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Trip Report: Eastern South Africa tour, 13-17 June 2008


This was a two week trip, from 13 to 27 June 2008

Total number of bird species seen: 339 species

Total number of mammal species seen: 46 species

Detailed trip report

DAY 1, 14 June 2008: Johannesburg to Buffelsdrift

We meet early at the lodge in Johannesburg. We hear and see our first bird of the trip: Cape Turtle Dove. This species seems to follow us everywhere from here on. Between the lodge and the motorway we see some house sparrows; this gets a laugh out of all of us, travelling half way across the world to see House Sparrow! We tick African Olive Pigeon perched in a grove of eucalyptus as we turn on to the onramp to the R24. We head north passing Pretoria on the N1 eastern bypass. We continue north and leave the N1 at the Maubane offramp. At the offramp we see Marico Flycatcher and African Pipit. We continue north towards Pienaarsrivier. At the bridge before town a flock of White-backed Mousebirds offer excellent views. Brownhooded Kingfishers are calling as well as what sounds like an African Finfoot, but we do not find the source of the sound. We then head down Zaagkuildrift road and tick many waterbirds at the first drainage line and at the dam, including White-backed Duck, Hottentot Teal and Comb Duck. We also locate a flock of Black-eared Waxbill foraging in the Acacia trees. These along with the White-backed Mousebirds are birds more commonly seen in the drier west of the sub-continent, and are a good addition to an eastern South African list. Marico Flycather and Rattling Cisticola are common, as are Grey Go-away Birds. We head back to Pienaarsrivier and then make our way eastwards towards Rust de Winter and to Buffelsdrift farm. We encounter numerous Lilac-breasted Rollers perched on the telephone lines along the way. After arrival we go on an evening game drive and locate Blesbok, Zebra, Kudu and Impala. We finish off our first day with a barbeque at the A frame accommodation with our hosts, Pearl-spotted Owlet calling in the background.
Bird Day Total: 89 species

DAY 2, 15 June 2008: Buffelsdrift to Trackers

After a Morning walk near the accommodation which produces Lark-like Bunting, African Hoopoe, many Yellow-fronted Canary and a Red-eyed Dove singing from the top of a bare tree we drive down to the river for a short stroll there. Along the way at the canal we find a bird party which includes Black Cuckooshrike and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, though we only manage to hear the woodpecker. Another bird only heard is White-browed Scrub-Robin. A flock of Green Woodhoepoe forage noisily in the vicinity. At the river we see a pair of African Fish Eagle perched in the tall thorn trees.
We leave Buffelsdrift farm and head east on back roads towards Marble Hall.
We have great views of a group of Southern White-crowned Shrike.
On route between Marble Hall and Lydenburg a hunting Shikra flies past low over the road, and a Rock Kestrel takes flight as we approach. Many Cape Vultures are perched up on a pylon and afford good views.
We head further east towards the escarpment passing through the towns of Lydenburg and Ohrigstad.
After the Strydom Tunnel we drop down into the Lowveld and drive on to our accommodation at Trackers, at the base of the escarpment. Being positioned slightly up the slope we have excellent views of the Lowveld.
Bird Day Total: 59 species

DAY 3, 16 June 2008: Trackers to Satara

An early mouning walk adds Black-backed Puffback to our ever growing list.
During breakfast we hear a lot of chattering and mobbing from Dark-capped Bulbuls and discover a Thick-tailed Bushbaby in the tree.
A morning walk gives Gaetan his 2000th lifer: Bar-throated Apalis.
We leave Trackers and after stopping at a dam along the way, where we see Golden-tailed Woodpecker and Green-backed Camerotera, we drive to the nesting site of the Taita Falcon at the Strydom Tunnel.
We meet Michael there and he is quick to show us the bird perched up high on the cliff face.
From hear we drive to the Kruger National Park and enter at Orpen gate.
Quite soon after entering we see a flock of Senegal Lapwings in an area of open overgrazed ground.
On the drive through to Satara camp we add Purple Roller, Kori Bustard and Marabou Stork.
We enjoy dinner in the camp restaurant to the antics of an African Scops Owl hunting from a tree nearby.
Bird Day Total: 68 species

