Due to the diverse array of habitats, the Chobe certainly qualifies as an important birding area. Renowned birder Warwick Tarboten has compiled a list of over 390 bird species that can be seen from the boats alone. This does not include those that can be seen away from the river.
This list includes 14 birds that are of exceptional interest: Slaty egret, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Rock Pratincole, African Skimmer, Schalow’s Turaco, Coppery tailed Coucal, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Greater Swamp Warbler, Chirping Cisticola, Luapula Cisticola, Shelley’s Sunbird, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Brown Firefinch and the Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah.
Once a year the Pangolin Voyager moves up the Zambezi to a Southern Carmine Bee-eater breeding site for a month. Tens of thousands of these colourful birds arrive from Central Africa to breed on one small sandbank, and passengers have the opportunity to view and photograph this annual spectacle.
The guides are themselves exceptional birders and very happy to help seek out specific species that you may want to view. The first quarter of the year is especially good for birding as the Summer migrants arrive. Birding season on the Pangolin Voyager runs from January until the end of March with several top ornithologists hosting safaris during that time on the houseboat.