A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Namibia & Botswana II 2023

September 5-24, 2023 with Terry Stevenson guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
We visit a number of unique habitats on this tour, including the amazing dunes at Sossusvlei. Here, the group is walking through the dunes, looking for special birds such as the endemic Dune Lark. Photo by participant Alice Whitmore

Our September 2023 tour to Namibia and Botswana went to all the main areas we usually visit but had a slightly different twist by using two new lodges – Namib Desert Lodge near Sossusvlei and Splash by Kwando in the Okavango Delta. The weather was hot and dry throughout (as was most of Africa in 2023) but this didn’t affect our sightings at all and we found virtually all our target birds, including Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Monteiro’s Hornbill, White-tailed Shrike and Herero Chat, while the mammals were truly outstanding, with 14 Lion, 3 Leopards, African Bush Elephant, both Black and White Rhinos, and then several lesser known species like Aardwolf, African Civet, Ratel, and Springhare.

We began our birding in Windhoek at the local sewage works (now known as Gammams Water Care Works), where highlights around the pools were South African Shelduck, Blue-billed Teal, Southern Pochard, African Swamphen, African Darter, Great White Pelican, and African Sacred Ibis. In the surrounding acacia woodlands, we saw Gray Go-away-bird, White-backed Mousebird, African Gray and Monteiro’s hornbills, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Pied Barbet, Pririt Batis, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Black-fronted Bulbul, and Mariqua Sunbird. While overhead, raptors included Black-winged Kite, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, and Booted Eagle. We finished off a most successful first afternoon with a visit to Palm Tree Park giving us with good views of the localized Bradfield's Swift and Rosy-faced Lovebird.

After breakfast the following day we headed south-west to the Namib Naukluft Desert National Park where we spent two nights while visiting the magnificent red sand dunes at Sossusvlei. Highlights during our time here included Common Ostrich, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Kori and Rueppell's bustards, Pale Chanting-Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Southern Fiscal, the very localized endemic Dune Lark, Pale-winged Starling, Chat Flycatcher, Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Tractrac Chat, Mountain Wheatear, Dusky Sunbird, Sociable Weaver, Red-headed Finch, Great Rufous Sparrow, and Yellow and White-throated canaries. We also had our first mammals, with Chacma Baboon, Cape Ground Squirrel, Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox, Yellow Mongoose, Mountain Zebra, Gemsbok and Springbok all giving good views.

We then headed to the coast and spent two nights at Walvis Bay, allowing us to visit not just the lagoon area but also the salt works, guano platforms and the historic town of Swakopmund. Highlights here were Cape Shoveler, Maccoa Duck, large flocks of both Greater and Lesser flamingos, gulls and terns, a large variety of shorebirds including Pied Avocet, African Oystercatcher, Kittlitz’s, White-fronted and Chestnut-banded plovers, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Damara Tern, Crowned and Cape cormorants, and Great White Pelican. In Walvis Bay town we found Orange River White-eye at our usual spot, and on the gravel plains beyond Swakopmund, Gray’s Lark. However, the greatest surprise of all was good looks at a Hudsonian Godwit – a super rare vagrant to this part of the world!

Our next destination was to the north-east and two spots in the Erongo Mountains. Here we were able to make several short walks, birding a mix of dry bush country, giant acacia-lined river beds and rocky mountains. New species we added were Helmeted Guineafowl, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Freckled Nightjar, African Scops-Owl, Red-faced Mousebird, Green Woodhoopoe, Southern Yellow-billed and Damara Red-billed hornbills, Bearded Woodpecker, Rueppell's Parrot, the striking White-tailed Shrike, Carp's Tit, Rockrunner, the difficult to find Herero Chat, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, and Green-winged Pytilia. We also enjoyed our first Common Giraffe and Klipspringer, and sole member of the family Petromuridae – the Dassie Rat!

Heading further north, we then spent three nights at different lodges in and just outside Etosha National Park. As we traversed the park, mammal sightings were high on our list, and we were soon enjoying several groups of Banded Mongoose, a dozen Spotted Hyaena, 7 Lions, over 120 African Bush Elephants (including huge bulls, females and young), no less than 13 Black Rhino, 1 White Rhino, at least 110 Common Giraffe, and many herds of Burchell's Zebra, Greater Kudu, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, and Springbok. New birds at Etosha included Crested Francolin, Burchell's Sandgrouse, White-quilled Bustard, Rufous-cheeked Nightjar, Blue Crane, Spotted Thick-knee, Burchell’s and Double-banded coursers, Secretarybird, White-backed Vulture, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, Violet Woodhoopoe, Southern Red-billed Hornbill, Red-necked Falcon, White-Helmetshrike, White-crowned Shrike, Spike-heeled, Red-capped, Eastern Clapper, Stark’s, and Pink-billed larks, Gray-backed Sparrow-Lark, Bare-cheeked and Southern Pied babblers, White-breasted Sunbird, and Golden-breasted Bunting.

We finished the Namibia section of our tour in the far north at Hakusembe – stopping along the way to pick up Black-faced Babbler at a small camp near Grootfontein. Hakusembe as always brought us many new birds, as does the following morning at Mahango National Park on the Botswana border. It’s a complete change of habitat here, with farmlands, the tree-lined Okavango River, giant fig and baobab trees, and a whole variety of green leafy bushes and shrubs giving us many new birds; these included White-faced Whistling-Duck, Spur-winged Goose, African Green-Pigeon, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Black Crake, African Rail, Wattled Crane, Long-toed and Wattled lapwings, African Jacana, African Openbill, Hamerkop, Goliath and Rufous-bellied herons, African Spoonbill, African Fish-Eagle, Giant and Woodland kingfishers, Little and Southern Carmine bee-eaters, Black-collared Barbet, African Black-headed Oriole, Gabon Boubou, Hartlaub's Babbler, Red-billed and Yellow-billed oxpeckers, Violet-backed, Burchell’s, and Meves's starlings, and Holub’s Golden Weaver. New mammals at Mahango included Hippo, African Buffalo, Lechwe, Roan and Sable antelopes, and Common Tsessebe (Topi).

