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18 Birds to Watch in Savanes

Birds inhabit the Savanes region of West Africa, where a unique variety of species can be found. This region is home to some of the most diverse and stunning birds in the world, with a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes.

From the majestic Shoebill Stork to the colorful Bee-eater, each species of bird in the Savanes region has its own unique beauty. In this region, you can find both rare and common species, making bird watching in the Savanes a delightful experience.

The Savanes region is also home to a wide variety of habitats, from rainforest to savanna, which provide ample opportunities for birders to explore and observe the many species of birds that live there.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned birder, the Savanes region is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

1. Hirundinidae


The Hirundinidae family is one of the most widespread avian families in the world, found on all the continents, including Antarctica. The family includes swallows, martins, and saw-wings, which are all passerine songbirds.

They have an unmistakable appearance due to their highly adapted aerial feeding habits. Their wings are typically long and pointed, and their bodies are small and sleek, enabling them to maneuver quickly and efficiently through the air.

Swallows, in particular, are easily recognizable by their forked tail, which they use to help them change direction rapidly while in flight. They can be seen flying rapidly in pursuit of their prey, which mainly consists of insects, such as flies, moths, and bees.

Martins are a bit larger than swallows, and they have a more robust body structure. They usually hunt in open areas and use their beaks to snatch up their prey. Saw wings, on the other hand, have a unique look, with their long and pointed wings.

Although they are not as adept at aerial hunting as swallows and martins, they are still able to capture their prey, which mainly consists of small animals and insects.

Overall, the Hirundinidae family is an impressive group of birds that have adapted to their environment in an incredible way. Their ability to maneuver quickly and accurately, combined with their distinctive appearance, make them a fascinating group of birds to observe.


2. Pied-billed Grebe


The pied-billed grebe is a species of water bird that belongs to the grebe family. It is the only remaining member of its genus, Podilymbus, after the Atitlán grebe went extinct.

This species of grebe is mainly found in ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water throughout the Americas. It has a distinctive black and white bill, which is why it gets its name. The pied-billed grebe is a relatively small bird, measuring in at around 12 inches in length.

It is mostly brown and gray in color, with a white belly. In addition to their bill, pied-billed grebes also have unique feet, which are lobed and help them to swim better.

They also have a unique feeding style, which involves diving underwater and using their feet to stir up mud and debris in order to find food. Pied-billed grebes are also capable of “foot-propelling,” which allows them to move quickly through the water.

This species of bird is relatively common throughout the Americas and is considered to be of least concern in terms of conservation.

SpeciesP. podiceps

3. Osprey


The osprey is a magnificent bird of prey that can be found all around the world. It is recognizable by its unique coloring, with brown on the upperparts and greyish colors on the head and underparts.

It is a large bird, with a length of up to 60 cm and a wingspan of up to 180 cm. It is a diurnal creature, meaning it hunts mainly during the day, and its main food source is fish.

The osprey has several names depending on the region, such as the sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk. It can be found in both marine and freshwater habitats and is an opportunistic hunter that will take a variety of food sources.

It has a specialized set of adaptations that allow it to capture fish, such as long, curved talons and a reversible outer toe that allows it to grab fish with two toes in front and two behind.

The osprey has a relatively slow flight, with its wings flapping in a deep, steady fashion, which helps conserve energy for dive-bombing prey in the water. The osprey plays an important role in its ecosystem, as it helps maintain the balance of its prey populations.

It is a majestic sight to behold, and its beauty makes it a popular bird for birdwatchers. The Osprey is a unique bird with an impressive range, and its remarkable hunting abilities make it a fascinating creature.

SpeciesP. haliaetus

4. Apodidae


The swifts are members of the family Apodidae, which consists of birds that are adapted for aerial locomotion. They are similar in appearance to swallows, but they are not actually related to any passerine species.

Swifts are placed in the order Apodiformes, along with hummingbirds. This order is characterized by its small size, the ability to hover, and the ability to fly for extended periods of time.

