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The Birds of Tanzania

The birds of Tanzania are some of the most beautiful, diverse and unique in the world. Although the majority of people come to Tanzania to fulfil their dreams of seeing the Big Five or the Great Wildebeest Migration, one look at all the incredible birds of Tanzania photos will be sure to capture your attention.

Visiting these majestic animals, big and small, in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe. Here we tap into the expert knowledge of our birds of Tanzania field guides with our list of the top 10 birds of Tanzania. Grab a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable and enjoy!

 

bird of tanzania in Arusha National Park, Tanzania

 

Tanzania: a paradise for bird lovers

It is unknown exactly how many bird species live in Tanzania exactly, but the estimate is around 1,000. Some birds of Tanzania have not been seen in years. Others are prevalent wherever you know where to look – and that’s where our birds of Tanzania field guides come into their own on your Tanzania safari!

 

birds of tanzania mountain landscape

 

10 birds you can see on a Tanzania Safari

Rufous-tailed weaver – Serengeti National Park

With its 20 to 22 centimetres, chestnut coloured feathers and dark spots, the Rufous-tailed weaver might not be the most colourful fellow. However, what makes it unique is that it is an endemic bird of Tanzania. This means that this beautiful bird is found nowhere else on planet Earth. From July to February, the male birds build their nests during the breeding season, often in baobabs which the Serengeti National Park is famous for.

Silvery-cheeked hornbill – Lake Manyara National Park

The Silvery-cheeked hornbill enjoys a very relaxed life and spends each breeding season with just one partner. For their meals, they often meet up with other couples on fruit-bearing trees, so watch out: you might see more than 100 hornbills at the same time! And if you want to impress your fellow adventurers: you can easily distinguish the male and female with the former having a prominent casque over its entire beak and the female a much shorter one—a fantastic sight for epic birds of Tanzania photos. 

Fisher’s lovebird – Serengeti National Park

Even though they are only around 14 centimetres in length, making them some of the smallest of the birds of Tanzania, these small parrots are easy to spot with their bright green and orange plumage. As the name suggests, the lovebirds take their romantic life seriously: they are monogamous and stay together for life. Furthermore, they have mastered the gender-neutral look: looking at their feathers, you cannot tell whether it is a male or female. 

 

Tawny Eagle – Tarangire National Park

From one of the smallest parrots in Tanzania, the next on our list of top 10 birds of Tanzania is a large bird of prey. The Tawney eagle with a wingspan of up to 190 centimetres. This eagle is called “Roofarend” in Afrikaans, meaning “Robber Eagle”. With a diest consisting of carrion, this Tanzania bird is considered quite aggressive when it robs prey from other birds, known as kleptoparasitism. So be aware!

Black heron – Lake Manyara National Park

The Black heron is an extremely sharp-witted, pitch-black bird between 42 and 66 centimetres in height. To prey on fish, it steps into shallow water, bows its head and then spreads its wings around it, forming a canopy. Doing so can clearly see what’s going on underwater and catch fish more easily. Sometimes you can also see it around the African sacred ibis. That bird stirs up the fish through the water, and the Black heron simply follows and eats. Fast food on a busy day!

Red and Yellow Barbet – Tarangire National Park

The Red and yellow barbet is one of the sweetest birds in Tanzania. Well-known for their beautiful (and loud) voices, their singing has a great rhythm to it. Their beautiful songs often last for a full 2 minutes and are accompanied by calls from other birds. This grand stage also needs a stunning outfit, and with a red head, yellow chest and black wings with white spots, the red and yellow barbet ticks that box exceptionally well. With so many qualities, it doesn’t even matter that the wingspan of a red-and-yellow barbet is only around 10 centimetres!

Flamingo – Arusha National Park

We all know that some female birds pick their mate based on very specific criteria – like the most original dance or the most beautiful nest. The flamingo, which you can find plenty of in Arusha National Park, is one of them. During the mating season, the males get together in a large group. In perfect synchronicity, they flap their wings, turn their heads and sing. After this performance, the couples find each other and stay together for life. If you’re lucky enough to see this sight, it will undoubtedly make for one of your most unique birds of Tanzania photos.

 

Golden-breasted Starling – Mkomazi National Park

During your safari in Mkomazi National Park, keep your eyes open for the Golden-breasted Starling. Thanks to its fantastic plumage, it is not very hard to miss. The upperparts are iridescent blue, green and purple. The belly is golden-yellow, and this starling has a very long tail. Ask your birds of Tanzania field guide for all the tips on recognising the birds of Tanzania during your luxury safari. 

Pel’s fishing owl – Ruaha National Park

You can only find the Pel’s fishing owl in Africa. However, you need to be a little lucky actually to see one. First, like all largely nocturnal animals, the Pel’s fishing owl only hunts at dusk, dawn and night. However, if it doesn’t find enough food during these times, you might also see it during the day. And secondly, with its red-brownish plumage, it blends into trees quite perfectly. There it spends most of its daytime cuddled up with its mate.

Ostrich

In a top 10 list of Tanzania birds, we cannot miss out on the world’s biggest bird: the ostrich! There is so much to say about that particular species, but our top ostrich facts are here. 

  • The ostrich cannot fly.
  • It has three stomachs.
  • It can sprint up to 70 km/h.
  • The males have black and white plumage, and the females are brown-greyish.
  • With its long legs and a forward kick, it can actually kill a predator like a lion or even a human… theoretically 😉
  • Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their hands in the sand.
  • Their mating process is highly complicated, and to win over a lady, the males have to give it their all – listen to the great David Attenborough explaining it below. 

 

Birding Safari: our best tips

 Can you not wait to hop into the 4×4 and go on a bird spotting tour for yourself? Check out our 10-day safari through all Northern national parks with a higher high bird density – from Tarangire and Lake Manyara to the famous Serengeti and the breath-taking Ngorongoro Crater. 

It is also worth a stay in the Manyara Best View Lodge: it is close to the great escarpment, next to a protected wildlife zone and gives you precisely that level of comfort you need after an exciting day of animal spotting.

Questions about our Africa bird safaris? 

In addition to serving up in-depth knowledge of the Big Five and the incredible Tanzania environment, our birds of Tanzania field guides are experts in identifying hundreds of species of beautiful birds.

Do you have questions about crafting the perfect itinerary to capture as many beautiful birds of Tanzania photos as possible? You might travel to Tanzania for the lions but return for the Red-and-yellow barbet. Get in touch with the Tanzania Specialist team and start planning your dream Tanzania bird safari.