Dominic Rollinson - Birding Ecotours

Dominic Rollinson

Read the blog article 'Getting to Know our Guides - Dominic Rollinson'

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Senior Birding Guide and Website Manager


Dom grew up in Zululand in northeastern South Africa, where his passion for birding began at a young age. Soon birding the savannas and forests of Zululand was not enough, and family trips were organized to obscure birding destinations throughout the southern African subregion, from the Cape to Malawi.

In 2012 Dom moved down to Cape Town, where he undertook a PhD under Peter Ryan and Ross Wanless, investigating seabird mortality from tuna longline fisheries off South Africa. He took the scenic route to obtain his PhD, which involved spending many months onboard longline fishing vessels while conducting research as well as scientific excursions to many subantarctic islands and Antarctica itself. The results of his PhD dissertation have shed more light on the foraging ecology of seabird species susceptible to longline bycatch and, most importantly, what precautionary measures can be taken by fisheries to reduce seabird bycatch. His time at sea allowed him to tick many of the subregion’s and Southern Ocean’s spectacular seabird species.

Dom recently co-authored the 5th edition of the best-selling Sasol Birds of Southern Africa field guide which is one of the subregion’s most comprehensive and detailed bird field guides. He is currently serving on the South African National Rarities Committee, along with his Birding Ecotours colleague Dylan Vasapolli.

Dom really enjoys the competitive side of birding and is a self-confessed lister. Big Birding Days up in Zululand are always the most anticipated days of the year for him, while driving hundreds of kilometers to see a rare bird does not seem at all crazy.

The last few years of guiding for Birding Ecotours have opened up many new exhilarating birding destinations (particularly African destinations) for Dom and he is looking forward to the many more exciting opportunities and adventures with Birding Ecotours.

Birding Ecotours

Join Dom on the following upcoming tours:

Ethiopia: Lalibela Historical Extension April 2023

Ethiopia: Lalibela Historical Extension April 2023

This short historical extension to Lalibela, one of Ethiopia’s most sacred sites, is a perfect complement to our 21-day Complete Abyssinia tour .

Argentina: 1-day Ushuaia Birding Tour December 2023

Argentina: 1-day Ushuaia Birding Tour December 2023

This short tour of Tierra del Fuego gives you the opportunity to explore southern Patagonia and the Tierra del Fuego National Park from the world’s most southerly city, Ushuaia. Apart from the sheer beauty of the area there is an assortment of important bird species which will be targeted.

Argentina: Southern Patagonia – Tierra del Fuego December 2023

Argentina: Southern Patagonia – Tierra del Fuego December 2023

This short tour of Tierra del Fuego gives you the opportunity to explore southern Patagonia and the Tierra del Fuego National Park from the world’s most southerly city, Ushuaia. Apart from the sheer beauty of the area there is an assortment of important bird species which will be targeted.

Read Dom’s feedback from clients:

“Our guide, Dominic Rollinson, was exceptional in every way. Of course, he had an unbelievable knowledge of where and how to find the birds. Additionally, he was a real pleasure to be with. He was happy to answer any question and his knowledge of South Africa really enhanced our experience. The itinerary was thoughtfully planned and we were able to see a huge variety of birds. The accommodations he choose were comfortable and interesting and the food was consistently delicious. We can't say enough good things about Dom and the trip!”

Wendy and Karen

“Dom was endlessly willing to entertain our (considerable) curiosity despite initially struggling with a post-Covid dry cough. He also worked very hard to find species despite the challenge of having to drive considerable distances. His ability to notice and identify slight sounds was truly impressive and his knowledge of the avifauna was immense. He was an excellent travelling companion, able to inform us about a wide range of topics including his fascinating research. We have no hesitation in recommending him to others. He ranks among the very best guides we have ever had.”