Swifts are distinguished from other birds by their long, narrow wings and short, square tails. These adaptations enable them to fly with great speed and maneuverability, while also allowing them to remain in the air for long periods of time without having to rest.

Swifts are an important part of many ecosystems, as they feed on flying insects, such as mosquitoes and flies. They also provide vital pollination services for many plants.


5. Cuculidae


Cuckoos are a type of bird that belong to the Cuculidae family, which is the sole taxon in the order Cuculiformes. They are found all over the world and can be identified by their unique call.

The cuckoo family includes several different species, such as the common or European cuckoo, roadrunners, koels, malkohas, couas, coucals, and anis. The coucals and anis are sometimes classified in different families, the Centropodidae and Crotophagidae respectively.

All cuckoos have some common traits, such as their slender bodies, long pointed wings, and sharp claws. They also have a long tail and a short neck. Cuckoos are mainly insectivores, but they also eat fruits and berries.

They are usually found in wooded areas, but some can also be found in open fields or grasslands. Cuckoos are very vocal and can be heard calling throughout the day. They are an important part of many ecosystems, providing an important source of food for other species.


6. Rock Pigeon


The rock dove, also known as the rock pigeon or common pigeon, is a species of bird that belongs to the family Columbidae. It is the same species as the domestic pigeon, which is what people usually refer to as the “pigeon”.

The domestic pigeon is descended from the rock dove – in other words, it is a domesticated version of the rock dove. As a result of domesticated pigeons escaping or being released, the population of wild rock doves, or feral pigeons, has increased around the world.

SpeciesC. livia

7. Garganey


The garganey is a small dabbling duck, which predominantly inhabits parts of Europe and the Palearctic region. It is a migratory species, with the entire population engaging in seasonal movements.

During the winter months of the Northern Hemisphere, the garganey will migrate to more temperate and tropical climates, such as southern Africa, India, Bangladesh and Australasia. When they arrive at their wintering grounds, garganeys often flock together in large numbers.

This allows them to make the most of the available resources, safely. The garganey is an important species for waterfowl hunters, as the bird provides a source of food and economic gain.

SpeciesS. querquedula

8. Ardeidae


Herons are a type of bird that can be found in both fresh and coastal waters. They are part of the Ardeidae family, which includes 72 recognized species. Some of these species are known as egrets or bitterns, while others are referred to as herons.

Herons are distinguished by their long legs and long necks, which help them to reach into the water to catch fish and other aquatic prey. They are also adept at wading and standing in shallow water, making them well-suited to their aquatic environment.

Herons can be found in a variety of habitats, such as marshes, swamps, rivers, ponds, and lakes. They are also known to inhabit wooded areas near bodies of water, such as mangrove swamps.

Herons are opportunistic feeders, and their diet can include a wide range of small fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, and even small mammals and birds.


9. Caprimulgidae


Nightjars are fascinating birds found throughout the world, with some species found on all continents except Antarctica. They are medium-sized nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) birds and belong to the large family of Caprimulgidae and the order Caprimulgiformes.

Nightjars are known for their unique physical characteristics which make them well-suited for their nocturnal lifestyle. They have long, slender wings for efficient gliding and soaring in the dark, and short legs which make them well-adapted to perching or roosting in trees.

In addition, they have very short bills for capturing insects on the wing. This combination of features allows them to be fast, efficient hunters in low-light conditions.

Nightjars also have excellent camouflage, with cryptic feathers that help them blend into their surroundings.


10. Tyrannidae


The tyrant flycatchers, or Tyrannidae, are a large and diverse family of birds found throughout North and South America. They are highly adapted for aerial predation, and are among the most versatile and adaptive of all passerines.

In terms of sheer numbers, they are the largest family of birds known to exist, with over 400 species.

These species range from the small, drab flycatchers of the tropics to the bright, vibrant kingbirds of the temperate regions.Tyrant flycatchers have a number of unique adaptations that allow them to hunt prey from the air.

