African Bird Pictures

Taking African bird pictures on safari is almost as exciting for me as photographing the big cats. Many people don't even give these beautiful birds a second glance because they are too busy chasing after the big game.

But a safari is much more than just ticking off a checklist of wildlife. It's about your total experience of African nature and landscape and the smaller creatures like birds definitely form an intimate and attractive part of that.

Not to mention the fact that birds can actually lead you to the big cats if you pay close attention. Some species will send out an alarm call when they spot a feline and if you don't recognise it you will just drive on blissfully and disastrously unaware that there was a leopard in the undergrowth.

And the variety is astonishing so you will never be at a loss for a picture of African birds. There are a 2250 recorded bird species here of which 1500 of them are found nowhere else in the world.

The collection below is a small sample of that diversity. Remember to stop for the birds on your safari, you won't be sorry.

These are the top three birding tour operators in Africa...

Flying Flamingo


You can see and take bird photos of hundreds of thousands of them in several lakes in Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa. There are a number of them in Southern Africa but not in such a high concentration.

Ostrich Running


The largest flightless bird in the world. Even though they can't fly they can run pretty fast and give a very nasty kick with those massive drumstick legs of theirs. I have ridden on the back of a domesticated ostrich in Oudtshoorn but I wouldn't recommend it in the wild.

Owl Flying


I have spotted and taken African bird pictures of a number of owls in the Kruger National Park in South Africa during the day. They are not very active then but still great to see. This bird is a miracle of engineering in all respects especially their eyesight.

Vulture Feeding


They may be majestically ugly but they are interesting to watch and take African bird pictures of, especially when they feed. They perform their scavenger cleanup operation with remarkable speed and efficiency and a group of them can actually chase a cheetah away from its own kill.

Ground Hornbill

Ground Hornbill

These birds are a threatened species but if you drive along in the Kruger Park for a while you should spot a few of them waddling comically along for some interesting African bird pictures. They will allow you to come pretty close while they concentrate on picking up seeds and insects along the side of the road.

Red Billed Oxpecker


They clean up ticks, fleas and other parasites from the larger ungulates in the wild but they stay well clear of the carnivores. Not that lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena suffer any less from infestation but they might be tempted to make a snack of this useful bird.

Fish Eagle

Fish Eagle

Ask the question which bird defines Africa and nine times out of ten the answer will be the fish eagle - in particular their haunting call. Once you hear it you will never forget it, especially if you are on safari sitting next to a river or waterhole as the sun sinks slowly below the horizon.

Kori Bustard

Kori Bustard

A curious mix between an emu and a secretary bird, the kori bustard traverses the African plains in search of food primarily on foot. The wings are only used in emergencies or to capture prey that might otherwise escape.

Martial Eagle

Martial Eagle

The epitome of grace and haughty grandeur, the martial eagle patrols its territory by air and spells disaster for any smaller animals like squirrels, hares, monkeys, game birds or rodents that get careless and forget to look skyward. Unforgettable African bird pictures if you are lucky enough to spot one.

Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl

If you see a bird running next to and sometimes in the middle of the road on your next safari, the chances are good that it will be a guinea fowl. They seem to spend an inordinate amount of time getting in the way of safari vehicles for some reason or other.