DAY 4, 17 June 2008: Kruger National Park: Satara to Lower Sabie

Early in the morning we do some birding around Satara camp.
The camp site is exceptionally active and affords many new birds, including African Mourning Dove, Green Woodhoepoe, and Red-billed Buffalo Weaver.
We drive to Lower Sabie camp via Tshokwane. Interesting birds today include Goliath Heron, Hamerkop, Saddle-billed Stork, African Spoonbill, Martial Eagle and Southern Ground Hornbill.
On route Christine sees her 2000th lifer: Little Bee-eater.
Soon after we see the bird that Christine has been longing to see, because its name matches her profession, namely Secretary Bird.
We also have a good view of a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl perched under the canopy of a large tree.
We arrive at Lower Sabie camp, check in and then head off on a sunset drive organised by Sanparks.
We see the big five within 2hrs on the drive: Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Buffalo!
This is a first for me. I have never seen the big five within a space of 2hrs!!
Bird Day Total: 87 species

DAY 5, 18 June 2008: Lower Sabie to Wakkerstroom

We spend the morning birding from the vehicle on a slow drive to Crocodile Bridge gate.
New birds for the day include Grey-rumped Swallow, Southern Black Tit and African Paradise Flycatcher.
We get beautiful views of Scarlet-chested Sunbird and White-browed Robin-Chat in Crocodile Bridge camp.
Just outside the park we find a very accommodating Lizard Buzzard perched on the telephone line.
We then take the long but scenic drive to Wakkerstroom.
We stop over in Barberton for a quick break and to check emails.
Bird Day Total: 70 species

DAY 6, 19 June 2008: Wakkerstroom

We spend the day with local guide Lucky and travel various routes around the Wakkerstroom area.
We have a very eventful day and add many special birds to out list including Southern Bald Ibis, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Grey-winged and Red-winged Francolin, Blue Korhaan, Red-throated Wryneck, Botha’s lark, Pink-billed Lark, Buff-streaked Chat and Bokmakierie.
We unfortunately dip on Yellow-breasted Pipit and Rudd’s Lark, and we only hear African Rock Pipit.
Bird Day Total: 66 species

DAY 7, 20 June 2008: Wakkerstroom to Mkuze

An early morning walk at the wetland and to the hide produces African Sacred Ibis, Cape Shoveler and Cape Weaver. We hear the call of the African Rail but get no visual.
On the way to Piet Retief we take a short detour near Dirkiesdorp and are rewarded with three Barrow’s Korhaan.
En route we also have good views of African Black Swift hawking insects over a field, and spot a Rock Kestrel perched on a telephone pole.
We stop at a potential breeding site (bridge) for South African Cliff Swallow but as it is winter they are not present.
The drive from Piet Retief to Mkuze is uneventful and we arrive in the early evening and check into our chalets.
Bird Day Total: 58 species

DAY 8, 21 June 2008: Mkuze

An early morning walk in camp is productive and rewards us with African Dusky and Ashy Flycatcher, Grey Tit-flycatcher, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Yellow-breasted Apalis and Yellow-bellied Greenbul and Terrestrial Brownbul. We hear Brubru, Gorgeous and Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike.
We take various drives around the reserve and locate Pink-backed Pelican, Dark-backed Weaver, Red-backed Mannikin and Purple-banded Sunbird.
There has been a lot of rain and the roads are wet and muddy and in places impassable.
The hide is rather quiet, but the fig forest walk makes up for this.
During the entire walk we hear the wailing call of Trumpeter Hornbills and also get many great views of them. Other good birds on the walk are Fulvous Duck, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, African Green Pigeon and Black-bellied Starling. We also have excellent views of a very confiding Purple-crested Turaco. We return to camp and have excellent close up views of a flock of Crested Guineafowl.
A late afternoon drive along a muddy road produces White-tailed Mongoose just after dark.
Bird Day Total: 67 species

DAY 9, 22 June 2008: Mkuze to St Lucia
In the morning we do some birding around camp.
We meet local guide Bheki as we leave the park and he takes us to Muzi pan and along the Muzi river to look for Pel’s Fishing Owl, but we do not find the bird. We do however add Yellow-billed Stork, African Pygmy Goose, Grey-headed Gull, White-winged Tern, Striped Kingfisher, Common Scimitarbill, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Black Saw-wing, Rudd’s Apalis and Yellow-throated Longclaw to the list. Bheki’s excellent hearing helps us spot a pair of Pink-throated Twinspot and just as we are dropping of Bheki back at his village we locate a Brubru.
We drive through to Hluhluwe village and then down the N2 to St Lucia.
We arrive in St Lucia at sunset and spend the last light at the beach where many Kittlitz’s Plover and White-fronted Sand Plover forage on the mud flats and in the puddles in the car park.
Bird Day Total: 100 species

