A Birding Ecstasy,
...All Waiting for You!

Ken walks into the open office and shouts only two words; birding, twitching!

In their mind’s eye they all see the beautiful colors of various birds as they fly past looking for branches to roost. This is the memory from their last safari vacation.

It is November and it is the ‘birding month’ in this part of Africa. A time of breeding for these beautiful creatures of the air. In this month parties of birders (bird-watchers) come flying – by plane, of course to do some serious ‘twitching’. Twitching is a pastime that involves identifying as many birds as possible within a given time, usually 24 hours, but it can be done in days or weeks.

This pastime is a very popular safari in the world today. In America, a recent research revealed there are 71-million enthusiasts. It has also become more popular among businessmen and women in South Africa. It has been observed that the four competing reference books are all best sellers, year after year, and there are dozens of specialist books.

The pastime is developing a language of its own. Binoculars are called ‘bins’, for instance, or ‘nocks’. Dross describes a very common bird whereas a ‘lifer’ is one you’ve never seen before. The term ‘lifer’ can also be used to describe a person who keeps ‘life-list’ of all the types he or she has seen. The global record exceeds 6000 – the record for South Africa, which has 10% of the world’s known birds, is well over 800.

Ornithologically speaking Zambia has numbers similar to South Africa’s record and it is a much smaller country. A whooping 741 species have been recorded so far! It’s a birders' paradise! In one game park you can log at least four hundred species, for those in the know.

The common sightings include doves, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos owls, nightjars, kingfishers, hornbills and the broad-billed roller, barbets, honey guides, woodpeckers, swallows, the fork-tailed drongo and flycatchers, red-necked falcon, crested guinea fowl, African broadbill, black-breasted snake eagle, and the lesser spotted eagle.

In Zambia birds are found in all national parks . One park, Lochinvar, is special. It is specifically a sanctuary located in the Kafue Flat near a park of the same name. More than 401 species have been recorded there.

Another is South Luangwa National Park. This park is home to over four hundred different species including forty raptors. The air is full of birds’ sounds most of the time. Experts have guaranteed that in a single day’s visit it is possible to ‘log’ at least one hundred varieties. Among the spectacular bird species you can observe are Crested Cranes, Saddle-Bill Storks, Egrets, Wood Ibis and vultures.

The other is Bangweulu Floodplains. The less common ones in this region are only seen when they come to roost and breed here. One of such rare one is the shoebill stork which mingles among the endemic black lechwe antelope only found in Zambia.

Yet another is Nyika Plateau, a highland area with excellent birds and awesome views. Then there is Kasanka a small park with superb birding and fishing.

If you're specifically interested in Ornithology visit birds of Zambia page.

So its time again you should consider a wildlife safari. To embark on one take a tour to Africa .

Now take your binoculars, notebook and don’t forget a pen. Dress up in your bush clothes and enjoy the twitching. Please click here to get in touch with your tour operator

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