Tanzania Birding Tours
Many birders, wildlife photographers, and other outdoor enthusiasts think of the Serengeti National Park when they think of Tanzania. And rightly so. This is indeed one of Africa’s greatest wildlife destinations. The vast grasslands and savannas of the Serengeti (and the adjacent Maasai Mara in Kenya) are teaming with dazzling, colorful bird species as well as Leopard, Cheetah, Lion, smaller cats (e.g. Serval and Caracal) and all the other megafauna that make Africa so famous. Birdwatching among the beasts is one of the most surreal experiences possible. And, of course, there’s also the great wildebeest (gnu) migration. The Serengeti is at the heart of this spectacular wildlife phenomenon. The wonderful thing about the Serengeti is that it also contains a bunch of desirable bird species. Small flocks of Fischer’s Lovebirds forage on the ground, rest and chatter among themselves in acacia trees, or can be seen flying low over the grassland. Superb Starlings, Rosy-patched Bushshrikes, and other gorgeously colorful East African birds abound. Scarcer and more localized within the park are East African endemics such as Grey-crested Helmetshrike and Red-throated Tit. So there’s a lot more than just big game to keep you occupied in the Serengeti (and Kenya’s Maasai Mara just across the border). Strangely, there are some Tanzanian endemics that don’t quite make it across the border into Kenya. So in addition to the classic East African bird species one also encounters endemic birds restricted to northern Tanzania alone, such as Ashy Starling and Rufous-tailed Weaver. Then the Serengeti also boasts some of Africa’s most iconic birds, including the world’s heaviest flying bird, Kori Bustard, Secretarybird, eight vultures, owls, and birds of prey including Africa’s largest eagle, Martial Eagle, and the acrobatic, colorful Bateleur (also one of Africa’s most characteristic eagles).
But most of Tanzania’s endemic birds (along with range-restricted birds that also get into Malawi, northern Mozambique, etc.) lurk in the Afromontane forests of the beautiful Eastern Arc Mountains to the south of the classic tourist routes. While most nature lovers and wildlife photographers stay in the northern parts of the country, where the tourism infrastructure is particularly well-developed and a huge diversity of dazzling birds mix with the big game, we also venture southwards on many of our Tanzania birding tours, including our main 19-day one. A lot of the avian endemics of Tanzania occur in beautiful montane forests on the slopes of superb ranges forming part of the Eastern Arc Mountains chain. Being typical forest birds, they take more effort to find than the acacia woodland species of the Serengeti Plains, Tarangire National Park, and other northern game parks.