of more common waterbirds at the waterholes. While the scattered trees and woodland provided perches or cover for Tawny Eagle, Southern Yellow-billed and Southern Red-billed hornbills, Greater and Lesser Kestrels, White Helmetshrike, White-crowned Shrike, Bare-cheeked and Black-faced babblers, African Paradise-flycatcher, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Scaly Weaver, and Green-winged Pytilia to name but a few. Also numerous at Etosha were several impressive flocks of Red-billed Quelea - at times totally covering reed beds or large acacia trees.

Continuing still further north we then spent a night at Hakusembe River Lodge on the Namibia-Angola border. Now in a totally different habitat, with a wide flowing river, riverine woodland and flood plains we soon added more new birds; White-faced Whistling-Duck, African Openbill, Hamerkop, Rufous-bellied Heron, African Marsh-Harrier, Collared Pratincole, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Marsh Owl, Little and Blue-cheeked bee-eaters, Lilac-breasted Roller, Gabon Boubou, Magpie Shrike, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Hartlaub's Babbler, Kurrichane Thrush, and Holub's Golden Weaver.

The final part of our journey through Namibia was to the Mahango Game Reserve right on the Botswana border. Although we only had part of one morning here, it was exceptionally enjoyable, with birds including a variety of ducks, geese, herons and egrets, our first African Fish-Eagles, 5 Wattled Cranes, Long-toed Lapwing, Black Cuckoo, Gray-headed Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Burchell's and Meves's starlings, and White-breasted Sunbird. Mammal highlights were more Elephants, Hippos, Bushbuck, Great Kudu, African Buffalo, Reedbuck, at least 350 Lechwe, and a fabulous, huge male Roan Antelope.

We now began our five night adventure in Botswana, starting first at Xaro Lodge in the Panhandle on the banks of the Okavango River. As always, it was a delightful stay here, as we took morning and afternoon boat trips and also walked through the palms, acacia trees, and baobabs on the mainland. In addition to the more common waterbirds we encountered, there are some great birds here we always make a special effort for, and with the help of our local guide, we found African Pygmy-goose, Slaty Egret, 3 White-backed Night-Herons, African Skimmer, African Barred Owlet, African Wood-Owl, Giant Kingfisher, Southern Carmine-Bee-eater, Crested Barbet, Bennett's Woodpecker, Retz's Helmetshrike, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Chirping Cisticola and Southern Brown-throated Weaver. Without doubt though, the mega highlight here, was a pair of Pel's Fishing-Owls, one of which stayed concealed, while the second bird perched right in the open - just wonderful!

Finally, we took a private charter flight deep into the Okavango Delta for a 3 night stay at Xigera Camp. This small, high-end camp was a great way to finish the tour, as we took morning and afternoon drives across the sandy plains, along the fringes of pools and lagoons, and through a mix of fig, palm, and sausage trees. New birds here included Swainson's Francolin, Saddle-billed Stork, Pink-backed Pelican, White-headed and Hooded vultures, Bateleur, Black-bellied Bustard, Lesser Jacana (for those who went on the Mokoro canoe), Small Buttonquail, Black Coucal, Southern Ground-hornbill, Striped Kingfisher, Dickinson's Kestrel, Southern Black-Tit, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Collared Sunbird, Rosy-breasted Longclaw, and Jameson's Firefinch.

However, it was not just birds here, as once again we were in big game country, and all enjoyed yet more encounters with elephants, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and a wide variety of antelope. Most memorable though were two huge male big-maned Lions which walked along right beside our vehicle. And then perhaps the best treat of all, a female Leopard carrying a baby Impala which she hid up a tree before going to fetch her two young cubs. Returning the following day it was indeed a pleasure to see one of the youngsters up the tree where the kill was hidden, while the mother lay resting in the tall grasses below.

And finally, during our very last morning, right in our camp was yet another Pel's Fishing-Owl. Holding a fish and perched just above one of the walkways it was a fabulous sighting and perfect farewell to our Bird of the Trip!

If you and your friends would like to plan a similar private tour to any of Terry's African or Indian destinations please contact the Field Guides office for details.

Thanks to all of you for joining me on this memorable adventure

--Terry


KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant



We saw small numbers of the beautiful little African Pygmy-goose. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

BIRDS
Struthionidae (Ostriches)
COMMON OSTRICH (Struthio camelus) – About 120 at Etosha, and smaller numbers in arid areas elsewhere in Namibia, including about 30 at Sossusvlei.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – Common from Hakusembe to the Okavango Delta; in all we saw about 450.
COMB DUCK (Sarkidiornis melanotos) – About 60 at Mahango, 5 at Xaro, and 1 at Xigera.
EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca) – Widespread in wetlands throughout the tour; in all we saw about 90.
SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna cana) – Fifty at Windhoek Sewage Works, and 40 at Guisis.
SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis) – About 200 between Mahango and the Okavango Delta.
AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus) – Eight at Xaro, and about 20 in the Xigera area.
YELLOW-BILLED DUCK (Anas undulata) – About 10 at a marsh near Xigera Camp.
CAPE SHOVELER (Anas smithii) – Four at Guisis.
RED-BILLED DUCK (Anas erythrorhyncha) – Two at Windhoek Sewage Works, about 40 at Etosha, and then almost daily from Hakusembe to the Okavango Delta; in all we saw about 160.


Saddle-billed Storks appeared at Xigera Camp in the Okavango. Photo by participant Dan Williams.

