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The diversity of birds in Africa might be less talked about, but it greatly exceeds that of the more popular mammals such as zebras, elephants, lions, and primates among others. Africa is home to around 2400 different bird species, and more than 50% are only found in Africa.

From the open savannahs to the dense rainforests, Africa's many ecosystems provide a haven for a wide array of bird species.

In this article, we'll take a look at the 10 most beautiful birds in Africa, that we think are a beautiful manifestation of nature's precise grandeur. 

We know that beauty is not the same for everyone, so this list isn't meant to rank one species of birds as better than another. Nature's balance is such that every part of an ecosystem plays a crucial role.

Most Beautiful Birds in Africa

Here are the 15 visually striking bird species found in Africa, along with slightly more detailed descriptions that capture their unique beauty:

1. African Fish Eagle

african fish eagle

The African Fish Eagle, with its white head and brown plumage, rules the waterways of Africa. Seen near rivers and lakes, it exhibits regal grace as it soars through the skies in search of fish. 

As an indicator species, its presence signifies a healthy wild ecosystem and this is probably why it is well regarded by many African traditional cultures to represent good fortune. In countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Sudan, it is a national symbol - present on the flags, money or coat of arms.

2. Lilac-Breasted Roller

lilac breasted roller

Found in savannahs and open woodlands, the Lilac-breasted Roller showcases a stunning display of lilac, turquoise, and green feathers. Its aerial acrobatics and vibrant colours are an enchanting display for observers.

3. Secretary Bird

walking secretary bird

Stalking the grasslands of Africa, the Secretary Bird stands tall with its long legs and distinctive crest. This striking bird of prey captures attention as it moves gracefully in search of small animals.

4. Malachite Kingfisher

malachite kingfisher

Near water bodies and wetlands, the Malachite Kingfisher captivates with its dazzling turquoise and green feathers. Its small size and jewel-like colours create a mesmerizing sight.

5. African Grey Crowned Crane

Grey crowned crested crane

The African Grey Crowned Crane, found in wetlands and grasslands, displays a regal crown of golden feathers. Its elegant dances and calls add beauty to the African landscape.

6. Martial Eagle

Martial Eagle

Patrolling the skies above savannahs and woodlands, the Martial Eagle impresses with its large size and dark plumage. Its powerful presence and keen eyesight make it a true African icon.

7. Superb Starling

superb sterling

Delighting in woodlands and savannahs, the Superb Starling shines with its iridescent blue and orange feathers. Its colourful appearance and melodious songs enliven the African bird chorus.

8. African Paradise Flycatcher

african paradise flycatcher

Adorning forests and woodlands, the African Paradise Flycatcher enchants with its white plumage and long, graceful tail. Its ethereal beauty and aerial acrobatics bring a touch of magic to the scenery.

9. African Crowned Eagle

african crowned eagle

Roaming forested regions, the African Crowned Eagle commands attention with its black-and-white plumage and piercing gaze. This apex predator embodies strength and magnificence.

10. Great Blue Turaco

great blue turaco

Adorned in blue plumage with red flight feathers, the Great Blue Turaco flourishes in African rainforests. The turaco's vibrant colours and distinctive appearance enhance the allure of lush habitats.

Final Thoughts

Africa is home to a remarkable array of stunning bird species. Their vibrant colours, graceful movements, and fascinating behaviours make them a sight to behold. Whether you're a seasoned birdwatcher or new to the world of birds, Africa is home to some birds that will captivate and inspire.

From the majestic African Fish Eagle to the enchanting Lilac-breasted Roller, each bird showcases nature's incredible beauty. Whether they soar above the waterways or grace the savannahs, these birds add a touch of magic to Africa's diverse landscapes.

Maybe you are attracted to the smaller, more colourful and acrobatic birds or you want to witness the big and more powerful birds exert their presence. Either way, we hope this list of beautiful birds can kick-start your interest in African birds and bird-watching as a whole.

You will find that birding is a balance of being both active and meditative - something not common in our modern world of distractions and attention spans.

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