This article will tell you everything Birding in Victoria Falls for beginners. Vic Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Zimbabwe, and it’s not hard to see why. The natural beauty of this area is unparalleled by any other destination in Africa.
Birds are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth and birding is a great way to see them up close. Victoria Falls is an amazing destination for bird watching, with over 400 species spotted in the region!
In this blog post, we will talk about what you should bring with you when going on a birding safari, where to go, and what tours and activities are available for those who just want to watch birds in their natural habitat.
How much do you know about the Birds of Southern Africa? Take our fun Birding in Victoria Falls for Beginners quiz at the end of this article to find out.
What is birding and why should you do it in and around Victoria Falls Zimbabwe
Birding is the act of observing and identifying birds in their natural habitat, usually by looking at them. Birders love to see different species of birds up close because each one looks like it could be a painting!
Victoria Falls has over 400 species of birds that live in this region. It’s not uncommon for people traveling here to spot at least 20 new kinds during their stay - some even report seeing 100 or more!
Where to go for the best Birding in Victoria Falls experience
There are a number of options for birding around vic falls from multiday group birding safari tours to half-day one on one outings with a guide. Here are some links to give you more information on what to choose.
How to prepare for a day of birding in Victoria Falls
Print out a list of the birds you might see when bird watching. It helps to know what types of species there are and how they look like so that way if you come across one, it won’t be such an exhilarating discovery!
When you go birding, remember to pack some comfortable clothes. You'll be spending lots of time outside and are likely to encounter various weather and outdoor conditions depending on where you are, like in a boat on the Zambezi or in the rain forest near the falls.
Bring sunscreen, the African sun can be quite unforgiving if you are out on safari for an extended period of time.
When birding, don't forget the essentials. The basics are easy to overlook. Make yourself a list and include binoculars, a field guide for birds (and other animals), chargers for electronics like your phone or camera batteries if needed, a jacket with hood in case it rains unexpectedly- you can never be too prepared! Check out the best birding gear you never knew you needed.
Check the weather! A 10-day forecast might not always be accurate, but it doesn't hurt to look at what the forecasts say for your destination. That way you'll know exactly how much and what kind of clothing to pack before heading out on a birding adventure.
If you're going to be doing a lot of bird watching, invest in a good quality backpack or cross-body bag. This is also perfect for carrying snacks and essentials like water bottles, extra clothing layers and field guides so that everything's easily accessible when needed.
Beginners Tips for better bird watching
The best way to get close to a bird is by making as little noise as possible. To keep your distance, you'll want the volume of your voice lower than usual.
Birds are more sensitive and hear better than humans do so it’s almost impossible for them not to know if we're there or not- especially when they can easily spot us with their sharp vision!
By being quieter around birds, you will be able to sneak up on them easier without scaring away any nearby feathered friends who might happen across our path while exploring nature's beautiful surroundings
Avoid sudden movements.
When you are looking for birds, it is important to avoid sudden movements.
Just as loud noises startle and scare them away, so does a quick or jerky movement of your own body.
The closer you get to the bird without scaring it off, the quieter and slower your steps should be in order not to disturb its natural habitat any further than necessary
Birds are some of the most special creatures in nature because each is specially adapted to a specific habitat.
This means that what you see will depend largely on where you look! Studying the habitat in advance of your trip to find out what species live there is always a good idea, especially for beginners.
Bird watching is often about being patient and waiting for birds to show themselves. The sparrow hopping around in the bush will eventually be seen, as they all move back, forth or side-to-side into a spot where you can get a good look at them.
Get the sun at your back.
To make birdwatching easier, get the sun at your back. You can't always do this but moving around so that you're facing away from it will help you see and identify birds much better.
When a bird is between you and the sun its feathers don't have any color which makes it difficult to spot them when they're just black silhouettes!
There are times when you're bird-watching, no matter how patient and slowly you move, that the birds won't come out.
When this happens people use a technique called pishing to attract small birds into view; it involves making squeaky noises by kissing your hand or low whistled sounds with closed teeth.
Try giving these sweet little creatures some of their favorite treat - PISH!
Avoid brightly colored clothes.
Avoid wearing brightly colored clothes. Many birds have poor color vision, but bright clothing like whites will contrast with the environment and enhance your appearance of moving around.
Wearing darker colors or earth tones is a better choice to blend in well on the background too.
There's no evidence that camouflage-style clothing actually works as well as just simple dark ones for blending into backgrounds either.
It is important to keep your eyes peeled for the many species of birds that live in our surrounding habitats.
Sometimes we're so focused on one particular flock, or a certain type of bird, such as geese and hawks while overlooking other types like kinglets who can also be tremendously interesting!
It's crucial to look up at the sky too because sometimes you might miss out on seeing an unfamiliar variety flying past overhead just by focusing all your attention elsewhere.
Birds of the Zambezi River
The Zambezi River is home to some of the most notable southern African birds, like the:
African fish eagle
Majestic pelican, and a range of Weavers.
This region also has some near-endemic species such as the Swynnertons Robin or the Swee Waxbill which is found nowhere else outside of Southern Africa!
The best time of year to visit Victoria Falls for birdwatching
The migratory birds start to return home in January. Their breeding plumage is full of flirty splendor, and from sunset to sunrise, visitors can delight at the best bird-watching months which will continue all the way through April.
Birds that can be found in Victoria Falls National Park
To see the most comprehensive list of Southern African birds you may encounter at the Zambezi river on your next Vic Falls trip, there is no better repository than Sasol Birds of Southern Africa or Roberts Birds.
Here you can purchase information about birds of southern Africa in all sorts of formats, from hard copies to eBooks and apps for your phone or tablet.
For a list of birds, you are likely to encounter in Victoria Falls click here for Avibase's Victoria Falls National Park checklist