These include a short, wide bill with a sharp hook at the end for catching insects, and long, narrow wings and a long tail that allow them to maneuver quickly and accurately.

They also have excellent vision, allowing them to spot their prey even when flying at high speeds.Tyrant flycatchers have a varied diet, which includes insects, fruits, and even smaller birds.

They can be found in a variety of habitats, from dense tropical forests to grasslands and even cities.

They are also highly social, often forming small flocks or nesting colonies.Tyrant flycatchers are well known for their loud, distinctive calls, which can be heard over long distances. These calls are used to communicate with one another, to mark territory, and to attract mates.

They are also quite vocal during mating season, and their calls can sometimes be heard from miles away.In conclusion, the tyrant flycatchers are a highly diverse and adaptable family of birds.

They have a wide range of habitats, varied diets, and are well known for their loud, distinctive calls. With over 400 species, they are the largest family of birds known to exist in the world.


11. White-faced Whistling Duck


The white-faced whistling duck is a species of whistling duck that is found in sub-Saharan Africa and much of South America. It is a social bird, often seen in large flocks that can number up to a thousand individuals.

These flocks often come together at the same place at dawn, which is a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight. The white-faced whistling duck is usually found near water, and can be identified by its distinctive white face.

It has a brown body and wings, with a white line running down the neck and contrasting black and white stripes on the wings. It also has a loud whistling call, which can be heard at a great distance.

This species is known to nest in tree cavities, reed beds, and other vegetation, often near water. It feeds mainly on small invertebrates, seeds, and plant matter. This species is not considered threatened, and its population is generally stable.

SpeciesD. viduata

12. Thrush


The thrushes are a family of small to medium-sized birds, known as Turdidae, that can be found all over the world. These birds are characterized by their short, rounded wings and long, slender legs.

They are omnivorous, eating both insects and fruits, and their songs are known to be particularly melodious. Historically, the thrush family was much more expansive, including all the species of chats and European robins.

However, in recent years, biologists have reclassified these species into a different family, the Old World flycatchers.

This reclassification was done to separate the thrush family from species that were more closely related to the flycatchers, which have different physical characteristics and behaviors.


13. House Wren


The house wren (Troglodytidae) is a small bird that is natively found in the Americas, from Canada to southernmost South America. This makes it the most widely distributed bird in the Americas, and it is also found in most suburban areas in its range.

The house wren is the single most common wren species, and it can be found in many parts of North, Central and South America.The house wren is a small and sparrow-like bird that is usually grey or brown in color. It has a short bill, a long tail, and a short neck.

Its wings are short and rounded, and it has a short, upturned beak. The house wren is quite vocal, with a loud, distinctive call.

It is also very active, often flying quickly from one place to another while foraging for food.The house wren is a ground feeder, and its diet includes insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. It typically forages in low vegetation, searching for food on the ground.

It also eats seeds, berries, and other plant material.The house wren is a monogamous species, with a mated pair forming a strong bond. They typically build their nest in cavities, such as a hole in a tree, a rock crevice, or a man-made structure, such as a birdhouse.

The male house wren will sing to attract a mate and defend its territory. The female will build the nest and incubate the eggs.

Both the male and female will feed the young.In summary, the house wren is a small bird of the wren family, Troglodytidae, that is native to the Americas. It is widely distributed, and is the single most common wren species.

It is a ground feeder, and typically forages in low vegetation. It is a monogamous species, with a mated pair forming a strong bond. The house wren is an interesting species that is often seen in suburban areas.

SpeciesT. aedon

14. Eurasian Wigeon


The Eurasian wigeon, or European wigeon, is a species of dabbling duck found in the Palearctic region. It is also commonly referred to as the widgeon or the wigeon. It belongs to the genus Mareca, which consists of three species of wigeon.

The Eurasian wigeon is a highly adaptable species, occupying many different habitats including wetlands, grasslands, marshes, and even agricultural fields. It is widespread throughout its range, from western Europe and Scandinavia to eastern Asia.