DAY 10, 23 June 2008: St Lucia to Eshowe

Before breakfast we bird the Gwalagwala trail.
We tick Woodward’s Batis, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Crowned Hornbill, Caspian Tern and again have excellent views of very confiding turacos, this time Livingstones Turaco. We also finally have visuals of Green-backed Cameroptera which until now had only been heard. On arrival back at the lodge we hear and with help of sound playback get visual of Green Malkoha.
We drive to Mtunzini and meet with local birder Frank at the Umlalazi Reserve. En route a Southern Banded Snake-Eagle perched close to the road is the first of many raptors for the day. A short while later my favourite bird is perched on a roadside telephone pole, a Long-crested Eagle. Along the N2 a Crowned Eagle perched in a dead tree in a forest clearing calls for the spotting scope and thus great views.
We drive around the Umlalazi reserve with Frank in search of Mangrove Kingfisher but only manage to hear the bird. Birds seen are Purple Heron, Wooly-necked Stork, Pied Avocet and Eastern Olive Sunbird.
We have dinner in Mtunzini and drive through to our accommodation in Eshowe.
Bird Day Total: 88 species

DAY 11, 24 June 2008: Mtunzini, Ngoya Forest and Richards bay

Early this morning we head back to Mtunzini.
This morning we are successful and see Mangrove Kingfisher, perched out in full sun and offering exquisite views. We also find Palmnut Vulture, Cape Teal, Rufous-winged Cisticola and Orange-breasted Waxbill around town.
We next travel up to the western part of the Ngoya Forest.
Here we have great views of Yellow-streaked Bulbul, Olive Woodpecker, Grey Cuckooshrike and Green Barbet.
We spend the rest of the day birding various spots around Richards bay.
First we go to the casuarinas. It is fairly quiet but we see many Common Whimbril and Cape Gull.
On the way out a high pitched trilling call draws our attention to a group of Green Twinspot foraging on the ground.
Next we meet with a local guide and go to the berm wall and the southern sanctuary.
Here we see more Common Whimbril and also Grey Plover. Cape and Brimstone Canary are singing from the tree tops.
We end the day at Thula pan but fail to tick Brown-throated Weaver.
The sun sets on our drive out from the pan and Fiery-necked Nightjars are hawking insects over the road.
Bird Day Total: 88 species

DAY 12, 25 June 2008: Eshowe to Underberg

Early in the morning we head for Dlinza forest and start on the boardwalk and the tower.
Later we walk the trail along the forest floor.
The forest is quiet this time of year but we have very good views of a Lemon Dove collecting sticks and building a nest.
African Goshawk is displaying and calling in a flight over the forest.
We then drive to Underberg, stopping in the late afternoon in a patch of forest near Donnybrook and having marvellous views of Cape Parrot coming in to roost.
We stay in the forest till sunset hoping to see Orange Ground Thrush but are unsuccessful.
A Spotted Eagle Owl hunting from a roadside telephone pole is our final bird for the day.
Bird Day Total: 49 species

DAY 13, 27 June 2008: Sani Pass

Today we join Prof Steven Piper on a tour up Sani Pass into Lesotho.
We see many excellent birds: Drakensberg Rockjumper with their characteristic cocked tail posture, Sentinel Rock Thrush, Bearded Vulture, Drakensburg Siskin, Cape Batis, Gurney’s Sugarbird and also Ground Woodpecker calling and displaying from a dead branch. The scenery is breathtaking, and in the upper reaches within Lesotho we even have snow. At the Sani Top Chalets we are rewarded with sightings of Slogert’s Ice Rat.
Bird Day Total: 50 species

