Below is a list of the bird species I’ve encountered and been able to positively identify during some of my travels throughout Tanzania, Spain, Finland, the USA, Europe, and now Cambodia. I’m not an expert birder by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy observing, identifying, and learning about the birds I see.

Coppersmith barbet - a green and yellow bird with a bright red head.

Coppersmith barbet, Psilopogon haemacephalus. Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Until recently, I didn’t have a fancy camera with a zoom lens, so all identification was done in the field in real time using Bushnell 8×32 binoculars and my field guides. Now that I own a DSLR and Sigma 120-400mm telephoto zoom, I photograph birds in the wild and identify them once I get home.  I also use the Merlin Bird ID app for iOS by Cornell and the iNaturalist iOS app for cross-referencing. English common and Latin names provided here are based on the following field guides:

  1. Birds of East Africa, by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe, Christopher Helm Publishing, 2013
  2. Ber van Perlo’s A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa, HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. It is my understanding that some of the names have changed since publication of van Perlo’s guide in 2009, so I have included the updated names from Stevenson and Fanshawe when possible.
  3. Birds of Europe, 2nd ed., by Lars Svensson. Translated by David Christie and Lars Svensson. Princeton University Press, 2009.
  4. Birds of South-East Asia, 2nd ed., by Craig Robson. Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014.
Small brown and buff-colored bird on a reed of grass.

Zitting cisticola, Cisticola juncidis. Albufera National Park, Valencia, Spain.

For additional information and resources regarding the wonderful bird life found in East AFrica, please consult Neil Baker’s superb Tanzania Bird Atlas as well as If you’ve got the time and a good ear, you can check out common bird songs from East Africa at the xeno-canto website, which is an immense database of recordings from all over the planet.

Soaring bird.

Short-toed snake-eagle, Circaetus gallicus. Plateau de Beauregard, Haute-Savoie, France.

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