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Birds of the African swamp

Birds of the African swamp

The Okavango Delta is the largest delta in the world that is not connected to a sea. A number of bird species feel right at home in that kind of area. During my trip through Africa I’ve also sailed through the Okavango and spent the night there. You can read more about that over here. Of course along the way I didn’t just have a look at the (very) nice scenery but also at the birds that can be found over there. It’s possible to encounter a lot of different birds here that either like to stay very close to the water or not that close to the water, but not too far away either. I would like to share the pictures of the more conspicuous of those. There are some interesting birds among them!

I’ll kick-off with the largest Heron in the world: the Goliath Heron. A Heron that can reach a height of 1.5 meters! The common Grey Heron doesn’t even reach one meter. So this is a big bird!

Goliath Heron

Another conspicuous bird with long legs is the Saddle-billed Stork. That bill is indeed what attracts the eye immediately when you first see it.

Saddle-billed Stork

Africa also has a Spoonbill. Our own Eurasian Spoonbill also does occur here, but there is also the African Spoonbill. Looks a bit like the Eurasian, but is also very different.

African Spoonbill

Kingfisher are always appealing birds. Sadly in the Netherlands we only have one species, but in Africa it’s possible to encounter multiple. The Pied Kingfisher makes a nice appearance and is pretty widespread across the world. I had also seen it earlier in Israel. Still it’s always nice to see one!

Pied Kingfisher

A much more impressive kingfisher is the African Giant Kingfisher though. There where the Pied Kingfisher, dwarfs our own Common Kingfisher, the Giant Kingfisher does that to the Pied Kingfisher. With 46 centimetres in length this kingfisher is really huge, the largest in Africa!

Pied Kingfisher and Giant Kingfisher

Giant Kingfisher

A bird that also deserves special attention is the African Jacana. It’s a bird that is part of a very special family. There are only eight species of Jacana in the world. It also looks special, a big wader with a conspicuous blue forehead. When you are in a mokorro they allow you to get pretty close…

African Jacana

A bird that is truly unique is the Hamerkop. It’s the only one in its family. This bird was high on my whishlist and luckily not that hard to find. Sadly they weren’t so willing to be photographed.


The Hadada Ibis let us come closer. That one also looks peculiar.

Hadada Ibis

Finally there are some birds that are most of the time less close to the water, but nonetheless like to stay in the swamp. The Swamp Boubou owes its name to that habitat preference.

Swamp Boubou

A Little Bee-eater is a colourful bird.

Little Bee-eater

And an African Pied Wagtail makes just a bit more of an impression than our own White Wagtail

African Pied Wagtail


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