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Exploring the Avian Wonders of Namentenga: A Guide to 13 Must-See Bird Species

Birds are some of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures on earth. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and can be found on all continents, from the hot desert to the coldest regions of the Arctic.

Not only are they beautiful to look at, but their songs can be a source of joy and peace to humans. Birds play a vital role in the environment, providing food for other animals and helping to spread plants’ seeds.

In Namentenga, a wide variety of bird species can be found, ranging from the colorful African Grey parrot to the majestic Egyptian Vulture. No matter where you go in Namentenga, you will find various feathered friends.

13 Birds to Watch in Namentenga

Namentenga is a province in Burkina Faso home to a rich diversity of birdlife. Whether a casual birdwatcher or a serious ornithologist, you will find plenty of species to admire and study in this region.

Here are 13 birds that you should not miss when visiting Namentenga.

1. Common Ostrich

The common ostrich is a large flightless bird species native to Africa. It is a member of the ratite order of birds, which lack a keel on their sternum and cannot fly. The common ostrich is the only living member of the genus Struthio.

It is the largest living bird species, with some specimens reaching up to 2.7 meters in height and weighing up to 156 kilograms. Ostriches are omnivorous, eating various plants, insects, and other animals.

They are well adapted to life in the African savanna, with a keen sense of sight and strong legs to help them escape predators. Ostriches are also known for their giant eggs, the largest bird eggs of any species.

They are highly sociable animals, forming large groups to protect and raise their young. Overall, the common ostrich is a fascinating species of bird that has adapted to life in the African savanna.

SpeciesS. camelus

2. Black Bellied Plover


The Grey Plover is a large shorebird found in a variety of habitats around the world. It is also known as the black-bellied Plover in North America.

It breeds in the Arctic regions and is a long-distance migrant, meaning it is found in coastal areas worldwide when it is not breeding. It is a cosmopolitan species, meaning it can be found in various habitats and climates.

It is a famous bird among birders due to its wide range and tolerance for human presence. It is a ground-dwelling bird, meaning it spends most of its time on the ground, but it can also be seen wading in shallow waters and flying over the ocean.

The Grey Plover has a dark grey back and a white belly, giving it its distinctive black-bellied look. Its diet consists of insects, crustaceans, and small fish. It is a reasonably common bird found in most coastal areas.

SpeciesP. squatarola

3. Osprey


The Osprey is a remarkable bird of prey found in many different areas of the world. It has many names, including sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk. It catches its prey during the day, as it is a diurnal bird whose main diet consists of fish.

It is extensive, with a length of more than 60 cm and a wingspan of 180 cm. Its color is mainly brown on the upper parts and greyish on the head and underparts. This bird of prey is an impressive sight in the skies.

Its sharp eyes are well-suited for catching its prey, which it does with expert skill. The Osprey is known for its ability to hover in the air and dive into the water to catch its prey.

It is an efficient hunter, using its long, hooked talons to snatch its meals from the water’s surface. The Osprey is an integral part of the natural ecosystem.

Its diet helps to keep fish populations in check, and its presence can also help to indicate the health of a particular body of water. This bird of prey is celebrated for its beauty and grace as it soars through the sky.

It is an incredible sight and a valuable part of any environment.

SpeciesP. haliaetus

4. Bald Eagle

The bald eagle is a majestic bird of prey found in North America. It is commonly referred to as a sea eagle due to its presence near coastal areas. It has two known subspecies: the northern bald eagle and the southern bald eagle.

In addition, the bald eagle forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle, which occupies the same niche as the bald eagle in the Palearctic.

The Palearctic is a biogeographic region that includes temperate Europe, Asia north of the Himalayas, North Africa, and the temperate portion of Arabia. Bald eagles have a variety of adaptations that make them well-suited to a life spent near water.

They have powerful talons and large beaks, which they use to hunt for fish and other aquatic prey. They also have keen eyesight, allowing them to spot potential prey from great distances.

In addition, their white head and tail feathers make them easily recognizable in the sky. Bald eagles symbolize strength, freedom, and national pride in the United States. They are often seen soaring majestically over lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.

