SA Rare Bird News Report - 19 January 2019

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Trevor Hardaker

Jan 17, 2019, 1:00:35 PM1/17/19



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, 17 January 2019.


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 the few scarcity reports that have surfaced in the last few days...




·         One at Royalston Estate in Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) today.

·         One over Dowerglen in Edenvale (Gauteng) today.

·         One along the Kowie River near Port Alfred (Eastern Cape) yesterday.

·         One in Sasolburg (Free State) at -26.807, 27.830 yesterday.

·         Two over Carletonville (Gauteng) yesterday.

·         One still at Rietvlei Nature Reserve (Gauteng) yesterday.

·         One at Mabusa Nature Reserve (Mpumalanga) yesterday.

·         One along the Baakens River in Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape) on Tuesday.



European Honey Buzzard in Mabusa Nature Reserve

© Wouter van Spijker

European Honey Buzzard near Port Alfred

© Hilton Thomson



European Honey Buzzard in Royalston Estate

© Barry Kurton



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, there were 2 AUSTRALASIAN GANNETS present on Malgas Island in Saldanha Bay earlier today, one of them a new individual not before recorded on the island and apparently around the 20th individual to have now been recorded there. Over on the Garden Route, the BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER was also still in place at Goose Marsh in Plettenberg Bay this morning.


Up in the Northern Cape, a few slightly delayed records have also come through, most exciting of which was a moulting male CHESTNUT WEAVER seen in the campsite at Nossob in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 6 January. Following on from records in 2011 of birds at Nossob in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and at Twee Rivieren, also in the KTP, then in 2012 again in the KTP just south of Union's End, in 2013 at Augrabies Falls National Park and then, most recently, in 2014 at Spitskop Nature Reserve in Upington, this becomes only the 7th ever record of this species for South Africa that I am aware of. Elsewhere, a single YELLOW-THROATED SANDGROUSE was reported coming in to drink in a flock of Burchell's Sandgrouse at Grootkolk camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on 3 January whilst an AFRICAN CRAKE was seen in the pond in the driveway of Molopo Kalahari Lodge on 3 and 4 January as well.



Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Plettenberg Bay

© Andre Strydom

Chestnut Weaver at Nossob

© Lynette Nel



Shifting across to Kwazulu Natal, the very popular male GOLDEN PIPIT at Mavela Game Lodge in Manyoni Private Game Reserve was still showing well today. A RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON was found in Mkuze Game Reserve at -27.595, 32.206 yesterday while there was also a single CORN CRAKE seen along the main access road in the reserve yesterday as well. At least one SOOTY FALCON was still present in gum trees at the first turning circle in Mbazwana on Tuesday while a dead immature SOOTY TERN was found on the beach at the estuary in St Lucia this morning and the EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER was still present there this afternoon. The Sappi wetlands in Stanger continued to attract lots of attention from birders this week with a female WESTERN MARSH HARRIER reported there yesterday, several LESSER MOORHENS and at least 2 WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAILS still available there yesterday too and a SPOTTED CRAKE still entertaining visitors there until at least Tuesday.



Golden Pipit at Mavela Game Lodge

© Benjamin van der Merwe

Golden Pipit at Mavela Game Lodge

© Shaun Atkinson



Rufous-bellied Heron at Mkuze Game Reserve

© Krista Oswald

Eurasian Oystercatcher at St Lucia

© Benjamin van der Merwe



Up in Gauteng, the long-staying GREY WAGTAIL was also still opposite the restaurant at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens earlier today.


Over in Mpumalanga, a SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER was reported yesterday in Komatipoort in the reeds on the border side of the low level bridge there.


And finally, in Mozambique, the 2nd calendar year LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (race fuscus = Baltic Gull) continued opposite Costa do Sol, Maputo beach earlier today.



Lesser Black-backed Gull in Maputo

© Gary Allport



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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