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New Photos: Zambia 2023 Birds

A couple weeks ago I wrapped up my latest Africa trip… and what a trip it was! My Zambia: Rivers of Life tour was a big undertaking. I first scouted Zambia two years ago on the downswing of COVID. Seeking a destination that was a bit under the radar, I focused on Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa National Parks, and came away really impressed. After that, I just had to convince a big group (we needed eight people to fill some of the lodges and camps) to join me. I believed Zambia offered attractive options to both Africa veterans and first-time visitors to the continent.

Well, it paid off. This was the best Africa tour I’ve ever led from a photographic standpoint. We saw so much, and scored numerous memorable (and often rare) encounters. It really was special. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my schedule, I can only share one part of the resulting photo collection with you for now. So we’re starting with the birds.

As always, you can jump straight to the archive to see the full photo gallery. A short preview is below.

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

One of the advantages of visiting Zambia at this time of year is being able to witness the arrival of the Southern Carmine Bee-eaters.

Southern Carmine Bee-eaters

Southern Carmine Bee-eaters

Crested Guineafowl

Of the two guineafowl species found in the parks we visited, the Crested Guineafowl is much more shy and elusive.

Goliath Heron

The world’s largest heron, the Goliath Heron, stands among the amazing scenery of Lower Zambezi’s winterthorn forests.


A fascinating and odd-looking wading bird. It’s always fun seeing Hamerkops.

Pied Kingfisher and Great Egret

Pied Kingfishers are probably the most dynamic of Africa’s kingfishers. They’re constantly in motion: diving, darting, and hovering while hunting small prey.

Pel’s Fishing Owl

I was very excited to FINALLY see and photograph the Pel’s Fishing Owl on this trip. After about three-and-a-half weeks of striking out (searching every day across two trips!), I finally saw one… and later got a second that came to our lodge at the end of the trip.

Verreaux’s Eagle-owl and Guineafowl

An odd combo… an immature Verreaux’s Eagle-owl with Helmeted Guineafowl.

African Hoopoe

The African Hoopoe is a long-time nemesis species. I’ve had an impossible time getting close photos of a hoopoe with its crest raised… until now!

Lilac-breasted Roller

The Lilac-breasted Roller is a big target for most photographers, especially those of us trying to perfect flight shots (not easy… this is a fast mover!).

Red-capped Robin-chat

Robin-chats are nice looking birds. This Red-capped Robin-chat was a new species for me.

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vultures commonly follow African wild dogs around, not necessarily to scavenge carcasses, but to also eat the dogs’ droppings! There will be MUCH more wild dog content to come once I finish processing the rest of the photos from this trip. Stay tuned!


View the full Zambia 2023 Birds gallery (64 images).

There’s more to come from this trip, but I promise you it was an outstanding experience. I am already planning to return with my next tour group in 2026! Get in touch if you’d like to jump on board early.


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