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Cape Leopard seen on a Birding Africa trip near Cape Town

Early morning on 11 May a Birding Africa guide Michael Mills and two participants witnessed a rare sighting:
a Cape Leopard near Mountain Mist, Aurora, only 180 km north of Cape Town. To read the full trip report, please click here.

With heavy mist and driving rain at the top of the mountain, the group decided to head for lower altitudes to look for owls and nightjars. Shortly after dawn they slowly made their way back up the mountain for breakfast at Mountain Mist, pausing to watch two groups of Ground Woodpecker. Their attention was diverted by a pair of Pied crows mobbing a Cape Leopard! They only managed a brief glimpse before the secretive animal slunk behind a sandstone outcrop, but the clients were fortunate to join an elite club of people who have ever set eyes on a leopard in the Cape mountains!

What has this got to do with birding in the Western Cape? Quinton Martins, The Cape Leopard Trust co-founder, asks all birders who frequent the Cape mountains to report any sightings of Cape leopard, preferably noting the GPS Co-ordinates. He also points out that birders can look for Verreaux's eagles either dive-bombing or calling for leopard. This behaviour has been recorded in the Cederberg and it would be useful to know if these black eagles do this in other areas too. By observing the behaviour of these larger raptors, birders have a better chance of spotting Cape leopard!

Please report Cape Leopard sightings to The Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project co-ordinators, Anita Meyer and Jeanie Hayward Tel (082) 337 0964.

To find out more about how you can help Cape Leopard : visit the Cape Leopard Trust website:, sign up for the newsletter, ‘adopt a spot’, or help sponsor a camera trap – as Birding Africa did.

Cape Leopard © Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project

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.

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