DAY 14, 27 June 2008: Underberg to Durban

Early in the morning we join Prof Steven Piper on a recce to check for Wattled Cranes on a nearby farm. We see two pairs and also great views of Lanner Falcon and Jackal Buzzard. On the way we check a local refuse site and are rewarded with White-necked Raven.
We leave Underberg and drive to the wetlands around the town of Franklin.
Here we have good views of African Snipe foraging in the reedbed.
We drive down to Oribi Gorge but the roads are closed due to recent floods.
We have lunch at the stunning lookout at Leopard Rock.
Here Mocking Cliff Chat and both lesser and Greater Double-collared Sunbird entertain us as we have lunch. We also add a new weaver to the list, Village Weaver.
The drive to Illovo beach is uneventful.
We end the tour with another alien species, the sound of hundreds of Common Myna going to roost in the palm trees in the hotel grounds.
Bird Day Total: 71 species


1 Common Ostrich Struthio camelus
2 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
3 Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens
4 White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax lucidus
5 Reed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
6 African Darter Anhinga rufa
7 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
8 Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala
9 Goliath Heron Ardea goliath
10 Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
11 Great Egret Egretta alba
12 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
13 Yellow-billed Egret Egretta intermedia
14 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
15 Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
16 Green-backed Heron Butorides striata
17 Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
18 Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
19 Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
20 Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus
21 Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis
22 African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
23 Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus
24 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
25 Hadeda Ibis Bostrychia hagedash
26 African Spoonbill Platalea alba
27 White-faced Duck Dendrocygna viduata
28 Fulvous Duck Dendrocygna bicolor
29 White-backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus
30 Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
31 South African Shelduck Tadorna cana
32 Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulata
33 African Black Duck Anas sparsa
34 Cape Teal Anas capensis
35 Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota
36 Red-billed Teal Anas erythrorhyncha
37 Cape Shoveler Anas smithii
38 African Pygmy-Goose Nettapus auritus
39 Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
40 Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis
41 Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius
42 Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus
43 Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres
44 Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus
45 White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis
46 Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
47 Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis
48 Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus
49 African Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus
50 Brown Snake-Eagle Circaetus cinereus
51 Black-chested Snake-Eagle Circaetus pectoralis
52 Southern Banded Snake-Eagle Circaetus fasciolatus
53 Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus
54 Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis
55 African Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
56 Jackal Buzzard Buteo rufofuscus
57 Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus
58 Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk Accipiter rufiventris
59 Shikra Accipiter badius
60 African Goshawk Accipiter tachiro
61 Dark Chanting Goshawk Melierax metabates
62 African Marsh-Harrier Circus ranivorus
63 African Harrier-Hawk Polyboroides typus
64 Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus
65 Taita Falcon Falco fasciinucha
66 Rock Kestrel Falco rupicolus
67 Coqui Francolin Peliperdix coqui
68 Crested Francolin Dendroperdix sephaena
69 Grey-winged Francolin Scleroptila africanus
70 Red-winged Francolin Scleroptila levaillantii
71 Natal Spurfowl Pternistis natalensis
72 Swainson's Spurfowl Pternistis swainsonii
73 Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
74 Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
75 Crested Guineafowl Guttera edouardi
76 Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus
77 Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus
78 Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum
79 African Rail Rallus caerulescens
80 Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostris
81 African Purple Swamphen Porphyrio madagascariensis
82 Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
83 Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata
84 Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori
85 White-bellied Korhaan Eupodotis senegalensis
86 Blue Korhaan Eupodotis caerulescens
87 Red-crested Korhaan Lophotis ruficrista
88 African Jacana Actophilornis africanus
89 White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus
90 Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius
91 Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris
92 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
93 Crowned Lapwing Vanellus coronatus
94 Senegal Lapwing Vanellus lugubris
95 Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus
96 African Wattled Lapwing Vanellus senegallus
97 Sanderling Calidris alba
98 African Snipe Gallinago nigripennis
99 Common Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
100 Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
101 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
102 Water Thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus
103 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
104 Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus
105 Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
106 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
107 White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
108 Rock Dove Columba livia
109 Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea
110 African Olive-Pigeon Columba arquatrix
111 Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
112 African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens
113 Cape Turtle-Dove Streptopelia capicola
114 Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
115 Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove Turtur chalcospilos
116 Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria
117 Lemon Dove Aplopelia larvata
118 African Green-Pigeon Treron calvus
119 Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus
120 Brown-headed Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus
121 Livingstone's Turaco Tauraco livingstonii
122 Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix
123 Purple-crested Turaco Gallirex porphyreolophus
124 Grey Go-away-bird Corythaixoides concolor
125 Klaas's Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas
126 Green Malkoha Ceuthmochares aereus
127 Burchell's Coucal Centropus burchellii
128 African Scops-Owl Otus senegalensis
129 Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum
130 Spotted Eagle-Owl Bubo africanus
131 Verreaux's Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus
132 Fiery-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis
133 African Black Swift Apus barbatus
134 White-rumped Swift Apus caffer
135 Little Swift Apus affinis
136 African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus
137 Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus
138 White-backed Mousebird Colius colius
139 Red-faced Mousebird Urocolius indicus
140 Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
141 Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maximus
142 Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata
143 Mangrove Kingfisher Halcyon senegaloides
144 Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris
145 Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti
146 White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides
147 Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus
148 Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudatus
149 Purple Roller Coracias naevius
150 African Hoopoe Upupa africana
151 Green Wood-Hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus
152 Common Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas
153 Trumpeter Hornbill Bycanistes bucinator
154 African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus
155 Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus
156 Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus leucomelas
157 Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus
158 Southern Ground-Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri
159 Black-collared Barbet Lybius torquatus
160 Acacia Pied Barbet Tricholaema leucomelas
161 White-eared Barbet Stactolaema leucotis
162 Green Barbet Stactolaema olivacea
163 Red-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus pusillus
164 Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysoconus
165 Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus bilineatus
166 Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii
167 Scaly-throated Honeyguide Indicator variegatus
168 Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus
169 Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni
170 Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens
171 Olive Woodpecker Dendropicos griseocephalus
172 Red-throated Wryneck Jynx ruficollis
173 Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana
174 Eastern Clapper Lark Mirafra fasciolata
175 Sabota Lark Calendulauda sabota
176 Eastern Long-billed Lark Certhilauda semitorquata
177 Spike-heeled Lark Chersomanes albofasciata
178 Red-capped Lark Calandrella cinerea
179 Pink-billed Lark Spizocorys conirostris
180 Botha's Lark Spizocorys fringillaris
181 Large-billed Lark Galerida magnirostris
182 Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii
183 Pearl-breasted Swallow Hirundo dimidiata
184 Rock Martin Hirundo fuligula
185 Grey-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga
186 Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola
187 Black Saw-wing Psalidoprocne holomelaena
188 Black Cuckooshrike Campephaga flava
189 Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia
190 Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis
191 Square-tailed Drongo Dicrurus ludwigii
192 Black-headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus
193 Cape Crow Corvus capensis
194 Pied Crow Corvus albus
195 White-necked Raven Corvus albicollis
196 Southern Black Tit Parus niger
197 Grey Penduline-Tit Anthoscopus caroli
198 Arrow-marked Babbler Turdoides jardineii
199 Dark-capped Bulbul Pycnonotus tricolor
200 Terrestrial Brownbul Phyllastrephus terrestris
201 Yellow-streaked Greenbul Phyllastrephus flavostriatus
202 Sombre Greenbul Andropadus importunus
203 Yellow-bellied Greenbul Chlorocichla flaviventris
204 Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyanus
205 Olive Thrush Turdus olivaceus
206 Karoo Thrush Turdus smithi
207 Cape Rock-Thrush Monticola rupestris
208 Sentinel Rock-Thrush Monticola explorator
209 Mountain Wheatear Oenanthe monticola
210 Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata
211 Familiar Chat Cercomela familiaris
212 Mocking Cliff-Chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
213 Ant-eating Chat Myrmecocichla formicivora
214 African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus
215 Chorister Robin-Chat Cossypha dichroa
216 White-browed Robin-Chat Cossypha heuglini
217 Red-capped Robin-Chat Cossypha natalensis
218 Cape Robin-Chat Cossypha caffra
219 White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata
220 Drakensberg Rock-jumper Chaetops aurantius
221 White-browed Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys
222 Bearded Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas quadrivirgata
223 Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler Parisoma subcaeruleum
224 Lesser Swamp-Warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris
225 Dark-capped Yellow Warbler Chloropeta natalensis
226 Little Rush-Warbler Bradypterus baboecala
227 Bar-throated Apalis Apalis thoracica
228 Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida
229 Rudd's Apalis Apalis ruddi
230 Long-billed Crombec Sylvietta rufescens
231 Green-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura
232 Cape Grassbird Sphenoeacus afer
233 Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
234 Wing-snapping Cisticola Cisticola ayresii
235 Wailing Cisticola Cisticola lais
236 Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana
237 Red-faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops
238 Rufous-winged Cisticola Cisticola galactotes
239 Neddicky Cisticola fulvicapilla
240 Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava
241 Black-chested Prinia Prinia flavicans
242 African Dusky Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta
243 Ashy Flycatcher Muscicapa caerulescens
244 Grey Tit-Flycatcher Myioparus plumbeus
245 Southern Black Flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina
246 Marico Flycatcher Bradornis mariquensis
247 Fiscal Flycatcher Sigelus silens
248 Cape Batis Batis capensis
249 Chinspot Batis Batis molitor
250 Woodwards' Batis Batis fratrum
251 Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher Trochocercus cyanomelas
252 African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
253 African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp
254 Cape Wagtail Motacilla capensis
255 African Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus
256 African Rock Pipit Anthus crenatus
257 Cape Longclaw Macronyx capensis
258 Yellow-throated Longclaw Macronyx croceus
259 Common Fiscal Lanius collaris
260 Magpie Shrike Corvinella melanoleuca
261 Southern Boubou Laniarius ferrugineus
262 Crimson-breasted Shrike Laniarius atrococcineus
263 Black-backed Puffback Dryoscopus cubla
264 Brubru Nilaus afer
265 Brown-crowned Tchagra Tchagra australis
266 Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegalus
267 Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus
268 Gorgeous Bush-Shrike Telophorus viridis
269 Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike Telophorus sulfureopectus
270 Olive Bush-Shrike Telophorus olivaceus
271 Grey-headed Bush-Shrike Malaconotus blanchoti
272 White-crested Helmet-Shrike Prionops plumatus
273 Southern White-crowned Shrike Eurocephalus anguitimens
274 Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
275 Pied Starling Spreo bicolor
276 Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea
277 Burchell's Starling Lamprotornis australis
278 Cape Glossy Starling Lamprotornis nitens
279 Greater Blue-eared Starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus
280 Black-bellied Starling Lamprotornis corruscus
281 Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio
282 Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus
283 Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi
284 Marico Sunbird Cinnyris mariquensis
285 Purple-banded Sunbird Cinnyris bifasciatus
286 Southern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris chalybeus
287 Greater Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris afer
288 White-bellied Sunbird Cinnyris talatala
289 Olive Sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea
290 Scarlet-chested Sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis
291 Amethyst Sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina
292 Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris
293 Cape White-eye Zosterops virens
294 African Yellow White-eye Zosterops senegalensis
295 Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger
296 White-browed Sparrow-Weaver Plocepasser mahali
297 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
298 Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus
299 Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus
300 Scaly-feathered Finch Sporopipes squamifrons
301 Thick-billed Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons
302 Dark-backed Weaver Ploceus bicolor
303 Spectacled Weaver Ploceus ocularis
304 Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus
305 Cape Weaver Ploceus capensis
306 Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus
307 Lesser Masked-Weaver Ploceus intermedius
308 Yellow Weaver Ploceus subaureus
309 Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea
310 Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix
311 Yellow Bishop Euplectes capensis
312 Fan-tailed Widowbird Euplectes axillaris
313 Red-collared Widowbird Euplectes ardens
314 Long-tailed Widowbird Euplectes progne
315 Green-winged Pytilia Pytilia melba
316 Green Twinspot Mandingoa nitidula
317 Pink-throated Twinspot Hypargos margaritatus
318 African Firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata
319 Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala
320 Blue Waxbill Uraeginthus angolensis
321 Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
322 Black-faced Waxbill Estrilda erythronotos
323 Swee Waxbill Coccopygia melanotis
324 African Quailfinch Ortygospiza atricollis
325 Orange-breasted Waxbill Amandava subflava
326 Cut-throat Finch Amadina fasciata
327 Bronze Mannikin Spermestes cucullatus
328 Red-backed Mannikin Spermestes bicolor
329 Pin-tailed Whydah Vidua macroura
330 Yellow-fronted Canary Crithagra mozambicus
331 Black-throated Canary Crithagra atrogularis
332 Cape Canary Serinus canicollis
333 Drakensberg Siskin Crithagra symonsi
334 Brimstone Canary Crithagra sulphuratus
335 Streaky-headed Seedeater Crithagra gularis
336 Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza flaviventris
337 Cape Bunting Emberiza capensis
338 Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi
339 Lark-like Bunting Emberiza impetuani


