SA Rare Bird News Report - 14 March 2011

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Trevor Hardaker

Mar 14, 2011, 3:03:17 PM3/14/11
to SA Rare Bird News


This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h00 on Monday, 14 March 2011. 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



The action doesn’t seem to be stopping at the moment…


As usual, we start in the Western Cape where one of the more popular birds over the weekend was the PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Rocher Pan north of Velddrif. The bird showed well throughout the weekend on occasions feeding right in front of the hide whilst, at other times, hanging out in its usual spot over on the left hand side of the pan. Staying with waders, a pelagic trip on Saturday produced 2 groups of RED (GREY) PHALAROPES (2 and 6) about 24 nautical miles west of Cape Point.


Also still proving popular on a provincial scale is the LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER just south of Merweville which was still on view early yesterday whilst other noteworthy records in this same area included a female RED-BACKED SHRIKE, several SCALY-FEATHERED FINCHES (quite far west for this species) and a BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE EAGLE. A little further east from here, the YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP is also still present in the Beaufort West area.


A nice surprise on a shark trip out to Dyer Island near Gansbaai on Friday was a visit by a FRANKLIN’S GULL to the boat whilst other records of interest in the province included 2 EUROPEAN ROLLERS about 19km east of Riversdale along the N2 last week, a flock of BLACK-HEADED CANARIES (including several of the white-headed “Damara” race) just south of Eland’s Bay on Saturday and 3 HOTTENTOT TEALS at the ZOAR wetland in Paarden Eiland yesterday.



Pectoral Sandpiper at Rocher Pan

© Freddie Strauss

Pectoral Sandpiper at Rocher Pan

© Barrie Rose



Pectoral Sandpiper at Rocher Pan

© Frans-Hendrik Joubert

Red Phalaropes on pelagic trip

© Barrie Rose



Lilac-breasted Roller near Merweville

© John Graham

Black-chested Snake Eagle near Merweville

© John Graham



Yellow-crowned Bishop in Beaufort West

© Japie Claassen

Hottentot Teal at the ZOAR wetland

© Clive Prior



Franklin’s Gull at Dyer Island

© Hennie Otto



Moving into the Eastern Cape, the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Orient Beach in East London was still on site earlier today whilst the drove of reports of EUROPEAN ROLLERS also continues with several individuals reported in the vicinity of Alexandria, a singleton in the southern parts of Addo National Park, 2 birds at the Coega IDZ near Port Elizabeth and another near Tankatara. Staying with Rollers, a LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER near Kei mouth on Saturday was a particularly good provincial record as well.


Mpumalanga has also gotten in with some interesting records which included both a STRIPED CRAKE and a LESSER JACANA at Manyeleti Private Game Reserve on Friday and Saturday whilst the weekend also produced interesting sightings from the Kruger National Park itself including a CORN CRAKE along the H-3 about 15km north of Jock Safari Lodge whilst 2 YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKERS were seen on a large Buffalo herd at Kwaggaspan also north of Jock Safari Lodge. This is only the 3rd atlas record in southern Kruger of this latter species, and by far the most westerly record in the region, the other two coming from the Crocodile Bridge area.


In Gauteng, there was some local excitement when several MARABOU STORKS were noted at an old mine dump just off the freeway in Germiston on Friday.


In the North-west Province, the Kgomo-Kgomo/Zaagkuildrift area produced some exciting birding on the weekend with people reporting a WESTERN MARSH HARRIER as well as some great warblers including a RIVER WARBLER and a THRUSH NIGHTINGALE.


Limpopo Province produced the biggest surprise of the weekend when a RUPPELL’S VULTURE was located at a vulture restaurant at Shelanti Game Ranch. From what I can work out, the last time this species was reported in SA was the bird at the Blouberg Nature Reserve colony back in early 2008 (I actually initially thought it was even earlier than that!), so it has been at least 3 years since the last reliable report of this species locally. What a great find!


And finally, in Mozambique, a BASRA REED WARBLER was seen and sound-recorded on Tuesday at the Nhamapaza River bridge about 120km north of Gorongosa on the road to Caia. This is an incredibly sought after species for most Southern African listers and one that will have many in a rather depressed state. Also of interest in the country was a record of at least 3 EURASIAN BITTERNS earlier today along the Limpopo River floodplain near Xai Xai. Whilst this species is known from further north in the country, there are very few records of birds this far south!



Yellow-billed Oxpecker at Kwaggaspan

© Duncan McKenzie

Ruppell’s Vulture at Selanti Game Ranch

© Alfred Ayers



Don’t forget 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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