“My sister and I used one of our 2 and a half days in Cape Town to do a birding tour of the Peninsula including the Cape of Good Hope. I had great communication with our guide, Dom, before the tour and he picked us up right on time at our hotel. It was an excellent day. Dom is very knowledgeable and good company. It turned out he was at Magee Marsh in Ohio the same time I was this year! The weather was glorious and we got to see lots of SA endemics plus a Humpback Whale and a lifer sewage pond! I would recommend Birding Ecotours and Dom Rollinson to anyone birding in South Africa.”


“Our birding trip to Ethiopia was fantastic. The country is so rich in history and interesting people and customs. The birding was great! Needless to say Dominic is an expert birder. He is a warm and gracious person and we all really enjoyed his company. Our Ethiopian driver and guide, Tesfaw, was also very good. He was an experienced guide and driver. His contacts were good as were his day to day decisions. He kept our group on time and on schedule but was also flexible to our requests and needs.

We rate our trip excellent( A,10/10). Thank you for all your work in arranging the trip. We appreciate all your prompt correspondences. We certainly will be using Birding Ecotours in the future. We hope to meet you in person some day.”

Laurie and Steve

“I am writing to you to send a formal review of our birding day tour with Dominic Rollinson on May 18,2021. Matt and I are not bird experts by any means but we do enjoy watching and tracking the various species of birds back home here in the Houston, Texas area. It is very relaxing and very enjoyable learning new things about all of the beautiful feathered friends out there! While planning our South African adventures last year, we certainly knew that we had to spend one day learning about and hopefully seeing many of the beautiful birds of South Africa.

Dominic Rollinson, our truly knowledgeable and awesome birding guide provided Matt and I with a truly unique and genuinely wonderful birding experience!

Our day started around 7:30 am with a prompt arrival for pick up at our hotel in Camps Bay. We headed on to our first destination for the day, Rondevlei Nature Reserve and Cape Flats wetlands. Here we were able to observe various birds such as the Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Karoo Prinia, Levaillant’s Cisticola, and Bar-throated Apalis. There were other birds around the various waterways including the Blacksmith Lapwing, Cape Shoveler, and Little Swifts. The highlight was seeing our first sunbird!

The next stop on our day adventure was the Strandfontein sewage works. Here we were able to see Blacksmith Lapwing, Hartlaub’s Gull, Cape Spurfowl, Cape and Reed Cormorants, Black-necked Grebe, Hadeda and African Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, and many other species of various water fowl.

Our next stopping point was the peaceful, beautiful and extraordinary Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens! It is here that we saw an abundance of feathered friends! We saw Cape Bulbul, Forest Canary, Cape Sugarbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbirds galore, feeding on the beautiful candelabra aloe flowers, and even a beautiful male Malachite Sunbird! Other sightings included the Sombre Greenbul, Common Waxbill, Cape Robin-Chat, Olive Thrush and Cape White-eye.

Our final stop of the day was at almost sunset overlooking the coast in Clifton. Here we caught a glimpse of African Oystercatchers, Bank and Crowned Cormorants, and the beautiful sunset to cap off a really special day!

Dominic Rollinson provided us with in-depth knowledge and a greater understanding of the various birds, wildlife and ecosystems that make up the areas in/around Cape Town and South Africa! Our expectations for the day were not only met but greatly exceeded with Dominic guiding us along the way! Matt and I truly had a blast and would highly recommend Dominic Rollinson as a birding guide!

Thank you,”

Matt and Chris

“We chose the 2-day Tankwa Karoo birding trip and had an incredible time. I think we saw just short of 90 different species over the 2 days, including many new species for our bird book, which would have taken us years to find without Dom. It was an incredible experience and Dom’s ability to find birds just by their call is something to marvel at.”


“When we were out away from the day to day living, this expedition brought the peace and quiet that was much appreciated. I enjoyed this being an informational expedition on a small ship and not a cruise of 1000’s of cruisers. The knowledgeable and friendly staff shared unknown information to me about the environment and the mammals and birds.”