The Botswana leg of the tour began with two nights in the pan-handle at a small very comfortable camp on the banks of the Okavango River. Here we took several boat trips and also walked in the woodland around our camp. It was a delightful change of pace as we all enjoyed African Pygmy-goose, Square-tailed Nightjar, Water Thick-knee, Lesser Jacana, nesting African Skimmer, Slaty Egret, the super secretive White-backed Night-Heron, African Marsh-Harrier, the enormous Pel's Fishing-Owl, African Barred Owlet, African Wood-Owl, Malachite Kingfisher, Crested Barbet, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Meyer’s Parrot, Retz’s Helmetshrike, Chirping Cisticola, Greater Swamp Warbler, White-browed Robin-Chat, and Southern Brown-throated Weaver. New mammals included Peter’s Epauleted Fruit Bat, Sitatunga and Bushbuck.

After leaving Xaro behind, we took a charter flight deep into the Okavango Delta for a three night stay at a wonderful camp known as Splash by Kwando (or more simply just ‘Splash’). Here, using their specially adapted 4x4 safari vehicles, we made morning and afternoon drives across the 'sandveld' – a mix of wooded glades, palm trees, and acacia bush, with beautiful pools and lagoons attracting drinking animals and birds. A major attraction here are the big cats, and during our stay we had marvelous views of three different Leopards and seven Lions. We also saw six very rare African Wild Dog, Spotted Hyaena, several herds of Elephant (including small groups of bulls, and herds of females with young). More numerous were the large herds of African Buffalo, Lechwe, Burchell's Zebra, Blue Wildebeest and Impala, often together with smaller groups of Topi, Common Giraffe, Greater Kudu, Roan and Sable antelopes, and Hippo. Another special treat was staying out for a ‘sundowner’ and then driving back in early darkness, adding Aardwolf, African Civet, Springhare and Ratel. New birds in the Splash area included Swainson's Spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, Senegal Coucal, Fiery-necked Nightjar, Temminck’s Courser, Saddle-billed Stork, Hooded Vulture, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Marsh Owl, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Dickinson's Kestrel, Southern Black-Tit, Arrow-marked Babbler, Red-headed Weaver, Red-billed and Jameson’s firefinches, and Village Indigobird.

Finally, we ended our tour with another charter flight to Maun where we reminded ourselves of all the wonderful things we’d seen, said our farewells and headed to Johannesburg and beyond...........

Please see the Field Guides website for Namibia and Botswana tours in 2024 and 2025.


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

Struthionidae (Ostriches)

COMMON OSTRICH (Struthio camelus)

Fairly common in open arid areas like Namib Naukluft Desert NP and Etosha, also 2 in the Okavango Delta; in all we saw about 90.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Pel's Fishing Owl is another special bird we seek on the tour, this time in the riverine woodland along the Okavango River. Photo by participant Joshua Horner.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)

About 335 in the Hakusembe to Mahango area, 50 at Xaro, and 25 deeper in to the Okavango Delta.

EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca)

Most numerous at Windhoek Sewage Works (Gammans) where we saw about 350, but we also saw them at a variety of other widespread scattered wetland areas.


Small numbers were widespread at a variety of wetlands across Namibia; in all we saw about 20.

SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis)

Four at Mahango, and 6 in the Splash area of Okavango.

AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus)

Seven during one of our boat trips from Xaro Camp.

BLUE-BILLED TEAL (Spatula hottentota)

Two at Windhoek Sewage Works.

CAPE SHOVELER (Spatula smithii)

We saw a single male at the Walvis Bay Sewage Works – now known as Bird Paradise!

YELLOW-BILLED DUCK (Anas undulata)

Two near Splash Camp in the Okavango Delta.

CAPE TEAL (Anas capensis)

About 70 in the Walvis Bay and Swakopmund area, and a few others at scattered wetlands elsewhere.

RED-BILLED DUCK (Anas erythrorhyncha)

At least 300 at Windhoek Sewage Works, 1 at Guisis, 7 at Etosha, 2 at Mahango, and 2 near Xaro.

SOUTHERN POCHARD (Netta erythrophthalma)

We saw a male at Windhoek Sewage Works.

MACCOA DUCK (Oxyura maccoa)

A female was seen during an exceptionally windy afternoon at the Walvis Bay Sewage Works.

Numididae (Guineafowl)

HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris)

Widespread in a variety of bush country throughout the tour; in all we saw about 270.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

CRESTED FRANCOLIN (Ortygornis sephaena)

Two at Mokuti Lodge, and 8 in the Splash area.

RED-BILLED SPURFOWL (Pternistis adspersus)

The most common and widespread spurfowl; in all we saw about 130.

SWAINSON'S SPURFOWL (Pternistis swainsonii)

About 22 in the Splash area.

Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)

GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus)

At least 5000 in the Walvis Bay-Swakopmund area.

LESSER FLAMINGO (Phoeniconaias minor)

At least 10,000 in the Walvis Bay–Swakopmund area.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Small numbers in a variety of scattered wetlands, with a total of 18.

EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)

Fifteen at the Walvis Bay Sewage Works.

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Perhaps the most surprising "rarity" we saw was this very out-of-range Hudsonian Godwit, photographed beautifully by participant Kevin Watson.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

Small numbers in a variety of towns and villages throughout the tour.

SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea)

Common and widespread throughout the tour with a total of about 320.

MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens)

Eight at Xaro Camp.

RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata)

Thirty at Hakusembe, about 20 at Mahango, 8 at Xaro, and 1 at Splash Camp.

RING-NECKED DOVE (Streptopelia capicola)

Common throughout the tour with a total of about 500.

LAUGHING DOVE (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Another common and widespread dove across Namibia (but not in Botswana); in all we saw about 370.

EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur chalcospilos)

About 40 at the east side of Etosha, 2 at Hakusembe, a dozen at Mahango and Xaro, and about 15 at Splash.

NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis)

Small numbers at Windhoek, Hohenstein, Etosha, and Mahango; in all we saw about 30.


About 10 in the Xaro area.

Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)

NAMAQUA SANDGROUSE (Pterocles namaqua)

We saw about 250 in several flocks flying over Solitaire, and then had great looks at standing birds at Etosha (20).

DOUBLE-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles bicinctus)

Two at Hakusembe, 2 at Ai-Aiba, 8 at Etosha, and about 40 at Splash.

BURCHELL'S SANDGROUSE (Pterocles burchelli)

Two females near Namutoni, 1 at Xaro, and 2 males and a female near Splash.

Otididae (Bustards)

KORI BUSTARD (Ardeotis kori)

One on the way to Namib Desert Lodge, and great looks at about 20 (mostly singles and pairs) at Etosha.

RUEPPELL'S BUSTARD (Eupodotis rueppelii) [E]

We saw a total of 15 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP.

