Birds can have many different homes or habitats where they live and raise offspring. Their habitats are where they can naturally be found, meaning that a zoo or bird cage are not a birds’ natural habitat. A variety of birds can be found across the continent of Africa.
Just like you, birds need homes to live. They need a safe place to build a nest and find food. The African flamingo are water birds. They live in the lakes or lagoons in Africa because they eat shrimp and algae. There are also the sociable weavers that build big nests for their community.
There are around 2,300 different recorded species of birds in Africa while and around 1,800 of these species cannot be found anywhere else! In this article, we will explore and learn all about some weird birds that live in Africa. Included are fun facts and beautiful pictures of these beautiful birds for better learning.
01. African Ostrich
The flightless ostrich is popular for being the biggest living species of birds. There is no other bird bigger than the ostrich right now! There were bigger birds in the past like the Pelagornis sandersi and the elephant bird. Ostriches are native in Africa and run the wide and open savannas and miombos with their powerful legs. These legs can carry them in speeds of over 70 kilometers per hour – about twice the speed of the fastest man alive.
02. Cape Vulture
The cape culture, also known as the Cape Griffon, is a large scavenging bird that can be found in South Africa. They can grow for up to 45 inches in length. They are not as tall, but their wingspan can measure up to 8.5 feet in length – making them look huge while in flight.
03. Ground Hornbill
The ground hornbill is an odd-looking bird that is native to the southern and eastern parts of Africa. Despite their name, ground hornbills can actually fly, but they spend most of their time on the ground. A male Ground Hornbill can grow up to 51 inches long and weigh up to 6.2 kilograms.
04. Grey Crowned Crane
The grey crowned crane is a species of birds that commonly flock in numbers of 30 up to 150. They can grow up to 3.3 feet in height and 3.5 kilograms in weight. When fully extended, their wingspan can measure up to 2 meters. The most notable trait of the grey crowned crane is the set of golden feathers on top of its white head that looks like a crown.
05. African Flamingos
There are different species of flamingos scattered throughout the world. The most common greater flamingo is located in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. In addition to the greater flamingo, Africa is also the home of the lesser flamingo. They are notable for their pink plumage, but they are born with grey feathers. They get this color from the shrimp and algae they eat.
The turaco is a family of birds that includes the white-cheeked turaco in the picture above. Their wings are short, but their tails are long. They have crests that give them their unique look. Their color is usually blue-green and can grow from 14 to 28 inches.
07. Abu Markub
The abu markub or shoebill is known for its odd bill that looks like a shoe. These long-legged, wading birds live in large swamps in eastern Africa. They are notable for staying still for a long time like statues. Just like storks, they are fairly tall and can grow up to 55 inches in height.
08. African Grey Hornbill
The African grey hornbill lives in sub-Saharan Africa. They can grow up to 18 inches long. The feathers on their heads, tail, and wings have a darker color than the rest of their bodies. They also have a noticeable curved beak. They can grow up to 18 inches in length.
09. Cut-Throat Finch
The cut-throat finch is a small bird that is common in Africa. They can grow around 4 inches long. The male cut-throat finch is easily differentiated from the female because of a red pattern around their necks. The red color gets brighter as these birds grow older. Cut-throat finches often use the nests made by other birds.
10. African Penguin
There are some penguin species that do not live in cold places. The African penguin is an example of a penguin species that lives in southern Africa. They are known to make noises or bray like donkeys. They can grow up to 28 inches when standing.
11. Cape Sugarbird
The cape sugarbird is common in the Western and Eastern capes of South Africa. Male cape sugarbirds have long tails and can grow up to 44 centimeters. On the other hand, female cape sugarbirds have shorter tails and bills.
12. African Jacana
The African jacana is found in sub-Saharan Africa. They have long legs and claws that can help them walk over water plants in lakes where they look for insects to eat. This is why others call them Jesus birds because they look like they are walking on water. They are only about 30 centimeters long.
