Most Notable Birds in Zambia

Located in the southern part of Africa, there lies a big country so rich in culture and wildlife: Zambia. It’s full of incredible flora and fauna that makes it an exciting country to visit.

Zambia is home to one of the world’s largest waterfalls, Victoria Falls, and the world’s biggest man-made lake, Lake Kariba. One-third of the country is said to be comprised of national parks; all made for people to appreciate the beauty of its wildlife.

The country is a refuge to African wildlife’s Big Five: Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, Leopards, and Buffaloes. It is also home to over 750 bird species, including Africa’s most beautiful and desired birds: the African Pitta and Shoebill.

To know more about bird species that roam around the lands of Zambia, read further below!

Fascinating Facts About Zambia’s Most Notable Birds

If you are planning to take a tour around Zambia, it is best to equip yourself with the most interesting facts about the most famous birds that you can find in the country. Without further ado, here are some of Zambia’s most fascinating birds.


Let’s start with something familiar to everyone: the common ostrich, also known as Struthio camelus. Native to the African continent, this flightless bird is the largest living species of bird. Its long legs, long neck, and ability to run at high speeds make this bird easily recognizable. The ostrich’s diet is mainly composed of different kinds of plants, though sometimes it eats invertebrates. When a predator is in sight, the ostrich will lie flat on the ground to hide or will rush off at a very high speed. More often than not, this species is farmed, particularly its feathers that are utilized to form feather dusters and its skin, mainly used to make leather products.

Boehm’s Bee-eater

Named after the German zoologist Richard Bohm, this colorful, tiny bird is often found in moist woodlands and forests, usually near streams and rivers. The Boehm’s Bee-eater has a green body, orange neck, greenish-black elongated tail, and a red-orange head. It possesses small red eyes and a sharp bill that’s long enough to catch flying insects.

Hooded vulture

This bird is commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa and in habitats such as savannas, forests, open plains, and coastal areas. They are scavengers who often feed on the scraps of larger vultures. In urban regions, Hooded Vultures rummage the dumps and gutters for food. They also eat, spiny lobsters, mussels, dead fish, grasshoppers, locusts, and grubs. A Hooded Vulture weighs an average of 45 pounds and stands at an average of 25 inches. Its wingspan is 5 feet.

Three-banded Plover

The Three-banded Plover, also known as the Three-Banded Sandplover, is a small bird mainly found on lakes, inland rivers, and pools. This bird is often found to be hunting for insects, invertebrates, and worms alone. Sometimes, it joins small flocks to hunt and travel together. A Three-banded Plover stands at only 18 cm. It has brown upperparts and white underparts except for the black and white breast bands. Its head is patterned with a black crown, white supercilia from the forehead to its neck, and a grey face, making its red eyes stand out.

Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl

Also known as a Bubo lacteus, Giant Eagle Owl, and Milky Eagle Owl, the Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl is famed to be the largest owl in Africa. Its eyes are dark brown, with a facial disc that is off-white in color. Its upperparts are grey-brown while its underparts are off-white in color. Like most owls, the Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl hunts for medium-sized mammals such as hedgehogs, warthog piglets, and large birds like waxbills and herons. Members of its species can be found flying and roaming around dry woodland savannas, thorny shrublands, forests with adjacent savannas, and semi-desserts.

Helmeted Guineafowl

The most popular in the guineafowl bird family, the Helmeted Guineafowl is native to Africa. It is a bird that is 21 to 23 inches in length and 1.3 kg in weight. It has a grey-black plumage that is spangled with white and a blue head. Like any other guineafowl, the Helmeted Guineafowl has no feathers on its head. This bird is a great walker and runner; it can travel for more than 10 km a day.

These are just some of the numerous birds you can spot in Zambia! If you want to learn more about birds in Zambia, here’s a complete list of bird species:

