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SWAZILAND'S BIODIVERSITY: Swaziland's Bird Checklists

UPDATE: This information has been upgraded to the Swaziland Birds Database which includes separate pages for each species of birds as well as photographs for a number of species, checklists by grid square and local checklists.

Printable versions of checklists

Information from the Swaziland Bird Checklist by Vincent Parker, published by The Conservation Trust of Swaziland, 1992, supplemented with information from Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, 1985, names updated according to Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, Edition VII, 2005, digital data provided by the Avian Demography Unit, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town (http://www.aviandemographyunit.org).


The checklist lists all bird species recorded in Swaziland between 1985 and 1991 inclusive. Appendix 1 lists those species which were recorded prior to 1985 and have not been recorded since. Appendix 2 lists those species recorded in Swaziland for which further confirmation is required.

The English name for each species is preceded by its Roberts number (the number assigned in "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa" by Gordon Maclean) and followed by its scientific name.

The status, range and habitat preference of each species are described in detail in the Swaziland Bird Atlas.

The status and range of each species is briefly described. The relative abundance is described by assigning each species to one of four categories according to the frequency with which the species has been recorded on field cards submitted to the Swaziland Bird Atlas Project. The categories used are: very common (species recorded on more than 50% of the field cards); common (on 15-50%); uncommon (on 1-15%); and rare (on less than 1%). Those species for which the total population is believed to be fewer than 50 breeding adults are described as rare irrespective of the recording frequency. The term "visitor" is used when it is not certain whether the species is a migrant or vagrant or perhaps resident.

The range of each species is described with reference to the four major topological regions of Swaziland as described below:

Swaziland - Major topological regions:

Species List

Note: In the original publication, this is presented as a single list.

(To view list of species by family, click on the family name.)

Struthionidae - Ostrich

Podicipedidae - Grebes

Pelicanidae - Pelicans
Phalacrocoracidae - Cormorants
Anhingidae - Darters

Ardeidae - Herons, egrets, bitterns
Scopidae - Hamerkop
Ciconiidae - Storks
Plataleidae - Ibises and spoonbills

Phoenicopteridae - Flamingoes

Anatidae - Ducks, geese, swans

Sagittariidae - Secretarybird
Accipitridae - Eagles, hawks, buzzards, kites, vultures
Pandionidae - Osprey
Falconidae - Falcons and kestrels

Phasianidae - Francolins and quail
Numididae - Guineafowl

Turnicidae - Buttonquails
Gruidae - Cranes
Rallidae - Rails, crakes, moorhens, coots, etc.
Heliornithidae - Finfoots
Otididae - Bustards and korhaans

Jacanidae - Jacanas
Rostratulidae - Painted Snipe
Charardriidae - Plovers
Scolopacidae - Sandpipers, stints, snipes, etc.
Burhinidae - Dikkops
Glareolidae - Coursers and pratincoles
Laridae - Skuas, gulls, terns

Columbidae - Pigeons and doves

Psittacidae - Parrots, cockatoos, etc.

Musophagidae - Louries

Cuculidae - Cuckoos and coucals

Tytonidae - Barn and grass owls
Strigidae - Typical Owls

Caprimulgidae - Nightjars

Apodidae - Swifts

Coliidae - Mousebirds

Trogonidae - Trogons

Alcedinidae - Kingfishers
Meropidae - Bee-eaters

Coraciidae - Rollers
Upupidae - Hoopoe
Phoeniculidae - Woodhoopoes
Bucerotidae - Hornbills

Capitonidae - Barbets
Indicatoridae - Honeyguides
Picidae - Woodpeckers
Jyngidae - Wrynecks

Eurylaimidae - Broadbills
Alaudidae - Larks
Hirundinidae - Swallows and martins
Campephagidae - Cuckooshrikes
Dicruridae - Drongos
Oriolidae - Old-World Orioles
Corvidae - Crows and ravens
Paridae - Tits
Timaliidae - Babblers
Pycnonotidae - Bulbuls
Turdidae - Thrushes, chats, robins
Sylviidae - Warblers, apalises, cisticolas, etc.
Muscicapidae - Flycatchers and batises
Motacillidae - Wagtails, pipits and longclaws
Laniidae - Shrikes
Malaconotidae - Bush shrikes
Prionopidae - Helmetshrikes
Sturnidae - Starlings and mynas
Buphagidae - Oxpeckers
Promeropidae - Sugarbirds
Nectariniidae - Sunbirds
Zosteropidae - White-eyes
Ploceidae - Sparrows, weavers, bishops, widows, queleas
Estrildidae - Waxbills, mannikins, twinspots, firefinches, etc.
Viduidae - Whydahs and widowfinches
Fringillidae - Canaries and buntings

Appendix 1

The following species were recorded in Swaziland before 1985 and have not been encountered since.

207. Wattled crane (Grys carunculata)
230. Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori)
332. Sooty tern (Sterna fuscata)
403. Pels fishing owl (Scotopelia peli)
705. Wattle-eyed flycatcher (Platysteira peltata)

Appendix 2

The following species which have been recorded in Swaziland require further confirmation.

129. Bat hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus)
130. Honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus)
138. Ayres eagle (Hieraaetus ayresii)
150. Forest buzzard (Buteo oreophilus)
639. Barratts warbler (Bradypterus barratti)
765. Greater blue eared glossy starling (Lamprotornis chalybaeus)
797. Yellow white-eye (Zosterops senegalensis)


The fieldwork on which this checklist is based was partially funded by the Natural History Society of Swaziland, the Southern African Ornithological Society, the Mhlosinga Wildlife Society and the Conservation Trust of Swaziland.

Although data was submitted by a large number of individuals, the contributions of the following were particularly valuable: J. Culverwell, N. & D. Adams, D. & D. Hill and T. & P. Sandiford.

Site Map
Reference Material

Malolotja Birds
Mantenga Birds
Mlawula Birds
SNTC Headquarters: Parliament Road. P O Box 100, Lobamba, Swaziland. Tel: (+268) 2416 1516, 2416 1489, 2416 1179. Fax: (+268) 2416 1875, 2416 1480. Email: info@sntc.org.sz
National Museum:
Tel: (+268) 2416 1179, 2416 1875
Fax: 2416 1875
Email: curator@sntc.org.sz
King Sobhuza II Memorial Park:
Tel: (+268) 2416 1179, 2416 1489
Fax: 2416 1875
Email: ksmp@sntc.org.sz
Malolotja Nature Reserve:
Tel/Fax: (+268) 2444 3241
Cell: 7660 6755
Email: culturalvillage@sntc.org.sz
Mantenga Nature Reserve:
Tel: (+268) 2416 1151
2416 1178, Fax: 2416 1480
Email: culturalvillage@sntc.org.sz
Magadzavane Lodge
Mlawula Nature Reserve:
Tel: (+268) 2343 5108/9
Fax: 2343 5111
Email: magadzavane@sntc.org.sz