Wilderness Safaris Collaborates with Birdlife Botswana for 10th Birding Festival

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Wilderness Safaris, in collaboration with Birdlife Botswana, is set to host a celebration of birdlife taking wing on the 3rd of April 2018 in Botswana’s beautiful Okavango Delta. For the 10th year in a row, birding enthusiasts will get a chance to marvel at the array of species that the Okavango Delta has to offer. During this day, both Wilderness Safaris’ guests and staff will compete in the annual Big Birding Day competition for exciting prizes by counting as many different bird species they can.

Wattled cranes (Chitabe) (Pic by Bush Tracks)

Exclusively tailored for the Botswana market, Wilderness Safaris’ bird competition is set to thrill. With Wilderness Safaris having started out as a specialist birding safari outfit back in the 80s, 35 years ago, it made sense for the organisation to champion this day to focus on appreciating the beauty and diversity of all the birds around the Okavango.

Said Robert Taylor, Conservation Ecologist for Wilderness Safaris Botswana, “This year marks a decade of us celebrating this competition and we are thrilled to once again host this event, most especially as we are partnering with Birdlife Botswana to showcase our feathered friends to the keen birders and bird enthusiasts of Botswana. It is our great pleasure to welcome budding birders as well and promise to assist them in their first birding footsteps. Our trained staff consists of ornithologists or keen birders and they are there to help and point out the different species.”

Rosy-throated longclaw (Mombo) (Pic by HBW)

More than 400 bird species have been recorded in the Okavango Delta, quite the plethora by international birding standards. Currently, Bird Life Botswana remains active providing services to its members, which are the valuable mainstay of the organisation. It is also heavily involved in education and outreach, and continues to undertake research and be involved in conservation.

The Okavango Delta is home to the hallowed Pel’s fishing-owl, African skimmer and important populations of Endangered bird species such as southern ground-hornbill and wattled crane. Sought after for birders are the ‘papyrus swamp specialists’ such as coppery-tailed coucal, brown firefinch, greater swamp warbler, and chirping cisticola amongst others. Further, the near-endemic slaty egret has approximately 85% of its population restricted to the Delta.

“The competition starts at 5am and ends 11pm, with some diehard teams birding the whole day and even passed nightfall. We are excited to keep this tradition alive, and to inculcate a culture of recognising, appreciating and celeb rating the birdlife in the Delta,” concluded Taylor.

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