Birding in the Madikwe Game Reserve

By Focus Online Team on August 17, 2020

The Madikwe Game Reserve is an ornithologist’s dream, with a dazzling array of birdlife to look forward to. As well as the Big 5 and other fascinating mammals, the reserve boasts a number of winged favourites and rarer species. Here we highlight just why you should consider Madikwe for your next birding safari in South Africa.

Image Credit: Gavin Tonkinson

What To Lookout For

There is no shortage of birds to spot in the Madikwe Game Reserve; more than 360 different species to be specific. For a dash of colour flitting across the sky, look out for the Lilac-breasted Roller, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Plumcoloured Starling and Carmine Bee-eater. For an impressive display of hunting ability, look forward to the Brown Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Steppe Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Rock Kestrel, African Hawk Eagle and Wahlberg’s Eagle. Species such as the African Fish Eagle, Woodland Kingfisher, Greyheaded Bushshrike, Cape Turtle Dove, Yellowbilled Hornbill and Blackcollared Barbet will be sure to delight your ears with unforgettable songs. What’s more, keep your eyes peeled for significantly-sized specials such as Ostrich, the Kori Bustard, Secretary Bird, Egyptian Goose, Grey Heron, Marabou Stork, Lesser Flamingo and Great White Egret standing out amidst the bushveld or frolicking in the water.

Undoubtedly one of our favourites is the Redcrested Korhaan, a ground-dwelling bird which utilises a unique way of impressing females and showing off to other competitors. The males frantically launch themselves up to 10m in the air, stop dead-still mid-flight and fall dramatically back down to the ground. This entertaining aerial display has earned the Redcrested Korhaan the nicknames of Suicide Bird or Parachute Bird. See for yourself here! 

What To Bring

The key to any memorable birding safari is a good pair of binoculars and a decent camera, so make sure to pack both when getting ready for a trip to the Madikwe Game Reserve. If you’d like to cross off species as you go, pick up the Fourth Edition of Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair on Amazon before you leave. As well as detailing more than 950 species across seven countries, this field guide features 213 colour plates, over 900 colour distribution maps and information on occurrence throughout the year.

Image Credit: Gavin Tonkinson

Specialised Game Drives

If you’re as interested in birdlife as you are in wildlife, make sure to mention this to your guide at Tuningi Safari Lodge as soon as you arrive. This way when you head out for your morning and afternoon game drives, they’ll be sure to stop regularly for as many bird sightings as possible. Our game drive vehicles are designed for optimum stability and comfort so you’ll have enough space to set your camera up and enough breathing room to bird-watch in peace. 

When to Visit

Birding in the Madikwe Game Reserve is best during Summer (from October – March) when migratory birds are present. It is a fascinating time when birds breed and males don their gorgeous summer breeding plumages. That being said, no matter the time of year, there are always incredible bird sightings to be had in the reserve.

To find out more about bird watching and birding safaris in the Madikwe Game Reserve, feel free to get in touch with the team at Tuningi Safari Lodge. And if you’d like to book your stay at our family-friendly lodge, do so here.

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