1 Cape Serotine Bat Eptesicus capensis
2 Chacma Baboon Papio ursinus
3 Vervet Monkey Cercopithecus aethiops
4 Thicktailed Bushbaby Otolemur crassicaudatus
5 Lesser Bushbaby Galago moholi
6 Scrub Hare Lepus saxatilis
7 Tree Squirrel Paraxerus cepapi
8 Springhare Pedetes capensis
9 Slogget's Rat Otomys sloggetti
10 Blackbacked Jackal Canis mesomelas
11 Banded Mongoose Mungos mungo
12 Slender Mongoose Galerella sanguinea
13 Dwarf Mongoose Helogale parvula
14 Whitetailed Mongoose Ichneumia albicauda
15 Yellow Mongoose Cynictis penicillata
16 Suricate Suricata suricatta
17 Smallspotted Genet Genetta genetta
18 Largespotted Genet Genetta tigrina
19 Spotted Hyena Crocuta crocuta
20 Lion Panthera leo
21 Leopard Panthera pardus
22 Elephant Loxodonta africana
23 Rock Dassie Procavia capensis
24 Burchell's Zebra Equus burchellii
25 White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum
26 Warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus
27 Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius
28 Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis
29 Buffalo Syncerus caffer
30 Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros
31 Nyala Tragelaphus angasii
32 Bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus
33 Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus
34 Mountain Reedbuck Redunca arundinum
35 Grey Rhebok Pelea capreolus
36 Black Wildebeest Connochaetes gnou
37 Blue Wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus
38 Red Hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus
39 Blesbok Damaliscus phillipsi
40 Impala Aepyceros melampus
41 Springbok Antidorcas marsuplialis
42 Klipspringer Oreotragus oreotragus
43 Steenbok Raphicerus campestris
44 Red Duiker Cephalophus natalensis
45 Blue Duiker Philantomba monticola
46 Common Duiker Sylvicapra grimmia

