Birds in Zambia face a wide range of threats, most of which are human-induced. The major threats that birds face include; Habitat loss, pollution, illegal killings, lack of knowledge, Human-wildlife conflict, and invasive species among others. Birdwatch Zambia provides a home for those interested in learning about and protecting Zambia’s bird life.
We mobilise people to influence biodiversity consideration in public policies and private sector practices, campaign to bring about change and work with progressive companies to promote nature- positive practices. Together we influence local, national and regional governments, work with international agreements, and engage with the private sector to bring about smarter and more sustainable decision-making. Our advocacy lays the groundwork for better environmental and social policies and practices. On the ground, we work alongside indigenous people, local communities and youth groups to power effective conservation action. Together we strive to engage, educate and mobilise the general public to support and be champions of nature. We push for a just and equitable society where we acknowledge that nature is fundamental to our well-being.
We aim to make positive change to nature and society by making sure that:
Site Support Groups (SSGs)
Site Support Groups (SSGs) are described as ‘groups or individuals’ who in partnership with relevant stakeholders work with Birdlife partner organisations to help promote conservation and sustainable development at IBAs, members are usually volunteers and typically drawn from the local community but may also include local authority representatives, business persons or other stakeholders.
The volunteers despite varied backgrounds, ages, occupation and gender, have similar interests and a good understanding of natural resources and the local context in which they are managed, the SSGs provide a mechanism by which limited resources can be utilised efficiently and equitably, SSG volunteers live in or adjacent to IBAs may include the unemployed, students, farmers, teachers and others, all have a passion for conservation, development and responsible citizenship.
Membership for SSGs is generally open to all and the groups are an excellent means of engaging the local community in IBA conservation, SSGs provide a link between local communities and national institutions such as NGOs, Government agents and researchers, they play a fundamental role by providing an entry point for building local capacity for effective biodiversity conservation, management, monitoring and sound decision making. They help stimulate sustainable development that addresses local people's needs, while conserving their natural resources, SSGs provide a mechanism for self-confidence and empowerment thus allowing people to take control, manage and benefit from their own natural resources and to plan their own livelihoods.
Site Support Group (SSG)
Meembe Site Support and Farmers Group
Lukanga Swamps IBA
Chilwa Island Site Support and Farmers Group
Lukanga Swamps IBA
Mutolanganga Site Support and Farmers Group
Imanda Community Forest Management Group
Imanda Forest IBA
Maunga VAG Vulture Support Group
Kafue National Park
Environmental Education and Awareness
The role of Environmental Education (EE) in schools is to impart fundamental knowledge about the natural environment, and to build practical skills on how to study it, among students at all levels. Ultimately, the goal of all of our EE programs is to promote positive and lasting action that will enhance and ensure the conservation of Zambia's exceptionally rich avifauna by working in close collaboration with key stakeholders. In addition to being a focal unit for environmental awareness among school and college students, BWZ also engages local communities in a number of practical conservation activities, including studying and promoting solutions to local environmental issues.
BirdWatch Zambia’s environmental education and awareness work is supported by the Elephant Charge, and the Spring Alive Initiative and focuses on selected sites in Zambia, which includes 42 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and 9 Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs) where we collaborate closely with community members and other stakeholders with an aim to conserve birds and their habitats at large. Through various platforms such as radio, Television, face-to-face meetings and educational talks in schools, the organisation has been able to raise awareness of the need to protect avifauna and their habitats in Zambia. This gives communities an opportunity to understand the risks they face and get involved in response actions. BirdWatch Zambia does not only educate community members about the importance of birds, but it also encourages conservation initiatives that do not harm the environment. Currently, BWZ is directly engaging over 36 schools and surrounding communities in and around the 42 Zambia’s KBAs/IBAs and 9 Vulture Safe Zones (VSZs) in Zambia. The organisation conducts environmental education activities in schools, provides the schools with educational materials to facilitate the smooth running of the established nature clubs, and also conducts community talks on bird and habitat conservation. Find out more here.
