SA Rare Bird News Report - 28 November 2013

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Trevor Hardaker

Nov 28, 2013, 1:04:45 PM11/28/13
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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Thursday, 28 November 2013. 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



It's nice to see how SARBN has continued to grow in membership over the years at an average rate of more than 1 new member every single day of its existence. On Tuesday, when SARBN was 1943 days old, it reached a big milestone when new member Andre Coetzer joined the group and became the 2000th subscriber! Please feel free to share this service with the rest of your birding friends and encourage them to join as well - the more, the merrier! Let's see just how big we can make this thing.J


On to some news and where to start. Well, possibly the most sought after bird over the last few days was the male NORTHERN WHEATEAR reported in some tilled cotton fields near Mahuwe in the lower Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe on Tuesday. This is still a hugely wanted bird for most keen Southern African listers and would appear to be the 26th record for the subregion although we still wait extremely patiently for one that is actually twitchable.


In neighbouring Mozambique, at least 2 ARCTIC TERNS were reported on a trip into Maputo Bay on Monday, still a particularly unusual species in those parts whilst, on Sunday, a single male CUCKOO FINCH was also reported from Maputo, an excellent record for the country.



Heading into SA and, starting in Limpopo, the weekend turned up both a GREEN SANDPIPER and a EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD at Polokwane Bird Sanctuary on Saturday whilst the same day also delivered a BLACK-NECKED GREBE at Turfloop Dam. A LONG-CRESTED EAGLE just outside of Thabazimbi was a nice local find.


Mpumalanga rocked the local birding scene by producing the subregion's 9th ever MADAGASCAR CUCKOO near Biyamithi in the Kruger National Park on Friday. The bird attracted a fair bit of attraction, even after last year's popular bird in the same general area, and showed well about 7km north of Biyamithi weir along the S114 until at least Tuesday. The province held a few other goodies as well including GREEN SANDPIPERS at both Biyamithi weir and Sweni bridge in the Kruger, a SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER still present at Crocodile Bridge in the Kruger and a WHIMBREL still present at Mkhombo Dam on Saturday as well whilst 2 adult male RED-FOOTED FALCONS at the Blyde River Canyon on Friday were also a good find.


Green Sandpiper at Sweni Bridge

© Simon Vegter

Madagascar Cuckoo near Biyamithi

© Ian Grant



Long-crested Eagle near Thabazimbi

© Morne Carstens



In the North-west Province, a group of ringers were surprised this afternoon when they caught a PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Barberspan Nature Reserve.


Gauteng's offerings included EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARDS at both the entrance to Rietvlei Nature Reserve on Saturday and another individual north of Bronkhorstspruit (which actually flew across the border into Mpumalanga too).


Down into Kwazulu Natal where there was a lot of action in recent days. A spate of 3 pelagic trips out of Durban (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) turned up a triple of BARAU'S PETREL on every day with 6 individuals seen on Friday and taking the total number of records for the subregion now to 61! Other good birds seen on the trips included SOOTY TERNS on both Friday and Sunday whilst Friday also produced the first WANDERING ALBATROSS for the province in about 10 years! Elsewhere in the province, an immature CRAB PLOVER was discovered at the mouth of the Umfolozi River (possibly the same individual that had previously been reported from Mtunzini), up to 7 CASPIAN PLOVERS were present at Mpempe Pan, a GREEN SANDPIPER was found at Nyamithi Pan in Ndumo Game Reserve, an AYRES' HAWK EAGLE seen near Reitvlei, an AFRICAN HAWK EAGLE located between Kranskop and Nkandla and a GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO found at Pongola Game Reserve.



Barau’s Petrel on Durban pelagic trip

© Niall Perrins

Sooty Tern on Durban pelagic trip

© Niall Perrins



Down the coast into the Eastern Cape where the CRAB PLOVER at the mouth of the Kei River was still attracting attention and remained present until at least Sunday. Elsewhere, 2 SQUACCO HERONS at Zwelitsha Sewage Works were a good find and inland, just west of Aberdeen, a female PALLID HARRIER was an exciting find with a supporting case of a GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING and 2 YELLOW-THROATED PETRONIAS in the area on Friday too. Camdeboo National Park produced a WESTERN OSPREY on Tuesday whilst a couple of TEMMINCK'S COURSERS at Aliwal North yesterday wrapped up the province's collection.



Crab Plover at Kei River mouth

© Stefan Strydom

Pallid Harrier near Aberdeen

© Japie Claassen



Western Osprey in Camdeboo National Park

© Alan Collett

Yellow-throated Petronia near Aberdeen

© Japie Claassen



Into the Western Cape where the West Coast National Park held some entertainment with Geelbek still hosting a COMMON REDSHANK until at least Tuesday afternoon with a SAND MARTIN there also being a good record whilst Seeberg produced a LESSER SAND PLOVER on Tuesday and Abrahamskraal held at least 2 LARK-LIKE BUNTINGS on Saturday. Over on the other side of the province in the Beaufort West region, some good birds were reported too with both BLACK-CHESTED and BROWN SNAKE EAGLES, a YELLOW-THROATED PETRONIA and up to 16 WHITE-FACED DUCKS reported from the area on Saturday whilst there was also some surprise with the discovery of a number of WHISKERED TERNS on a dam on the farm Badsfontein near Murraysburg on the weekend too.


In the Northern Cape, it was all happening in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with Saturday producing a most unexpected WESTERN OSPREY between Twee Rivieren and Mata Mata, Sunday turning up a female MONTAGU'S HARRIER south of Nossob and Tuesday delivering an equally unexpected HADEDA IBIS at Gemsbokplein.


Finally, in Namibia, a WOODLAND KINGFISHER was, once again, present at Monte Christo farm about 30km north of Windhoek on Sunday, the 5th successive season that this bird has returned to this site well south of its normal range whilst another totally bizarre record was a TREE PIPIT in a garden in Luderitz on Tuesday, well outside of this species' known range in the subregion. And, to end it all off, upwards of 50 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were present at Walvis Bay Salt Works until at least Monday.



Western Osprey in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

© Angela Key

Tree Pipit in Luderitz

© Jessica Kemper



Please remember to send through your details to be included on the various listing clubs that are hosted at This website also has an extensive rarities gallery that has many additional photos of a number of rarities that are mentioned in these reports.



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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