Etosha birdlife is absolutely wonderful with every kind of feathered friend. One to look for is the ground hornbill who looks like a downhearted widow with a red scarf around her face. Other less terrestrial hornbills are the cheeky yellow-billed hornbills whose squawk and loping flight becomes a familiar sight. Lilac breasted rollers are colourful enough at they sit on their favourite perch, but when they take off in pursuit of an insect, their underwings give a blinding flash of electric blue. Eagles and vultures cruise high in the warm air currents or perch on branches with beady eyes alert.
1. Fisher’s Pan. When wet – Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Lesser Flamingo and Greater Flamingo, Yellow-billed Stork, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork
2. Namutoni Camp. The waterhole occasionally holds some good birds including Caspian Plover (summer), Greater Painted-snipe and other waders. The woodland around this camp holds small numbers of Bradfield’s Hornbill.
3. Bloubokkie Draai. The best place in Etosha to see Black-faced Babbler.
4. Andoni Plains. Good for larks, particularly Eastern Clapper Lark, Red-capped Lark, Fawn-coloured Lark, Sabota Lark, Spike-heeled Lark, Pink-billed Lark and Stark’s Lark. Grey-backed Sparrowlark and Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark are common here too. The small Blue Crane population at Etosha is most evident here. The kalahari sands hold Burchell’s Sandgrouse.
5. Springfontein. The open flats here are good for both Double-banded Courser and Temminck’s Courser. Some years the grasslands here hold very important numbers of Black-winged Pratincole. Occasional bushy patches hold the isolated Etosha population of the Rufous-eared Warbler. The open grassland flats here are good for Pallid Harrier and Montagu’s Harrier.
6. Etosha Lookout. When the pan is wet waterfowl, storks and flamingo’s abound. This is one of only two areas in southern Africa where flamingo’s breed. Chestnut-banded Plover and Caspian Plover abound in good years. Occasionally small numbers of Wattled Crane and Grey Crowned Crane occur on the pan in the wet season.
7. Halali Camp. This camp is the best place in Etosha for Namibian specials. Bare-cheeked Babbler, Violet Wood-Hoopoe and Carp’s Tit all occur on the wooded knoll behind the camp waterhole, all of these species occasionally wander right into the camp. Southern White-faced Scops-Owl occurs in the camp.
8. Okaukuejo Camp. The camp itself holds Sociable Weaver and the associated Pygmy Falcon as well as several species more typical of drier habitats such as the Southern Pied Babbler and Crimson-breasted Shrike. Many seedeaters frequently come to drink at the waterhole including Violet-eared Waxbill, Red-headed Finch and Cut-throat Finch. Impressive numbers of Double-banded Sandgrouse regularly come to drink at the waterhole shortly after dusk. At night, Marsh Owl and Barn Owl hunt in the lights as do Rufous-cheeked Nightjar.
9. Far western Etosha. The area near Otjovasandu holds part of the Namibian escarpment and is not open to the general public but can be accessed through registered tour operators. The area holds several specials, some of which cannot be seen elsewhere within the park but are easily seen at Hobatere including Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rüppell’s Parrot, White-tailed Shrike, Rockrunner, Violet Wood-Hoopoe and Bare-cheeked Babbler.