Link to BWZ page on Elephant page: https://elephantcharge.org/beneficiary/bird-watch-zambia/
Link to Spring Alive Zambia (BWZ): http://www.springalive.net/en/group/15
List of schools currently being engaged by BWZ
Pinewood preparatory school
Chaisa Basic School
Crested Crane academy
Rhodes Park school
Kafululu Primary School
International school of America
Safe World Trust School
Martin House school
Nkongolo primary school
Chisamba combined school
Chisamba Girls' boarding school
Shiloh Community school
Mwayasunka Secondary school
Mwayasunka Basic school
Chartonel Community school
Steven Pende Basic school
Chisamba Ranch Secondary school
Chisamba Ranch Primary school
Masangu Basic school
Gonhwe Primary School
Hakunkula Primary School
Matuwa Basic school
Bakasa Basic school
Mutumbi Primary School
Nanga Secondary School
Kafululu Day Secondary School
Shikoswe Secondary School
Amos Youth Centre
Farao Community school
Katuba Primary School
Nchembwe Primary School
St. Theresa School
Makoye Boarding Secondary School
Mupamapamo Secondary School
Mupamapamo Primary School
Hachinka Primary School
Ithezi - thezi
Nanzhila Primary School
Ithezi - thezi
Garden Community Primary School
Meembe Combined School
Lukanga IBA - Kapiri
Chilwa Basic School
Lukanga IBA - Ngabwe
Musikili Primary School
Garden Community Secondary School
BirdWatch Zambia Conservation Hut - GRI Wildlife Discovery Center, Lusaka National Park
In 2022, Game Rangers International (GRI) opened a unique and immersive Wildlife Discovery Centre in Lusaka National Park. The centre not only provides free conservation education to children but is also the new home of the renowned Elephant Nursery. Fully accessible to all, the Wildlife Discovery Centre welcomes local and international visitors each year to immerse themselves in interactive displays and exhibits that will highlight conservation issues and the efforts to resolve them.
There are three conservation/education huts at the Discovery Centre, and BirdWatch Zambia (BWZ) is sharing a hut with the International Crane Foundation Zambia (ICF). Through the hut, BWZ will showcase different programs currently being run by the organisation as well as raise awareness of bird and habitat conservation in Zambia. This is with an aim to make a significant long-term contribution to the protection of wildlife and wild spaces by showcasing Zambia’s bird species, increasing environmental education and awareness, as well as inspiring greater conservation stewardship to both local and international visitors to the park/Wildlife Discovery Centre.
Both BWZ members and non-members are encouraged to visit the hut and learn about the amazing work BWZ is doing for conservation in Zambia, especially with regard to bird and environmental conservation. There is also room for BWZ members to play a role in this! If you would like to volunteer to do bird-specific talks at the hut on selected days you can contact BWZ on +260211239420, or you can come through to our office, we are at 25 Joseph Mwilwa Road in Rhodes Park Lusaka Zambia. You can also support us by making donations to support the running of the hut either financially or by helping through other resources. Find out more here.
Link to GRI discovery centre: https://www.gamerangersinternational.org/explore-the-wdc
Climate change affects the populations and distributions of species, the composition of ecological communities, and nature’s provision of goods and services – such as food, fuel and clean water. Climate change also compounds other major threats to biodiversity, such as invasive alien species, habitat fragmentation and overexploitation. Some areas in the country, particularly the south-western part are naturally dry, however, it has been observed over the past couple of years that the dry seasons are becoming longer and the wet seasons shorter. This has had a negative impact on the birdlife in that area. One such area, also housing a species of global conservation concern is Machile and Simungoma. Birds are a particularly good indicator of environmental change for several reasons: Each species of bird has adapted or evolved to favour certain habitat types, food sources, and temperature ranges. Climate change and global warming using birds as indicators in Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) through sustainable utilisation and management of ecosystems and the services they provide. Without ambitious mitigation efforts, global average temperature rise this century will exceed the globally agreed goal of keeping temperatures well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
- BirdWatch Zambia delivers ground-breaking research on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, to inform better decisions on the ground.
- BirdWatch Zambia supports nature-sensitive renewable energy deployment and delivers solutions to governments, investors and developers to ensure these do not negatively impact biodiversity.
- BirdWatch Zambia advocates for nature-sensitive and climate-smart safeguards in Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
- Our work shows that supporting community engagement and action can build the resilience of natural and societal systems.
- BirdWatch Zambia advocates for the importance of healthy ecosystems to be recognized in national, regional and international climate change and development policy.
You can help fight Climate Change by making a donation to BirdWatch Zambia.
