Birding Africa
    Birding tours from Cape Town to Cameroon and Madagascar, with the only African Birding Specialist










    Cape Town Pelagics
    Cape Birding Route







White-eye research in the Birding Africa office garden

06 July 2009

Today, Graeme Oatley, a PhD student from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology visited us to find out more about the Cape White-eyes that we had previously photographed in our garden.

These call and have grey bellies just like normal Cape White-eyes, but show strong buffy/peachy flanks, a feature normally associated with Orange River White-eye (although these birds seem to have darker flanks), which only occurs in the arid areas much further to the north. We have been seeing these birds around Cape Town for years.

It is seems hard to find a bird with completely grey flanks once we have started looking carefully, yet few would argue that these are not Cape White-eyes. However, to test this genetically, Graeme is mistnetting the birds and then sequencing blood samples, and comparing these with typical Orange River White-eyes. He managed to catch four birds, which also show the buffy flanks.

We also caught a Southern Double-collared Sunbird in fully-breeding display showing his yellow pectoral tufts, a Klaas's Cuckoo called for most of the morning and Red-faced Mousebird were active. Raptors were good to, and we narrowly missed seeing the kill but saw a Peregrine Falcon flying off with its prey, and then a male Black Sparrowhawk in the pine tree tree, although we were unable to check the legs before he flew off - could he be the Cecilia bird returning? And all this time while being watched by the local Cape Dwarf Chameleons ...

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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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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4 Crassula Way, Pinelands 7405, Cape Town, South Africa.


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