This unique bird of prey reminds us of the importance of protecting and preserving our natural environment.

SpeciesH. leucocephalus

5. Great White Pelican


The great white pelican is a large bird in many parts of the world. It is a member of the pelican family and is also known as the eastern white pelican, rosy pelican, or white pelican.

This majestic bird can be found breeding in southeastern Europe, Asia, and Africa in swamps and shallow lakes.

It is a large bird with a wingspan of up to 10 feet and a body length of up to five feet. The great white pelican is predominantly white, with black flight feathers on its wings. It has a long, yellow beak with a large pouch, which it uses to scoop up fish.

It is a powerful flier and can reach up to 60 miles per hour. It is a social bird and can often be seen flying in large flocks. The great white pelican is an integral part of several ecosystems.

Its diet consists primarily of fish, and it plays a crucial role in controlling the populations of some species.

It is also an essential food source for predators such as eagles and ospreys. Overall, the great white pelican is a majestic bird that plays a vital role in the environment.

It is an impressive sight and indicates a healthy and thriving ecosystem.

SpeciesP. onocrotalus

6. Pied Avocet

The pied avocet is a species of wading bird belonging to the avocet and stilt family, Recurvirostridae. This species is found throughout temperate Europe, Central Asia, and the Russian Far East.

It is a migratory species, with most populations migrating to Africa or southern Asia during winter. The pied avocet is a striking bird with black and white plumage.

It is one of the more prominent members of the family, measuring up to sixteen inches in length. The pied avocet is usually found near shallow bodies of water such as marshes and lakes. It feeds mainly on aquatic invertebrates such as small fish, crustaceans, and insects.

During the breeding season, these birds form large colonies and lay their eggs in shallow depressions in the ground, which are lined with vegetation.

The pied avocet is monogamous, and the parents take turns caring for the chicks until they are old enough to fly. The pied avocet is considered a vulnerable species due to habitat loss caused by human activities such as draining wetlands for urban development and agricultural use.

The species is also hunted for its feathers, used in native ceremonial dress. Conservation efforts are in place to protect this species, and the population is slowly recovering.

SpeciesR. avosetta

7. Egyptian Plover


The Egyptian Plover, also known as the crocodile bird, is unusual. It belongs to the wader family of seabirds and is the only known species in its genus, Pluvianus.

Initially, it was classified in the pratincole and courser family, Glareolidae; however, more recently, it has been recognized as its unique family, Pluvianidae.

This small wading bird is found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and is renowned for its unique behavior of standing between the open jaws of a crocodile. At the same time, it feeds on the bits of food stuck in its teeth.

The bird is known for its distinct, loud, and chirping call. It has a striking black and white plumage, a black head, a white underside, and black wings with white patches.

They feed primarily on insects and small aquatic invertebrates, which they usually hunt near rivers and marshes.

SpeciesP. aegyptius

8. Black-winged Stilt

The black-winged stilt is a species of bird belonging to the avocet and stilt family. It is a long-legged wader, meaning it spends much of its time in shallow wetlands, such as marshes and lagoons.

This species is widely distributed across many continents, from Africa to Eurasia to Australasia. It has been given the scientific name Himantopus himantopus, although sometimes this name refers to a single, almost cosmopolitan species.

This means that it can be found in many different habitats. The black-winged stilt is a distinctive bird with long legs and black wings. It is usually found in wetlands, where it feeds on small aquatic creatures such as shrimp and insects.

It often stands in shallow water or on mudflats, which allows it to spot potential prey more easily. The black-winged stilt is a highly social bird, usually seen in large flocks.

It is a beautiful species often seen in wetland areas or along the edges of lakes and rivers.

SpeciesH. himantopus

9. Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse is a species of bird that belongs to the sandgrouse family. This species can be found in many parts of the world, including northern and central Africa and western and southern Asia, and is known for being sedentary and nomadic.

This means it can either stick to one place or be constantly on the move, depending on the season or their needs. The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse has six recognized subspecies, each with unique physical characteristics.

