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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

 

Pelagic Birding is a rather specific ‘art’ or aspect of birding, and it basically refers to an ocean-going trip taken on a boat in search of true ocean-going species, such as albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm petrels, etc. This is usually done as a day trip but can be slightly longer. These species are almost never seen from land (except during extreme conditions when they get blown close to shore), and in order to see them one has to travel out into the ocean. Due to the rather unpredictable nature of the weather and sea conditions on the day itself, each pelagic excursion is scheduled over two days, with the second day acting as a backup.

Pelagic birding offers some of the most exciting birding out there – as one quite simply never knows what will turn up! These species are known to travel vast distances in search of food and spend the vast majority of their lives out at sea, traversing the world’s oceans. The possibilities can literally be anything! The sight alone of these unique birds with their incredible flying skills and aerial prowess is quite simply awe-inspiring, and they leave us marveling at their capabilities time after time.

The port city, Cape Town, off South Africa’s south-western coast, is world-renowned for its pelagic birding. This is due to the rich waters located off Cape Town resulting from the meeting of the Benguela and Agulhas currents. This quite simply attracts a large number of fish and, in turn, the many pelagic species that feed on these fish. This whole process is augmented by the many fishing vessels operating in these waters, which attract even more birds. Birding Ecotours now run regular scheduled pelagic birding trips off Cape Town, and we will soon start arranging pelagic outings in other Southern African destinations (such as Inhambane in Mozambique, Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and Walvis Bay in Namibia), and also in other parts of the world such as off Lima along the Peruvian coast and off the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

 

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

 

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

 

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

 

There are some seasonal differences during pelagics, and the austral summer brings in a few northern hemisphere species, such as Cory’s and Great Shearwaters, European Storm Petrel, etc., while the austral winter brings in many of the true Antarctic species from further south, such as Antarctic Prion, Cape Petrel, etc. One can experience a great day out at sea during any time of the year; however, the most productive months must be the period ranging from June/July through October. Here the regular frontal systems from the south bring in many rare and ‘exotic’ species from further afield, and the waters off Cape Town are regularly packed with thousands of birds – a true sight to behold!

 

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

 

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present in small numbers during the austral summer months

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present during the austral summer months

 

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer.

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer

 

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

 

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

 

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

 

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

 

Our upcoming schedule for 2017 is as follows:

  • 29/30 April — 4 places remaining
  • 27/28 May
  • 10/11 June
  • 15/16 July
  • 19/20 August
  • 16/17 September
  • 14/15 October
  • 18/19 November

 

For more information on these pelagic outings, please click on the link below:

Information Cape Pelagic Trip

 

Seasonality Table (click to enlarge):

Seasonality table.xlsx


Botswana Birding Tours

Botswana is well known for having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas on the African continent. With a full 38 percent of its total land area devoted to national parks, reserves, and wildlife management areas,  for the most part unfenced, allowing animals to roam wild and free. Travel through many parts of the country, one has the feeling of moving through an immense nature wonderland.

Rosy-faced Lovebird - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Namibia: Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 2017

Duration: 18 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 9
Spaces Available:: 0
Date Start: November 02, 2017
Date End: November 19, 2017
Tour Start:: Walvis Bay, Namibia
Tour End:: Livingstone, Zambia
Price: R77,167 per person sharing
Summary: This tour is fully booked. Please consider our Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls in reverse tour (20 November – 7 December 2017). This is a truly marvelous 2.5-week birding adventure, during which we ...

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Rosy-faced Lovebird - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Namibia: Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 2017 in reverse

Duration: 18 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 9
Spaces Available:: 3
Date Start: November 20, 2017
Date End: December 07, 2017
Tour Start:: Livingstone, Zambia (reverse tour)
Tour End:: Walvis Bay, Namibia (reverse tour)
Price: R77,167 per person sharing
Summary: Please note that this tour will proceed in reverse of the itinerary listed, starting in Livingstone, Zambia, and ending in Walvis Bay, Namibia. This is a truly marvelous 2.5-week birding adventure, during ...

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Birding Tour Botswana - African Skimmer - Martin Benadie

Birding Tour Botswana: Northern Botswana Birding Safari 2018

Duration: 9 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 8
Date Start: February 12, 2018
Date End: February 20, 2018
Tour Start:: Maun
Tour End:: Kasane
Price: US$6915 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 paying participants. US$7561 per person sharing, assuming only 4-5 paying participants. US$9592 per person sharing for a private tour with only 2-3 paying participants.
Summary: The Okavango Delta and Greater Chobe River areas of Northern Botswana offer some of the best birding in Southern Africa. Join us for an eight-night luxury ‘Birding Tour Botswana’ safari with no...

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Rockrunner - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana: 13-day Adventure 2018

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2018
Date End: March 21, 2018
Tour Start:: Windhoek, Namibia
Tour End:: Maun, Botswana
Price: R89,797 per person sharing, based on 4 – 7 participants in a 14-seater van with some seats removed.
Summary: This is a photographic birding tour that gives you time in some of Africa’s greatest (no exaggeration!) wildlife havens. We begin our Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana in Namibia with three da...

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Birding Tour Southern Africa - African Scops Owl - Martin Benadie

Birding Tour Southern Africa: Owls of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: April 10, 2018
Date End: April 24, 2018
Tour Start:: Windhoek, Namibia
Tour End:: Johannesburg, South Africa
Price: R66,462 per person sharing
Summary: Owls of Africa: The southern dozen – Birding Tour Southern Africa This is a trip in which we concentrate on finding the fine suite of owls inhabiting Africa south of the mighty Zambezi River. Most of...

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Rosy-faced Lovebird - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Namibia: Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 2018

Duration: 18 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 9
Date Start: November 02, 2018
Date End: November 19, 2018
Tour Start:: Walvis Bay, Namibia
Tour End:: Livingstone, Zambia
Price: R85,655 per person sharing
Summary: This is a truly marvelous 2.5-week birding adventure, during which we sample three different countries and spectacular, diverse scenery. We start in the coastal Namib Desert with its impressive dune fields...

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Malachite Kingfisher - Mike Bayman

Botswana by Request

Summary: We can very easily arrange a private, comprehensive tour of Botswana for you at any time. Please contact us for details. ...

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Featured Guide - Nick Buys

Senior tour leader for Birding Ecotours in Africa Nick was born and raised in the beautiful country of Namibia, a privilege that made Africa and its wildlife a concrete part of his childhood. His pass ...

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What our clients say

On a special (custom) trip for a dozen target birds: “I want to tell you that Eduardo and Raul were great on the recent trip in Peru. They worked hard to find birds for me. Raul is a careful, safe driver”.

Bill Tucker, Kingston, New Hampshire



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

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