HOTTENTOT TEAL (Anas hottentota) – About 30 at the Windhoek Sewage Works.
CAPE TEAL (Anas capensis) – Sixty at Guisis, and 20 at Walvis Bay.
SOUTHERN POCHARD (Netta erythrophthalma) – Twenty at the Windhoek Sewage Works.
MACCOA DUCK (Oxyura maccoa) – At least 40 at Guisis.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris) – Common and widespread throughout the tour.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
HARTLAUB'S FRANCOLIN (Pternistis hartlaubi) – Very difficult this year, with only 1 bird heard and then seen by just a couple of us at Erongo Wilderness Lodge. [E]
RED-BILLED FRANCOLIN (Pternistis adspersus) – Common in dry bush country; in all we saw about 140.
SWAINSON'S FRANCOLIN (Pternistis swainsonii) – Two near Xigera Camp.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Widespread in mostly fresh water pools throughout the tour; in all we saw about 100.
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – Fifteen at Guisis.
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus) – Single immatures at Guisis and Etosha, and then 'many thousands' at Walvis Bay.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
SOOTY SHEARWATER (Ardenna grisea) – About 8 offshore near Walvis Bay.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
AFRICAN OPENBILL (Anastomus lamelligerus) – Two at Hakusembe, 14 near Xaro, and 30 at Xigera.
BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra) – One at Guisis.
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus) – One in flight in the Xigera area.


A highlight of any African tour is seeing mammals. Participant Barbara Williams got this wonderful portrait of a large male African Lion.

SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) – About 20 in the Xigera area.
MARABOU STORK (Leptoptilos crumenifer) – One near Namutoni, 3 at Etosha, 30 in the Xaro area, and 10 at Xigera.
YELLOW-BILLED STORK (Mycteria ibis) – One at Mahango, and 4 in the Xigera area.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
CAPE GANNET (Morus capensis) – Two over the sea near Walvis Bay.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Microcarbo africanus) – Common on fresh water pools and rivers throughout the tour.
CROWNED CORMORANT (Microcarbo coronatus) – Six at the guano platform near Walvis Bay.
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) – About a dozen between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
CAPE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax capensis) – Many thousands between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa rufa) – Thirty at Windhoek Sewage Works, 2 at Hakusembe, and at least 100 in the Xaro and Xigera areas.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
GREAT WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus onocrotalus) – Two at Guisis, about 60 at Walvis Bay, and 1 in flight while having our 'bush lunch' at Xigera.
PINK-BACKED PELICAN (Pelecanus rufescens) – Two in flight over Xigera Camp.


Bradfield's Hornbills have a rather small range including parts of Namibia and Botswana. We found this pair at Uris. Photo by participant Dan Williams.

Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – Singles at Hakusembe and Mahango, and then 4 at Xaro, and 4 at Xigera.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LITTLE BITTERN (Ixobrychus minutus) – Two singles at Windhoek Sewage Works.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Two at Guisis, 20 at Walvis Bay, and 6 near Xigera.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – Five at Etosha.
GOLIATH HERON (Ardea goliath) – Three at Mahango, 1 at Xaro, and 2 at Xigera.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Singles at Mahango, Xaro, and Xigera.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Three at Mahango, 1 at Xaro, and about a dozen in the Xigera area.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia) – One at Mahango, and 6 at Xigera.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Common and widespread at wetlands throughout the tour.
SLATY EGRET (Egretta vinaceigula) – We scoped a distant bird near Xaro, and then saw at least 20 in the Xigera area. [E]
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Fairly common in small numbers away from the most arid areas.


A very cooperative Rufous-bellied Heron, seen at Hakusembe. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – Six at Windhoek Sewage Works, and about 40 from Hakusembe to the Okavango Delta.
RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON (Ardeola rufiventris) – Great looks at a very tame bird at Hakusembe, and a more distant bird at Mahango.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Two at Hakusembe, 2 at Mahango, and 10 at Xaro.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Six at Windhoek Sewage Works, 6 at Xaro, and about 10 at Xigera.
WHITE-BACKED NIGHT-HERON (Gorsachius leuconotus) – Fantastic looks at this real skulker; first we had 1 at Xaro, and then 2 near Drotsky's.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Five at Johannesburg, 2 near Xaro, and 10 at Xigera.
SACRED IBIS (Threskiornis aethiopicus) – Two at Windhoek, 3 at Guisis, and 6 at Xigera.
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Six in the Xigera area.
AFRICAN SPOONBILL (Platalea alba) – Five at the Xigera Camp waterhole.
Sagittariidae (Secretary-bird)
SECRETARY-BIRD (Sagittarius serpentarius) – One near Namutoni, Etosha.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – One at Windhoek, 2 along the way to Rundu, 1 near Xaro, and 3 near Xigera.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – One at Hakusembe, and 2 near Xaro.
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – We saw a single flying bird at Xigera.
LAPPET-FACED VULTURE (Torgos tracheliotos) – Two near Guisis, 2 near Solitaire, and 1 at Xigera.
HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Five in the Xigera area.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – Five at Mahango, and about 40 in the Xaro to Xigera area.
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – Five at Xigera.
BLACK-BREASTED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus pectoralis) – Single adults were seen in the Solitaire area, Usakos, near Umaruru, and at Xigera.
WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi) – Two singles in the Xigera area.
TAWNY EAGLE (Aquila rapax) – Two near Outjo, and about a dozen at Etosha.
DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates) – One just north of Grootfontein, and 1 along the way to Mahango.
PALE CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax canorus) – About 20 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP, and 4 at Etosha.
GABAR GOSHAWK (Micronisus gabar) – One at Guisis.
AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus ranivorus) – Two in the Hakusembe area, and 1 near Xaro.


