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Bird Habitats Southern Africa

Southern Africa can be divided into six broadly defined bird habitats:


By far the largest and richest bird habitat in the region, bushveld is comprised of various woodland types and mixed bush varieties. African bushveld is divided into two distinct habitats: moist and arid. Sparsely grassed undergrowth characterises the arid bushveld; broadleaved woodland with compressed under-story grass characterises the moist bushveld.


With two sub-biomes – the Succulent and Nama Karoo – this stark region covers a huge chunk of the south-western interior of southern Africa. Rainfall is low, less than 400mm per year, chiefly in the form of summer afternoon thunderstorms. This highly diverse area produces a true endemic and near-endemic paradise for birders.




The smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms – at a mere 90,000km sq – and with more species of plant than the British Isles, the Fynbos habitat offers specialist birding like nowhere else in southern Africa.


Occupying the high plateaus of central southern Africa, these scattered habitats are in the summer rainfall belt with the best birding during September through to January. Divided into two distinct types of forest, afromontane and lowland forests, this habitat covers a number of fragmented pockets on the eastern side of southern Africa.

Namib Desert and semi-arid zones

Known as the oldest desert in the world, with an average annual rainfall of less than 50mm, the Namib Desert covers large parts of the west coast of southern Africa. Although sparsely habituated, the desert and its vast semi-arid lapels support a varied and interesting avifauna with many specialised and endemic bird species.

Dams, Lakes, Wetlands & Estuaries

With different origins, dams, pans, lagoons, lakes, rivers, marshlands and estuaries support a huge numbers of water birds and waders. Depending on the rainfall patterns of the catchment areas, spectacular displays of birds occurs at times.

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