SA Rare Bird News Report - 17 February 2020

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Trevor Hardaker

Feb 17, 2020, 1:03:04 PM2/17/20



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 20h00 on Monday, 17 February 2020.


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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Time to catch up with the last week's news and, as usual, we start with a list of the scarcities reported:




* One in Somerset West (Western Cape) at -34.031, 18.822 this afternoon.

* One near Kgomo Kgomo (North-west Province) earlier today.

* One near Charters Creek on the western shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park (KZN) yesterday.

* One at Silverboomkloof Reserve in Somerset West (Western Cape) on Tuesday and at least 3 birds seen together there later in the week until at least Saturday.

* One at Swartfontein (Namibia) on Saturday.

* One about 10km from Kruisrivier towards Calitzdorp (Western Cape) on Friday.

* Two at Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge in Katima Mulilo (Namibia) on Wednesday.

* One in a garden in Everton (KZN) on Tuesday.

* One at Gnu Valley farm in Muldersdrift (Gauteng) on Tuesday.

* One in a garden in Melville (Gauteng) on Tuesday.

* One just outside Mutare (Zimbabwe) on Tuesday.

* One at the Pick 'n Pay store in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) on Tuesday.



European Honey Buzzard in Everton

© Ian Dickinson

European Honey Buzzard at Caprivi Houseboat Safaari Lodge

© Curt-Ingo Sagell



European Honey Buzzard at Victoria Falls

© Charles Brightman

European Honey Buzzard in Melville

© Lidia Cilliers



European Honey Buzzard at Silverboomkloof Reserve

© Stanislav Novotny

European Honey Buzzard at Silverboomkloof Reserve

© Charles Britz



European Honey Buzzard at Silverboomkloof Reserve

© Bryn de Kocks

European Honey Buzzard at Silverboomkloof Reserve

© Frans-Hendrik Joubert



European Honey Buzzard at Silverboomkloof Reserve

© Jacques Malan

European Honey Buzzard at Silverboomkloof Reserve

© John Graham



European Honey Buzzard at Gnu Valley farm

© John Pullen

European Honey Buzzard near Calitzdorp

© Alex Weaver



European Honey Buzzard near Kgomo Kgomo

© Kim Lindie



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, the Velddrif area remained popular amongst twitchers with the WILSON'S PHALAROPE still present on the salt pans at Kuifkopvisvanger farm this afternoon and the 3 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES still present there as well this afternoon. The farm also held on to the COMMON REDSHANK until at least Thursday, the YELLOW-BILLED STORK until at least Thursday and also produced a GREAT EGRET yesterday. Next door, at Kliphoek Salt Pans, the WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was still present on Saturday, the moulting RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was still around yesterday and the GREATER SAND PLOVERS were also still present until at least Thursday whilst a GOLIATH HERON was noted there on Saturday as well.


Elsewhere, the DOUBLE-BANDED COURSERS were still present along the R45, west of Malmesbury, at -33.254, 18.586 until at least Thursday, an AFRICAN HAWK EAGLE was seen at Fynbos Guest Farm near Wolseley on Wednesday, a EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE was seen at Die Opstal at De Hoop Nature Reserve on Thursday and a HALF-COLLARED KINGFISHER was found just east of Riviersonderend on Saturday while, over on the Garden Route, the GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH was still holding on around the entrance to Vila Castolina in Knysna this morning.



White-rumped Sandpiper at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Robbie Engela

White-rumped Sandpiper at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Corne Rautenbach



Wilson’s Phalarope at Kuifkopvisvanger farm

© Alan Collett

Greater Sand Plover at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Alan Collett



Red-necked Phalaropes at Kuifkopvisvanger farm

© Alan Collett

Red-necked Phalaropes at Kuifkopvisvanger farm

© Peter Hills



Common Redshank at Kuifkopvisvanger farm

© Matt Prophet

Common Redshank (with Marsh Sandpipers) at Kuifkopvisvanger farm

© Charles Britz



Double-banded Courser on the R45

© Duggy Loock

Double-banded Coursers on the R45

© Charles Britz



In the Eastern Cape, a PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER was found at Kei mouth at -32.67, 28.377 on Saturday while the 3 EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHERS were still at the Gamtoos River mouth this evening, the 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS were still at the farm dam near Humansdorp on Friday and the long-staying SPUR-WINGED LAPWING was also still around the Continental Tyres building in Port Elizabeth late this afternoon.



