SA Rare Bird News Report - 24 March 2014

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Trevor Hardaker

Mar 24, 2014, 2:03:59 PM3/24/14
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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Monday, 24 March 2014. 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. 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



To start with, let’s look at some recent EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD records from the last week:


1 bird at Umfurudzi Park on Monday (Zimbabwe)

1 bird over Richard’s Bay on Tuesday (KZN)

1 bird north of Wolwefontein on Friday (Eastern Cape)

1 bird at the Renosterspruit Dam just outside of Bloemfontein on Friday (Free State)

1 bird close to Fountain Circle in Pretoria on Friday (Gauteng)

1 bird at Loch Athlone Bird Reserve near Bethlehem on Saturday (Free State)

1 bird just outside of Tzaneen on Saturday (Limpopo)

1 bird at Zaagkuilsdrift yesterday (North-west)

Up to 8 birds located in the southern Kruger National Park over the long weekend (Mpumalanga)

1 bird present in a garden in Maun this afternoon (Botswana)



European Honey Buzzard north of Wolwefontein

© Pam Kleiman

European Honey Buzzard north of Wolwefontein

© Maans Booysen



European Honey Buzzard at Loch Athlone Bird Reserve

© Martin Potgieter

European Honey Buzzard at Zaagkuilsdrift

© Peter Giesler



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, a number of the recent good birds were still available on the weekend. Both COMMON REDSHANKS were reported from Geelbek in the West Coast National Park whilst, over at De Mond Nature Reserve near Arniston, at least one BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER remained on view along with a GREATER SAND PLOVER throughout the weekend although there was no sign of any of the Golden Plovers that were present there recently. Other remaining birds included at least one SAND MARTIN at Strandfontein Sewage Works whilst the AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL was also still present at the Postcard Café in Jonkershoek on the weekend as well. Elsewhere, a female RED-BACKED SHRIKE was located east of McGregor on Friday whilst several CINNAMON-BREASTED BUNTINGS were seen west of Robertson on Saturday. Down on the Garden Route, there was also some interest with an AFRICAN CUCKOO HAWK located in George on Wednesday and a large number of AMUR FALCONS present over the northern bank of Swartvlei near Sedgefield yesterday.


In the Northern Cape, the male CHESTNUT WEAVER at Spitskop Nature Reserve in Upington was still present in the Southern Masked Weaver colony there until at least Thursday.


Across into the Free State where a RED-FOOTED FALCON was located in a flock of Amur Falcons north-east of Reitz on Friday, a nice find for the area.



Common Redshank at Geelbek

© Clive Prior

African Cuckoo Hawk in George

© Freddie Strauss



Broad-billed Sandpiper (behind Curlew Sandpiper) at De Mond Nature Reserve

© Jon Hartley



Chestnut Weaver at Spitskop Nature Reserve

© Gaynor Donovan

Red-footed Falcon north-east of Reitz

© Pieter la Grange Jr



Down into the Eastern Cape, there was some local excitement when an adult BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE EAGLE was located just outside of Middelburg on the weekend, still an uncommon bird in the province whilst a BROWN SNAKE EAGLE, also an uncommon provincial bird, was located last week just north of Kwandwe Game Reserve. Also of interest, at least 2 AFRICAN CUCKOO HAWKS were present at Sibuya yesterday. For the sake of completeness, I have also included below photos of the RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD and AUSTRALIAN GANNET seen last week on Bird Island in Algoa Bay as mentioned in the previous report.



Black-chested Snake Eagle outside Middelburg

© Tino Herselman

Brown Snake Eagle near Kwandwe Game Reserve

© Mike Simms



Red-tailed Tropicbird at Bird Island

© Bruce Dyer

Australian Gannet at Bird Island

© Bruce Dyer



Moving into Kwazulu Natal, it was all happening at Weenen Game Reserve on the weekend with the PURPLE ROLLER still being present whilst a LEVAILLANT’S CUCKOO was also discovered in the reserve and a LESSER MOORHEN with chicks was discovered at the small dam near the Estcourt/Weenen road in the reserve too.


Up into Gauteng where a SOUTHERN BALD IBIS was reported on Thursday about 5km west of Bronkhorstspruit along the N4.


In the North-west Province, there were still a number of RIVER WARBLERS actively calling along the Zaagkuilsdrift Road on the weekend, but it won’t be too much longer before they all disappear. There was also some surprise on the weekend when a pair of BLACK-NECKED GREBES were located on a farm dam near Koster, a little out of range for this species.


In Namibia, the Walvis Bay area still held lots of goodies on the weekend including both the AMERICAN and PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVERS, a EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER and a number of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES whilst a single COMMON REDSHANK was reported on Thursday from Fisher’s Pan in Etosha National Park.


And finally into Mozambique where several BOHM’S BEE-EATERS were reported from the Chemba district just south of the Zambezi River last week (the same birds that were reported there for the first time earlier this year) while a BASRA REED WARBLER was located at the Zangue River yesterday, another great bird for the subregion.



Levaillant’s Cuckoo at Weenen Game Reserve

© Tobias von Seydlitz

Purple Roller at Weenen Game Reserve

© Tobias von Seydlitz



Levaillant’s Cuckoo at Weenen Game Reserve

© Dave Marshall

Lesser Moorhen at Weenen Game Reserve

© Dave Marshall



Black-necked Grebes near Koster

© Gerda Welman



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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