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Top 5 birding spots
Tanzania and Zanzibar are fantastic for birders. There are over 1,000 bird species on record, of which over 20 are endemic. We asked our Tanzania specialist and birding enthusiast Anton to whittle down his top five spots for going in search of these nimble creatures of the air…
With over 500 species on record, Tarangire National Park is certainly one of the best places in Tanzania for birdwatching. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some of East Africa's endemic species such as ashy starlings, rufous-tailed weavers and yellow-collared lovebirds. Other birds we particularly enjoy spotting here due to their vibrant plumage include the lilac-breasted roller and the red-and-yellow barbet.
02. SELOUS GAME RESERVE
Thanks to the wonderland of waterways that stem from the Rufiji River, the Selous Game Reserve boasts a truly unique ecosystem which is a haven for birds, with over 440 species on record. Getting out on a boat safari lets you get really close to the reserve’s many water birds, while walking safaris will offer totally different sightings including birds of prey such as the bat hawk. The white-fronted bee-eater and colourful red bishop are amongst our favourites to spot.
03. MAHALE MOUNTAINS
The forest canopy above the Mahale Mountains is home to a beautiful array of colourful butterflies and birds. While tracking down the resident chimps can take anything up to a few hours, there will be bright and beautiful forest birds to keep you occupied the whole way if you keep your eyes peeled. Look out for blue-cheeked bee-eaters, Livingstone’s turaco and Ross’s turaco, amongst others.
04. LAKE MANYARA
The glistening expanse of Lake Manyara plays host to nearly 400 bird species. While the most notable are of course the pelicans and flamingos which give the lake its pink hue, keen birders will find plenty more species to captivate their senses. The vulturerine guineafowl is a particularly elegant creature, and the blue-naped mousebird is very endearing too!
05. PEMBA ISLAND
The lush and hilly tropical island paradise of Pemba forms the perfect end to any birding trip in Tanzania. The thick forests and fertile mangrove swamps inland give the island a rich biodiversity, and it is home to four of Tanzania’s endemic bird species – the Pemba scops owl, Pemba sunbird, Pemba white-eye and Pemba green pigeon.