The mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, one of Africa's smallest countries, is a largely unknown birding destination. Lesotho, when compared to its sole neighbour South Africa is relatively devoid of bird life but it does provide refuge to a handful of highland specials. All of landlocked Lesotho is in excess of 1000 m above sea level with the highest peaks reaching 3000 m in the central and eastern parts of the country. The western areas are dominated by grasslands giving way to mountainous terrain in the east where it forms part of the Drakensberg escarpment.

Approximately 340 bird species are believed to have been recorded in Lesotho and it supports 13 globally threatened and near-threatened species. Significant species include Southern Bald Ibis and Yellow-breasted Pipit. Lesotho holds about 600 pairs of Cape Vultures or 12% of the world population. The highlands are notable for supporting an isolated race of Lammergeier with 122 breeding pairs, the nearest population occurring in Tanzania.

Text supplied by the African Bird Club

Southern Bald Ibis

Southern Bald Ibis © Ian Merrill

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