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Birds of Namibia

There are 3 Families in the Order Piciformes. They are the Family Indicatoridae (honeyguides), Family Picidae ( woodpeckers and wrynecks) and the Family Lybiidae (African barbets and tinkerbirds).


Honeyguides are small, passerine birds that are characterized by a complex voice box, feet that are adapted for perching with 3 forward facing toes and 1 backward facing toe. Their plumage is olive, grey or brown, often paler below. They inhabit wooded areas including forest and eat insects and some items of fruit but extremely unusual for birds they also eat wax, usually as honeycomb or as waxy scale insects. Greater honeyguides lead humans and possibly honeybadgers and baboons to beehives, attracting their attention by a chattering call. Females lay thick-shelled, white eggs with incubation periods around 12 to 13 days. There are 4 species of honeyguides found in Namibia.


Woodpeckers are small to reasonably large birds that have adaptations enabling them to cling to trees. Both sexes have variable plumages that differ in head patterns. They have strong bills as you would expect for such a bird, that is chisel-tipped, ideal for pecking. Signalling between woodpeckers is done by drumming with the bill on a branch, interaction that can easily be detected by humans. Woodpeckers feed on ants whilst others feed on sap from holes drilled in trees. Females lay between 2 and 8 white eggs incubated by both male and female during the day and mainly at night by the male. There are 5 species of woodpeckers found in Namibia. They are:


African barbets and tinkerbirds are small to medium-sized, tree living birds that are related to woodpeckers and honeyguides. They have a large head, supported on a short neck, rounded wings and short tails and their bills are pointed with base bristles. Members of the Family Lybiidae eat mainly fruit and tinkerbirds also eat insects. Nests are made in dead tree limbs. Females lay between 2 and 5 eggs. There are 5 species of barbets and tinkerbirds 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