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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


Namibia Birding Tours

Namibia is a must-visit African country since it is so very unique, with the world’s oldest desert including the highest sand dunes in the world, which are a spectacular red color, other massive sand dunes coming right down to the sea, rugged desert mountains along the Namibian Escarpment, desert elephants and rhinos, one of the world’s greatest game parks, the vast Etosha National Park. And, last but not least, Namibia has a whole bunch of birds that are only found there or in adjacent Angola.

Dune Lark - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia - Quintessential Namibia 2017

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 6
Date Start: September 02, 2017
Date End: September 12, 2017
Tour Start:: Windhoek
Tour End:: Windhoek
Price: This is an exclusive tour, prices on request.
Summary: Experience the Namib in all its splendor – the oldest desert in the world with towering red dunes. The essence of Namibia is encapsulated in this wondrous photographic birding exploration, which takes in...

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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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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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Dune Lark - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia - Quintessential Namibia 2018

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 6
Date Start: September 02, 2018
Date End: September 12, 2018
Tour Start:: Windhoek
Tour End:: Windhoek
Price: This is an exclusive tour, prices on request.
Summary: Experience the Namib in all its splendor – the oldest desert in the world with towering red dunes. The essence of Namibia is encapsulated in this wondrous photographic birding exploration, which takes in...

See full tour detail
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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Monteiro's Hornbill - Niall Perrins

Namibia day tours

Duration: 1 day
Tour Start:: Windhoek
Tour End:: Windhoek
Price: Please ask us.
Summary: For most Namibia day tours, out of Windhoek, we do not have a set or fixed itinerary. We basically provide a list of specials/birds that could be realistically seen, and then, once we have the wish list of...

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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

Hi Chris- I just wanted to send a quick note from the airport letting you know what an incredible day I had with Jason. He is an outstanding guy and a great birder. Our list for the day exceeded my wildest expectations. My head is still buzzing! I will connect with Jason so that we can compare lists once I have my details sorted out. In the meantime, please let him know today was one of the best days I have ever had in the field. Please also tell him I asked for a refund for lack of raptors…kind of an ongoing joke throughout the day. Thanks for coordinating all of this, Chris. Yours is an outstanding outfit. If I ever travel to one of the countries you cover or if I return to SA, I will only use Birding Ecotours. Best- Jon

Jonathan Bowser, University of Colorado
11/04/2014



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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