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First photographs of Niam-niam Parrot, not seen for almost 40 years

December 4, 2017

In February 2017, we undertook an expedition to Chad, central Africa, to search for this species which had no documented records for almost 40 years. The Niam-niam is one of the world’s most poorly-known parrots, with little known of its conservation status, and was one of the last unphotographed birds in Africa until now. The survey was carried out jointly by the tour company Birding Africa and the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, both based in Cape Town. Based on discussions with colleagues at Birdlife International and the Word Parrot Trust, we have decided not to disclose the exact location as this species is not known in captivity could be threatened by unscrupulous collectors. We will be publishing our scientific and conservation findings shortly, but scroll down for more info in the photo captions.

The first-ever photograph of Niam-niam Parrot. A shrill call while searching a remote area in central Africa drew our attention to this bird.

This chunky parrot is identified by its green belly and upperparts, grey-brown head and breast, green underwings, pale lower bill and orange eye.

The lack of any yellow under the wings is distinctive. The only yellow in the plumage of Niam-niam is on some of the feather-bases to the body feathers, as also noted in museum specimens.

The differences from Meyer’s Parrot can be easily seen in this image: Meyer’s (top left) is smaller, has a deep red eye, yellow patches on the shoulder and under the wings, and a completely black bill.

The Birding Africa – FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology expedition team consisted of (left to right) Julian Francis, Callan Cohen & Claire Spottiswoode (Michael Mills was a critical part of the planning but was unable to join). The area was sparsely inhabited but we’d like to thank those local community members that we did meet while searching in the area for their friendliness towards some eccentric visitors who must have seemed rather crazy!


Ethan and Joe helping Arjan to break 6000!

May 30, 2016

Birding Africa guides Ethan Kistler and Joe Grosel helping Arjan Dwarshuis yesterday near Polokwane in his quest to break the world birding record! Read more about Arjan’s challenge here:

Arjan Dwarshuis birding in South Africa with Ethan Kistler, Joe Grosel, Billi Krochuk and Camilla Dreef.

Orca Whales and Spectacled Petrel – Monday 12 January 2015

January 16, 2015

A pod of Orcas (Killer Whales) was one of the highlights seen during our very first Cape Town Pelagics trip of the year.

Orca Whales photographed during this trip by our guide Barrie Rose.

On Monday 12 January the wind had abated and we were able to depart Simon’s Town harbour and head for the trawling grounds beyond Cape Point. We soon located a long-liner and enjoyed watching and photographing various pelagic species, including a few rarities such as this Spectacled Petrel photographed by foreign visitor and trip participant Michiel van den Bergh.


For information about Cape Town Pelagic trips please look at our website :

To enquire or to book, please email Amanda Kropman at

or call Amanda on mobile: +27 83 270 7452

Wandering Albatross (immature)

September 25, 2014

Our guide Rob Leslie took this photo of a beautiful immature Wandering Albatross during our pelagic trip on Saturday 20 September. Other highlights include a Flesh-footed Shearwater and Humpback Whales.

Wandering Albatross ( immature)

Click here to go directly to the pelagic trip report.

For information about Cape Town Pelagic trips please look at our website :

To enquire or to book, please email Amanda Kropman at

or phone +27 83 270 7452


Birding Africa and Cape Town Pelagics at the British Birdwatching Fair

August 25, 2014

A huge thanks to everyone who came to visit us at our stand, and hope to see you in Africa soon or again at Rutland Water for our 15th birdfair next year!

Cape Town Pelagics – Claire Spottiswoode

August 21, 2014

We were delighted to have Cape Town born Claire Spottiswoode, co-founder of Cape Town Pelagics and Birding Africa, and her husband Tim, join us on board a pelagic trip Sunday past. Claire is currently based in Cambridge where she completed her PhD and now pursues her academic career.

1000’s of pelagic birds behind an active trawler. © Claire Spottiswoode

Black-browed Albatross on a trip with Cape Town Pelagics © Claire Spottiswoode

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross on a trip with Cape Town Pelagics © Claire Spottiswoode

For details about Cape Town Pelagic trips from Cape Town please see our website :

To enquire or to book, please email Amanda Kropman at

or phone +27 83 270 7452

Pel’s Fishing Owl on last day of Uganda birding tour!

August 14, 2014

Our Uganda birding tour ended yesterday and here is a quick photo from the last day: one of two Pel’s Fishing Owls along the Nile River, taken by Birding Africa guide Tertius Gous on a boat trip in Murchison Falls National Park.

Pel’s Fishing Owl on a Birding Africa tour to Uganda

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