Abyssinian Hill-Babbler
African Firefinch
African Pipit
African Penduline-Tit
African Reed-Warbler
African Pigeon
African Barred Owlet
African Black-headed Oriole
African Citril
African Cuckoo-Falcon
African Darter
African Dusky Flycatcher
African Emerald Cuckoo
African Fish-Eagle
African Golden-Oriole
African Golden-Weaver
African Goshawk
African Grey Hornbill
African Harrier-Hawk
African Hawk-Eagle
African Hoopoe
African Jacana
African Marsh-Harrier
African Mourning Dove
African Openbill
African Palm-Swift
African Paradise-Flycatcher
African Pied Wagtail
African Skimmer
African Spoonbill
African Yellow White-Eye
Amethyst Sunbird
Anchieta's Sunbird
Arrow-marked Babbler
Ashy Flycatcher
Augur Buzzard
Ayres' Hawk-Eagle
Banded Snake-Eagle
Bar-tailed Trogon
Bar-throated Apalis
Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo
Bearded Woodpecker
Bennett's Woodpecker
Bertrand's Weaver
Black-and-White Mannikin
Black-backed Puffback
Black-collared Barbet
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Black-crowned Tchagra
Black-eared Seedeater
Black-fronted Bushshrike
Black-headed Apalis
Black-headed Heron
Black-lored Cisticola
Black-shouldered Kite
Black-tailed Waxbill
Black-throated Wattle-Eye
Black-Winged Stilt
Black Cuckoo-Shrike
Black Kite
Blacksmith Plover
Blue-breasted Cordonblue
Blue-spotted Wood-Dove
Boehm's Bee-eater
Boehm's Flycatcher
Brimstone Canary
Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah
Bronze-Winged Courser
Bronze Mannikin
Brown-breasted Barbet
Brown-crowned Tchagra
Brown-headed Apalis
Brown-headed Parrot
Brown-hooded Kingfisher
Brown Snake-Eagle
Brown Warbler
Buff-shouldered Widobird
Buffy Pipit
Burchell's Coucal
Cabanis' Bunting
Cape Crombec
Cape Canary
Cape Robin-Chat
Capped Wheatear
Cardinal Woodpecker
Cattle Egret
Chinspot Batis
Cholo Alethe
Churring Cisticola
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting
Cinnamon-breasted Tit
Collared Palm-Thrush
Collared Sunbird
Comb Duck
Common Bulbul
Common Scimitar-Bill
Common Fiscal
Common Quail
Common Sandpiper
Common Stonechat
Common Waxbill
Coqui Francolin
Crested Barbet
Crowned Hornbill
Crowned Lapwing
Dickinson's Kestrel
Double-banded Sandgrouse
Dusky Turtle Dove
East Coast Akalat
Eastern Nicator
Eastern Bearded Scrub-Robin
Eastern Double-collared Sunbird
Eastern Paradise-Whydah
Eastern Sawwing
Egyptian Goose
Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove
Eurasian Kestrel
Evergreen Forest Warbler
Familiar Chat
Fan-tailed Widowbird
Fiery-necked Nichjar
Flappet Lark

Forest Weaver
Fork-tailed Drongo
Freckled Nightjar
Fuelleborn's Boubou
Gabar Goshawk
Giant Kingfisher
Glossy Ibis
Golden-breasted Bunting
Golden-tailed Woodpecker
Goliath Heron
Grey-headed Gull
Great Cormorant
Great Egret
Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling
Greater Honeyguide
Green-backed Woodpecker
Green-backed Honeyguide
Green-backed Camaroptera
Green-backed Twinspot
Green-headed Sunbird
Green-winged Pytilia
Green Woodhoopoe
Green Barbet
Greencap Eremomela
Grey-backed Camaroptera
Grey-headed Bushshrike
Grey-headed Sparrow
Grey-olive Greenbul
Grey-rumped Swallow
Grey Crowned-Crane
Grey Cuckoo-Shrike
Grey Go-away-Bird
Grey Heron
Hadada Ibis
Half-collared Kingfisher
Helmeted Guineafowl
Hooded Vulture
House Sparrow
Intermediate Egret
Jackson's Pipit
Jameson's Firefinch
Kittlitz's Plover
Knobbed Coot
Kurrichane Thrush
Lanner Falcon
Lappet-faced Vulture
Laughing Dove
Lazy Cisticola
Lemon-breasted Seedeater
Lesser Honeyguide
Lesser Jacana
Lesser Masked Weaver
Lesser Striped-swallow
Lilac-breasted Roller
Lilian's Lovebird
Little Bee-eater
Little Egret
Little Grebe
Little Greenbul
Little Sparrowhawk
Little Swift
Livingstone's Flycatcher
Livingstone's Turaco
Lizard Buzzard
Long-billed Pipit
Long-crested Eagle
Long-tailed Cormorant
Long-toed Lapwing
Magpie Mannikin
Malachite Kingfisher
Malachite Sunbird
Malawi Batis
Marabou Stork
Martial Eagle
Meve's Glossy-Starling
Miombo Scrub-Robin
Miombo Sunbird
Miombo Tit
Miombo Barbet
Miombo Rock-Thrush
Mountain Wagtail
Mountain Greenbul
Mountain Illadopsis
Mountain Warbler
Moustached Green-Tinkerbird
Namaqua Dove
Olive-flanked Robin-Chat
Olive-headed Weaver
Olive Sunbird
Olive Thrush
Olive Woodpecker
Orange-winged Pytilia
Ovampo Sparrowhawk
Pale-billed Hornbill
Pale Flycatcher
Pale Batis
Pallid Honeyguide
Palm-nut Vulture
Pearl-breasted Swallow
Pearl-spotted Owlet
Peregrine Falcon
Peters' Twinspot
Pied Crow
Pied Kingfisher
Pin-tailed Whydah
Piping Cisticola
Placid Greenbul
Plain Martin
Purple-banded Sunbird
Purple-crested Turaco
Purple Heron
Purple Indigobird
Racket-tailed Roller
Rattling Cisticola
Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver
Red-billed Duck
Red-billed Firefinch
Red-billed Hornbill
Red-billed Oxpecker
Red-billed Quelea
Red-capped Lark
Red-capped Robin-chat
Red-eyed Dove
Red-faced Mousebird

