SA Rare Bird News Report - 20 December 2021

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Trevor Hardaker

Dec 20, 2021, 11:01:34 AM12/20/21



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 Monday, 20 December 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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As usual, let’s start with a few scarcity reports…




·         One in a garden in Uitenhage (Eastern Cape) this morning.

·         One over Kleinmond Golf Course (Western Cape) yesterday.

·         One at the Keiskamma River estuary in Hamburg (Eastern Cape) yesterday.

·         One at Umdoni Park in Pennington (KZN) yesterday.

·         One over Westville (KZN) at -29.812, 30.922 yesterday.

·         One near Mlalazi grasslands (KZN) at -28.946, 31.779 yesterday.

·         One near Hudley Station (KZN) at -29.010, 31.702 yesterday.

·         One at Lake Sibaya (KZN) yesterday.

·         One at Umbhaba Eco Lodge (Mpumalanga) on Saturday.

·         One in Letaba in the Kruger National Park (Limpopo) on Saturday.

·         One at Wildevoelvlei near Kommetjie (Western Cape) on Friday and again on Saturday.

·         One at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (Western Cape) on Friday.

·         One at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens (Gauteng) on Friday.

·         One at Iwamanzi Game Lodge near Koster (North-west Province) on Friday.

·         One in Klein Windhoek (Namibia) last Saturday.



European Honey Buzzard at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

© Shane Wilken

European Honey Buzzard in Klein Windhoek

© Hans Thiemann



European Honey Buzzard at Iwamanzi Game Lodge

© Jean-Pierre Wepener

European Honey Buzzard at Umbhaba Eco Lodge

© Nolan Hewns



European Honey Buzzard near the Mlalazi grasslands

© Dominic Rollinson

European Honey Buzzard at Wildevoelvlei

© Finn Gretschel



European Honey Buzzard over Westville

© Elton-John Bartlett

European Honey Buzzard in Uitenhage

© Keith Joubert



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, at least one PINK-BACKED PELICAN was still present at Strandfontein Sewage Works yesterday and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER was also reported there on Pan S7 on Friday while Macassar Sewage Works was also still proving popular with birders, especially now that there are 2 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS there and still showing well today. A single AFRICAN PALM SWIFT was also reported at Melkbos Pan on Saturday. Perhaps the most surprizing news, and possibly one of the weirdest records of the entire year, came late on Friday afternoon when a young SADDLE-BILLED STORK was found in Pringle Bay. It was seen again on Saturday morning, but has not been reported since then unfortunately. This is the first record for the province and it now means that the Western Cape has had every species of Stork occurring in Southern Africa, even although only 2 of them are normally found here. Rooisand Nature Reserve was also a popular destination with a WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL found at the hide there yesterday and still there today while the PECTORAL SANDPIPER and the BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER were also both still around today as well. Other good records included a EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE seen at Pearly Beach at -34.669, 19.513 yesterday, a EUROPEAN ROLLER spotted around the restaurant at De Hoop Nature Reserve on Saturday, another EUROPEAN ROLLER seen in the eastern section of the reserve this morning and a LONG-CRESTED EAGLE seen in Riversdale yesterday.


The Garden Route region was also cooking with a group of 17 FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCKS seen on the sea just behind the waves at Vleesbaai yesterday, no less than 4 LESSER STRIPED SWALLOWS seen at George Dam at -33.965, 22.512 this afternoon, a BLACK HERON seen at the channel between Langvlei and Rondevlei, near Wilderness, on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday afternoon, a GOLIATH HERON spotted at Sedgefield Lagoon on Thursday afternoon, the EUROPEAN ROLLER still along the Knysna River in Westford Nature Reserve at -34.007, 23.016 on Saturday and a single AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL still at the Knysna Waterfront in the parking area behind 34 degrees South this morning. The Plettenberg Bay area also held plenty to keep birders entertained with the popular EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER still at the Keurbooms River estuary today, 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS found at Bitou Vlei at -34.005, 23.352 on Saturday and increasing to 3 birds there this morning, BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS seen at Bitou vlei yesterday and also around the Keurbooms River estuary at -34.025, 23.389 on Friday afternoon and again yesterday, a EUROPEAN ROLLER found at -34.018, 23.378 on Saturday and another EUROPEAN ROLLER along the Uplands Road at -33.952, 23.304 yesterday, a single AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL still around the jettys on the Keurbooms River in on Friday and a WHITE-BROWED SCRUB ROBIN found at Honeybush farm (private property) at -34.014, 23.352 today while a female RED-BACKED SHRIKE was found at Roam Private Game Reserve, south of Beaufort West, on Friday afternoon as well.



