Zambezi River Birdlife

Posted by admin on Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Zambezi River supports a diverse and verdant habitat which is highly favoured by wildlife, birds and a thriving tourist industry. Here you can enjoy some of Africa’s best and most varied birding, with a range of Victoria Falls activities, such as:


  • Walks and hikes
  • Drives
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Boat cruises
  • Just relaxing on the patio of your Zimbabwe accommodation, binoculars in hand

Although you can participate in excellent bird watching year round along the Zambezi, the summer migrants descend on the area from September to March.  This increases the pickings considerably, making this the best time to visit for avian admiration.


Whenever and however you choose to search for opportunities to tick species off your bird list, be sure to bring your camera and zoom lens as you are certain to come across countless memorable moments to capture. Binoculars, a note book and comprehensive bird book are, of course, standard equipment and should accompany any birding excursion.
While in resident in your Victoria Falls accommodation, you can take advantage of a number of habitats for birding pursuits.
The Zambezi Valley supports a wide range of bird species, about 350 to 400, and you can expect to enjoy sightings of raptors, water birds, trumpeter hornbill, Meyer’s parrots, Lilian’s lovebirds and narina trogon.

A boat cruise or canoe trip offers a change to spot the diverse river species such as heron, egret, pelican and the iconic fish eagle with its unforgettable call ringing through the air, as it searches for its next fishy meal.


African skimmers and rock pratincoles are commonly sighted on the white sandy beaches and rocky islands that are exposed when the river is low. While on-board you can venture along backwaters, channels and the main river, but do keep a lookout for hippos, crocodiles and elephants, which are abundant in and along the Zambezi.

While walking among the immense riverine forests of the Zambezi you can expect to come across numerous forest-dwelling birds such as:


  • White-backed night hero
  • Half-collared kingfisher
  • White-crowned lapwings
  • Pel’s fishing owl
  • Narina trogon
  • African broadbill
  • Western banded snake eagle
  • Gymnogene
  • Schalow’s turacos
  • Wood owl

If you prefer you can opt for a well-informed guide to accompany you on your birding adventure, the hosts at your Ilala Lodge Hotel will be happy to assist you.

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