Bird Ringing, Tagging and Banding
Bird banding is an important technique that is used for studying and identifying population and individual birds. The main reason for putting a ring, a tag or a band on birds is to mark individuals so that they can be recognized when they are encountered again later on, either as re-capture, re-sightings or recoveries. In order to identify and keep track of individual birds during any given survey, scientists put aluminium, metal or coloured rings on birds' legs. Similar to the licence plate on a motor vehicle, each aluminium or metal ring is engraved with a unique set of numbers that are a file reference where details for the individual bird are recorded in the database.
In this database, details of the species ID for the bird are clearly indicated, this includes the date, time and place where the bird was ringed as well as the purpose or type of survey under which the bird was ringed. All these are indicated together with the name of the ringer and also number of people involved during the survey under which the bird was ringed. From these records, knowledge about migration, dispersal, survival rates and longevity are obtained. Further, additional important information is collected during the ringing process such as weight, moult, parasites, age and sex as well as measurements for other various body parts of the bird according to species and type of survey being undertaken. This information helps to understand the biological processes and life histories for many poorly described, known and studied species.
Colour bands or rings that may not have numbers on them are used to identify marked individual birds easily even with a naked eye without equipment such as binoculars, the other reason is to identify individual birds and also species populations, this is mostly during population surveys that seek to understand bird’s movements and how different bird populations interact. The trend of advancing technology in scientific research has introduced electronic devices such as Telemetry Satellite Transmitters, GSM Transmitters or Geolocators that have improved data collection with real time observation, accurate mapping of bird migration and accurate GPS coordinates throughout their migration route.
These electronic devices do not replace the technique of rings, tags and bands, but they are used as an addition to help improve data collection through electronic transmission, this makes it easy as data is collected remotely without recapturing the bird, other information such as height, speed and route maps are also made possible through these electronic devices.
Bird baths are shallow basins, sometimes ornaments filled, with water for wild birds to drink from and bathe in. Water is one of the most important things bird lovers can add to their backyard to attract birds. All bird species need water for drinking and cleaning its feathers. Water also helps keep a bird’s body cool both from the inside and outside. Bird baths are deliberately mounted around schools, houses, recreational facilities and other premises as a way of attracting birds and it is the best way of watching them as they come.
Birdbaths are the fastest and easiest way to add water to your backyard bird habitat. Birdbaths come in two basic designs:
Pedestal: These classic bird baths stand three to four feet above the ground and include a post-style base on an elevated dish. Pedestal bird baths may be plastic, metal, ceramic or concrete and come in varying decorative designs and colours.
Dish: A simple saucer or shallow bowl can be used for a dish bird bath. Dishes can be used at different heights by being placed on the ground, a fence, patio table, stump or steps. Hanging dishes and models that attach to deck railings are also available.
Bird baths are usually mounted in gardens, balconies, rooftops and any open space that can be easily and safely accessed by birds. As such, anyone who is fascinated by birds can easily attract them by making a simple birdbath from old tyres. Cut an old tyre into half and fill it with water. Alternatively, fill a plough-disk with water and place it on some stones as simple as it sounds birds will be attracted.
A Nest Box is an artificial small box or shelter built for birds to nest in. Although other materials are used to make these, the most popular and recommended material is wood. Nest boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the species that use them. However, in Zambia the birds are not well trained to use these boxes, although there has been some success with owls. Owls are the perfect bird to attract to your property as they eat the rats and mice so are particularly useful if you have livestock or chickens around.
Unlike birdbaths where birds can easily come, it is not that easy to attract birds to a nest box. A number of factors ranging from location, habitat and height all come into consideration in helping to attract birds to a birdhouse. The trick is to locate the nest box in a place that is not too exposed but the targeted bird will be able to find it.
It’s a good idea to keep nest boxes sealed until the start of the breeding season which begins when it starts to warm up after winter in Zambia. Sealing the nest box when not in use will solve a lot of problems with unwanted visitors. Clean out nest boxes between breeding seasons. This will remove any old nesting material and ensure that harmful bacteria and contaminants are kept away from the birds. Use gloves, a dust mask, and mild soapy water when cleaning.
To keep bees and wasps from colonising the nest box, spray the inside of the top of the box with some non-stick cooking spray. This makes the surface too slippery for the insects to climb on. This is important as bees can be a problem here – especially in the bigger nest boxes.