Rosy-faced Lovebirds were fairly common; we saw several flocks, including dozens near Erongo. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – A pair with 3 juveniles in a nest at Okombahe.
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – One at Etosha, about 8 near Rundu, at least 200 on the way to Mahango, 50 at Xaro, and 40 at Xigera.
AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer) – At least 80 of the beautiful eagles were seen between Mahango and the Okavango Delta.
COMMON BUZZARD (STEPPE) (Buteo buteo vulpinus) – Singles at Windhoek, Etosha and Mahango, and then about 6 at Xigera.
Otididae (Bustards)
KORI BUSTARD (Ardeotis kori) – About 18 at Etosha.
LUDWIG'S BUSTARD (Neotis ludwigii) – One near Outjo, and 2 at Etosha.
RŸPPELL'S BUSTARD (Eupodotis rueppelii) – About 12 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP.
RED-CRESTED BUSTARD (Eupodotis ruficrista) – We saw a single female in the southern Erongo Mountains.
WHITE-QUILLED BUSTARD (Eupodotis afraoides) – One at Solitaire, and about 50 at Etosha.
BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster) – Two in flight at dusk in the open country near Xigera, and then a female in the same area the following day.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra) – One at Windhoek Sewage Works, 2 at Hakusembe, 2 at Xaro, and at least 40 in the Xigera area.


Here is one of the Black Rhinoceroses we saw in Etosha. What a great trip this was to see these magnificent animals! Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

AFRICAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio madagascariensis) – Five on a boat trip from Xaro.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – Common at the Windhoek Sewage Works and Guisis, and 2 at Xaro.
RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata) – Common at Windhoek Sewage Works, Guisis, and several ponds at Etosha; in total we saw about 200.
Gruidae (Cranes)
BLUE CRANE (Anthropoides paradiseus) – Can be very difficult, but we had exceptional looks this tour, with 10 birds seen in three different areas at Etosha.
WATTLED CRANE (Bugeranus carunculatus) – Three (way distant) and then 2 (much closer) at Mahango, and then amazingly about 30 in the Xigera area - excellent trip for this species!
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
WATER THICK-KNEE (Burhinus vermiculatus) – Six along the river near Xaro, and 8 at Xigera.
SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis) – Heard in the Erongo Mountains, and then a pair were seen nicely at Etosha.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Widespread at a variety of wetlands throughout the tour; in all we saw about 120.
PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta) – About 60 at Guisis, and 150+ at Walvis Bay.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
AFRICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus moquini) – Three near Swakopmund.


Here we are, hiking the trail near the Erongo Wilderness Lodge. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – About 80 between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
LONG-TOED LAPWING (Vanellus crassirostris) – One at Mahango, about 30 at Xaro, and 60+ in the Xigera area.
BLACKSMITH LAPWING (Vanellus armatus) – Very common and widespread away from the most arid areas.
CROWNED LAPWING (Vanellus coronatus) – Small numbers in dry grasslands from Etosha to the Okavango Delta.
CASPIAN PLOVER (Charadrius asiaticus) – At least 50 on the dry grasslands at Etosha.
KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius) – Four at Guisis, and about 80 at Etosha.
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – One at Guisis, and 20 at Walvis Bay.
THREE-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius tricollaris) – Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 30.
WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus) – About 20 at Walvis Bay.
CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius pallidus) – About 30 on the salt pans near Walvis Bay.


Dune Lark is one of the specialties of the Sossusvlei area and its giant red dunes. We had a wonderful experience with these birds; we found them early, and had a great view, as shown in this photo by participant Barbara Williams.

Rostratulidae (Painted-Snipes)
GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis) – Nice looks at 1 (and 2 more distantly) at Etosha.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
LESSER JACANA (Microparra capensis) – Two of our group saw 2 from a makoro canoe near Xigera.
AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – Very common at wetlands from Etosha to the Okavango Delta.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – Three at Walvis Bay.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – We saw a single flock of 480 at Walvis Bay.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – About 15 between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
RUFF (Calidris pugnax) – Forty at Windhoek were the most together, but we also saw small numbers at a variety of other scattered wetlands.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – We saw 'many hundreds' at Walvis Bay.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – About 20 at Walvis Bay.
LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) – Four at Guisis, and about 300 at Walvis Bay.
AFRICAN SNIPE (Gallinago nigripennis) – Seen by some of the group who went on the mokoro canoe.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Singles at Walvis Bay, Etosha, and Hakusembe.


Herds of Elephants came to the waterholes in Etosha, and we saw them in the Okavango Delta as well. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – Widespread with a total of about 140.
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – One at Etosha.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – Widespread in small numbers; in all we saw about 80.
Turnicidae (Buttonquail)
SMALL BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix sylvaticus) – We flushed 1 during a drive through the grasslands near Xigera, and then had great views of 2 more birds walking along tracks there.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
BURCHELL'S COURSER (Cursorius rufus) – Three, and then 2, at Etosha.
DOUBLE-BANDED COURSER (Smutsornis africanus) – About a dozen at Etosha.
COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola) – One at Hakusembe, 20 near Xaro, and 10 near Xigera.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
HARTLAUB'S GULL (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii) – Very common from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund.
KELP GULL (VETULA) (Larus dominicanus vetula) – Common from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund.
DAMARA TERN (Sternula balaenarum) – Great looks at about 15 at Walvis Bay.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – Two singles at Walvis Bay.
WHITE-WINGED TERN (Chlidonias leucopterus) – Two singles at Etosha.


White-quilled Bustard was another great bird we found in Etosha; we saw about 50 of them there! Photo by participant Dan Williams.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – Widespread in small numbers, and then about 140 in the Okavango Delta.
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – At least 100 in the Walvis Bay area.
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) – About 40 at Walvis Bay.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – At least 80 at Walvis Bay.
AFRICAN SKIMMER (Rynchops flavirostris) – About 30 (including some juveniles) on the sand banks at Xaro, and 1 at Xigera.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
NAMAQUA SANDGROUSE (Pterocles namaqua) – Twenty near Solitaire, and at least 400 at Etosha.
DOUBLE-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles bicinctus) – About 15 west of Solitaire, 8 in the Erongo Mountains, and 200+ at Okaukuejo.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Small numbers in a variety of towns and villages.
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea) – Common from Windhoek to Etosha.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Common from Hakusembe to the Okavango Delta.
RING-NECKED DOVE (Streptopelia capicola) – Very common and widespread.


