Report on wetland bird counts and bird mapping at Gondwana lodges in north-eastern Namibia, July 2018 - News - Gondwana Collection

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Report on wetland bird counts and bird mapping at Gondwana lodges in north-eastern Namibia, July 2018

Avatar of inke inke - 04. September 2018 - Environment, Gondwana Collection

An African fish eagle feeding on prey close to Chobe River Camp.

Holger Kolberg, Directorate Scientific Services, Ministry of Environment and Tourism


After a very successful series of summer counts at the four Gondwana lodges in February it was time to repeat the exercise, this time in winter. The team, consisting of Gudrun Middendorff, Neil Thomson, Dirk Heinrich and Holger Kolberg, arrived at Hakusembe on 12 July 2018 and a count was done the next day resulting in 197 birds of 21 species being recorded (cf. 211 birds of 22 species in February). The team then moved to Namushasha where a count was conducted on 15 July and 67 birds of 19 species were counted (cf. 61 birds of 20 species in a rain-curtailed February count). Two days later it was the turn of Mubala where notwithstanding the arctic temperatures 1657 birds of 37 species, including a large number of African Skimmers, was counted (cf. 373 birds of 32 species in February). Finally, and again arctic temperatures had to be endured, on 19 July a count was done on the Chobe River and here 857 birds of 31 species were recorded (cf. 659 birds of 40 species in February). In total, 2778 birds of 53 species were recorded (cf. 1304 birds of 51 species in February). Seven red data book species were recorded viz. Great White Pelican, Rufous-bellied Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Marabou Stork, African Skimmer, African Fish Eagle and African Marsh Harrier.

Although the primary aim of the visit was the wetland bird counts, we also did some bird mapping (atlasing) at each lodge. The aim of the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAB2) is to map distribution, abundance and seasonality of birds throughout southern Africa and Namibia has been participating in the project since 2012. Here Chobe River Camp came out on top with 98 species recorded (126 in summer), followed by Mubala with 85 (109 in summer), Namushasha with 83 (105 in summer) and Hakusembe with 78 (112 in summer).

My sincere gratitude goes to our guides Paulus (Hakusembe), John (Namushasha), Sylvester (Mubala) and Nelson (Chobe). We would not have spotted half the birds without their help! The staff and management at each of the lodges are thanked for their support and hospitality. We are indebted to the management of the Gondwana Collection whose support and generosity made these counts possible. Thank you!

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