top of page
  • Writer's pictureArtVandelay

Birds of Zimbabwe

I've not written anything in a while, as going through all the birds that I saw in Zimbabwe was quite a daunting task! These aren't even all of them... I have a collection of storks that I've yet to properly identify. But without further ado, enjoy the collection of amazing birds from Hwange, Zimbabwe.

The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) is an African member of the roller family of birds. It is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, and is a vagrant to the southern Arabian peninsula. It prefers open woodland and savanna, and it is for the most part absent from treeless places. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about on the ground.

The pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a species of water kingfisher widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Originally described by Swedish bioligist, Carl Von Linnaeus, in 1758, it has five recognised subspecies. Its black and white plumage and crest, as well as its habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish, make it distinctive.

The black-faced waxbill or black-cheeked waxbill (Estrilda erythronotos) is a common species of estrildid finch found in southern Africa. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 1,300,000 km2. Origin has been obtained by Antonio Arnaiz-Villena et al.. Estrildinae may have originated in India and dispersed thereafter (towards Africa and Pacific Ocean habitats).

The crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) or the crimson-breasted gonolek, ('gonolek' - supposedly imitative of its call), is a southern African bird. It has black upper parts with a white flash on the wing, and bright scarlet underparts. The species was first collected by English explorer, William John Burchell in 1811 near the confluence of the Vaal and Orange Rivers. He named it atrococcineus meaning 'black/red', finding the striking colour combination quite remarkable.

The blue waxbill, or Southern Cordonblu has powder-blue face, breast, rump, and flanks with pale brown upperparts. The female is paler than the male and the blue is confined to the rump, tail, head, and upper breast, with the rest of the underparts being buffy brown. They measure 12–13 cm in length. The call is a soft 'seee-seee', often repeated as bird flits through the lower parts of bush and scrub. The blue waxbill occurs in a variety of habitats but generally prefers well-watered and semi-arid savanna.

The Namaqua dove (Oena capensis) is a small pigeon. It is the only species in the genus Oena. The dove is a widespread resident breeding bird in Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar with its range extending into the Arabian Peninsula southern Israel, Jordan and as far north as Turkey. It is found in near desert with acacia and bushes. The namaqua dove is prone to wander out its original range, it is now being recorded south Asian countries.

The southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri; formerly known as Bucorvus cafer), is one of two species of ground hornbill, which are both found solely within Africa, and is the largest species of hornbill worldwide. It can be found in the southern regions of Africa, ranging from Kenya to South Africa. Within these regions, they inhabit both woodlands and savannas. Southern ground hornbills are carnivores and mostly hunt on the ground, where they find the majority of their food. This food ranges from insects to small animals. Their nests are often found in high in tree cavities or other shallow cavities, such as rock holes in cliff faces. These birds are a long lived species, having lifespans in the range of 50–60 years, and up to 70 in captivity

The southern yellow-billed hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) is a hornbill found in Southern Africa. Yellow-billed hornbills feed mainly on the ground, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. This hornbill species is a common and widespread resident of dry thornveldt and broad-leafed woodlands. They can often be seen along roads and water courses. It is a medium-sized bird, 48–60 centimetres (19–24 in) in length, 132–242 grams (0.291–0.534 lb) in weight and is characterized by a long yellow and down-curved beak. This beak is huge in comparison to its body and can account for up 1/6th of the entire body length. Hornbills have a unique look, so many cultures give them an important place in their beliefs. Some indigenous tribes revere hornbills as sacred beings that must not be harmed. Others will hunt them for food, to use them in the confection of traditional medicine or to use them in rituals

I believe this is a tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) is a large, long-lived bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. It is estimated that tawny eagles can reach the age of 16 years old. It breeds in most of Africa, both north and south of the Sahara Desert, and across tropical southwestern Asia to India. It is a resident breeder which lays one to three eggs in a stick nest in a tree, crag, or on the ground. Throughout its range, it favours open dry habitats such as semideserts, desert steppes, or savannah plains.

The dark-capped bulbul (Pycnonotus tricolor) is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is found in central, eastern and south-eastern Africa. The dark-capped bulbul is mostly greyish brown above and whitish brown below, with a distinctive dark head and pointy crest on top of the head. The back of the head merges into the brown of the back, and the chin is also blackish. The underparts are grey-brown apart from white around the vent (yellow in P. t. tricolor). It is about 18 cm in length, with a long tail. It has a dark brown head and upperparts. Sexes are similar in plumage.

Jameson's firefinch (Lagonosticta rhodopareia) is a common species of estrildid finch found in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 2,600,000 km2.

This is a female red-billed quelea (Quelea quelea), also known as the red-billed weaver or red-billed dioch, is a small—approximately 12 cm (4.7 in) long and weighing 15–26 g (0.53–0.92 oz)—migratory, sparrow-like bird of the weaver family, Ploceidae, native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It was also named by Swedish Biologist Carl Von Linnaeus in 1758, who considered it a bunting, but Ludwig Reichenbach assigned it in 1850 to the new genus Quelea.

The black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family. The scientific name H. himantopus was formerly applied to a single, almost cosmopolitan species. It is now normally applied to the form that is widespread in Eurasia and Africa and which was formerly regarded as the nominate subspecies of Himantopus himantopus sensu lato. The scientific name Himantopus comes from the Greek meaning "strap foot" or "thong foot"

The magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus), also known as the African long-tailed shrike, is a species of bird in the Laniidae family. The magpie shrike is a gregarious species and usually occurs in noisy groups of about a dozen birds occupying a home range of several tens of hectares. The birds nest cooperatively during the rainy season, and their breeding territory is about three hectares and defended from other groups. Displays in the breeding season include bowing, tail flicking, wing raising and whistling. The female sometimes calls from the nest and the male brings her food. The two birds may also perform duets.

I think that's it for the majority of birds I managed to take an OK photo of. There have been several more stork-like birds, geese and other water birds that my camera skills couldn't capture an acceptable photo of.

Hope y'all enjoyed these modern dinosaurs!

154 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page