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Namibia Bird Life


About 660 species of bird, equivalent to 72% of the southern African avifauna, are found in Namibia. The great majority are residents that breed within the country. About a quarter of the species are Palaearctic and intra African migrants, shorebirds and seabirds on seasonal visits to the Namibian coast.

Southern African endemics, and near-endemics, constitute 14% of the Namibian total. In particular, they include species in the so-called `Southwest Arid’ group with substantial percentages of their world populations, as high as 40%, resident in the western part of the country.

Namibia claims 16 endemics of its own and they are largely concentrated in the arid highlands along the escarpment, northwards from the Naukluft mountains to the Kunene river.

Woodlands and wetlands in the north-eastern Kalahari support the richest diversity of species. Wetland habitats in the Caprivi Strip attract both water and tropical birds from further north in Africa that are rare, or unusual, elsewhere in the subcontinent.

At the opposite end of the northern border in the Kaokaveld, and downriver from the Ruacana Falls in the gallery woodlands, two species from Angola are found that are seen nowhere else on in the subcontinent. They are the Cinderella Waxbill (Estrilda thomensis) and the Rufous tailed palm thrush. (Cichladasaru fichuda)

Pure-bred southern African ostriches (Struthio camelus australis), once wildly distributed and abundant in the subcontinent, are now found only in northern Namibia and Botswana. Wild ostriches everywhere else are descended from hybrid crossbreeding with subspecies from Syria and Arabia. These ostriches were bred for their feathers.

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