Zambia has an estimated 775 bird species (30% of total bird species in Africa) species of birds as of January 2019; this is a comparatively rich measure of avifauna for a landlocked country dominated by a single biome. Leonard, 2013; documents proof that at least 470, of the 775 bird species, breed in Zambia. In addition to that, well over 600 of the species are resident or Afrotropical migrants. Furthermore, about 100 are non-breeding migrants or vagrants from the Palearctic region and the remainder comprise non-breeding Afrotropical migrants and Vagrants.
Rare Species and species of global conservation concern occurring in Zambia
17 of Zambia’s 760 species are listed as either endangered, vulnerable or near threatened on the IUCN redlist as of 2014, which is indicates an increase from 13 in 2010. The table below outlines the status of the 17 species of global conservation concern in Zambia.
Status and Distribution of species of global conservation concern in Zambia; adapted from IUCN redlist, 2015
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Status (IUCN)||Distribution||Population Trend (IUCN)|
|Grey-crowned Crane||Balearica regulorum||Endangered||South-central Africa||Decreasing|
|Ruppell’s Vulture||Gyps rueppeli||Endangered||Central and north Africa||Decreasing|
|Hooded Vulture||Necrosyrtes monachus||Endangered||Predominant within the African tropics||Decreasing|
|White-backed Vulture||Gyps africanus||Endangered||Predominant within the African tropics||Decreasing|
|Zambian Barbet||Lybius chaplini||Vulnerable||Endemic to Zambia||Decreasing|
|Wattled Crane||Bugeranus carunculatus||Vulnerable||Endemic to south-central Africa||Decreasing|
|Slaty Egret||Egretta vinaceigula||Vulnerable||Endemic to south-central Africa||Decreasing|
|Taita Falcon||Falco fasciinucha||Vulnerable||Gorges on the African rift valley||Decreasing|
|Black-cheeked Lovebird||Agapornis nigrigenis||Vulnerable||Endemic to Zambia||Decreasing|
|Shoebill||Balaeniceps rex||Vulnerable||Wetlands around and along the Africa rift valley||Decreasing|
|Blue Swallow||Hirundo atrocaerulea||Vulnerable||High peaks within Eastern and southern African tropics||Decreasing|
|White-headed Vulture||Trigonoceps occipitalis||Vulnerable||Predominant within African tropics||Decreasing|
|Cape Vulture||Gyps coprotheres||Vulnerable||Endemic to southern Africa||Decreasing|
|Lappet-faced Vulture||Torgos tracheliotus||Vulnerable||Africa and the middle east||Decreasing|
|Southern Ground Hornbill||Bucorvus leadbeateri||Vulnerable||Zambia hosts one of the largest populations|
|Lesser Flamingo||Phoeniconaias minor||Near Threatened||Africa and the middle east||Decreasing|
|Kori Bustard||Ardeotis kori||Near Threatened||Flagship species for Zambia’s southernmost grasslands||Decreasing|
Other than the two endemic species, have a slightly wide distribution throughout the continent but Zambia being a party to various species and habitat conservation instruments such as the CBD (convention on biological diversity), IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), AEWA (African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement), Birdlife International and several other, she is expected to abide to laws protecting species of regional and global conservation concern. Some species such as the Lesser Flamingo are Palearctic.
The species research and protection program uses Zambia’s flagship species as indicators of the health of the various ecosystems in which these birds occur. The program further ensures that appropriate measures are implemented to maintain the presence of viable populations of these species.
Current projects include;
- Vulture monitoring and tracking project
- Isdell funded Zambian Barbet monitoring project
- BirdFair funded Slaty Egret assessment project (Project Brief)
- Zambia Cranes monitoring project (ICF)
 Although sightings were recorded in northern Namibia in the past, the species is thought to be extinct in this area
 Leonard and Colebrook-Robjent, 2014