RED-CRESTED BUSTARD (Eupodotis ruficrista)

A female along the road east of Windhoek, 2 more females in the Ai-Aiba area, 2 single males to the east of Etosha, and 1 near Splash.

WHITE-QUILLED BUSTARD (Eupodotis afraoides)

Great looks at about 40 of these very attractive small bustards at Etosha.

BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster)

We saw a single female in the Splash Camp area.

Musophagidae (Turacos)

GRAY GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides concolor)

Common and widespread in all areas with woodland; in all we saw about 130.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

SENEGAL COUCAL (Centropus senegalensis)

One near Splash.

COPPERY-TAILED COUCAL (Centropus cupreicaudus)

Four at Hakusembe 2 at Mahango, 8 in the Xaro area, and 6 at Splash.

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Our views of the endemic Dune Lark could not have been better! This photo was taken by guide Tarry Butcher.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

RUFOUS-CHEEKED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus rufigena)

One was seen briefly by some of the group as it took a drink while flying at the Okaukuejo waterhole.

FIERY-NECKED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus pectoralis)

Heard at Hakusembe, and at least 2 singles seen at Splash.

FRECKLED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus tristigma)

Great looks at Ai-Aiba Lodge.

SQUARE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus fossii)

Heard at Hakusembe, 1 was flushed in daylight at Xaro, and about 6 after dark in the Splash area.

Apodidae (Swifts)

ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba)

About 50 at Windhoek, and 1 at Ai-Aiba.

BRADFIELD'S SWIFT (Apus bradfieldi) [E]

Thirty at Palm Tree Park, Windhoek.

LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis)

Small numbers at several widely scattered sites; in all we saw about 30.

AFRICAN PALM SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus)

Widespread in small numbers throughout the tour; in all we saw about 90.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

AFRICAN RAIL (Rallus caerulescens)

We scoped a single bird walking along the river bank (Angola side) at Hakusembe.

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

Twelve at the Windhoek Sewage Works, 10 at Swakopmund, 1 at Mahango, and 1 at Xaro.

RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata)

About 80 at Windhoek Sewage Works, and 2 at Swakopmund.

AFRICAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio madagascariensis)

Singles at Windhoek and Walvis Bay sewage works, and 1 near Xaro.

BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra)

We saw a single immature at Etosha, and then 2 adults at Hakusembe, and 4 in the Splash area.

Gruidae (Cranes)

BLUE CRANE (Anthropoides paradiseus)

Seventeen at Andoni Pan, Etosha.

WATTLED CRANE (Bugeranus carunculatus)

Two at Mahango (distantly), and then much closer and better views of 4 in the Splash area.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

WATER THICK-KNEE (Burhinus vermiculatus)

Six along the Okavango River near Xaro, and 3 near Splash.

SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis)

We saw a distant bird at Etosha, and 2 close birds near Splash.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

Small numbers at Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Etosha, Mahango, and near Splash; in all we saw about 80.

PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta)

About 120 in the Walvis Bay–Swakopmund area.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

AFRICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus moquini)

Two and then 3 near Swakopmund.

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In addition to the great birds, we had some wonderful wildlife encounters. This Etosha waterhole hosted Greater Kudu, Burchell's Zebra and several other species. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

About 14 in the Walvis Bay–Swakopmund area.

LONG-TOED LAPWING (Vanellus crassirostris)

Two at Mahango, 4 at Xaro, and 5 in the Splash area.

BLACKSMITH LAPWING (Vanellus armatus)

Widespread at wetlands throughout the tour; in all we saw about 190.

CROWNED LAPWING (Vanellus coronatus)

A total of at least 40 were seen across Etosha, and 8 near Splash.

WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus)

Three along the river near Xaro, and 2 at Splash.

KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius)

One at Swakopmund Sewage Works, and about a dozen at Etosha.

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)

Two singles in the Walvis Bay–Swakopmund area.

THREE-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius tricollaris)

Small numbers at Windhoek, Swakopmund, and Etosha, Hakusembe, and in the Splash area.

WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus)

At least 70 were in the Walvis Bay–Swakopmund area.

CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius pallidus)

A huge flock of 500+ were at the Walvis Bay Salt Works, and we also saw 30 at Swakopmund, and 2 at Goas in Etosha.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

LESSER JACANA (Microparra capensis)

We scoped 2 distant birds near Xaro.

AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus)

Six at Hakusembe, 60+ in the Mahango to Xaro area, and 50 around Splash.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

About 20 in the Walvis Bay–Swakopmund area.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

About 30 in the Walvis Bay–Swakopmund area.

HUDSONIAN GODWIT (Limosa haemastica)

Great looks at this rare vagrant to Africa at Swakopmund.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

Twenty at Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

RUFF (Calidris pugnax)

About 60 at Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, 2 at Etosha, 1 at Mahango, and 1 at Splash.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

About 750 in the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund area, and 1 at Etosha.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

Eight near Swakopmund.

LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta)

Together with Curlew Sandpiper this was the commonest shorebird in the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund area; in all we saw about 500. We also saw 4 at Etosha.

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Rosy-faced Lovebird is a Namibian near-endemic that we saw at several locations. Photo by participant Amy Grose.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

Two at Windhoek, and singles at Swakopmund, Mahango, Xaro, and Splash.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

Small numbers at Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Etosha, Mahango, and Splash; in all we saw about 25.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

Singles at Swakopmund, Etosha, Mahango, Xaro, and near Splash.

Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

BURCHELL'S COURSER (Cursorius rufus)

After no luck while searching hard at Sossusvlei we finally caught up with 3 near Okaukuejo.

TEMMINCK'S COURSER (Cursorius temminckii)

Two in burnt grassland near Splash.

DOUBLE-BANDED COURSER (Smutsornis africanus)

Three at Etosha, and 1 near Splash.

COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola)

Some of the group saw 1 at Okaukuejo, and then we all saw about 10 in the Xaro area, and another 10 near Splash,

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

HARTLAUB'S GULL (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii)

Very common (many hundreds) around Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

KELP GULL (VETULA) (Larus dominicanus vetula)

Common in the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund area.

DAMARA TERN (Sternula balaenarum)

Great looks at 2 at Walvis Bay.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

Forty-five at Walvis Bay included a single roosting flock of almost 40.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

About 12 at Walvis Bay.

GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)

Eighty in the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund area.

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

Twenty-five in the Walvis Bay area.

