South Africa has been able to retain the top spot when it comes to game reserves, parks, wildlife, and bird viewing. It is a country that is not only known for its hospitality but a splendid collection of animals as well. From lions to the most exotic birds, everything related to wildlife is here. Apart from the birds already existing in the country, some game reserves and parks also receive visits from migratory birds that adds to the beauty of the area. Reason being, that Africa features a diverse ecosystem along with varying habitats suitable for every specie.

Today, Africa contains around 854 bird species, which is probably the highest in the world. People who visit Africa are blown away by the variety it has to offer especially during the dry season. Therefore, without further wait, let us dive straight into what you can expect from South Africa when it comes to birds.


The South African ostrich is also known as the Cape Ostrich, Black-necked ostrich, or Southern ostrich. At first, you will not be able to tell the difference between a common ostrich and Southern Ostrich. However, the Southern Ostrich is a subspecies of common ostrich, which is only found in South Africa. Today it is farmed for its eggs, meat, and feathers. It is a popular animal around the world that is recognized by its long legs and neck with the entire body covered with black or brown feathers.

Southern Red Bishop

While spending your time in South Africa, it is highly likely that you will come across this amazing bird, the Southern Red Bishop. The Southern Red Bishop is endemic to South Africa and is recognized by its eye-catching black, red & orange color. Furthermore, it is spread throughout the area and therefore, is a common sight. If you really wish to see this bird, you could find them close to water.

Secretary Bird

You cannot make a mistake when it comes to the secretary bird. It is one of the most charismatic bird species in the world. Recognized by its half white and half black feather-covered body, the Secretary bird features long and strong legs that help it run fast. It gets its name from the crest of long feathers used for quill pens in the 19th century for officers who use to tuck them behind their ears. This bird feeds on snakes and other reptiles. Therefore, you will find it amongst the bushes, walking like a secretary.

Cape Vulture

If you were to catch a glimpse of the Cape vulture, you would notice that it is huge. At over 1 meter in length, these birds rule the sky. The Cape vulture is known for its long life span and could live up to 30 years. The amazing thing is that these birds keep only one breeding partner. Unfortunately, the Cape Vulture is severely under threat and has been termed endangered. It features a dark grey color necked with both brown and dark brown feathers.

The Cape Parrot

The Cape Parrot features a very large beak that is used to break all sorts of nuts and fruits. It is a bird species that is endemic to South Africa and only depends on the Yellowwood tree. Therefore, if you wish to catch a sight of these birds, find Yellowwood trees. It feeds on the fruits on the tree’s branches and creates nests there as well. However, due to the diminishing number of Yellowwood trees, the presence of cape parrots has also become scarce. Today, it does not remain as much of a popular sight as it did several years ago.

Martial Eagle

When it comes to the biggest raptor, the Martial Eagle takes the crown. Measuring over 2.6 meters in terms of wingspan, this bird is an excellent predator. Its biggest weapon is its eyes that could spot prey from the sky even if it is 5 KM away. Furthermore, it features a very strong body with razor-sharp claws to grab and lift preys weighing up to 8 kg. It tends to be a shy animal and therefore is seldom seen in South Africa. However, it is widespread and could only be observed from a distance.

Blue Crane

Also known as the paradise crane and the Stanley crane, the Blue Crane is the national bird of South Africa. It is a beautiful sky blue colored bird with thick feathers covering its body. Although cranes tend to be large birds but the blue crane is comparatively smaller. Blue Cranes are migratory birds but little is known about their migration paths. Furthermore, their feed mainly consists of sedges and grass or other food items depending on what is available in the proximity of their nests. Furthermore, they also prey on grasshoppers, snails, frogs, and small lizards.

Giant kingfisher

Talk about exotic birds and the Giant kingfisher rings a bell. Evident from its name, the Giant kingfisher is the biggest amongst Kingfishers in South Africa. It is identified by its long black beak with the body covered with black feathers with white spots on them. Furthermore, its chest features brownish color with a slim overall body. It feeds on frogs, fish, and crabs, etc. Since it is a small bird, you will need to have an eagle’s eye to spot it on trees and branches.

Knysna turaco

The Knysnaturaco is as exotic as it sounds. It features a green color on its neck and a combination of both light and dark blue colors on its body. Due to its color, it is almost invisible in the trees, unless it makes a movement. Furthermore, it feeds on insects, fruits, and earthworms. The Knysnaturaco is the only specie amongst turacos that contains true red and green color. Otherwise, most color you see on birds is due to their feather reflection. The Knysnaturaco uses its red color to escape from predators. The predators tend to follow the most visible colors. Once the Knysnaturaco folds its wings, the red color disappears, allowing it so escape without being seen.

