Birding in Namibia: Avis Dam, Windhoek

Following the introductory post on my trip to Namibia’s Kaokoveld, below is a brief account of some birding at the popular Avis Dam. Avis is a great birding spot very close to the centre of Windhoek. It’s the sort of place you can visit if you’ve just got an hour or two to spare. Try and avoid weekends as the place is overrun with dog walkers, however both of my visits were on the weekend and it wasn’t too bad if you’re able to drown out the incessant yapping. There are two popular entrances to Avis, I opted for the entrance to the south of the dam on both occasions rather than the one close to the dam wall. There was a lot of activity around the wall (fisherman, dog walkers etc), which didn’t bode well for birding.

Avis Dam reduced

My target bird for Avis was Damara Rockrunner and as you can judge by the photo below it produced the goods. I’ve circled the exact spot where I snapped this pic, but I imagine they’re fairly widespread in the area. I actually ticked my first Rockrunner at the dam wall back in ’93 so try there as well.


The encircled Rockrunner spot on the map above is where I did most of my birding. There’s a path that winds its way up a small hill through some sparse acacia woodland, which had regular bird party activity. I found mimicking Pearl-spotted Owlet particularly effective at attracting birds. Below are a few common party participants:

Burnt-necked Eremomela

Burt-necked Eremomela is a common bird at Avis Dam and was present in just about every bird party.

BrubruPririt Batis

Brubru and Pririt Batis

Marico Flycatcher

Marico Flycatchers were always very quick respond to the “owlet”.

Sabota LarkCrimson Boubou

Sabota Lark and Crimson Boubou

Black-chested Prinia

Black-chested Prinia

Violet-eared Waxbill

Violet-eared Waxbill

Black-cheeked Waxbill

and Black-cheeked Waxbill

Green-winged Pytilia female

Female Green-winged Pytilia

Short-toed Rock-Thrush

Short-toed Rock-Thrush

Yellow-bellied Eremomela

Yellow-bellied Eremomela

Namaqua SandgrousePalm Swift

Listen for the “kelkiewyn” of Namaqua Sandgrouse as they fly over after a drink and watch for Palm Swift overhead.

Bradfield's Swift

Avis Dam is a good area for the near-endemic Bradfield’s Swift so check all swift flocks for them.

My next Namibia post will be on Hobatere Lodge, a fantastic reserve west of Etosha, where we spent two nights en route to the Kaokoveld.

David Winter