SA Rare Bird News Report - 04 February 2021

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Trevor Hardaker

Feb 4, 2021, 1:03:26 PM2/4/21



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 20h00 on Thursday, 04 February 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 get started with a few scarcity reports…




·         One at Woodbush Forest in Magoebaskloof (Limpopo) today.

·         One over Klein Windhoek (Namibia) today.

·         One at the mouth of the Umdloti River (KZN) yesterday.

·         One in Muldersdrift (Gauteng) yesterday.

·         One at Spanish Farm in Somerset West (Western Cape) on Tuesday.

·         One at Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve (KZN) on Tuesday.

·         One at Manyoni Private Game Reserve (KZN) on Tuesday.

·         One at De Tweedespruit (Gauteng) on Tuesday.



European Honey Buzzard in Muldersdrift

© Ian Grant

European Honey Buzzard at de Tweedespruit

© Dave Sole



European Honey Buzzard at Spanish Farm

© Gabriel Jamie

European Honey Buzzard at Spanish Farm

© Stephan Wolfardt



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, the possible CRESTED HONEY BUZZARD was still present in the Spanish Farm area in Somerset West this afternoon. The jury remains out on what exactly this bird is in terms of whether it is a pure Crested Honey Buzzard or a hybrid with a European Honey Buzzard and it will probably still take some time to get this fully resolved. Whatever the case, it remains an educational bird to see and birders are encouraged to go and see it if they can, no matter what the final verdict it. Please just also note that the viewing area and access road is actually private property, so please park responsibly in the open gravel area at the bottom of the road and then walk up to the viewing site as the residents have complained about people parking in such a way that they cannot get passed them on the narrow road.


Elsewhere, the AFRICAN JACANA was still at Little Princess Vlei yesterday and the AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE and GOLIATH HERON were also still at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif yesterday while a EUROPEAN ROLLER was found on the R44, about 12 km north of Stellenbosch, on Tuesday and the WOODLAND KINGFISHER was still at Jonkersrivier farm, between Worcester and Villiersdorp, today as well. A BROWN SNAKE EAGLE was seen again on the van der Stel Pass at -34.160, 19.226 yesterday, seemingly a different individual to the bird previously reported there while an AFRICAN PALM SWIFT was seen around Montagu at -33.777, 20.167 yesterday and the AFRICAN PIED WAGTAILS were still around the Cape Nature picnic site on the Keurbooms River in Plettenberg Bay yesterday as well.



Possible Crested Honey Buzzard in Somerset West

© Gaynor Donovan

Possible Crested Honey Buzzard in Somerset West

© Hilton Thomson



Possible Crested Honey Buzzard in Somerset West

© Michael McSweeney

Possible Crested Honey Buzzard in Somerset West

© Dana Goldberg



Possible Crested Honey Buzzard in Somerset West

© John Graham

European Roller near Stellenbosch

© Alan Champkins



American Golden Plover at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Nigel McDonald

American Golden Plover at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Kevin Drummon-Hay



Red-necked Phalarope at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Kevin Drummond-Hay



Goliath Heron at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Kevin Drummond-Hay

African Pied Wagtail in Plettenberg Bay

© Andre Strydom



In the Eastern Cape, the mega SOOTY GULL was still at Kei Mouth late this afternoon while many provincial listers were very excited with the report of several WHITE-WINGED WIDOWBIRDS found on private property north of Cradock at -31.913, 25.540 on Tuesday, only apparently the third record for the province. Also still attracting attention, the 3 EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHERS remained on at the Gamtoos River estuary yesterday, a BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE EAGLE was seen at Mpongo Private Game Reserve yesterday, a BROWN SNAKE EAGLE was found near Cradock at -32.124, 25.621 on Tuesday and 2 YELLOW-BILLED STORKS were reported south of Cradock at -32.318, 25.743 on Tuesday as well.