Saddle-billed Stork in Pringle Bay

© Denise Vrba

Saddle-billed Stork in Pringle Bay

© Jenny Parsons



Saddle-billed Stork in Pringle Bay

© Johan van der Westhuizen

Saddle-billed Stork in Pringle Bay

© Lester van Groeningen



Saddle-billed Stork in Pringle Bay

© Johan Hattingh

Saddle-billed Stork in Pringle Bay

© Richard Koker



Saddle-billed Stork in Pringle Bay

© Cliff Dorse

Baird’s Sandpiper at Macassar Sewage Works

© Francois Dreyer



Baird’s Sandpipers at Macassar Sewage Works

© Michael Mason

Baird’s Sandpiper at Macassar Sewage Works

© Finn Gretschel



Pectoral Sandpiper at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Dean Boshoff

Eurasian Golden Oriole in Pearly Beach

© Steven James



Western Yellow Wagtail at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Dean Boshoff

Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Dean Boshoff



Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Alex Aitkenhead

Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Johan van der Westhuizen



Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Jenny Wentzel

Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Adrius Rabie



Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Charles Britz

Pectoral Sandpiper at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Robert Cooper



Pectoral Sandpiper at Bitou vlei

© Regard van Dyk

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Plettenberg Bay

© Jacky Stassen



European Roller in Plettenberg Bay

© Regard van Dyk

Red-backed Shrike at Roam Private Game Reserve

© Donovan de Swardt



Up in the Northern Cape, a SQUACCO HERON was found at Leeudril waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park yesterday, a LESSER GREY SHRIKE was seen at Brandvlei on Saturday and another was also reported between Brandvlei and Kenhardt on Saturday as well while the CASPIAN PLOVER was still at New Holme Guest Farm near Hanover until at least Thursday.



Caspian Plover at New Holme Guest Farm

© Ian Davidson

Squacco Heron at Leeudril waterhole

© Henk Nel



In the Eastern Cape, there was some local excitement when a GREY-HEADED KINGFISHER was found on a farm south of Burgersdorp at -31.126, 26.184 on Saturday, a really good record for the province, while 2 BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS were found along the R330 just before Cape St Francis at -34.195, 24.822 on Friday and a GREAT REED WARBLER was found in St Francis Bay at -34.137, 24.807 yesterday and was still present there this morning. Other lingerers included at least 2 LONG-TAILED PARADISE WHYDAHS still in Mountain Zebra National Park yesterday, as many as 7 LESSER GREY SHRIKES still around Oviston on Saturday, several GREATER SAND PLOVERS still at the pan at the mouth of the Swartkops River at Bluewater Bay on Saturday, the LESSER SAND PLOVER still along the Kromme River in St Francis Bay yesterday, the MARABOU STORK seen at Thomas River near Stutterheim again on Saturday, the YELLOW-BILLED STORK still at the Keiskamma River estuary in Hamburg yesterday and the popular EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER still at the Kariega River mouth at Kenton-on-Sea this afternoon.