AFRICAN SKIMMER (Rynchops flavirostris)

Just fantastic this tour, with about 45 in the Xaro area which included a few tiny newly hatched young!

Ciconiidae (Storks)

AFRICAN OPENBILL (Anastomus lamelligerus)

Two at Hakusembe, 3 at Mahango, and 6 at Xaro.

SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)

Eight adults and 2 immatures in the Splash area.

MARABOU STORK (Leptoptilos crumenifer)

Two near Windhoek, 1 at Etosha, 3 at Mahango, 20 near Xaro, and 12 in the Splash area.


Six at Mahango, 5 near Xaro, and 2 near Splash.

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa rufa)

Four at the Windhoek Sewage Works, 6 at Mahango, 30 in the Xaro area, and 1 near Splash.

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A Damara Red-billed Hornbill posed nicely for participant Kevin Watson.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Microcarbo africanus)

Two at Windhoek, 2 at Hakusembe, 8 at Xaro, and 5 near Splash.

CROWNED CORMORANT (Microcarbo coronatus)

Two at the Walvis Bay Guano Platform, and 6 at Swakopmund.

CAPE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax capensis)

About 400 in the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund area.

GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Seven in the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund area, and 1 at Hakusembe.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

GREAT WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

Nine at Windhoek Sewage Works, and 220 in the Walvis Bay to Swakopmund area.

Scopidae (Hamerkop)

HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta)

One at Hakusembe, 2 at Xaro, and 7 near Splash.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)

Widespread in scattered wetlands; in all we saw about 40.

BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala)

Two at Windhoek Sewage Works, and 4 at Etosha.

GOLIATH HERON (Ardea goliath)

Three at Mahango, 1 at Mahango, and 8 in the Xaro area,

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

Three at Xaro.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

One at Hakusembe, 10 at Mahango, 6 at Xaro, and 2 at Splash.

INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia)

Singles near Xaro and Splash.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

Small numbers at Windhoek, Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, Etosha, Xaro, and Splash; in all we saw about 60.

SLATY EGRET (Egretta vinaceigula)

Three near Xaro, and 11 and Splash.

BLACK HERON (Egretta ardesiaca)

One near Splash.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

Surprisingly few, with a total of just 30 at a variety of widespread sites.

SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides)

One at Mahango, a dozen at Xaro, and about 20 in the Splash area.

RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON (Ardeola rufiventris)

Good scope views of 1 at Hakusembe, and then 6 in the Splash area.

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

One at Hakusembe, and 8 at Xaro.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

We saw a single flying adult at Hakusembe.

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Participant Alice Whitmore got this image of the waterhole at Halali Rest Camp at night.

WHITE-BACKED NIGHT-HERON (Gorsachius leuconotus)

We saw 2 of these super secretive birds at Xaro.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

Five at Hakusembe, 4 at Mahango, 6 at Xaro, and 3 in the Splash area.

AFRICAN SACRED IBIS (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

Ten at Windhoek Sewage Works, 10 at Mahango 8 at Xaro, and 3 near Splash.

HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash)

Four at Xaro, and about 12 at Splash.


Eight at Mahango, and 2 near Splash.

Sagittariidae (Secretarybird)

SECRETARYBIRD (Sagittarius serpentarius)

Nice looks at 1 at Etosha, and 1 near Splash.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

One at a small pool near Rundu town.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus)

One at Windhoek, and 2 at Xaro.

AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus)

We saw a single flying immature near Xaro.


One at Windhoek.

LAPPET-FACED VULTURE (Torgos tracheliotos)

Two near Solitaire, 3 at Etosha, 1 at Mahango, and 2 in the Splash area.

HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus)

Three together with White-backed Vultures near Splash.


Twenty-five at Etosha, 2 near Grootfontein, 60 at Mahango, and about 120 in the Splash area.

BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus)

An immature and 2 adults at Etosha, and 11 near Splash.

BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus pectoralis)

One at Windhoek, 4 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP area, and 1 at Etosha.

BROWN SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinereus)

One on the way to Rundu.

MARTIAL EAGLE (Polemaetus bellicosus)

One near Guisis, 1 on the way to Grootfontein, and 1 at Mahango.

WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

One near Splash.

BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)

We saw a pale morph at Windhoek.

TAWNY EAGLE (Aquila rapax)

Five singles in and around Etosha.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Double-banded Sandgrouse showed nicely for participant Amy Grose.

VERREAUX'S EAGLE (Aquila verreauxii)

Nice looks at a pair on the way to Solitaire.

AFRICAN HAWK-EAGLE (Aquila spilogaster)

One at Ai-Aiba, and 1 on the way to Rundu.

PALE CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax canorus)

The most common raptor in many areas, with a total of about 30.

GABAR GOSHAWK (Micronisus gabar)

We saw immatures at Windhoek and Etosha, a melanistic adult at the Halali waterhole, and a grey morph near Splash.

AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus ranivorus)

One during a boat trip on the Okavango River, and 2 near Splash.

BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus)

About a dozen between Hakusembe, Mahango, and Xaro, and 14 in the Splash area.

AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer)

Four at Mahango, about 10 in the Xaro area, and 5 near Splash.

Strigidae (Owls)

AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis)

Great day-time looks at 1 in the dry river bed near Usakos.

SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL (Bubo africanus)

Some of the group saw a pair at Ai-Aiba.

VERREAUX'S EAGLE-OWL (Ketupa lacteus)

Two adults and an immature bird near Splash.

PEL'S FISHING-OWL (Scotopelia peli)

Great looks at an adult female at Xaro, and then later the same bird with a full grown immature bird! A major highlight of the tour!

PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum)

Singles near Windhoek (1), at Hohenstein (2), Etosha area (3), and Splash (1).

AFRICAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium capense)

Great looks at 1 at Xaro, and 3 in the Splash area.

AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii)

Another owl we saw really well at Xaro.

MARSH OWL (Asio capensis)

One in the grasslands near Splash.

Coliidae (Mousebirds)


We saw a total of about 70 in the Windhoek, Walvis Bay, and Sossusvlei areas.

RED-FACED MOUSEBIRD (Urocolius indicus)

Six at Ai-Aiba, and 7 at Xaro.

Upupidae (Hoopoes)

EURASIAN HOOPOE (AFRICAN) (Upupa epops africana)

Widespread in dry country with large trees; in all we saw about 20.

Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitarbills)

GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus)

Five at Okombahe, 15 at Mahango, 12 at Xaro, and 6 at Splash.