Red-headed Weaver
Red-necked Falcon
Red-necked Spurfowl
Red-rumped Swallow
Red-tufted Sunbird
Red-winged Francolin
Reichard's Seedeater
Retz's Helmetshrike
Ring-necked Dove
Rock Dove
Rufous-bellied Tit
Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk
Rufous-crowned Roller
Rufous-naped Lark
Ruwenzori Nightjar
Sacred Ibis
Saddle-billed Stork
Scarlet-chested Sunbird
Schalow's Turaco
Senegal Coucal
Senegal Lapwing
Sharpe's Akalat
Sharpé's Greenbul
Shelley's Sunbird
Sombre Greenbul
Southern Hyliota
Southern Black-Flycatcher
Southern Black-Tit
Southern Blue-eared Glossy-Starling
Southern Brown-throated Weaver
Southern Carmine Bee-eater
Southern Ground-Hornbill
Southern Masked-Weaver
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Southern Yellow-rumped Seedeater
Souza's Shrike
Speckled Mousebird
Spectacled Weaver
Spotted Creeper
Spotted Eagle-Owl
Spur-winged Goose
Squacco Heron
Square-tailed Nightjar
Square-tailed Drongo
Stanley Bustard
Stierling's Woodpecker
Striated Heron
Stripe-cheeked Bulbul
Striped Kingfisher
Striped Pipit
Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike
Swainson's Spurfowl
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater
Tambourine Dove
Tawny-flanked Prinia
Tawny Eagle
Temminck's Courser
Terrestrial Brownbul
Three-banded Plover
Tinkling Cisticola
Trilling Cisticola
Tropical Boubou
Trumpeter Hornbill
Variable Sunbird
Variable Indigobird
Verreaux's Eagle
Verreaux's Eagle-Owl
Village Weaver
Village Indigobird
Wahlberg's Eagle
Waller's Starling
Water Thick-Knee
Wattled Lapwing
Wattled Starling
White-backed Vulture
White-breasted Cuckoo-Shrike
White-breasted Sunbird
White-browed Robin-Chat
White-browed Sparrow-Weaver
White-chested Alethe
White-eared Barbet
White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher
White-faced Whistling-Duck
White-fronted Bee-eater
White-fronted Plover
White-headed Black-Chat
White-headed Lapwing
White-headed Vulture
White-necked Raven
White-starred Robin
White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher
White-tailed Crested-Flycatcher
White-winged Apalis
White-winged Widowbird
White Helmetshrike
Whyte's Barbet
Wing-snapping Cisticola
Wire-tailed Swallow
Woolly-necked Stork
Yellow-bellied Eremomela
Yellow-bellied Greenbul
Yellow-bellied Hyliota
Yellow-bellied Waxbill
Yellow-billed Duck
Yellow-billed Oxpecker
Yellow-billed Stork
Yellow-breasted Apalis
Yellow-browed Seedeater
Yellow-fronted Canary
Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird
Yellow-streaked Greenbul
Yellow-throated Longclaw
Yellow-throated Petronia
Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler
Yellow Bishop