It has a varied diet, including aquatic insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and plant material. It is also a popular game bird, with hunters pursuing it in many parts of its range.

The Eurasian wigeon is a medium-sized duck, with a length of around 46-55 cm and a wingspan of around 80 cm. The males have a distinctive white crown, while the females are primarily brown with a pale head.

In terms of conservation, the Eurasian wigeon is not considered threatened, and its population is stable. It is protected by law in various parts of its range, and is listed on the IUCN Red List as being of least concern.

SpeciesM. penelope

15. Hooded Merganser


The Hooded Merganser is a species of duck found in the subfamily Anatinae. It is the only living species in the genus Lophodytes, and its name is derived from two Greek words – Lophos meaning ‘crest’ and dutes meaning ‘diver’.

This species of duck is a fish-eater, and its name reflects the main characteristic of the duck – the crest on its head, and its ability to dive in order to catch its prey.

The crest is used to both aid in the duck’s visibility in the water and also help with the duck’s ability to maneuver in the water. The Hooded Merganser is well adapted to its environment and is a popular duck among hunters.

It is easily recognizable with its distinctive crest, and it is known for its swiftness and agility.

SpeciesL. cucullatus

16. Mallard


The mallard or wild duck is a species of duck that can be found in a variety of habitats across the world. It is a dabbling duck, which means that it feeds on plants, insects, and small fish by dipping its bill in the water and scooping up food.

It is most commonly found in temperate and subtropical regions of the Americas, Eurasia, and North Africa.

This species has been introduced to many other parts of the world, such as New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Falkland Islands, and South Africa, through either accidental or intentional releases by humans.The mallard is a highly adaptable species and has been able to establish successful breeding populations in many of these new areas.

In some cases, it has even become an invasive species, outcompeting and displacing native waterfowl. In New Zealand, for example, mallards have become a nuisance to farmers, as they can feed on and damage crops.

Despite these potential drawbacks, the mallard continues to be a successful species. It has a wide range and is found in a variety of habitats, from wetlands to urban parks. It is also a popular game bird, with hunters harvesting millions of ducks each year.

SpeciesA. platyrhynchos

17. Ciconiidae


Storks are large birds with long legs, long necks, and long, stout bills. They belong to the family Ciconiidae and make up the order Ciconiiformes. Ciconiiformes was formerly home to a number of other bird families, such as herons and ibises.

However, these families have been reorganized and placed in different orders. Storks are wading birds, which means they live in shallow water, searching for food. They typically feed on fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures.

Storks have an important place in many cultures, where they symbolize fertility and the coming of a new baby. They are also important for controlling insect populations, helping to keep pests in check.


18. Burrowing Owl


The Burrowing Owl, also known as the Shoco, is a small, long-legged species of owl found across North and South America. They can be seen in areas with low vegetation, such as grasslands, rangelands, deserts, and agricultural fields.

These birds prefer to live in open, dry areas and prefer to make their homes by burrowing into the ground.

They will often use abandoned burrows created by animals such as badgers, coyotes, and prairie dogs.Burrowing owls are active during the day and feed on a variety of small animals, such as insects, small rodents, and reptiles. They will also eat fruits and grains when available.

These owls are highly social birds and are often seen in large groups, which makes it easier to spot them in the wild.

They are also very vocal, emitting a variety of calls and songs.The burrowing owl is considered to be an important species to many habitats, as they help to control rodent populations.

They also play an important role in the local ecosystem by providing food for larger predators, such as hawks and foxes. Despite this, the burrowing owl is considered to be a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Unfortunately, they are still threatened by habitat destruction, as their preferred habitats are being lost to development.

SpeciesA. cunicularia


Birds in the Savanes are a unique and essential part of the region’s biodiversity, providing numerous ecological services and playing an important role in maintaining the Savanes’ delicate ecosystems.

They are also a visually stunning addition to the region’s landscape, providing a sense of wonder to those who take the time to observe them.

With threats to their habitats and populations increasing, it is important to ensure that these birds are able to thrive in their natural habitats for generations to come.

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