VIOLET WOODHOOPOE (VIOLET) (Phoeniculus damarensis damarensis) [E]

Some of the group saw 1 at Halali Rest Camp.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We saw the endemic Bare-cheeked Babbler at Halali Rest Camp. Photo by guide Tarry Butcher.

COMMON SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)

One at Namib Desert Lodge, 1 at Achab, and 3 in the Hohenstein–Okombahe area.

Bucorvidae (Ground-Hornbills)

SOUTHERN GROUND-HORNBILL (Bucorvus leadbeateri)

Six in the Splash area.

Bucerotidae (Hornbills)

BRADFIELD'S HORNBILL (Lophoceros bradfieldi)

Great looks at 3 of this rather localised species near Splash.

AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus)

Three in the Windhoek to Guisis area, about 15 between Etosha, Rundu and Xaro, and 8 near Splash.


Common from Usakos to Etosha and Rundu, and then 2 in Botswana near Splash.

MONTEIRO'S HORNBILL (Tockus monteiri) [E]

Three in the Windhoek area, and then about 8 at Ai-Aiba.


About 14 at Etosha, 10 from Mahango to Xaro, and 30 in the Splash area.

DAMARA RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus damarensis) [E]

Six at Okombahe.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus)

About 10 at Xaro, and 1 near Splash.

GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala)

One near Splash.

STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti)

Three singles in the Splash area.

GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima)

One at Hakusembe, and 2 at Xaro.

PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis)

Six at Hakusembe, 8 at Mahango, 55+ at Xaro, and 6 near Splash.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

WHITE-FRONTED BEE-EATER (Merops bullockoides)

About 40 in the Xaro area.

LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus)

Fairly common from Hakusembe to Splash; in total we saw about 30.

SWALLOW-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops hirundineus)

Small numbers were seen at Windhoek, Namib Naukluft Desert NP, Usakos, Ai-Aiba, Etosha, and near Splash.


Great looks at about 60 of these gorgeous birds from Hakusembe to the Xaro area, and 3 near Splash.

Coraciidae (Rollers)

LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER (Coracias caudatus)

Four between Grootfontein, Rundu, and Mahango, and about 25 in the Splash area.

RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius)

Two along the road to Etosha.

Lybiidae (African Barbets)

CRESTED BARBET (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

Four at Xaro, and 5 near Splash.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The bathing Bataleur was captured nicely by participant Joshua Horner.

PIED BARBET (Tricholaema leucomelas)

Widespread in small numbers; in all we saw about 30.

BLACK-COLLARED BARBET (Lybius torquatus)

Two at Mahango, 4 at Xaro, and 5 in the Splash area.

Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)

LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor)

One at Xaro.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Chloropicus fuscescens)

We saw a pair at Namib Desert Lodge, and singles at Hohenstein, Ai-Aiba, and Splash.

BEARDED WOODPECKER (Chloropicus namaquus)

Singles males in the river bed near Usakos and Hohenstein.

BENNETT'S WOODPECKER (Campethera bennettii)

Single males at Xaro and Splash.

GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER (Campethera abingoni)

Singles at Halali, and Hakusembe.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

PYGMY FALCON (Polihierax semitorquatus)

Great looks at a male next to the giant Sociable Weavers nest at the gate to Sossusvlei.

ROCK KESTREL (Falco rupicolus)

Small numbers at Namib Naukluft NP, Usakos, Hohenstein, and Ai-aiba.

GREATER KESTREL (Falco rupicoloides)

One at Sossusvlei, 1 west of Solitaire, and 2 at Etosha.

DICKINSON'S KESTREL (Falco dickinsoni)

We saw a nervous flighty bird near Splash Camp.

RED-NECKED FALCON (Falco chicquera)

One at Etosha.

LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus)

One at Etosha.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

ROSY-FACED LOVEBIRD (Agapornis roseicollis) [E]

Fairly common in the wooded rocky hilly country around Windhoek and the Erongo Mountains, but also in more arid areas like Namib Desert Lodge and Sossusvlei.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

MEYER'S PARROT (Poicephalus meyeri)

We saw a pair in the tall baobab tree at Xaro, and then 11 in the Splash area.

RUEPPELL'S PARROT (Poicephalus rueppellii) [E]

We saw a pair in the dry river bed at Okombahe.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)


Singles at Hakusembe, Xaro, and around Splash.

Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)

WHITE-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanioturdus torquatus) [E]

A highlight of the tour; 2 at Okombahe, and 4 at Ai-Aiba.

CHINSPOT BATIS (Batis molitor)

Two males and 1 female in the Splash area.

PRIRIT BATIS (Batis pririt)

Fairly common around Windhoek, at Namib Desert Lodge, Achab, Hohenstein, and Etosha.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had a wonderful encounter with 6 rare African Wild Dogs near Splash Camp. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)

WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops plumatus)

Nine at Halali, and 7 Mokuti Lodge.

RETZ'S HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops retzii)

Two at Xaro Camp.

Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)

BRUBRU (Nilaus afer)

One at Windhoek, 2 in the Okombahe river bed, and heard at Mokuti, Xaro and Splash.

BLACK-BACKED PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus cubla)

Singles at Hohenstein, Namutoni, and Splash.

BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus)

One at Etosha, and 2 singles near Splash.

GABON BOUBOU (Laniarius bicolor)

Also known as Swamp Boubou; we saw small numbers at Hakusembe, Mahango, and Xaro.

CRIMSON-BREASTED GONOLEK (Laniarius atrococcineus)

Widespread in acacia bush country throughout the tour; in all we saw about 30.

Dicruridae (Drongos)

FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis)

Common in bush country; with a total of about 120.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

MAGPIE SHRIKE (Lanius melanoleucus)

Three at the Vet Fence on the way to Rundu, and 20+ in the Splash Camp area.

SOUTHERN FISCAL (SOUTHERN) (Lanius collaris subcoronatus)

One at Sossusvlei.

WHITE-CROWNED SHRIKE (Eurocephalus anguitimens)

Fourteen at Etosha, and 5 along the road to Rundu.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

CAPE CROW (Corvus capensis)

Small numbers at Windhoek, Sossusvlei, and Etosha,

PIED CROW (Corvus albus)

Fairly common and widespread, with a total of about 160.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

SOUTHERN BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus niger)

Two near Splash camp.

CARP'S TIT (Melaniparus carpi) [E]

Two in the dry river bed near Usakos, and 1 at Ai-Aiba.

