Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa with a size that slightly larger than the area of the U.S. state of Texas, covering an expanse of 752,618 square kilometers. The country borders eight countries, including Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The avian fauna of Zambia supports a broad range of birds. From terrestrial, sedentary, birds of prey and wading birds, Zambia boasts of more than 700 bird species. The ideal location of the country, south of the Sahara, along the equator and within the tropics provides an ecosystem favorable to different types of birds. The birds live in the vast savannas, grasslands, the Miombo woodlands, and the wetlands of the Lonchivar National Park, which has over 420 bird species. The river courses of Zambezi and Luangwa have many bird species residing in the woods.
Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius)
The secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a terrestrial bird of prey. The bird lives in the open savannas and grasslands of Sub-Saharan Africa. The bird also thrives in a variety of altitudes from the coastal plains of countries to the interior highlands. It has an eagle-like body standing on crane-like legs which increase its height to around 13 centimeters. It has a hooked beak, rounded wings, and short neck and the species must stoop to reach the ground. The tail extends beyond the feet during flight. The feathers and thighs are black in color and the covers gray or white. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism. They rook on the local Acacia at night and spend the day on the ground. The secretary birds hunt on foot either as pairs or familiar flocks. They prey on insects, mice, hares, crabs, lizards, snakes, young birds, bird eggs, and dead animals. The bird lays two or three ovoid and pale green eggs in two to three days. Incubation takes 45 days. These hatchlings are fed for 40 days and by 65 to 80 days they fledge. They accompany their parents in expeditions and learn how to hunt. The Sagittarius serpentarius faces habitat loss from deforestation. The African Convection and Conservation of Nature protect these birds.
Yellow-Fronted Canary (Crithagra mozambicus)
The Yellow-fronted canary is a small passerine bird native to Africa south of the Sahara Desert in the countries of Zambia, Guinea, Mali, Cameroon, and other nations of West, Central, and Eastern Africa. The species prefers the open woodlands habitats and altitude of below 2,300 meters. They frequent cultivated lands and take advantage of the abundance of millet, sorghum, and other grains. The bird does not prefer the tropical rainforests in Congo nor the arid regions of South Africa. The adult male is green on the back with brown wings and tail. The underside is yellow with black malar stripes. The birds crown and nape are gray. The female is almost identical to the males but it has dull underparts, and the head pattern is less intense. The Juveniles are paler on the head than females. Three eggs are laid per season in small nest cups with an incubation of 13 to 15 days. These canaries are monogamous and breed in the rainy season when food is sufficient. Within 18 to 24 days the birds fledge and within six weeks they break free from their parent's covers. Sexual maturity is six months in both sexes. The yellow canary birds forage alone or in small flocks. They feed on arthropods and food items such as fruits, nectar, and grains. The flocks also join other finches to from the mixed-species flocks. Vocal communication and posturing is a common feature within the group. Though not migratory, the species may migrate to escape bad weather and stay close to the best food sources.
Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer)
The Marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer) is a large wading species that breeds in the African nations south of the Sahara. Habitat ranges run from the open dry savannahs, grasslands, river banks, near fishing villages, and swam around rubbish dumps or slaughterhouses. The bird is recognizable from its size of around 152 centimeters in height, with big wingspans, the bare head and neck, white underparts and the black back. The bird has a huge bill and a distinctive pink gular sac on the throat. It also has a neck ruff and legs, and wings are black. The bird exhibit sexual dimorphism but juveniles are browner with smaller bills. The species is not threatened probably because of its large size and adaptability to arable lands and other habitats including rubbish. However, the Etosha National Park in Zambia provides a home to these local nomads. The species are sedentary or local nomads. They move with prey abundance and water availability. Its diet comprises of carrion, scraps of fish, arthropods, frogs, snakes, and lizards. The birds breed colonially is either singular or mixed species.
Green Woodhoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus)
The Green woodhoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus) is a near-passerine tropical bird endemic to Africa. The species has a metallic dark green background it has a very long diamond-shaped, purple-black tail. There are distinctive markings on its wings and white chevrons along the tail edges. The bird has a long, thin, curved and red bill. Immature birds have black bills. The bird preys on insects, especially termites. The female bird lays two to four blue eggs in Barbet nests or tree holes. Incubation is 18 days, and the rest of flock feeds the mother and the young ones. The bird prefers habitats of forests, woodlands, and gardens.
Zambia has large birding areas. The bird’s population is diverse and widespread. Most of these birds have adapted to the climate changes and are not endangered. Since most the country lies in the Miombo Woodlands, majority of these birds live in the ecosystem
|Native Birds of Zambia||Scientific Name|
|Green woodhoopoe||Phoeniculus purpureus|
|Yellow-fronted canary||Crithagra mozambicus|
|Marabou stork||Leptoptilos crumenifer|
|Booted eagle||Hieraaetus pennatus|
|Chaplin's barbet||Lybius chaplini|
|Lilian's lovebird||Agapornis lilianae|
|Lesser moorhen||Gallinula angulata|
|Kurrichane thrush||Turdus libonyana|
|African hobby||Falco cuvierii|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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