Short-toed Rock Thrush is a lovely bird. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – Very common and widespread.
EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur chalcospilos) – Small numbers from Mushara to Hakusembe and on to Xaro.
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis) – Common and widespread; with a total of about 100.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Half a dozen at Xaro, and about 200 in the Xigera area.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
GRAY GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides concolor) – Common in a variety of woodlands throughout the tour.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
COPPERY-TAILED COUCAL (Centropus cupreicaudus) – Two at Hakusembe, 3 at Xaro, and then about 30 in the Xigera area.
WHITE-BROWED COUCAL (Centropus superciliosus) – About 12 at Xigera.
BLACK COUCAL (Centropus grillii) – Nice looks at 2 single birds in the marshy grasslands at Xigera.
LEVAILLANT'S CUCKOO (Clamator levaillantii) – One at Xaro.
PIED CUCKOO (Clamator jacobinus) – Singles near Guisis, Hakusembe, and Mahango.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – Heard in 5 or 6 areas throughout the trip, and seen in the Erongo Mountains and at Xaro.
BLACK CUCKOO (Cuculus clamosus) – Two seen at Mahango, and several others heard.
AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis) – One at Guisis.


Pel's Fishing Owl was probably the avian highlight of the tour! We saw a total of three, including this one, looking sleepy, but clutching its prey with fantastically huge talons. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – Seen by some of the group at Okaukuejo and Halali.
Strigidae (Owls)
AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis) – Thanks to a local watchman we had great day time looks at Halali, and heard others at Xigera.
PEL'S FISHING-OWL (Scotopelia peli) – Just fabulous at Xaro, with a concealed bird first and then a second right in the open - in great light too! We then had even closer views of a bird in our camp at Xigera.
PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum) – Widespread in small numbers, with at least 11 seen and others heard.
AFRICAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium capense) – Difficult this year, but eventually we all got great looks at Xaro.
AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii) – One in the grounds at Xaro, and heard at Xigera.
MARSH OWL (Asio capensis) – Fabulous to see 3 in the dry grasslands around a marsh at Hakusembe.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
RUFOUS-CHEEKED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus rufigena) – Several around the waterhole at Okaukuejo.
FRECKLED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus tristigma) – We watched a close bird perched on a rock at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
SQUARE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus fossii) – Heard at Xigera Camp.
Apodidae (Swifts)
ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba) – About 40 over Windhoek.
BRADFIELD'S SWIFT (Apus bradfieldi) – Forty at Windhoek and Solitaire, and then 'hundreds' along the road to Rundu.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Small numbers were widespread.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – Small numbers near Solitaire, Walvis Bay, and in the Erongo Mountains.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Common and widespread.
Coliidae (Mousebirds)
WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD (Colius colius) – About 60 between Windhoek and Walvis Bay.
RED-FACED MOUSEBIRD (Urocolius indicus) – Singles at Walvis Bay and in the Erongo Mountains, and then about 20 at Xigera.
Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (AFRICAN) (Upupa epops africana) – Widespread away from desert areas; in total we saw about 40.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitar-bills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Five at Okombahe, 6 at Xaro, and 10 in the Xigera area.
VIOLET WOODHOOPOE (VIOLET) (Phoeniculus damarensis damarensis) – Seven at Okombahe, and about 15 at Halali. [E]
COMMON SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) – Small numbers at Sossusvlei, in the Erongo Mountains and at Xigera; in all we saw about 10.
Bucorvidae (Ground-Hornbills)
SOUTHERN GROUND-HORNBILL (Bucorvus leadbeateri) – Three in our camp at Xigera.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
BRADFIELD'S HORNBILL (Lophoceros bradfieldi) – We saw 2 of these rather localized hornbills at Uris.


Another mammalian highlight was seeing this female Leopard with a young Impala. The Leopard carried her prey up into a tree, where we saw a cub feeding the next day, and the mother resting nearby. Photo by participant Dan Williams.

AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus) – By far the most common hornbill; widespread with a total of about 70.
SOUTHERN YELLOW-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus leucomelas) – Seven in the Etosha area.
MONTEIRO'S HORNBILL (Tockus monteiri) – About 8 at Windhoek, and 10 in the Erongo Mountains.
SOUTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus rufirostris) – Fairly common at Etosha with a total of about 20.
DAMARA RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus damarensis) – Four at Okombahe.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus) – Three at Xaro, and 2 in the Xigera area.
GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala) – One at Hakusembe, and 1 at Xigera.
WOODLAND KINGFISHER (Halcyon senegalensis) – Amazingly we saw our first at Walvis Bay (where it may be new for the area), and then we saw about 25 between Hakusembe, Mahango and Xaro. And finally at least 75 in the Xigera area.
STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) – Four at Xigera.
GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima) – Three at Xaro, and 1 at Xigera.


Some of us went on a Mokoro canoe ride through the Okavango. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – About 30 between Hakusembe, Xaro and Xigera.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
WHITE-FRONTED BEE-EATER (Merops bullockoides) – About 40 at Xaro,
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – Four at Hakusembe, 16 in the Xaro area, and 20 at Xigera.
SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus) – Fairly common in small numbers throughout the tour; in all we saw about 30.
BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER (Merops persicus) – Three at Hakusembe, about 40 at Xaro, and 40 at Xigera.
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – Patchily distributed at about 7 sites; in all we saw about 140.
SOUTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER (Merops nubicoides) – One at Mahango, 25 at the Namibia/Botswana border crossing, 1 at Xaro, and 3 at Xigera.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER (Coracias caudatus) – One near Guisis, 4 at Hakusembe, 1 at Shakawe, and 30+ in the Xigera area.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – Small numbers from Namib Naukluft Desert NP to the Erongo Mountains and Etosha; in all we saw about 8.
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus) – One at Mahango, 4 at Xaro, and 10 at Xigera.
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
CRESTED BARBET (Trachyphonus vaillantii) – Three at Xaro, and 5 at Xigera.
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus) – Two singles at Xaro.
PIED BARBET (Tricholaema leucomelas) – Fairly common in acacia country in the early part of the tour; in all we saw about16.
BLACK-COLLARED BARBET (Lybius torquatus) – Great looks at about 10 of these colorful barbets at Xaro, and 15 at Xigera.