ASHY TIT (Melaniparus cinerascens)

Nice looks at 1 on our walk at Hohenstein.

Alaudidae (Larks)

SPIKE-HEELED LARK (Chersomanes albofasciata)

Seven at Etosha.

GRAY'S LARK (Ammomanopsis grayi) [E]

We saw 4 of these amazingly camouflaged larks north of Swakopmund.

GRAY-BACKED SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix verticalis)

About 80 at Etosha, and a dozen at Mahango.

SABOTA LARK (BRADFIELD'S) (Calendulauda sabota naevia)

One on the way to Namib Desert Lodge, 8 at Achab, and 3 at Etosha.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The endemic Herero Chat can be difficult to find, but we had great luck this tour and saw two in the Erongo Mountains. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

DUNE LARK (Calendulauda erythrochlamys) [E]

Great super close looks at this localized endemic at Sossusvlei.

EASTERN CLAPPER LARK (Mirafra fasciolata)

Good looks at 1 near Andoni Pan, Etosha.

RUFOUS-NAPED LARK (Mirafra africana)

Two at Etosha, and 2 singles near Splash Camp.

RED-CAPPED LARK (Calandrella cinerea)

About 80, mainly in the Etosha area.

STARK'S LARK (Spizocorys starki)

Can be difficult, but we were lucky this tour and saw at least 100 at Etosha.

PINK-BILLED LARK (Spizocorys conirostris)

Two at Etosha.

Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)

CAPE CROMBEC (Sylvietta rufescens)

Two at Hohenstein, 1 at Ai-Aiba, 3 at Etosha, and 2 near Splash.

ROCKRUNNER (Achaetops pycnopygius) [E]

Shy this tour, but we saw a single bird at Hohenstein.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

YELLOW-BELLIED EREMOMELA (Eremomela icteropygialis)

Four at Windhoek, 2 at Namib Desert Lodge, 3 at Etosha, and 1 at Hakusembe.

BURNT-NECK EREMOMELA (Eremomela usticollis)

One at Hohenstein.

BARRED WREN-WARBLER (Calamonastes fasciolatus)

Great looks at 1 near Namutoni.

GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata)

One at Windhoek, 1 at Hakusembe, and about 7 at Splash.


One at Namutoni.

TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava)

We saw a pair in the reeds along the Okavango River near Xaro.

BLACK-CHESTED PRINIA (Prinia flavicans)

Widespread in most of Namibia; in all we saw about 30.

RUFOUS-EARED WARBLER (Malcorus pectoralis)

Two at Etosha.

RATTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola chiniana)

Small numbers at Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Etosha, Mahango, and near Splash.

CHIRPING CISTICOLA (Cisticola pipiens)

One near Xaro Camp.

ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)

One near Splash.

DESERT CISTICOLA (Cisticola aridulus)

One at Etosha, and 1 near Splash.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here is our group birding on the beach at Walvis Bay. Photo by participant Alice Whitmore.
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)

ICTERINE WARBLER (Hippolais icterina)

One at Namutoni.

COMMON REED WARBLER (AFRICAN) (Acrocephalus scirpaceus baeticatus)

Two at the Windhoek Sewage Works.

LESSER SWAMP WARBLER (Acrocephalus gracilirostris)

One at the Windhoek Sewage Works.

GREATER SWAMP WARBLER (Acrocephalus rufescens)

Two in the papyrus at Xaro Camp.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

PLAIN MARTIN (Riparia paludicola)

One from the boat near Xaro.

BANDED MARTIN (Neophedina cincta)

One near Xaro, and 2 singles near Splash.

ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula)

Widespread in Namibia, with a total of about 70.

WHITE-THROATED SWALLOW (Hirundo albigularis)

Two at the Windhoek Sewage Works.

WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii)

Two at Hakusembe, 2 at Mahango, 8 at Xaro, and 2 near Splash.

PEARL-BREASTED SWALLOW (Hirundo dimidiata)

Two along the road east of Windhoek.

GREATER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis cucullata)

Singles at Otjikoto and Hakusembe.

LESSER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica)

Two at Mahango, and about 6 at Xaro.

RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa)

Four at Okaukuejo, 4 at Hakusembe, and another 4 at Mahango.

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)

YELLOW-BELLIED GREENBUL (Chlorocichla flaviventris)

Two singles at Xaro.

TERRESTRIAL BROWNBUL (Phyllastrephus terrestris)

Two in our camp at Splash.

COMMON BULBUL (DARK-CAPPED) (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor)

Fairly common from Hakusembe and in to Botswana; in all we saw about 40.

BLACK-FRONTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus nigricans)

Common and widespread throughout Namibia, and a few at Xaro.

Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)

CHESTNUT-VENTED WARBLER (Curruca subcoerulea)

Small numbers on the way to Namib Desert Lodge, at Usakos, Okombahe, and Etosha; in all we saw about a dozen.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

ORANGE RIVER WHITE-EYE (Zosterops pallidus)

Two at Walvis Bay.

SOUTHERN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops anderssoni)

Two at Mokuti Lodge, and 2 at Hakusembe.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Crimson-breasted Gonolek is a real beauty, and we saw quite a few of them in the acacia woodlands. Photo by guide Tarry Butcher.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)

ARROW-MARKED BABBLER (Turdoides jardineii)

Seven near Splash Camp.

BARE-CHEEKED BABBLER (Turdoides gymnogenys) [E]

We had great looks at two groups having a territorial dispute at Halali Rest Camp.

SOUTHERN PIED-BABBLER (Turdoides bicolor)

Seven at Etosha.

HARTLAUB'S BABBLER (Turdoides hartlaubii)

Common from Hakusembe and on to Xaro and Splash Camp in Botswana.

BLACK-FACED BABBLER (Turdoides melanops) [E]

One at Roy's Camp.

Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)

RED-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus erythrorynchus)

Two were seen on Burchell's Zebra at Mahango, and then about 10 on zebra and giraffe in the Splash area.

YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus)

Two on Hippos at Mahango, 10 (mainly on cattle) in the Xaro area, and about 30 on a variety of wild mammals in the Splash area.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

WATTLED STARLING (Creatophora cinerea)

At least 350 at Windhoek, 100+ in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP, 150+ at Mahango, and 50+ in the Splash area.

VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster)

We saw a single male at Hakusembe.

PALE-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus nabouroup)

A total of about 140 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP and the Erongo Mountains.

BURCHELL'S STARLING (Lamprotornis australis)

Twenty at Mahango, 10 at Xaro, and about 250 in the Splash area.

