The Birding Life at Mboma Island Expeditions

The Okavango Delta stands tall as a premier destination for birding safaris, with Mboma Island Expedition situated right at its heart. Nestled amidst the floodplains where the Delta’s pristine waters merge with the Moremi’s vast savannah, it forms a biodiverse haven, offering an exclusive habitat for a wealth of bird species. Amidst the rustic luxury of our camp, immerse yourself in the sheer abundance of birdwatching opportunities. From vibrant passerines to elegant waders and majestic birds of prey, the avian spectacle knows no bounds. Chase, our co-owner and avid wildlife photographer, who graciously shares his latest portfolio, a glimpse into the stunning array of species awaiting your discovery during your safari with Mboma.

The African Jacana

Frequently referred to as the “Jesus” bird because of its ability to dance gracefully across the waters, the aquatic African Jacana is a common, but notable species to spot while on a birding safari with Mboma Island Expeditions. You might hear these wading birds before you see them—they are exceptionally loud birds that make raspy barks and shrieks! With their long toes that are designed to cut through lily pads with ease, the African Jacana is certainly born to live in the waterways.

Here are a few interesting facts about the male and female Jacana: 

  • Females create a harem of males, ensuring that she lays numerous clutches to increase the survival of her bloodline
  • Males must build the most impressive nest to be selected as part of her harem
  • Once the eggs are laid with her first suitor and the chicks emerge, the female moves onto another male
  • The male she leaves behind is responsible for the parental care of the chicks

African Jacana Mboma Island

African Jacana Okavango Delta

Malachite Kingfisher

The iridescent royal blue and confident red colours of the exceptionally striking Malachite kingfisher, makes it one of the most easily identifiable kingfishers in the Okavango Delta. If you look close enough you’ll notice a few lilac, light blue and greenish hues that glow graciously in the light. Don’t be fooled by the Malachite’s beauty – it’s a tough and resilient bird, despite it’s tiny stature. They stand proud on a regular perch on branches or reeds above waterways and rivers; and nest in sandy tunnels on riverbanks.

Here are some interesting facts about the Malachite Kingfisher:

  • They’re extremely territorial and each bird covers a stretch of riverfront turf. Those that encroach will be attacked, grappled and chased in the most dramatic of aerial chases!
  • They’re solitary birds that only “meet up” when it comes to breeding season
  • Each kingfisher has a favourite perch from where it likes to fish – creatures of habit. You’re bound to spot the same kingfisher the following day, on the same outstretch of reed.
  • When these small river birds of prey catch a sizeable meal; it’s brought back to the perch where it’s banged/smashed to death…

Malachite Kingfisher Mboma Island Expeditions

Malachite Kingfisher Okavango Delta

African Fish Eagle

Ah. This is Africa’s iconic bird of prey, where we all know its call as the “sound of Africa”. The unmistakable yodeling of majestic fish eagle matches its regal appearance. The African Fish Eagle is found throughout southern Africa where there are large bodies of water and abundant sources of prey. You’ll definitely hear their call before you see them soaring in the skies or perched comfortably on branch above the waterways.

Here are a few facts about the African Fish Eagle:

  • It’s not a typical eagle, but rather a sea eagle
  • Despite its name, the fish eagle preys on a multitude of water loving animals such as ducks and turtles
  • They mate for life and are often seen in monogamous pairs, where they often put on impressive theatrical displays
  • African fish eagles can swim short distances by using their wings to propel themselves to the shores. They tend to swim when they drag large prey to shore.

Other Birds to See in the Okavango Delta

Other popular Okavango Delta birds include the bee-eaters, of which there are many. You can see the southern carmine Bee-eaters, little bee-eater, white-fronted bee-eaters, blue cheeked bee-eaters and swallow-tailed bee-eaters. In fact, there are 15 different types of bee-eaters to spot while on safari at Mboma Island Expeditions. Species like the African stonechat, terns and Allen’s Gallinule were also recently spotted while exploring the channels of the Okavango Delta.

In fact, there are over 400 species of bird in the Okavango Delta alone. And it’s not uncommon to spot over 100 in a day. You’ll never be short of birds to spot while on safari with the team from Mboma Island Expeditions!

BeeEaters in Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta Bird in Flight

European Stonechat

Mboma Wading Bird Crake