Red-billed Queleas are some of the most numerous birds on Earth, and we saw thousands and thousands in Etosha. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) – One in the Erongo Mountains.
GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator) – We saw a single bird at Xigera.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
BENNETT'S WOODPECKER (Campethera bennettii) – One on the lawn at Xaro Lodge.
GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER (Campethera abingoni) – One at Hakusembe, about 4 at Xaro, and 2 at Xigera.
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens) – Singles were widespread away from the most arid areas; with a total of about 8.
BEARDED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos namaquus) – Singles at Usakos and Mushara.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
PYGMY FALCON (Polihierax semitorquatus) – Nice looks at a female near Solitaire.
LESSER KESTREL (Falco naumanni) – Two near Halali, Etosha.
ROCK KESTREL (Falco rupicolus) – We saw about a dozen between the Namib Naukluft Desert NP and the Erongo Mountains.
GREATER KESTREL (Falco rupicoloides) – Five at Etosha.
DICKINSON'S KESTREL (Falco dickinsoni) – Five in the open palm country near Xigera.
EURASIAN HOBBY (Falco subbuteo) – One near Xigera Camp.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Four at Etosha.


Cocktails are served in style in the Okavango! Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
ROSY-FACED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis roseicollis) – Small numbers at Windhoek, Namib Desert Lodge and Usakos, and then at least 100 at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
MEYER'S PARROT (Poicephalus meyeri) – Two at Uris, about 6 at Xaro, and about 10 (mainly heard) at Xigera.
RŸPPELL'S PARROT (Poicephalus rueppellii) – Great looks at this uncommon endemic parrot this tour; with 2 near Usakos, and 6 at Okombahe.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
WHITE-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanioturdus torquatus) – Fantastic to see 3 of these striking birds in the southern Erongo Mountains.
PRIRIT BATIS (Batis pririt) – Small numbers at Windhoek, Namib Desert Lodge, and around the Erongo Mountains.
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops plumatus) – Eight (including some juveniles) at Mushara.
RETZ'S HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops retzii) – Five at Xaro Lodge.
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)
BRUBRU (Nilaus afer) – Two at Windhoek, and 1 in the Erongo Mountains.
BLACK-BACKED PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus cubla) – Small numbers in a variety of woodlands; in all we saw about 20.
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus) – One was seen by some of the group at Hakusembe, and then a second bird for everyone at Xigera.
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – Four in the Erongo Mountains, and 1 at Etosha.


A Rufous-crowned Roller (sometimes called the Purple Roller), photographed nicely by participant Barbara Williams.

GABON BOUBOU (Laniarius bicolor) – Also known as Swamp Boubou, we saw about 30 between Hakusembe and Xigera.
CRIMSON-BREASTED GONOLEK (Laniarius atrococcineus) – This striking bird was fairly common in a variety of dry acacia country; in all we saw about 40.
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus) – Two at Xaro.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
RED-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius collurio) – Fifty at Xigera were the most for a single area, but we also had small numbers elsewhere.
LESSER GRAY SHRIKE (Lanius minor) – About 60 were seen at a variety of sites throughout the tour.
SOUTHERN FISCAL (SOUTHERN) (Lanius collaris subcoronatus) – This race is sometimes split as 'Latakoo Fiscal', we saw about 6 between Solitaire and Etosha.
MAGPIE SHRIKE (Corvinella melanoleuca) – One near Hakusembe.
WHITE-CROWNED SHRIKE (Eurocephalus anguitimens) – Common in the Erongo Mountains and at Etosha.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
AFRICAN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus larvatus) – One at Hakusembe, and 4 at Xigera.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis) – Common and widespread throughout the tour.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – Small numbers in a variety of open wooded areas; in all we saw about 16.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
CAPE CROW (Corvus capensis) – About 30 at Etosha.


We saw a few lovely African Paradise-Flycatchers, including this one at a nest with young. Photo by participant Dan Williams.

PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Widespread in small numbers throughout Namibia.
Alaudidae (Larks)
SPIKE-HEELED LARK (Chersomanes albofasciata) – Fourteen at Etosha.
GRAY'S LARK (Ammomanopsis grayi) – We saw 10 of these localized and well camouflaged endemics on the gravel plains north of Swakopmund. [E]
CHESTNUT-BACKED SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix leucotis) – About 20 at Etosha included a couple of nice males.
GRAY-BACKED SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix verticalis) – About a dozen at Etosha.
SABOTA LARK (BRADFIELD'S) (Calendulauda sabota naevia) – Small numbers were in a variety of scattered dry bush country sites; in all we saw about 30.
DUNE LARK (Calendulauda erythrochlamys) – Great looks at about 6 of these very localized endemic larks at Sossusvlei. [E]
RUFOUS-NAPED LARK (Mirafra africana) – Three at Etosha, and 10 in the Xigera area.
RED-CAPPED LARK (Calandrella cinerea) – About 50 in the Swakopmund area, and 10 at Etosha.
STARK'S LARK (Spizocorys starki) – About a dozen at Etosha.
PINK-BILLED LARK (Spizocorys conirostris) – One at Etosha.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PLAIN MARTIN (Riparia paludicola) – One at Windhoek Sewage Works, and about 20 along the river near Xaro.
BANDED MARTIN (Riparia cincta) – Singles at Mahango and Xaro.
ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula) – Small numbers in Namibia at a variety of cliffs and villages.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Common and widespread throughout the tour.
WHITE-THROATED SWALLOW (Hirundo albigularis) – Eight at the Windhoek Sewage Works.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii) – Two at Hakusembe, and 6 at Xaro.
PEARL-BREASTED SWALLOW (Hirundo dimidiata) – Six in the Guisis area, and 1 near Usakos.
GREATER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis cucullata) – Three at Windhoek Sewage Works, and a few singles elsewhere.
LESSER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – Four at Xaro.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa) – One was gathering mud from a puddle at the veterinary fence crossing.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
SOUTHERN BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus niger) – One at Xigera.
CARP'S TIT (Melaniparus carpi) – Surprisingly difficult this year, with just 1 (mostly in flight) at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
ASHY TIT (Melaniparus cinerascens) – Nice looks at 1 on the way to Guisis.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
YELLOW-BELLIED GREENBUL (Chlorocichla flaviventris) – One at Hakusembe, and 6 at Xaro.
COMMON BULBUL (DARK-CAPPED) (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor) – Common from Hakusembe easterly, and then throughout Botswana.
BLACK-FRONTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus nigricans) – More commonly known as Red-eyed Bulbul, they were very common throughout Namibia to the south of Rundu.


Little Grebes were rather common; we saw them at pools and waterholes throughout the tour, including these two sharing a dip with two Gemsbok. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)
CAPE CROMBEC (Sylvietta rufescens) – Small numbers in acacia country; in total we saw about 6.
ROCKRUNNER (Achaetops pycnopygius) – Great looks at a couple of spots in the Erongo Mountains. [E]
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
WILLOW WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochilus) – Small numbers at a variety of widespread dry woodland sites.
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
ICTERINE WARBLER (Hippolais icterina) – One at Mushara.
AFRICAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus baeticatus) – About 12 at the Windhoek Sewage Works.
GREATER SWAMP-WARBLER (Acrocephalus rufescens) – One seen (and many heard) in the papyrus near Xaro Lodge.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
YELLOW-BREASTED APALIS (Apalis flavida) – Two at Xaro Lodge.
GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) – Widespread in small numbers.
BARRED WREN-WARBLER (Calamonastes fasciolatus) – Two singles in the Erongo Mountains.
RATTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola chiniana) – Widespread in dry acacia country.
WINDING CISTICOLA (LUAPULA) (Cisticola galactotes luapula) – Heard at Mahango, seen briefly by some of the group at Xaro, and then good looks for everyone at Xigera. Many African authorities now split this as Luapula Cisticola.


We shared a day-time sighting of an African Scops-owl with a crowd of youngsters. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

CHIRPING CISTICOLA (Cisticola pipiens) – Heard and a few seen at Xaro, and then very common in the tall marshy areas around Xigera.
DESERT CISTICOLA (Cisticola aridulus) – About 10 at Etosha, and a dozen in the dry grasslands around Xigera.
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava) – Small numbers at Xaro and Xigera.
BLACK-CHESTED PRINIA (Prinia flavicans) – Widespread in small numbers from Windhoek to the coastal area, and then north to Etosha.
YELLOW-BELLIED EREMOMELA (Eremomela icteropygialis) – One near Solitaire.
BURNT-NECK EREMOMELA (Eremomela usticollis) – Two near Windhoek.
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers)
RUFOUS-VENTED WARBLER (Sylvia subcaerulea) – Widespread in dry acacia country in Namibia; with a total of about 30.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
ORANGE RIVER WHITE-EYE (Zosterops pallidus) – Great looks at a single bird at Walvis Bay.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
HARTLAUB'S BABBLER (Turdoides hartlaubii) – Common from Hakusembe east and down throughout the Okavango; in all we saw about 200.
BLACK-FACED BABBLER (Turdoides melanops) – Six at Mushara.
SOUTHERN PIED-BABBLER (Turdoides bicolor) – Six in the dry riverbed at Okombahe.
ARROW-MARKED BABBLER (Turdoides jardineii) – Fairly common from Hakusembe to the Okavango Delta.


White Helmetshrike posed nicely for us at Mushara. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

BARE-CHEEKED BABBLER (Turdoides gymnogenys) – Three (drinking at a dripping tap) at Halali. [E]
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) – Three at Okombahe, 1 at Mahango, and 1 at Xigera.
MARIQUA FLYCATCHER (Bradornis mariquensis) – We saw about 20 at a variety of scattered dry bush country sites in Namibia.
CHAT FLYCATCHER (Agricola infuscatus) – Two near Solitaire.
HERERO CHAT (Melaenornis herero) – Difficult this tour, but eventually we got great looks at a pair in the southern Erongo Mountains. [E]
SOUTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis pammelaina) – A pair with a juvenile at Hakusembe.
KALAHARI SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas paena) – Singles at Guisis, Erongo Mountains, and Etosha.
RED-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucophrys) – Two at Okombahe, 2 at Etosha, and 1 at Xigera.
WHITE-BROWED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha heuglini) – Two at Hakusembe, 2 at Xaro Lodge, and 1 at Xigera.
SHORT-TOED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola brevipes) – We saw a female briefly at Windhoek, and then nice looks at males and females in the Erongo Mountains.
AFRICAN STONECHAT (Saxicola torquatus) – Four in the Xigera area.
SOUTHERN ANTEATER-CHAT (Myrmecocichla formicivora) – About a dozen at Etosha.