MEVES'S STARLING (Lamprotornis mevesii)

Found in the same areas as Burchell's Starling; in all we had a total of about 140

GREATER BLUE-EARED STARLING (Lamprotornis chalybaeus)

Two during our walk at Splash Camp.

CAPE STARLING (Lamprotornis nitens)

Common and widespread, with a total of about 450.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH (Turdus litsitsirupa)

Singles at Windhoek, Usakos, Okombahe, and Hakusembe.

KURRICHANE THRUSH (Turdus libonyana)

Four at Hakusembe, and 1 at Xaro.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

MARIQUA FLYCATCHER (Bradornis mariquensis)

Widespread in small numbers throughout the tour; in all we saw about 40.

CHAT FLYCATCHER (Agricola infuscatus)

Six in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP.

ASHY FLYCATCHER (Fraseria caerulescens)

One at Splash Camp.

HERERO CHAT (Melaenornis herero) [E]

Probably the hardest to find endemic but we had great looks at 2 at the south end of the Erongo Mountains.

Field Guides Birding Tours
White-tailed Shrike was another highlight of the tour; we saw them twice! This one was photographed by participant Amy Grose.

KALAHARI SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas paena)

One at Hohenstein, and 2 at Ai-Aiba.

RED-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucophrys)

One at Halali, 1 at Otjikoto, and 1 at Splash Camp.

WHITE-BROWED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha heuglini)

One at Xaro.

SHORT-TOED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola brevipes)

Two singles in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP, and 5 in the Erongo Mountains.

AFRICAN STONECHAT (Saxicola torquatus)

One in a marshy area near Splash Camp.

TRACTRAC CHAT (Emarginata tractrac)

Seven between the Tropic of Capricorn, Walvis Bay, and Swakopmund.

SOUTHERN ANTEATER-CHAT (Myrmecocichla formicivora)

One on the way to Outjo, and 1 at Etosha.

MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR (Myrmecocichla monticola)

About 8 in the Solitaire to Sossusvlei area, and 8 in the Erongo Mountains.

FAMILIAR CHAT (Oenanthe familiaris)

Small numbers at Windhoek, Solitaire, and Achab.

Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis)

Singles at Windhoek and Namib Desert Lodge, and 4 at Hakusembe.

MARIQUA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris mariquensis)

Widespread in small numbers; with a total of about 40.

WHITE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris talatala)

One in the Ai-Aiba area.

DUSKY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris fuscus)

Common at Namib Naukluft Desert NP, and about 8 in the Ai-Aiba area.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)


Also known as the Rot-schnabel Buffel-Weber, we saw 7 in the Etosha-Mokuti Lodge area, and 40 on drives around Splash Camp.

SCALY WEAVER (Sporopipes squamifrons)

We saw about 10 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP.


Common and widespread in Namibia; in all we saw about 180.

SOCIABLE WEAVER (Philetairus socius)

At least a couple of hundred were seen in and around their enormous nests in the Solitaire- Sossusvlei area.

RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps)

About a dozen near Splash Camp.

HOLUB'S GOLDEN-WEAVER (Ploceus xanthops)

Two at Hakusembe, 2 at Mahango, and 1 at Xaro.


Four during one of our boat trips from Xaro Camp.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The large and imposing Sable Antelope is not seen often, but we saw this big male and 3 others on the tour. Photo by participant Kevin Watson.

LESSER MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus intermedius)

Fifteen at Windhoek.


By far the most common and widespread weaver.

RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea)

Eight at Windhoek, 500+ at Etosha, 30 at Mahango.

FAN-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes axillaris)

About 10 in the Xaro Camp area.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

BLACK-FACED WAXBILL (Brunhilda erythronotos)

Six at Galton House, 1 at Achab, 4 at Ai-Aiba, and 2 at Mokuti.

COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild)

Small flocks were seen at a variety of widely scattered sites throughout the tour; in all we saw about 70.

RED-HEADED FINCH (Amadina erythrocephala)

Four in the Solitaire to Namib Desert Lodge area, and about 10 at Etosha.

VIOLET-EARED WAXBILL (Granatina granatina)

Two near Windhoek, and 4 at Roy's Camp.

SOUTHERN CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus angolensis)

Four at Windhoek, 2 at Solitaire, 2 at Namib Desert Lodge, 4 at Roy's Camp, and about a dozen in the Splash area.


We saw a pair at Hohenstein, 6 at Ai-Aiba, 2 at Okaukuejo, and 1 at Mahango.

RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala)

Four near Splash Camp.

JAMESON'S FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rhodopareia)

We saw a pair at Splash Camp.

Viduidae (Indigobirds)

PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura)

We saw a single female near Windhoek.

VILLAGE INDIGOBIRD (Vidua chalybeata)

About 8 (all in non-breeding plumage) near Splash.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Common in towns and villages in Namibia.

GREAT RUFOUS SPARROW (Passer motitensis)

Small numbers across Namibia; in all we saw about 70.

CAPE SPARROW (Passer melanurus)

Common from Solitaire to Sossusvlei and on to Walvis Bay, and then again in east Etosha.


Widespread throughout the tour; with a total of about 400.

YELLOW-THROATED BUSH SPARROW (Gymnoris superciliaris)

Seven in the Splash area.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

CAPE WAGTAIL (Motacilla capensis)

Small numbers at Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Xaro and Splash.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Guide Tarry Butcher got a nice shot of this Rufous-eared Warbler at Etosha.

AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp)

One at Windhoek, and 2 at Hakusembe.

AFRICAN PIPIT (Anthus cinnamomeus)

Three at Hakusembe, and singles at Xaro and Splash.

PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys)

Fourteen in the Splash area.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

BLACK-THROATED CANARY (Crithagra atrogularis)

Six at Windhoek, 6 at Ai-Aiba, and 100+ at Etosha.

YELLOW CANARY (Crithagra flaviventris)

Three at Namib Desert Lodge, 2 at Etosha, and 3 at Splash.

WHITE-THROATED CANARY (Crithagra albogularis)

Three near Solitaire, 2 at Achab, and 4 at Hohenstein.

Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)

GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza flaviventris)

One at Halali.

CAPE BUNTING (Emberiza capensis)

Two at Achab, and 4 at Ai-Aiba.

LARK-LIKE BUNTING (Emberiza impetuani)

Common at Sossusvlei, and from Hohenstein to Etosha.


