SA Rare Bird News Report - 09 September 2021

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Trevor Hardaker

Sep 9, 2021, 12:00:37 PM9/9/21



S O U T H E R N   A F R I C A N   R A R E   B I R D   N E W S   R E P O R T




This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 18h00 on Thursday, 09 September 2021.


Information has been gleaned from various websites, email groups as well as from individual observers who have passed on their sightings. This report cannot be taken as being totally comprehensive as it is based only on information made available at the time of writing. All bird sightings reported here are reported in good faith based on information as provided by the observers. Any inaccuracies are totally unintentional and the writer cannot be held liable for these.


None of the records included in this report have undergone any adjudication process with any of the subregion’s Rarities Committees, so inclusion in this report does not constitute any official confirmation of the particular record. Observers are still encouraged to make the necessary submissions accordingly.


For those who may have only joined the group recently and are interested in finding out what has been seen in the past, previous reports can be viewed at


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Things definitely seem to be picking up at the moment and there have been some interesting records coming through in the last few days…


Starting in the Western Cape, a juvenile STRIATED HERON was found at Marina da Gama at -34.084, 18.476 on Monday and was still there this morning while, with Strandfontein Sewage Works finally opening up to birders again yesterday after an extended period of being closed, the site immediately started delivering with an adult ALLEN’S GALLINULE found on Pan M1 this morning and at least one PINK-BACKED PELICAN found on Pan P2 yesterday which was still there today. A LONG-CRESTED EAGLE was spotted over the Steynsrust area in Somerset West on Tuesday while there have also been a glut of KNOB-BILLED DUCK records with a singleton on the Cloof Wines road outside Darling at -33.365, 18.420 on Tuesday, another 4 birds seen in the wetland opposite the Black Oystercatcher Restaurant on the Agulhas Plains on Tuesday and a further 4 birds still present near Vleesbaai at -34.252, 21.875 this morning as well. Elsewhere on the Garden Route, the DARK-CAPPED BULBUL was still in the same area along Beach Boulevard in Mossel Bay this morning, an AFRICAN JACANA was found at Kingswood Golf Estate in George yesterday and a SQUACCO HERON was seen from the N2 bridge over Swartvlei, just west of Sedgefield, yesterday.


In the Eastern Cape, there was major excitement earlier today with the discovery of a PURPLE-BANDED SUNBIRD along the western bank of the Umtamvuma River at -31.067, 30.179, seemingly the first ever confirmed record for the province.



Pink-backed Pelican at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Daryl de Beer

Pink-backed Pelican at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Vince Ward



Allen’s Gallinule at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Vince Ward

Striated Heron at Marina da Gama

© Garret Skead



Knob-billed Duck near Darling

© Tony Kent



African Jacana at Kingswood Golf Estate

© Pieter Uitenweerde

Purple-banded Sunbird along the Umtamvuma River

© Stefan Strydom



Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, there was major local excitement when a PEARL-BREASTED SWALLOW was discovered at Darvill Bird Sanctuary in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday. It spent most of the day there allowing a number of provincial lister to connect with this KZN mega, but has not been reported since. It would appear to only be the 7th record for the province following records south-west of Underberg (Nov 1974), west of Underberg (Nov 1976), north of Howick (Jan 1982), at Darvill Bird Sanctuary (Oct 1989), at Bonamanzi Game Reserve (Oct 2009) and, most recently, at Darvill Bird Sanctuary again (Jan 2021). Thanks very much to Digby Cyrus for providing these details.


Elsewhere, a single CAPPED WHEATEAR was found east of Groenvlei along the D181 at -27.482, 30.31 yesterday and 3 birds were present at the same site today while a young AFRICAN HAWK EAGLE was seen today in Umfolozi Game Reserve at -28.244, 31.739.



Pearl-breasted Swallow at Darvill Bird Sanctuary

© David Hoddinott

Pearl-breasted Swallow at Darvill Bird Sanctuary

© Clayton Burne



Pearl-breasted Swallow at Darvill Bird Sanctuary

© Dave Sanders

Pearl-breasted Swallow at Darvill Bird Sanctuary

© Zach Simpson



Pearl-breasted Swallow at Darvill Bird Sanctuary

© Elton John Bartlett

Pearl-breasted Swallow at Darvill Bird Sanctuary

© Dave Rimmer



In the Free State, there was some surprize when a female BLACK CUCKOOSHRIKE was found in Woodland Hills in Bloemfontein yesterday, a very unusual record for this part of the country.


Mpumalanga held on to the 2 AFRICAN SKIMMERS which were still at the Olifants River bridge in the Kruger National Park today while the province also delivered the first scarcity record of the season with a single GREEN SANDPIPER seen at Mjejane Game Reserve yesterday afternoon.



Green Sandpiper at Mjejane Game Reserve

© Mario Paul

African Skimmers at the Olifants River bridge

© Amanda Walden



Over in the North-west Province, a SANDERLING was found this afternoon at Finfoot Lake Reserve at Vaalkop Dam.


Up in Limpopo, a group of at least 9 GREAT WHITE PELICANS were seen at Shingwedzi in the Kruger National Park yesterday evening and again this morning.


And finally, in Zimbabwe, a SOUTHERN BANDED SNAKE EAGLE was found on the Save River junction road near Gayiseni campsite in Gonarezhou National Park on Tuesday, a very good record for the country.



Great White Pelicans at Shingwedzi

© Estelle Smalberger

Southern Banded Snake Eagle in Gonarezhou National Park

© Gary Douglas



Sanderling at Finfoot Lake Reserve

© Sarel van der Westhuizen



Thank you to all observers who have contributed their records. Please continue to send through any reports of odd birds as well as continued updates on the presence of rarities already previously reported, no matter how mundane you think they may be. Even if you think someone else has probably sent in a report, rather send the report yourself as well. The only way to improve this service and to make it as useful as possible to everyone is if it can be as comprehensive as possible.


Kind regards




Cape Town, South Africa








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