Sooty Gull at Kei Mouth

© Rod Humphris

Sooty Gull at Kei Mouth

© David Stewart



White-winged Widowbird near Cradock

© Wesley Gush

White-winged Widowbird near Cradock

© Lynette Rudman



White-winged Widowbird near Cradock

© Stewart MacLachlan



White-winged Widowbird twitchers near Cradock

© Stewart MacLachlan



Brown Snake Eagle near Cradock

© Lynette Rudman

Black-chested Snake Eagle at Mpongo Private Game Reserve

© Julia Bartman



Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, the big news remained the WHITE-CHEEKED TERN at the Umdloti River mouth which was still in place yesterday, but has not been reported today unfortunately. There was also a single HARTLAUB’S GULL there on Tuesday as an added distraction while, perhaps one of the more bizarre records of the last few days was a dark morph RED-FOOTED BOOBY seen flying over Leopard Mountain in Manyoni Private Game Reserve heading south towards Thanda yesterday. A FRIGATEBIRD species was seen late this afternoon at Kosi Bay, a SOOTY FALCON was seen along the R618 near Mtubatuba at -28.370, 32.256 on Tuesday and was still in the area yesterday and the SOOTY TERN was also still at the St Lucia estuary yesterday. The Prospection area in Durban also delivered some interesting birds on Tuesday with a BLACK HERON found at -29.987, 30.938 and a TEMMINCK’S COURSER seen at -29.982, 30.946 while a group of 5 TEMMINCK’S COURSERS were reported in a field near Greytown this morning.



White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© Bart Fokkens

White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© Digby Cyrus



White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© Koos van Dyk

White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© Richard Crawshaw



White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© Michael Wright

White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© David Hoddinott



White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© Matthew Axelrod

White-cheeked Tern at the Umdloti River

© Roger Hogg



Hartlaub’s Gull at the Umdloti River

© David Hoddinott

Hartlaub’s Gull at the Umdloti River

© Matthew Axelrod



White-cheeked Tern twitchers at the Umdloti River

© David Taylor


White-cheeked Tern twitchers at the Umdloti River

© Matthew Axelrod



Temminck’s Courser in Prospection

© Ansie Coetser

Black Heron near Prospection

© Rowan Bartlett



Sooty Tern at St Lucia

© Ian Ferreira

Sooty Falcon near Mtubatuba

© Juan Acevedo



Into the Free State where 2 DWARF BITTERNS and an AFRICAN CRAKE were reported at Soutpan at -28.760, 26.049 yesterday and several LESSER MOORHENS were found in flooded grassland north of Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve near Memel at -27.541, 29.591 yesterday as well and were still there today. Also of interest to twitchers, following my previous email about the reserve, news has come through that Soetdoring Nature Reserve has now been opened to the public again from today. It’s difficult to keep up with what is happening there! Apparently, they are limiting the number of visitors to 50 people per day so potential Madagascan twitchers are advised to arrive at the reserve early in the day to ensure that they can get in before the capacity has been reached.


In Gauteng, a RED-FOOTED FALCON was seen in Modderfontein Nature Reserve at -26.073, 28.146 yesterday and another was found close by at -26.100, 28.156 today.


Over in Mpumalanga, a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was discovered earlier today at Leeupan near Leandra at -26.553, 28.998.


Across in the North-west Province, a LESSER MOORHEN was found on a private farm dam near Rustenburg on Tuesday while an AFRICAN CRAKE was seen in a garden in Rustenburg on Monday.


Limpopo chimed in with an adult PALM-NUT VULTURE seen on a private farm in Letsitele on Tuesday.



African Crake in Rustenburg

© Geoff Finney

Lesser Moorhen near Rustenburg

© Geoff Finney



Lesser Black-backed Gull at Leeupan

© Duncan McKenzie

Palm-nut Vulture near Letsitele

© Albie Götze



Up in Namibia, an AFRICAN SKIMMER was found at Twee Palms in Etosha National Park yesterday while the COMMON REDSHANK was still at Mile 4 Salt Pans in Swakopmund on Tuesday and the YELLOW-THROATED LEAFLOVES were still in the gardens of Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge in Katima Mulilo earlier today as well.


And finally, in Zimbabwe, the MADAGASCAN CUCKOO was still in Monavale in Harare earlier today.



Common Redshank at Mile 4 Salt Works

© Timo Britze

African Skimmer in Etosha Natonal Park

© Heidi Schibulski



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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