Two at Halali.


PETERS' EPAULETED FRUIT BAT (Epomophorus crypturus)

About 30 roosting in a palm tree at Xaro.

BLACK-FACED VERVET MONKEY (Cercopithecus aethiops)

Forty at Mahango, 6 at Xaro, and about 50 in the Splash area.

CHACMA BABOON (Papio ursinus)

Common and widespread, with a total of about 420.

SCRUB HARE (Lepus saxatalis)

One at Ai-Aiba, and 2 at Etosha.


Seven in the Solitaire to Namib Naukluft Desert NP area, 6 at Achab, and another 6 around Hohenstein and Ai-Aiba.


One of our group saw a single at Ai-Aiba.

SMITH'S BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus cepapi)

More commonly known as Olive Bush Squirrel, they were very common from Okaukuejo through Etosha and on until the end of the tour; in all we saw about 170.

SPRINGHARE (Pedetes capensis)

Great looks at 2 when we stayed out late one evening near Splash Camp.

FOUR-STRIPED GRASS MOUSE (Rhabdomys pumilio)

One at Namib Desert Lodge.

DASSIE RAT (Petromus typicus)

Two at Hohenstein, and 2 at Ai-aiba.

Field Guides Birding Tours
And here are your guides, Terry Stevenson and Tarry Butcher, in action, photographed by participant Alice Whitmore.

BLACK-BACKED JACKAL (Canis mesomelas)

Singles in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP and around Walvis Bay to Swakopmund, a dozen at Etosha, and 1 near Splash.

BAT-EARED FOX (Otocyon megalotis)

Normally a nocturnal species, so we were lucky to see 4 in the Sossusvlei and Namib Desert Lodge area.

AFRICAN WILD DOG (Lycaon pictus)

Amazing close looks at 6 of these rare mammals near Splash.

RATEL (HONEY BADGER) (Mellivora capensis)

Another nocturnal mammal we saw by staying out a bit late at Splash Camp.

AFRICAN CIVET (Civettictis civetta)

One at night and 1 in daylight near Splash Camp.

SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus)

Originally thought to be a sub-species of Slender Mongoose it was then described as a new species Black Mongoose H. nigratus. Later genetic analysis then put it as a sub-species of Angolan Slender Mongoose H. flavescens nigratus, although this is also controversial. We saw 1 on a rocky hillside at Ai-Aiba.

BANDED MONGOOSE (Mungos mungo)

Almost 40 at Etosha.

YELLOW MONGOOSE (Cynictis penicillata)

Four in the Solitaire to Namib Desert Lodge area, 1 at Achab, and 1 at Etosha.

AARDWOLF (Proteles cristatus)

Great looks at this rarely seen nocturnal species near Splash.

SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta)

Heard at Namib Desert Lodge, and then seen at Etosha (12), and Splash (10).

LEOPARD (Panthera pardus)

Two single females on our first day at Splash, and then a male the following day.

LION (Panthera leo)

Three and then 4 at Etosha, and a pride of 7 near Splash.

CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus)

Six in the Swakopmund area.

AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana)

Common from Etosha onwards; with a total of about 440.

ROCK HYRAX (Procavia capensis)

Eight at Hohenstein, and about 20 around Ai-Aiba.

MOUNTAIN ZEBRA (Equus zebra)

We saw about 10 distantly in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP.

BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (Equus burchelli)

Very common at Etosha 1500+, at Mahango 300+, and in the Splash area 500+.

BLACK RHINOCEROS (Diceros bicornis)

Great encounters this tour with up to 7 together at the Okaukuejo waterhole, and 6 others elsewhere in the Etosha NP.

WHITE RHINOCEROS (Ceratotherium simum)

One as we drove from Okaukuejo to Halali.

WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus)

Widespread in small numbers; in all we saw about 120.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Guide Terry Stevenson got this great shot of some participants in action, photographing and viewing the Dune Lark.

HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius)

Seventy-five at Mahango, 2 at Xaro, and 100+ in the Splash area.

COMMON GIRAFFE (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Two at Hohenstein, 120 at Etosha, and 150 in the Splash area.

SITATUNGA (Tragelaphus spekei)

Nice looks at a big male near Xaro.

BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus)

About 8 at Xaro.

GREATER KUDU (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

Four on the way to Namib Desert Lodge, 6 at Hohenstein, 8 at Ai-Aiba, 60+ at Etosha, 30 at Mahango, and 60 in the Splash area.

COMMON ELAND (Taurotragus oryx)

Not so common in Namibia, so we were lucky to see 6 at Etosha.

AFRICAN BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer)

Thirty at Mahango, and 450+ at Splash.

BUSH (GRAY) DUIKER (Sylvicapra grimmia)

Two at Mokuti Lodge.

COMMON WATERBUCK (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)

We saw a total of 18 in the Splash area.

LECHWE (Kobus leche)

Two hundred at Mahango, and 250+ in the Splash area.

REEDBUCK (Redunca arundinum)

Also known as Southern Reedbuck, we saw about 50 in the Splash area.

ROAN ANTELOPE (Hippotragus equinus)

Extremely lucky this tour, with 6 at Mahango, and 13 at Splash.

SABLE ANTELOPE (Hippotragus niger)

Yet another infrequently seen antelope, we saw a single male at Mahango, and 3 more in the Splash area.

GEMSBOK (Oryx gazella)

About 140 in the Namib Naukluft Desert NP, 4 at Ai-Aiba, and 140+ at Etosha.

TOPI (Damaliscus lunatus)

Also known as Tsessebe, we saw a dozen at Mahango, and 75 in the Splash area.

RED HARTEBEEST (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama)

Nine at Etosha.

BLUE WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes taurinus)

About 700 at Etosha, and 350 in the Splash area.

KLIPSPRINGER (Oreotragus oreotragus)

Four at Achab.

STEENBOK (Raphicerus campestris)

Small numbers at Namib Desert Lodge, Ai-Aiba, Etosha, and near Splash.

KIRK'S DIK-DIK (Modoqua kirki)

One at Ai-Aiba, 18 in the Etosha area.

IMPALA (Aepyceros malampus)

Two hundred and fifty at Etosha, 200+ at Mahango, and 550+ in the Splash area.

SPRINGBOK (Antidorcas marsupialis)

About 90 in the Namib Desert Lodge to Sossusvlei area, 12 at Hohnestein, and 3500+ at Etosha.

Totals for the tour: 331 bird taxa and 52 mammal taxa