South Africa is considered as one of the best birding hotspots in the world, offering an unbeatable combination of variety of birds and well developed commuting systems. People from all over the world come to South Africa to experience both the great variety of typically African birds, migrants and indigenous birds. South Africa provides birders with great excitement and enjoy whether they are with a guide or even if they are touring independently. Of the almost 850 species that have been sighted in South Africa, about 725 are resident or annual visitors, and about 50 are indigenous. The winter tends to be dry over much of the southern country of South Africa, but very wet in the extreme southwest around Cape Town. Excellent birding is available at this time in the bushveld and lowland areas of the northeast. There are many pelagic trips in Cape Town that offer the chance to see large numbers of Albatrosses, Petrels, Storm-petrels and Shearwaters.
The Drakenberg in Kwazulu-Natal has got to be South Africa’s birding paradise, the bushveld and wetlands offers a spectacular wide variety of awesome birding. With more than 400 species recorded including the very unique and endangered bearded vulture, the largest South African bird of prey.
France has a combination of rare and exotic birds. Among others you will be able to see firecrests and short-toed treecreepers, and any area of bushy scrub will produce spectacular sightings of dartford and melodious warblers, serins and cirl buntings.
Spring time in Poland can be very rewarding to a twitcher. Birds that are common here are the extinct British breeding bird called the Red-backed shrikes, the thrush nightingales, corncrakes, and Europe’s rarest breeding birds, the Aquatic warbler and the Great snipe.
The Amazon is home to many species of plant and animal life. Birds together with other wildlife thrives in the Amazon. In fact a visit to the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin – or El Oriente (“the East”) as it is known locally will give you the chance to view many different types of extinct indigenous Amazon bird species. The Galapagos Islands with its fertile volcanic ground attracts many birds such as the Galapagos Hawk, Blue-footed Booby, Masked Booby, Red-footed Booby, Great Blue Heron, Striated Heron and the Galapagos Heron.
With no native land mammals other than bats, New Zealand was truly a land ruled by birds. Although many of the unique species were already long-gone by the time Europeans arrived, and many more have become extinct since, these long-isolated islands are still home to some of the world’s most remarkable birds: the flightless kiwi and kakapo; the cheeky kea (a highly intelligent alpine parrot); and incredible songbirds like the bellbird, tui and kokako that kept Captain Cook’s crew awake at night.
There are many opportunities to experience New Zealand’s unique fauna, but one of the best places is Karori Sanctuary, just 2km from the centre of the capital city, Wellington. Protected from introduced mammals by a world-first 8.6km-long fence, nationally endangered bird species such as hihi (stitchbird), saddleback, brown teal and kaka (bush parrot) are thriving. The Karori Sancturay even offers night tours, where you might be lucky enough to spot a little spotted kiwi – New Zealand’s smallest kiwi species, which is found nowhere else on the mainland.
Unfortunately we can not mention every single hotspot in the world, but with out much effort you will be able to see some of the most beautiful, extinct and chirpy birds in the world just outside your doorstep.