For example, some can have different shades of chestnut or distinct patterns on their feathers. In addition, they can have various sizes and shapes, depending on which subspecies they belong to.

Overall, the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse is an incredibly diverse species in many parts of the world.

SpeciesP. exustus

10. Grey-headed Gull


The grey-headed gull, also known as the gray-hooded gull, is a small species of gull breeds in South America and Africa south of the Sahara. It is not a migratory species but is more widespread during winter.

This species has been seen as a rare vagrant in North America, Italy, and Spain. The grey-headed gull is usually found in coastal areas but can also be seen in more inland areas near lakes and rivers. They feed on small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and carrion.

They often hunt in pairs or small groups, foraging near the shore. This species is not considered endangered, but its population has declined due to habitat loss. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this species and ensure its future survival.

SpeciesC. cirrocephalus

11. Common Quail


The common quail, also known as the European quail, is a small bird belonging to the pheasant family Phasianidae.

It is a migratory species, meaning it travels long distances to breed in the western Palearctic region and then moves to more southern areas, such as Africa and India, to spend the winter months.

The common quail is not easily seen due to its small size and ground-nesting habits. However, its distinct call of three repeated chirps can easily be heard, making it a recognizable species.

This call is usually heard in the morning and late evening when the sun is low in the sky. This quail species is also known for its short flights, often done in groups of up to 15 birds.

The common quail is a shy species but can be found in open grasslands and cultivated fields throughout Europe. It feeds on seeds, insects, and other small invertebrates.

The breeding season for this species typically begins in April, with the female laying up to 10 eggs in a shallow ground nest. The chicks can fly within a few days of hatching, and the family remains together until the start of the migration season.

The common quail is an essential species for both hunters and conservationists alike. Its population numbers have declined recently due to overhunting, habitat loss, and other human-related activities.

Conservation efforts are underway in many parts of the world to help protect this species and its habitat so that its unique call can continue to be heard for generations.

SpeciesC. coturnix

12. Eurasian Moorhen


The common moorhen is a species of bird that is part of the rail family. It is found across various parts of the Old World.

Many names, including the waterhen and the swamp chicken, are known of this bird species. The common moorhen is an aquatic bird that prefers habitats such as well-vegetated marshes, ponds, canals, and other wetlands.

It is well adapted to these areas as it can use its long toes to walk on the mud or vegetation found in these places.

This bird is also a strong swimmer and can stay underwater for long periods. The common moorhen is a territorial bird and will defend its area from intruders. It can be seen foraging for food in the water or shoreline.

Its diet consists mainly of aquatic insects, snails, and small fish. It also eats grasses, grains, and other plant material. The common moorhen is a monogamous bird that usually nests in the same wetland area yearly.

It builds its nest by weaving reeds and other vegetation together. The female lays up to eleven eggs, incubated for about three weeks.

After hatching, the young chicks are cared for by both parents until they can fly. The common moorhen is a valuable species that is vital to the wetlands ecosystem.

It helps to control the population of aquatic insects, which can damage the local environment. It is also a famous bird for birdwatchers as it can be easily spotted in its natural habitat.

SpeciesG. chloropus

13. Spur-winged Goose

The spur-winged goose is a large waterbird native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a member of the Anatidae family, including geese and shelducks. The spur-winged goose is a striking bird with a long neck, a black body, and bright white wing patches.

Its wings have a distinctive spur-like shape, which is how it got its name. It is typically found near shallow wetlands and lakes and feeds on aquatic vegetation. It is an integral part of the local ecosystem, providing food for many other species.

The spur-winged goose is a threatened species due to habitat destruction and hunting. Efforts are being made to protect this species to ensure its future.

SpeciesP. gambensis


Birds are an essential part of the Namentenga landscape. They play a crucial role in maintaining the local ecosystem, providing food for other animals, dispersing seeds, controlling insects, and providing beauty and enjoyment.

They are also important indicators of the environment’s health, and their presence or absence can tell us a lot about the local environment’s health.

Therefore, it is essential to continue to protect and conserve these birds and their habitats to ensure the health and well-being of all living things in Namentenga.

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