African Penguin

Also known as the South African penguin or the Cape Penguin, the African penguin is only found in South African waters. Suited to marine habitats, it cannot fly and features a body with a white and black color combination. Furthermore, it is recognizable by pink patches above the eyes. Feeding on squid and fish, the African penguin is endangered due to a rapid decrease in population. It is a charismatic bird specie, which is friendly around humans.

Final Word

As the article reaches its conclusion, we are sure to have mentioned the most famous and popular birds of South Africa. These birds are in full swing during the dry season as it is the best time for feeding and laying eggs. Birds such as cranes and eagles are easier to spot as compared to smaller types such as Kingfishers but still, you will get to see a lot of them while you are in South Africa. Make sure to not come too close, as you will freak them out.

African Black-headed Oriole
African Black Duck
African Black Swift
African Broadbill
African Darter
African Dusky Flycatcher
African Emerald Cuckoo
African Finfoot
African Firefinch
African Fish-eagle
African Goshawk
African Green Pigeon
African Grey Hornbill
African Hawk Eagle
African Hoopoe
African Jacana
African Long-tailed Shrike
African Marsh-harrier
African Olive-Pigeon
African Openbill
African Oystercatcher
African Palm Swift
African Paradise-flycatcher
African Penduline Tit
African Pied Starling
African Pied Wagtail
African Pygmy-kingfisher
African Quailfinch
African Rail
African Reed Warbler
African Scops Owl
African Sedge Warbler
African Snipe
African Spoonbill
African Swamphen
African White-backed Vulture
African Wood Owl
African Yellow White-eye
Alpine Swift
Amethyst Sunbird
Andalusian Hemipode
Antarctic Tern
Arrow-marked Babbler
Ashy Flycatcher
Ashy Tit
Banded Martin
Bank Cormorant
Bar-throated Apalis
Barn Owl
Bearded Woodpecker
Bennett's Woodpecker
Black-and-white Munia
Black-backed Puffback
Black-bellied Bustard
Black-bellied Glossy-Starling
Black-breasted Snake-eagle
Black-browed Albatross
Black-cheeked Waxbill
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle
Black-chested Prinia
Black-collared Barbet
Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-crowned Tchagra
Black-eared Sparrow-Lark
Black-fronted Bush-Shrike
Black-headed Canary
Black-headed Heron
Black-necked Grebe
Black-shouldered Kite
Black-tailed Waxbill
Black-throated Canary
Black-throated Wattle-eye
Black-winged Lapwing
Black-winged Stilt
Black Bustard
Black Crake
Black Cuckooshrike
Black Egret
Black Goshawk
Black Harrier
Black Sawwing Swallow
Black Stork
Blacksmith Plover
Blue-breasted Cordonbleu
Blue-mantled Flycatcher
Blue Crane
Blue Korhaan
Blue Sawwing
Booted Eagle
Broad-billed Prion
Bronze Mannikin
Brown-crowned Tchagra
Brown-headed Parrot
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Brown-necked Parrot
Brown-throated Martin
Brown Robin
Brown Snake Eagle
Buff-crested Bustard
Buff-streaked Chat
Burchell's Coucal
Burchell's Starling
Burnt-necked Eremomela
Bushveld Pipit
Cape Batis
Cape Bulbul
Cape Bunting
Cape Canary
Cape Cormorant
Cape Crow
Cape Francolin
Cape Gannet
Cape Glossy Starling
Cape Grass Warbler
Cape Reed-warbler
Cape Robin
Cape Rock Thrush
Cape Shoveler
Cape Siskin
Cape Sparrow
Cape Sugarbird
Cape Teal
Cape Vulture
Cape Wagtail
Cape Weaver
Capped Wheatear
Cardinal Woodpecker
Caspian Tern
Cattle Egret
Chat Flycatcher
Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark
Chestnut-banded Plover
Chinspot Batis
Chorister Robin
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting
Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler
Cinnamon Dove
Clapper Lark
Collared Pratincole
Collared Sunbird
Common Fiscal Shrike
Common Greenshank
Common Grenadier
Common Kestrel
Common Moorhen
Common Myna
Common Quail
Common Sandpiper
Common Scimitarbill
Common Starling
Common Stonechat
Common Tern
Common Waxbill
Coqui Francolin
Crested Barbet
Crested Francolin
Crested Guineafowl
Crested Tern
Crimson-breasted Shrike
Crowned Cormorant
Crowned Hornbill
Crowned Plover
Curlew Sandpiper
Dark Chanting Goshawk
Delegorgue's Pigeon
Desert Cisticola
Double-banded Sandgrouse
Drakensberg Siskin
Dusky Flycatcher
Dusky Sunbird
Eastern Bearded Robin
Eastern Nicator
Eastern Paradise-whydah
Egyptian Goose
Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove

Fairy Flycatcher
Familiar Chat
Fan-tailed Widowbird
Fantailed Flycatcher
Feral Pigeon
Fiery-necked Nightjar
Fiscal Flycatcher
Forest Canary
Forest Weaver
Fork-tailed Drongo
Four-colored Bushshrike
Fulvous Whistling-duck
Gabar Goshawk
Garden Bulbul
Giant Kingfisher
Glossy Ibis
Golden-breasted Bunting
Golden-tailed Woodpecker
Golden Bishop
Goliath Heron
Grassveld Pipit
Gray's Grasshopper-Warbler
Great Crested Grebe
Great Sparrow
Great White Egret
Great White Pelican
Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Greater Flamingo
Greater Honeyguide
Greater Kestrel
Greater Sand Plover
Green-backed Camaroptera
Green-backed Heron
Green Coucal
Green Twinspot
Green Wood-Hoopoe
Greencap Eremomela
Grey-backed Sparrow-Lark
Grey-headed Bushshrike
Grey-headed Gull
Grey-headed Sparrow
Grey-rumped Swallow
Grey-winged Francolin
Grey Cuckooshrike
Grey Go-away-bird
Grey Heron
Grey Lourie
Grey Penduline-tit
Grey Plover
Grey Sunbird
Grey Tit
Grosbeak Weaver
Ground Woodpecker
Groundscraper Thrush
Gurney's Sugarbird
Hadada Ibis
Helmeted Guineafowl
Heuglin's Robin
Hooded Vulture
Horus Swift
Hottentot Teal
House Sparrow
Intermediate Egret
Jackal Buzzard
Jackass Penguin
Jameson's Firefinch Kalahari Robin
Karoo Bustard
Karoo Chat
Karoo Lark
Karoo Scrub-Robin
Kelp Gull
King Gull
Kittlitz's Plover
Klaas's Cuckoo
Knob-billed Duck
Kori Bustard
Kurrichane Thrush
Kynsa Turaco
Lanner Falcon
Lappet-faced Vulture
Large-billed Lark
Lark-like Bunting
Laughing Dove
Layard's Warbler
Lazy Cisticola
Lesser Black-winged Plover
Lesser Double-collared Sunbird
Lesser Flamingo
Lesser Honeyguide
Lesser Jacana
Lesser Masked Weaver
Lesser Striped-swallow
Lilac-breasted Roller
Little Banded Goshawk
Little Bee-eater
Little Button Quail
Little Egret
Little Grebe
Little Sparrowhawk
Little Stint
Little Swift
Lizard Buzzard
Long-billed Crombec
Long-billed Lark
Long-billed Pipit
Long-crested Eagle
Long-tailed Cormorant
Long-tailed Glossy Starling
Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Widow
Ludwig's Bustard
Maccoa Duck
Malachite Kingfisher
Malachite Sunbird
Marabou Stork
Marico Flycatcher
Marico Sunbird
Marsh Owl
Marsh Sandpiper
Martial Eagle
Melba Finch
Melodious Lark
Meyer's Parrot
Mosque Swallow
Mountain Chat
Mountain Wagtail
Mourning Collared-Dove
Namaqua Dove
Namaqua Sandgrouse
Narina Trogon
Natal Francolin
Neergaard's Sunbird
Northern Black Korhaan
Olive Bushshrike
Olive Sunbird
Olive Thrush
Olive Woodpecker
Orange-breasted Rock-jumper
Orange-breasted Sunbird
Orange-throated Longclaw
Orange Ground-Thrush
Ovampo Sparrowhawk
Pale-winged Starling
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Pale Flycatcher
Pale White-eye
Pearl-breasted Swallow
Pearl-spotted Owl
Peregrine Falcon
Perrin's Bushshrike
Pied Avocet
Pied Barbet
Pied Crow
Pied Kingfisher
Pin-tailed Whydah
Pink-backed Pelican
Pink-throated Twinspot
Piping Cisticola
Plain-backed Pipit
Pririt Batis
Protea Seedeater
Purple-banded Sunbird
Purple-crested Lourie
Purple Gallinule
Purple Heron
Pygmy Falcon
Quailfinch Indigobird