Grey-headed Kingfisher south of Burgersdorp

© Hennie Welman

Lesser Grey Shrike at Oviston

© Foden Saunders



Great Reed Warbler in St Francis Bay

© Adam Buckham

Great Reed Warbler in St Francis Bay

© Mike Buckham



Lesser Sand Plover in St Francis Bay

© Mike Buckham

Lesser Sand Plover in St Francis Bay

© Alan Bedford-Shaw



Yellow-billed Stork at Hamburg

© Jane Spriggs

Marabou Stork at Thomas River

© Neil de Coning



Greater Sand Plover at Swartkops River mouth

© Edwin Polden

Greater Sand Plovers at Swartkops River mouth

© Wesley Gush



Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, the showy GOLDEN PIPIT was still present in the usual area near Albert Falls at -29.495, 30.386 today while other good sightings included a female LESSER KESTREL seen amongst Amur Falcons near Winterton at -28.854, 29.676 yesterday, 4 ABDIM’S STORKS reported at Fairbreeze at -29.035, 31.652 yesterday and a WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER seen in Port Edward at -31.052, 30.228 yesterday. Other popular birds holding on at their respective sites included at least one RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON still at Nsombiza Pan on the Eastern Shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park at -28.317, 32.434 on Saturday, a DUSKY LARK still at Manyoni Private Game Reserve on Friday, the SOUTHERN WHITE-FACED OWL still outside 12 Gilford Place in Durban North this morning, the BLACK HERON still at Thurlow Game Reserve today, the ALLEN’S GALLINULE still at the private farm dam in Port Edward on Saturday and a BLACK-NECKED GREBE still at Lake Shepstone on Thursday afternoon.



Golden Pipit near Albert Falls

© Athol Marchant

Golden Pipit near Albert Falls

© Jason McCormick



Golden Pipit near Albert Falls

© Justin Chadwick

Golden Pipit near Albert Falls

© John Graham



Lesser Kestrel near Winterton

© Shaun Sunkel

Black Heron at Thurlow Game Reserve

© Noleen Turner



Black Heron at Thurlow Game Reserve

© Athol Marchant

Black Heron at Thurlow Game Reserve

© Les Marchant



Southern White-faced Owl in Durban North

© John Graham

Allen’s Gallinule in Port Edward

© Hugo Voigts



The Free State continued to receive many twitchers from all over the country as the popular MADAGASCAN CUCKOO at Soetdoring Nature Reserve continued to show well and was still in place at -28.832, 26.048 today. Elsewhere, 2 DWARF BITTERNS were found at Soutpan at -28.761, 26.051 on Saturday.



Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Jo Balmer

Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Altus Lombard



Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Dirk Human


Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Freddie Claassen

Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Mareta le Roux



Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Lloyd Nelson

Dwarf Bittern at Soutpan

© Lloyd Nelson



Gauteng chimed in with an ALLEN’S GALLINULE found this morning at Marievale Bird Sanctuary at -26.358, 28.514.


Across in Mpumalanga, a RUFOUS BELLIED HERON was found at the dam at the DusktoDawn Farm Guesthouse in Piet Retief yesterday while a DUSKY INDIGOBIRD was reported north of Bulpan at -25.608, 29.087 on Friday.



Allen’s Gallinule at Marievale Bird Sanctuary

© Martin Knoetze

Rufous-bellied Heron in Piet Retief

© Johann Engelbrecht



In Limpopo, a single LESSER JACANA was found at the Samaria wetlands near Mapungubwe National Park at -22.201, 29.288 on Thursday while a STRIPED CRAKE was reported at De Loskop, north of Polokwane, at -23.515, 29.330 on Thursday as well.



Lesser Jacana at Samaria wetlands

© Daniel Engelbrecht

Lesser Jacana at Samaria wetlands

© Craig Widdows



Up in Namibia, the mega ROSS’S TURACO was still at Taranga Safari Lodge, west of Rundu, earlier today while at least 20 FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCKS were present at Avis Dam in Windhoek on Saturday and there were still 3 there earlier today.


And finally, in Botswana, 2 ALLEN’S GALLINULES (an adult and subadult) were seen along the Molopo River, west of Werda, at -25.277, 23.227 on Saturday.



Fulvous Whistling Ducks at Avis Dam

© Jennie Lates

Allen’s Gallinule along the Molopo River

© Samantha Delaney



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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