Bird Photography and Eco-tones

Updated: Aug 11

Bird photography can be very challenging, so one needs to use whatever advantage one can get. On our Bird photography boat tours, one of the most important advantages I can gain is by identifying habitats and recognising the transition between two. These transition zones are called Eco-tones.

At the transition zone one finds species from each habitat, thus making that zone species rich. And as a Bird Photographer, that’s what we are looking for.


Identifying habitats and eco-tones gives a photographer three immediate advantages:

  1. By knowing what species are likely to be in those respective habitats,

  2. your eye cuts out the ‘noise’ and looks for and quickly spots those species, and

  3. it cuts down the time spent in ‘unproductive’ areas (particularly when driving around a Game Reserve).


In Bird Photography this is invaluable. For example, on the Kwando River one of the habitats is the Lily lagoons. On those Lilies we can expect to find Jacanas, Crakes and Gallinules. Jacanas don’t seem to mind having their photo taken, but Crakes and Gallinules are very camera shy. To get a decent photo, one needs to spot and shoot quickly.


On the Kwando River, there are numerous habitats often intermingled with each other.


Knowing what you are likely to see in each habitat and eco-tone can give you the advantage you need.


African Jacana on a lily pad in the Kwando River
African Jacana

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