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The Ultimate Southern African Birding Resource Guide



Birding or birdwatching is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. Almost daily we read of people that are starting to bird and are looking for advice on how to get started. We have put together this article to help you get started in this exciting journey, we will cover the basics that should be looked at when identifying birds, as well as helping you choose the best resources available on the South African market.


The Six Basics Of Identifying Birds:

1. Size – What size is the bird? Is it bigger than or small than?

A sparrow – 15cms

A dove – 25cms

A guineafowl – 55cms

2. Bill (beak) – Note the size, the shape, and the colour of the bill. Is it a seedeater, an insect eater, a fruit eater, a raptor etc?

3. Legs – Note the colour and length of the legs and feet? What is the structure of the toes?

4. Plumage – Note the colours and markings on the bird. Note the colours at the different parts on the bird.

5. Habits – What was the bird doing?

6. Habitat – Where did you see the bird? Note the distribution of the bird.


When it comes to choosing a bird identification app or field guide, we are spoilt with options in South Africa. If you were to ask the question to a group of birders, you would get a whole range of responses telling you which is best. What you need to remember is that they are normally recommending the app that suits their unique preferences (just like we will in this article). You need to find the app or field guide that suits what YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. You need to note that there are books and apps that are better suited for people of different levels experience as birders. We have used each of the apps and books on this list, and honestly, there are people that would enjoy each of the resources on the list. If you have any further questions, please feel free to drop us an email and we will help and advise you (info@thebirdinglife.com).


What Is The Best Bird App?

We have listed these in the order that we recommend them.

1. BirdPro App – This is a modern app with a whole range of great features. The app doesn’t use drawings, it only features photos. As with all the apps it features quality bird call recordings. The app is growing and improving all the time – and has just added an image recognition tool that promises to be very accurate. Download the app for IOS or Android

2. Roberts Bird Guide 2 – A much loved app in the Southern African birding community – features both drawings and photos. Wide range of quality bird calls. The app also has the most information on the different species. Download the app for IOS or Android