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Birds of Namibia

There are 4 families in the Order Gruiformes. They are:

  • Family Otididae: Bustards
  • Family Gruidae: Cranes
  • Family Heliornithidae: Finfoots
  • Family Rallidae: Flufftails, Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, Moorhens and coots.


Bustards range in size from medium to very large, are terrestrial with what experts describe as 'generally cryptically coloured' plumages. They have reasonably long legs and necks with short bills which are characteristically straight and flattened at the base. Other features include an absent hind toe; 3 toes with broad, blunt claws; broad wings and a 'simple' voice. Females usually lay between 1 and 3 eggs, laid in an unlined scrape on the ground, incubated by the female who also cares for her chicks. There are 7 members of this family found in Namibia. They are:


Cranes are large, slender, long-legged birds with characteristic long necks with straight bills. Their plumage is usually grey, black and white. A feature of their behaviour is a dramatic dancing courtship display, with a performance that includes screaming, honking and trumpeting. Females nest on the ground or in marsh vegetation where they lay between 1 and 4 eggs, cared for by both male and female. They feed on a variety of plants and animals. There are 3 species of this family found in Namibia. They are:


Finfoots are small to medium-sized, grebe-like birds with dagger-like bills. Plumage is mainly olive-brown with white eye stripes. Other features include a small head, a long body with well-set back legs and a long, slender neck. Their wings are fairly small and the long tail is graduated, reasons for their reluctance to fly. Swimming is another characteristic although they seldom dive and their diet mainly consists of small aquatic animals. Nests usually consist of a flat platform built of grasses and sticks in tangled vegetation. Females lay 2 or 3 eggs incubated by both sexes. There is just the 1 member of this family found in Namibia.


This family are a diverse group of small to medium-sized flufftails, rails, moorhens, coots, swamphens and crakes. Features include a soft and loose plummage, short, rounded wings and a short, soft tail. Food is mainly animal matter, but plants and seeds are also taken by larger birds. Nests are made close to the ground in vegetation, usually over water with floating nests built by some species. There are 12 members of this family found in Namibia. They are:

Fish River Lodge Hikes

5, 3 or 2 Days - hiking trails in the Fish River Canyon. Hikers carry a day pack and additional luggage is transported to the overnight stops

Mundulea Walking Trails

3 or 4 Days - Absolutely brilliant! One of the best experiences in Namibia

Tok Tokkie Hiking Trail

3 Days - Excellent guided walking trail on the NamibRand private reserve (near Sossusvlei)

Namib Mountain Trail

A day hike between two lodges on the very edge of the Namib Desert

Rostock Ritz Hiking

The Rostock Ritz Lodge north of Sossusvlei (en-route to Swakopmund) has a variety of guided and un-guided hikes ranging in duration from an hour to an entire day

Tsondab Valley Scenic Reserve Hiking

A lodge on the edge of the Namib Desert which offers exceptional hiking & walking

Namibia Safaris