Botswana

Chobe

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Winter birding in Chobe National Park

Winter birding in Chobe National Park

Long crested eagle
Long crested eagle
PHILLIP ZAPPALA

 

By : Lawrence Alroy


Must-see Chobe birds – look out for these!

African finfoot

Western banded snake eagle

Osprey

Despite cold mornings and evenings, there is much enjoyable winter birding in Chobe. Don’t miss those species that love sunning themselves on uppermost branches at dawn - you will be surprised at the variety.

Later, when the winter easterly breeze has lessened, thermals are usually well-populated with marabou storks as well as a selection of raptors - the bateleur being my favourite, its wings rocking gently as it twists its head from side to side in search of prey or a tempting road-kill.

Within Chobe National Park the ground birds become more visible as winter drought thins the bush - the three-banded courser is one of many specials which become easier to spot.

Large flocks begin to congregate on the floodplains – readying themselves for July’s bi-annual waterfowl count, when the swampy areas will attract many a wader. Birders have recently reported the presence of the threatened wattled and grey-crowned crane along the riverfront and there have been numerous visits from both pelican species in groups numbering upwards of 100 individuals.

Kasane’s riverine frontage behind President’s Avenue often exposes ‘lifers’ such as the brown firefinch, northern grey-headed sparrow, collared palm thrush and the striking copper sunbird. Should you enjoy a stroll from Mowana Lodge to the Seboba Nature Reserve, keep a watch for yellow-billed stork nesting in the waterberry trees along the rapids and listen out for Schalow’s turaco, which has been spotted several times on the Mowana Golf Course.

Finally, for those who would brave the dawn or enjoy the sunset, seek out our local Stealth Fighter lookalike, the bathawk, as it patrols the river. Happy birding, enjoy your stay and travel safely homewards, ready to return for our wet-season birding spectacular.