Do some research on the ‘net’ to find out the size of the nesting box and the height of its location for the bird you intend to attract. Watch the birds in your garden to see where the birds are nesting and the type of nests that they use and then look for an artificial equivalent. That is a good starting place to attract birds to your nest box. Once they have moved in it is very exciting to watch them furnish their home and rear their chicks.
BIRD FRIENDLY LODGES
These are bird friendly lodges in Zambia that support BirdWatch
In Livingstone there is Waterberry Lodge and River Farmhouse. These lodges are near Livingstone on the Zambezi River but far enough away to be able to enjoy the tranquil peace of bush life. Both the lodge and farmhouse provide great opportunities for birding and the Lodge is close to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park which has 413 bird species recorded. https://www.waterberrylodge.com https://www.riverfarmhouse.com
Choma is two hour’s drive from Livingstone and here is Masuku Lodge run by Bedrock Africa. Masuku Lodge is located in the Nkanga River Conservation Area which is known as one of Zambia's top Important Bird Areas. The Nkanga River Conservation Area has a bird checklist of 439 birds, including Zambia’s only true endemic bird, the Chaplin’s Barbet (Lybius chaplini). http://www.bedrockafrica.com/
In Northern Zambia Mutinondo Wilderness is a remote and unspoiled wilderness unlike any other, nestled among a cluster of spectacular inselbergs, and furnished with 70 kilometres of walking tracks and trails and amazing biodiversity. Mutinondo is listed as an Important Bird Area with 363 birds listed and is renowned for sightings of several special species, such as the Chestnut-headed Flufftail https://www.mutinondozambia.com/
Eastern Zambia hosts the wonderful Luangwa Valley which is rich in birds and wildlife and an Important Bird Area. It is abundant with raptors, vultures and game birds as well as waterbirds along the river frontage and the special birds of the mopane woodlands. 468 bird species are recorded here.
Luambe Camp and Conservation is the only permanent camp in Luambe National Park located between South and North Luangwa. It offers a remote and private safari in a National Park that is being restored through conservation. https://luambe.com/
Lion Camp is situated at the top end of Lion Plain on the banks of the Luangwa River. It is isolated from the main hub of Luangwa and offers game drives and walking safaris among other attractions https://lioncamp.com
Remote Africa Safaris run 3 camps in the north of South Luangwa National Park and one camp in North Luangwa National Park. They run game drives, walking safaris, mountain bike safaris and cultural visits https://www.remoteafrica.com
Munyamadzi Game Farm is a privately owned unfenced wildlife reserve situated on the Luangwa River on the western part of the Valley. It is a smaller eco-friendly camp and perfect for a private get away. firstname.lastname@example.org +260972903793
Classic Zambia Safaris have camps in Lower Zambezi and Kafue National Park. They operate Kutali Camp and Chula Island Camp in Lower Zambezi and Ntemwa-Busanga Camp and Musekese Camp in Kafue National Park. They also offer safaris on Liuwa Plain or tailor-made walking safaris of your choice. https://www.classiczambiasafaris.com/
McBrides Camp is situated on the eastern bank of the Kafue River accessed through Mumbwa town. It is a wilderness camp with particular interest in lions. http://mcbridescamp.com
In North Western Zambia
Kalwelwa Bushcamp: Only known to ornithologists since 2015, Kalwelwa in Mwinilunga district already proves to be one of Zambia's prime birding destinations. This depression system combines one of Zambia's largest wet evergreen forests with endless Kalahari sands grasslands and marshes, Marquesia dry evergreen forest and miombo woodlands. Most of Mwinilunga's specials have healthy populations here, including the sought-after Grimwoods's Longclaw. https://www.frankwillems.org/kalwelwabushcamp
Are you visiting Zambia for the first time or you are a resident but haven’t had the opportunity to see the beautiful birds we have in Zambia? There are bird guiding companies in Zambia that support BirdWatch, and can take you on amazing bird watching tours!
Birding Zambia- run by Frank Willems. Birding Zambia brings Zambia’s top birders and conservationists together to help you enjoy Zambia astounding wilderness areas and its 782 species. Birding Zambia offers pre-arranged tours and invites fanatic birders, naturalists and bush lovers to travel with them https://www.birdingzambia.com email: BirdingZambia@gmail.com
Lapwing Safaris – run by Leslie Reynolds. Leslie can design your mobile safari to suit your needs and take you anywhere you would like to go for life filled memories. See his facebook page Lapwing Safaris or contact Leslie at email@example.com