Bird species

These are the bird species with texts on the BDI website. We have arranged them in groups (such as dove, lark, gull, etc). Within each group, the species are listed alphabetically. Species with their names in italics (such as the Cape Turtle Dove) have recently had their names changed, but the old names are still very much in use by many birders.

For each of these species, the text on the BDI website has been structured into the order we think is the most useful. First comes a section on identification, which starts with annotated photographs, like the ones above. The second section is on distribution. This is illustrated by the distribution map for the species. This comes from the database of the Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project; the interpretation guidelines for these multicoloured maps are here. The third section deals with habitat, and contains photographs which show some typical habitat for the species. The fourth section describes the behaviour of the species. Sometimes there are sections dealing with other aspects of the biology of the species, such as breeding. The photographs mostly come from the BirdPix section of the Virtual Museum.

Many of the texts contain technical terms. We have tried to put explanations of all these terms into a Glossary. This contains a list of all the terms which have been covered.

Batis:    Pririt Batis
Bishop:    Southern Red Bishop    Yellow Bishop
Bokmakierie:    Bokmakierie
Bulbul:    African Red-eyed Bulbul    Cape Bulbul    Dark-capped Bulbul
   Kori Bustard    Ludwig’s Bustard
Buzzard:    Jackal Buzzard
Canary:    Cape Canary   White-throated Canary
Chat:   Ant-eating Chat   Familiar Chat   Karoo Chat   Sickle-winged Chat   Tractrac Chat
Cisticola:    Grey-backed Cisticola
Cormorant:    White-breasted Cormorant
Courser:    Burchell’s Courser   Double-banded Courser
Crane:    Blue Crane
Crow:   Cape Crow    Pied Crow
Cuckoo:   Dideric Cuckoo
Dove:   Cape Turtle Dove   Laughing Dove   Namaqua Dove   Red-eyed Dove   Ring-necked Dove
Drongo:  Fork-tailed Drongo
Eagle:  African Fish Eagle  Booted Eagle  Verreaux’s Eagle
Egret:   Little Egret   Western Cattle Egret
Fiscal:   Southern Fiscal
Fish Eagle:  African Fish Eagle
Flycatcher:   Fairy Flycatcher    Fiscal Flycatcher
Goose:   Egyptian Goose
Goshawk:   Pale Chanting Goshawk
Grebe:   Little Grebe
Guineafowl:   Helmeted Guineafowl
Gull:   Hartlaubs’ Gull    Kelp Gull   Lesser Black-backed Gull
Hamerkop:   Hamerkop
Heron:   Black-headed Heron   Grey Heron
Honeyguide:   Greater Honeyguide
Hoopoe:   African Hoopoe
Ibis:   African Sacred Ibis    Hadada Ibis
Kestrel:   Greater Kestrel
Kingfisher:   Malachite Kingfisher
Korhaan:   Karoo Korhaan
Lapwing:   Blacksmith Lapwing   Crowned Lapwing
Lark:    Cape Clapper Lark   Eastern Clapper Lark    Karoo Lark    Large-billed Lark    Red Lark    Sclater’s Lark    Stark’s Lark
Mannikin:   Bronze Mannikin
Martin:   Rock Martin
Mousebird:    Red-faced Mousebird    Speckled Mousebird    White-backed Mousebird
Owl:   Cape Eagle Owl   Spotted Eagle Owl
Oystercatcher:    African Oystercatcher    Eurasian Oystercatcher
Pigeon:    Speckled Pigeon
Plover:   Kittlitz’s Plover   Three-banded Plover
Prinia:   Karoo Prinia
Quelea:   Red-billed Quelea
Raven:   White-necked Raven
Robin-chat:    Cape Robin-chat
Rock-thrush:    Short-toed Rock-thrush
Sandgrouse:    Namaqua Sandgrouse
Scrub-robin:    Karoo Scrub-robin
Secretarybird:    Secretarybird
Sparrow:    Cape Sparrow    House Sparrow    Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
Sparrow-lark:    Black-eared Sparrow-lark    Grey-backed Sparrow-lark
Spurfowl:    Cape Spurfowl
Starling:    Common Starling    Pale-winged Starling   Red-winged Starling    Wattled Starling
Stork:    White Stork
Sugarbird:    Cape Sugarbird    Gurney’s Sugarbird
Sunbird:    Dusky Sunbird    Malachite Sunbird    Southern Double-collared Sunbird
Swallow:    Barn Swallow   Greater Striped Swallow   White-throated Swallow
Swift:    Little Swift
Thick-knee:    Spotted Thick-knee
Thrush:    Olive Thrush
Turnstone:    Ruddy Turnstone
Wagtail:    Cape Wagtail
Warbler:    Chestnut-vented Warbler    Cinnamon-breasted Warbler    Namaqua Warbler    Rufous-eared Warbler
Waxbill:    Common Waxbill    Swee Waxbill
Weaver:    Cape Weaver    Southern Masked Weaver
Wheatear:   Capped Wheatear    Mountain Wheatear
White-eye:    Cape White-eye    Orange River White-eye
Whydah:    Pin-tailed Whydah

We update these species texts from time to time, mostly by adding information. More important at present is to increase the number of bird species covered. The total is now more than 120, and it grows by several species every month.

Recommended citation format: BDI Admin 2024. Bird species. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available online at