13. Marabou Stork
The marabou stork is a wading bird that sometimes lives near humans in Africa. Although they are scavenging birds, they eat frogs, insects, fishes, and other small animals during the breeding season. They have very long legs and black wings that look like a cloak. They can grow quite big; up to 60 inches tall.
14. Southern & Northern Red Bishop
The southern red bishop is a small bird that can be found in the wetlands and grasslands of Africa. The males have bright red-orange and black feathers while females are brownish. They are only around 11 centimeters long.
Although the Northern Red Bishop look similar to the Southern Red Bishop and in the past, the northern red bishop was known as a subspecies of the southern red bishop, these two species are completely different. The northern red bishops are bigger at around 15 centimeters.
15. Lilac-breasted Roller
The lilac-breasted roller is a colorful bird that is common in sub-Saharan Africa. They go to high places such as poles and trees to find insects, snails, and lizards to eat. Despite their harmless look, they sometimes eat smaller birds. These birds grow up to 15 inches in length. They are considered as a symbol of peace in Africa because of their beautiful colors.
16. African Paradise Flycatcher
The African paradise flycatcher is a bird that lives in sub-Saharan Africa near forests and the savanna. They only grow up to 17 centimeters long, but males have a long tail. These birds are known to be noisy. Just like some other birds, male African paradise catchers have brighter colors than females.
17. African Sacred Ibis
The African sacred ibis is a wading bird that lives and breeds in sub-Saharan Africa. They can be found in the mudflats and wetlands where they hunt fish, insects, smaller birds, and frogs for food. This long-billed bird is the symbol of the Egyptian god Thoth. Their bodies can grow up to 27 inches long.
18. Kori Bustard
The kori bustard is a large bird that lives in South Africa. They can be found in grasslands, savannas, and semi-deserts. These birds are omnivores. They eat seeds, berries, flowers, plant roots, lizards, insects, and small mammals. Sometimes, they eat dead animals. They can grow up to 4 feet and 11 inches long.
19. Pied Kingfisher
The pied kingfisher is a small bird that can be found in Africa and Asia. These crested birds can be seen hovering over lakes and rivers when they hunt for fish. When they see one, they dive down to catch it with their pointed beaks. They can grow up to 17 centimeters long.
20. African Hoopoe
The hoopoe is a medium-sized bird that can be found in many parts of the world, including Africa. Hoopoes in other countries tend to migrate, but those in Africa do not. They have crests with black markings on top of their brown heads. They can grow up to 32 centimeters long.
21. Red-Necked Spurfowl
The red-necked spurfowl or francolin is a bird that lives in central Africa. They are cousins of the domesticated chicken. These birds move slowly and like to hide. Why? This is because they are hunted by human hunters as game. The largest red-necked spurfowl can grow up to 38 centimeters long.
22. Woodland Kingfisher
The woodland kingfisher looks a lot different than the pied kingfisher. They live in the woodlands where they protect their territory from other birds by attacking them. These birds are colorful with a red upper bill and black wings with some light blue feathers. They can grow up to 23 centimeters long.
23. Secretary Bird
The secretary bird is a strange bird with very long legs. They look like eagles with the long legs of a crane. These predatory birds use their powerful legs to attack their prey. They eat snakes, lizards, crabs, small birds, mice, hares, tortoises, and even bird eggs. Secretary birds are very big and can grow up to 4 feet tall. Males have longer tail feathers and head plumes.
24. Fischer’s Lovebird
The Fischer’s lovebird is a small bird that is native to Africa. They are named after Gustav Fischer, a famous German explorer. The bright colors and small size of these birds have made them popular as house pets. They are intelligent and very friendly to humans. They eat mostly fruits and seeds. Fischer’s lovebirds can grow up to 14 centimeters long.
25. Grey-headed Kingfisher
The grey-headed kingfishers of South Africa looks a little like wooden kingfishers. They get their name from the grey color on top of their heads. Despite this, the rest of their bodies have bright colors. Even though they are kingfishers, they eat mostly small lizards and insects. These birds can grow up to 22 centimeters long.