Bird watching in Northern Tanzania
With a resident population in excess of 1,388 different bird species, and many more that come down and up here from Europe and Southern Africa, Tanzania is probably one of the greatest places on the planet for birders. From the gigantic Marshall eagle to the delicate sunbird, the elusive Shoebill to the omnipresent Marabou, there is certainly something to please any keen twitcher!
The national parks to the north of Tanzania have been formed through the moving together of two tectonic plates and, as such, this is an area that is both barren and fertile in equal amounts. The main National Parks of the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Tarangire are very good for large raptors and scavengers, but, if you are looking to get away from the "flock" then please see a few additional areas below:
The Momella lakes are located in the north of Arusha National Park, these lakes are fed by underground streams and are a mecca for water birds in particular. Species commonly seen here include flamingo, pelican, little grebe and a variety of herons, ducks and waders are also common.
The Lake Natron is fed by underground springs and the Ewaso Ngiro River, Lake Natron is one of the famous Rift Valley Lakes and sits to the north of the Ngorongoro Crater, on the border with Kenya. This inhospitable region or caustic waters and parched earth is the main breeding ground for East Africa's 2.5 million or so lesser flamingo who rally here in the summer months of August and September. As a sheer spectacle on its own, it is something worth seeing.
Rubondo island is situated in the southern reaches of Lake Victoria, Rubondo Island is an often forgotten corner of Tanzania and, only now, is it becoming more developed and connected once more. This island has many great features but one of these is that, with its forested and freshwater habitats, it is very popular for bird species of all kinds.