East Africa is full of prime birding locations, whether you are content with the occasional sighting from your vehicle or prefer to set off on a twitching mission. Select your best pair of binoculars, pack your zoom lens, and meet with a guide who shares your passion. Whether on foot or in a 4×4, the pace slows on a birding safari and opens up a world of details. Find yourself parked quietly beside a popular waterhole to watch who comes and goes or crouches in the undergrowth waiting for that telling flutter of movement.
“Tanzania is one of the best wilderness areas in Africa for wildlife viewing and bird-watching paradise with over 1125 bird species of which about 800 birds are resident, 200 regular migrants, 24 endemics to only Tanzania, and about 43 near-endemic species to Tanzania and other neighboring courtiers. Bird watching in Tanzania can be done in various national parks, lakes, forests, mountains, rivers, and swamps among others,” added Mr. Benson Bernad, Benson safaris director.
Here are some of the twitcher paradise locations, Lake Manyara national park is home to over 400 recorded bird species with more than 50 birds of prey, migratory and aquatic species which inhabit the savannah vegetation, woodland, rainforest, and marshlands. Birds that will be spotted during the birding safari include pink-backed pelicans, black herons, African fish eagles, African jacana, greater flamingo, crowned eagle, pied kingfisher, yellow-billed stork, spur-winged goose, saddle-billed stork, sacred ibis, little stint, lesser flamingo, grey crowned crane among others.
In the Ngorongoro conservation area, you will be able to spot bird species like Livingstone turaco, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, Kori bustard, ostrich, Kenya rufous sparrow, secretary bird, grey crowned crane, black-winged lapwing, black kite, augur buzzard, Egyptian vulture, greater flamingo, Hildebrandt starling, Namaqua dove, rufous chatterer, yellow barbet, white-naped raven, Jackson’s widowbird, Egyptian vulture among others.
The Tarangire national park with its Tarangire river is a permanent water source that provides refuge and attracts high concentrations of animals and bird species during the dry season making it one of the birding paradises with over 500 recorded bird species including migratory, water birds, endemic species which are only found in Tanzania, and near-endemic species which are also found in neighboring countries. during your birding safari, you will be able to spot bird species like vulturine guineafowl, northern pied babbler, yellow-collared lovebird, ashy starling, rufous tailed weaver, African grey flycatcher, pink-breasted lark, great white pelican, bare-faced go-away bird, ostrich, slate colored boubou, and the Donaldson smith’s nightjar.
Other birding destinations are Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania are both ideal locations for spotting across-section of East African birds and Southern African migrants. In the depths of Rubondo Island’s forests or Ngorongoro’s montane woodlands, keen birders can spot hundreds of different species.
Birding in Tanzania can be carried out anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the wet season November to April because this is the best time to spot the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa. During this time you will also see birds in their breeding plumage.