One of the Lesser Kestrels seen at Halali, in Etosha. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

KAROO CHAT (Cercomela schlegelii) – One at the Tropic of Capricorn.
TRACTRAC CHAT (Cercomela tractrac) – One in the real arid desert on the way to Walvis Bay.
FAMILIAR CHAT (Cercomela familiaris) – Widespread in small numbers in Namibia.
MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe monticola) – Most common in the Namib Naukluft Desert, but also a few in the Erongo Mountains.
CAPPED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe pileata) – About 12 at Etosha, and 1 juvenile near Xaro.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH (Psophocichla litsitsirupa) – Widespread in small numbers in Namibia.
KURRICHANE THRUSH (Turdus libonyana) – Two at Hakusembe.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
WATTLED STARLING (Creatophora cinerea) – About 100 at Windhoek, and 30 at Guisis.
VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) – Single males at Mushara, and Xaro Lodge.
PALE-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus nabouroup) – Common from Solitaire to the Erongo Mountains; in all we saw about 300.
BURCHELL'S STARLING (Lamprotornis australis) – One at Okombahe, and then fairly common from Mahango to the Okavango Delta.
MEVES'S STARLING (Lamprotornis mevesii) – Common from Mahango to the Okavango Delta.
GREATER BLUE-EARED STARLING (Lamprotornis chalybaeus) – About 6 at Xigera.
CAPE STARLING (Lamprotornis nitens) – Common throughout most of the tour; with a total of about 200.
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
RED-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) – Ten, feeding mainly on Impala near Xigera.
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus) – Five at Xaro Lodge, and about 40 in the Xigera area.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris) – One at Xaro, and 3 at Xigera.
AMETHYST SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra amethystina) – Some of the group saw a single male at Hakusembe.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis) – Two at Windhoek, and 1 at Hakusembe.
MARIQUA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris mariquensis) – Widespread in acacia country in Namibia.
WHITE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris talatala) – Four at Mahango, and 6 at Xaro.
DUSKY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris fuscus) – Very common in the arid country through most of Namibia.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
CAPE WAGTAIL (Motacilla capensis) – Common around habitation from Windhoek to Walvis Bay, and then 2 at Hakusembe.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – One at Hakusembe, and 2 at Xaro.
AFRICAN PIPIT (Anthus cinnamomeus) – Small numbers at Etosha, Hakusembe, Mahango, and Xigera.


Hartlaub's Babblers were quite common. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys) – Six in the Xigera area.
ROSY-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx ameliae) – Brief, but nice looks at a pair near Xigera Camp.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
LARK-LIKE BUNTING (Emberiza impetuani) – About 50 in the Erongo Mountains, and 6 at Etosha.
CINNAMON-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza tahapisi) – We saw a total of about 10 between the Erongo Mountains and Etosha.
CAPE BUNTING (Emberiza capensis) – One at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza flaviventris) – One at Uris.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
BLACK-THROATED CANARY (Serinus atrogularis) – Widespread in small numbers from Windhoek to Etosha.
YELLOW CANARY (Serinus flaviventris) – Nice looks at Windhoek Sewage Works, and in the Namib Naukluft Desert.
WHITE-THROATED CANARY (Serinus albogularis) – One near Solitaire, and 4 in the southern Erongo Mountains.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Small numbers from Windhoek to Walvis Bay.


Our plane for the flight to Xigera Camp in the Okavango. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

GREAT RUFOUS SPARROW (Passer motitensis) – About 20 in the Erongo Mountains, and 2 at Etosha.
CAPE SPARROW (Passer melanurus) – Fifty at Sossusvlei, and 6 at Walvis Bay.
SOUTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer diffusus) – About 20 in the Erongo Mountains, and 8 at Etosha.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
RED-BILLED BUFFALO-WEAVER (Bubalornis niger) – Six near Usakos, and 5 at Etosha.
SCALY WEAVER (Sporopipes squamifrons) – More commonly known as Scaly-feathered Finch, small flocks were widespread from Windhoek to Walvis Bay and north to Etosha.
WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser mahali) – Very common from Windhoek to the Erongo Mountains; in all we saw about 200.
SOCIAL WEAVER (Philetairus socius) – Also known as Sociable Weaver. We saw several hundred of these and their amazing 'haystack nests' in the Sossusvlei area and north to Etosha.
SPECTACLED WEAVER (Ploceus ocularis) – One at Xaro.
HOLUB'S GOLDEN-WEAVER (Ploceus xanthops) – Fairly common from Hakusembe to Mahango and down into the Okavango Delta.
SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER (Ploceus xanthopterus) – One at Hakusembe, and 3 in the Xaro area.
LESSER MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus intermedius) – About 6 were nest building at the veterinary fence.


Greater Kudu are beautiful antelope; we saw quite a few, in various places throughout the tour. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus velatus) – Common and widespread.
CHESTNUT WEAVER (Ploceus rubiginosus) – About 30 at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – Amazing flocks of 'many many thousands' at Etosha, and a few others elsewhere.
FAN-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes axillaris) – Eight at Xaro.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) – Four at Windhoek, and about 30 in the Xaro - Okavango region.
BLACK-FACED WAXBILL (Estrilda erythronotos) – Ten at Windhoek, and 4 near Usakos.
SOUTHERN CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus angolensis) – Widespread in small numbers in acacia country; in all we saw about 40.
VIOLET-EARED WAXBILL (Granatina granatina) – Three near Outjo, and another 3 at Etosha.
GREEN-WINGED PYTILIA (Pytilia melba) – Widespread in acacia country; with a total of about 20.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala) – Seven at Xigera.
BROWN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta nitidula) – About 10 at Xaro.
JAMESON'S FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rhodopareia) – Two at Xigera Camp.
RED-HEADED FINCH (Amadina erythrocephala) – One at Windhoek, and 14 in the Erongo Mountains.