Pacific Golden Plover at Kei mouth

© Foden Saunders

Eurasian Oystercatchers at the Gamtoos River

© Christa Stander



Up in the Northern Cape, an OLIVE-TREE WARBLER was reported at Stofdam hide in Mokala National Park yesterday, a CASPIAN PLOVER was found at Karoo Gariep Conservancy at -30.898, 24.644 on Saturday and a RED PHALAROPE was found about 41 km outside Carnarvon on the road to Williston at -31.099, 21.738 on Tuesday whilst the long-staying BLACK-COLLARED BARBET was still present in the campsite in Augrabies National Park on Thursday.


Moving across into Kwazulu Natal, a WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL was found along the mFolozi River at -28.446, 32.324 on Saturday and an adult and juvenile AFRICAN CRAKE were seen in the grasslands outside Mtunzini on Thursday. There were also still 2 SOOTY FALCONS present in the trees around the first traffic circle in Mbazwana this morning.


In the Free State, there was some local excitement when an AFRICAN HAWK EAGLE was found on the eastern edge of Bloemfontein at -29.177, 26.316 on Wednesday, a very good record for the province.

African Hawk Eagle in Bloemfontein

© Johan van Niekerk



Across in Gauteng, the WHITE-BACKED NIGHT HERONS were still at Cedar Lakes estate in Fourways on Saturday while the long-staying SLATY EGRET remained on at Gnu Valley farm in Muldersdrift until at least Tuesday.


Into Limpopo where a SPOTTED CRAKE was reported along Crake Road in the Zaagkuildrift area yesterday at -25.175, 28.164, always a good find, while a group of 4 SCALY-FEATHERED FINCHES were seen this morning at the KM19 marker north of Shingwedzi in the Kruger National Park.



White-backed Night Heron at Cedar Lakes estate

© Neil Ebedes

White-backed Night Heron at Cedar Lakes estate

© Jean van Rooyen



White-backed Night Heron at Cedar Lakes estate

© Josh Judd

Slaty Egret at Gnu Valley farm

© John Pullen



Up in Namibia, there were no fewer than 9 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES reported at Walvis Bay Salt Pans yesterday while a GREATER SAND PLOVER was found at Walvis Bay Lagoon opposite the Iris Boutique Hotel on Wednesday. Also of local interest, a SOUTHERN YELLOW-BILLED HORNBILL was seen in the Namib about 130km south of Sesriem on Friday, an unusual record for the area.



Greater Sand Plover at Walvis Bay Lagoon

© Dayne Braine

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill south of Sesriem

© Etienne Rossouw



Across in Zimbabwe, the mega RED-RUMPED SWALLOW was still present outside Mutare until at least Tuesday while a RED-NECKED FALCON was found at Katiyo Tea Estate in the Honde Valley on Friday.



Red-rumped Swallow in Mutare

© Richard Crawshaw

Red-necked Falcon at Katiyo Tea Estate

© Patrick Kelly



And finally, in Mozambique, the country continued to hold on to a long list of mouth-watering rarities with the SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER still present at Macaneta, north of Maputo, at -25.735, 32.722 on Saturday, a group of 15 CRAB PLOVERS seen on the Pomene peninsula at -22.904, 35.551 on Wednesday and a subadult SOOTY TERN that landed on the MSC Orchestra near Pomene on Wednesday while the San Sebastian Peninsula near Vilanculous produced an incredible list of good birds on Thursday and Friday with no fewer than 13 SAUNDERS'S TERNS, 2 SOOTY TERNS, a ridiculous flock of 18 EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHERS and a quite incredible count of 284 CRAB PLOVERS present!!



Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Macaneta

© James Hogg



Saunders’s Tern on the San Sebastian Peninsula

© Etienne Marais

Saunders’s Tern on the San Sebastian Peninsula

© Albert McLean



Sooty Tern on the San Sebastian Peninsula

© Etienne Marais

Sooty Tern on the San Sebastian Peninsula

© Albert McLean



Eurasian Oystercatchers on the San Sebastian Peninsula

© Albert McLean


Crab Plovers on the San Sebastian Peninsula

© Etienne Marais



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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