Rattling Cisticola
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver
Red-billed Firefinch
Red-billed Hornbill
Red-billed Oxpecker
Red-billed Quelea
Red-billed Teal
Red-capped Lark
Red-capped Robin-Chat
Red-chested Sparrowhawk
Red-chested Swallow
Red-crested Korhaan
Red-eyed Bulbul
Red-eyed Dove
Red-faced Cisticola
Red-faced Mousebird
Red-fronted Tinkerbarbet
Red-headed Cisticola
Red-headed Finch
Red-headed Weaver
Red-knobbed Coot
Red-winged Francolin
Red-winged Starling
Red Bishop
Retz's Helmet-Shrike
Richard's Pipit
Ring-necked Dove
Rock Martin
Rudd's Apalis
Ruddy Turnstone
Rufous-breasted Wryneck
Rufous-crowned Roller
Rufous-eared Warbler
Rufous-naped Lark
Rufous Rock-jumper
Sabota Lark
Sacred Ibis
Sandwich Tern
Scaly-feathered Finch
Scaly-throated Honeyguide
Scarlet-chested Sunbird
Sentinel Rock Thrush
Shaft-tailed Whydah
Shelley's Francolin
Short-clawed Lark
Shy Albatross
Sickle-winged Chat
Social Weaver
Sombre Greenbul
Sooty Shearwater
South African Shelduck
South African Swallow
Southern Anteater-chat
Southern Bald Ibis
Southern Black-flycatcher
Southern Black Tit
Southern Boubou
Southern Brown-throated Weaver
Southern Crowned Crane
Southern Fulmar
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
Southern Ground Hornbill
Southern Masked-weaver
Southern Pied-babbler
Southern Pochard
Southern Tchagra
Southern Tit-warbler
Southern White-bellied Korhaan
Southern White-crowned Shrike
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Speckled Mousebird
Speckled Pigeon
Spectacled Weaver
Spike-heeled Lark
Spotted Dikkop
Spotted Eagle Owl
Spotted Ground-thrush
Spotted Prinia
Spur-winged Goose
Squacco Heron
Square-tailed Drongo
Stanley Bustard
Streaky-headed Seedeater
Striped Kingfisher
Striped Pipit
Subantarctic Skua
Sulphur-breasted Bush-Shrike
Swainson's Francolin
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
Swee Waxbill
Tambourine Dove
Tawny-flanked Prinia
Tawny Eagle
Temminck's Courser
Terrestrial Bulbul
Three-banded Plover
Tinkling Cisticola
Tractrac Chat
Trumpeter Hornbill
Verreaux's Eagle
Verreaux's Eagle Owl
Victorin's Scrub-Warbler
Village Weaver
Vitelline Masked Weaver
Wahlberg's Eagle
Wahlberg's Honeyguide
Wailing Cisticola
Water Dikkop
Wattled Crane
Wattled Plover
Wattled Starling
Whiskered Tern
White-backed Duck
White-backed Mousebird
White-bellied Bustard
White-bellied Sunbird
White-breasted Cormorant
White-browed Scrub Robin
White-browed Sparrow-weaver
White-chinned Petrel
White-eared Barbet
White-faced Scops Owl
White-faced Whistling-duck
White-fronted Bee-eater
White-fronted Plover
White-headed Black-Chat
White-headed Vulture
White-necked Raven
White-rumped Swift
White-starred Robin
White-throated Canary
White-throated Robin-Chat
White-throated Swallow
White-winged Tern
White-winged Widowbird
White Helmetshrike
White Helmetshrike
White Stork
Winding Cisticola
Wing-snapping Cisticola
Wire-tailed Swallow
Wood Sandpiper
Woodward's Barbet
Woodward's Batis
Woolly-necked Stork
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Yellow-bellied Greenbul
Yellow-billed Duck
Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Stork
Yellow-breasted Apalis
Yellow-fronted Canary
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
Yellow-nosed Albatross
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird
Yellow-spotted Nicator
Yellow-streaked Bulbul
Yellow-throated Longclaw
Yellow-throated Petronia
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler
Yellow Canary
Yellow Weaver
Zebra Waxbill
Zitting Cisticola

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