We saw Yellow Mongoose a few times. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Two single males in breeding plumage at Xigera.
EASTERN PARADISE-WHYDAH (Vidua paradisaea) – We saw a single female at Uris.
SHAFT-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua regia) – A female at Windhoek, a male in half breeding plumage in the Erongo Mountains, and a female at Etosha.

MAMMALS
PETERS' EPAULETED FRUIT BAT (Epomophorus crypturus) – Small numbers were roosting at Xigera Camp.
BLACK-FACED VERVET MONKEY (Cercopithecus aethiops) – About 200 in the Okavango region.
CHACMA BABOON (Papio ursinus) – Common and widespread; in all we saw about 300.
SCRUB HARE (Lepus saxatalis) – One at Halali.
CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis) – One at the Tropic of Capricorn.
CAPE GROUND SQUIRREL (Xerus inaurius) – Seen in dry sandy areas like Solitaire and the Erongo Mountains.
DAMARA GROUND SQUIRREL (Xerus princeps) – Three in the rocky country west of Solitaire.


We saw Red Hartebeest in Etosha, and at Mahango. Guide Terry Stevenson took this portrait of a pensive looking individual.

TREE SQUIRREL (Paraxerus cepapi) – Widespread and quite common from Etosha to the north and then through the Okavango Delta.
DASSIE RAT (Petromus typicus) – Nice looks at half a dozen or more in the Erongo Mountains.
BLACK-BACKED JACKAL (Canis mesomelas) – About 12 at Etosha.
SPOTTED-NECKED OTTER (Lutra maculicollis) – Two near Xaro.
SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus) – Singles near Usakos, and at Mahango.
BANDED MONGOOSE (Mungos mungo) – Ten at Etosha, and about 40 at Xigera.
YELLOW MONGOOSE (Cynictis penicillata) – Three at Windhoek, and 3 at Halali.
SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta) – One in the day, and 4 at night at Halali.
LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) – Just amazing to see a female carrying a baby Impala and then taking it up a tree and leaving it there - and then on our return the following day seeing a Leopard cub in the tree and the mother resting on the ground nearby.
LION (Panthera leo) – Four and then 2 at Etosha, and then 2 very close big-maned males in the Xigera area.
CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus) – Two in the Walvis Bay area.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – Many great encounters with males, females, and family groups in Etosha, Mahango, and in the Okavango Delta; in all we saw about 220.
ROCK HYRAX (Procavia capensis) – About 30 at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
MOUNTAIN ZEBRA (Equus zebra) – Six at the Tropic of Capricorn.
BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (Equus burchelli) – Well over 1000 at Etosha, 80 at Mahango, and 40+ in the Xigera area.
BLACK RHINOCEROS (Diceros bicornis) – Our best tour ever for this endangered species, with singles in the day at both Okaukuejo and Halali, and then night visits to the floodlit waterholes, with 9 more at Okaukuejo and 6 at Halali - just amazing!
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 80.
HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius) – Six at Mahango, 4 at Xaro, and about 40 at Xigera.
COMMON GIRAFFE (Giraffa camelopardalis) – Over 100 at Etosha were by far the most for any single area, but we also saw small numbers at the Erongo Mountains, Mahango, and near Xigera.
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – Six at Mahango, 5 at Xaro, and 6 at Xigera.
GREATER KUDU (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) – Sixty at Etosha were the most, but we also saw about 10 in the Erongo Mountains, 30 at Mahango, and 2 at Xigera.
AFRICAN BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer) – Fourteen at Mahango, and 40+ near Xigera.
LECHWE (Kobus leche) – Great to see so many of these this tour with about 350 at Mahango, and 700+ in the Xigera area.
REEDBUCK (Redunca arundinum) – Also known as Southern Reedbuck, we saw 20 at Mahango, and about another 20 at Xigera.
ROAN ANTELOPE (Hippotragus equinus) – Brief, but great looks at a huge male at Mahango.


Participant Barbara Williams captured this lovely sunset at Hakusembe.

GEMSBOK (Oryx gazella) – Also known as Southern Oryx, we saw about 300 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP, and 100 at Etosha.
TOPI (Damaliscus lunatus) – We saw about a dozen of the local form known as Tsessebe at Xigera.
HARTEBEEST (KONGONI) (Alcelaphus buselaphus) – Also known as Red Hartebeest we saw 60 at Etosha, and 20 at Mahango.
BLUE WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes taurinus) – We saw about 700 at Etosha, and just a few singles elsewhere.
KLIPSPRINGER (Oreotragus oreotragus) – Two on a rocky hill in the Namib Naukluft Desert area.
STEENBOK (Raphicerus campestris) – Four near Solitaire and 6 at Etosha.
IMPALA (Aepyceros malampus) – About 350 at Etosha, 250 at Mahango, and perhaps 2000 in the Okavango Delta.


Here, our group is engaged in some serious birding at the Mahango Game Reserve. Photo by participant Barbara Williams.

SPRINGBOK (Antidorcas marsupialis) – About 30 in the Erongo Mountains, and then 'many thousands' at Etosha.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Other creatures seen on the tour included;

Leopard Tortoise, 1 in the Erongo Mountains.

Karoo Sand Snake, 1 in the Erongo Mountains.

Side-striped Sand Snake, 1 by the vet fence south of Rundu.

Night Adder, 1 on the road to the east of Rundu.

Black Mamba, fabulous to see 1 at Xigera Camp.

Namibian Rock Agama, common in the Erongo Mountains.

Ovampo Giant Skink, 1 in the Erongo Mountains.

Water Monitor, 1 near Xigera Camp.

Nile Crocodile, about 40 along the Okavango River and in the delta.

Angolan Reed Frog, 1 for those who went in the Mokoro canoe.


Totals for the tour: 357 bird taxa and 40 mammal taxa