The Kruger National Park
has a list of over 500 bird species, some of which are not to be found elsewhere in South Africa and representing roughly 60 percent of the total bird species for South Africa
Hornbills, Starlings, Vultures, Rollers, Bee-eaters and Shrikes typify the ubiquitous avi-fauna and birders can look forward to pursuing the big 6 (Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel's Fishing-Owl and Ground Hornbill). The far north of the park (Pafuri and Punda Maria regions) is regarded as one of the birding Mecca's of the country (with many regional rarities to be found) yet birding throughout the entire park is excellent. Eagles are common: Bateleur, Martial, Black-chested Snake, Brown Snake, African Hawk, African Fish and Tawny are all regularly seen, and in summer: Wahlberg's, Steppe, Lesser Spotted. The Park's numerous water points make for excellent birding, while the rest camps and picnic sites are exceptionally rewarding for birders.
The best birding time is between October and March when all the migrants are in the Park and the species list tops 500.
The Kruger Park has a few unique birds to be proud of
- The biggest bird is of course the Ostrich which can weigh over 300lbs
- The heaviest flying bird so the Kori Bustard which weighs up to 45lbs.
- The fastest bird is the peregrine falcon, able to exceed 320 km/h (200 mph) in its dives. A sighting of the fastest bird in the world is a very rare and rewarding experience that can happen anywhere in Kruger.
- The highest recorded flight of any bird, that being the Ruppell’s Vulture, was recorded at 11,000 feet (3,35 kilometers).
- The largest bird of prey is the Martial Eagles are the largest of the African eagles and incredibly powerful, capable of knocking an adult man off his feet. The Martial eagle weighs in at almost 14 pounds (6.5 Kg)
- The tallest At five feet tall, the Saddle-billed Stork is the tallest stork in the world, and certainly one of the most strikingly beautiful.
Tips for the best birding in the Kruger Park
- Don’t try and cover too wide a geographical area during your visit -it's often better to concentrate one area over several days
- Include as many big dams’ lakes as possible and riverine forest drives in your programme.
- Some of the best birding is in the camps, especially those with river views - one may see more in a few hours in a camp than during a whole day’s drive
- Get up an hour before sunrise to experience the "dawn chorus" and the avian morning "rush hour" which starts winding down as the heat sets in
- Midmorning is the time to look out for raptors as the thermals provide them with natural lift to get into the skies
- At lunchtime find a shady spot under big trees, particularly those in flower or fruit - fruiting trees offer food and attract insects which in turn draw lots of birds
- Vultures often bathe at lunchtime or during the afternoon in rivers and water holes to wash off the remains of their last meal
- The avian afternoon "rush hour" gets underway as the afternoon heat recedes
- Make a point of stopping on long-span bridges - swallows, swifts and bats often nest here and this attracts raptors
- Include grassland drives in late summer as these become centres of activity when the grasses seed
- After rainstorms, look out for termite emergences as raptors and other insect-eaters will be out in force
- Look out for birding parties in the bush and for birds displaying "anxiety" calls as this often means there are predators about
Please contact us and we will arrange a dream birding safari for you to experience - An Experience is Priceless