Trip report by Birding Africa tour leader Michael Raum

Many of the birding sites on this trip are described in detail in the Southern African Birdfinder which is widely available in South African bookshops and on the internet. (e.g., or However you're always welcome to contact us if you're interested in a guided trip in this area.

Practical tour information: Eastern South Africa

Please click this link for more detailed information about our upcoming South Africa Tours.
Focus For keen birders and mammal enthusiasts. Designed to see as many as possible endemic birds, but while on the walks we spend a lot of time looking for other aspects of wildlife such as mammals, chameleons, geckos, butterflies and interesting plants. We can also customise any itinerary to suit to the keen birder, the wildlife enthusiast or both.
Photography Many participants on our trips are amateur wildlife photographers. And when we get excellent views of a bird or mammal, some time is usually spent watching and photographing it. However, this is not a photographic tour and once the majority of the people have felt that they have absorbed the animal or bird to their satisfaction, then we move on in search of the next encounter. Thus, while the photographic opportunities are very good, the group will only occasionally wait for somebody who wants to spend even longer getting better photos.
Fitness Please enquire as this depends on the exact tour.
Timing The best timing varies per region; please enquire.
Climate Cool in the Drakensberg highlands. Hot in the lowlands.
Comfort A good standard of accommodation in guest houses, lodges and small hotels.
Transport We travel by minibus or four wheel drive vehicle.
Group Size This depends on the specific tour. Please enquire.
Top birds Several endemics and near-endemics in a spectacular setting. Please see the tour description.
Top mammals African elephant, White Rhinoceros, Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyaena, Buffalo, Thicktailed Bushbaby, Lesser Bushbaby, Scrubhare, Suricate
Booking Please email us if you wish to book. You will receive the booking form and conditions and a tour information pack.

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders. We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

For feedback from our guests, please see our Client Comments. Please also browse our Latest News and Trip Reports.

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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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[African Tailorbirding CC (CK2003/020710/23) trading as Birding Africa]
4 Crassula Way, Pinelands 7405, Cape Town, South Africa.


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