BirdsConTour celebrates migratory birds
You're out on a game drive and absorbing the fascinating bird life your guide points out. But, have you spent a thought on who of them are migrants and what their threats are?
Being a guest in Namibia is always exciting. For some visitors, simply taking in the sights and sounds of the wild avifauna is the most exciting and fun-filled part, but most come for the learning experience. If you are in the latter category, here is something for you to get your fill.
Migrant birds are important biodiversity ambassadors not only for Namibia but for the whole world. It is therefore that each year the International Migratory Bird Day gets celebrated, this year on the 10th of May. Every year, from October to April, more than 150 migrant bird species visit Namibia from northern and central Africa, Europe and Asia.
Palearctic migrants, such as Barn Swallow, Common Swift, European Bee-Eater, Willow Warbler, European Roller, Red-backed Shrike, Red-footed Falcon, Steppe Eagle, Black Kite, Ruff, Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Black Tern and White Stork, fly from Europe and Asia to Africa.
Intra-African migrants, such as Diderick Cuckoo, Dusky Lark, Yellow-billed Kite and Abdim's Stork fly a north-south route in Africa.
Damara Terns use the coastal route to and from west Africa.
Many wading species such as Sanderling, Bar-tailed Godwit and Arctic Tern, use a coastal migration route.
Did you know that a satellite tracked Arctic Tern flew 70 900 km in one year?
In many instances, though, our migrating birds face many threats en-route and at their destinations. These are illegal hunting, powerline collisions, overgrazing, deforestation, pesticide pollution, water pollution, air pollution and climate change.
BirdsConTour established the Bird of the Year Namibia project to create an awareness of these threats by annually choosing an ambassador bird species in order to pronounce the different threats.