SA Rare Bird News Report - 24 December 2020

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Trevor Hardaker

Dec 24, 2020, 11:01:03 AM12/24/20



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 18h00 on Thursday, 24 December 2020.


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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My last official report for 2020… wishing you and yours all the best for the Festive Season and may 2021 be a fantastic year for all of you with plenty of avian distractions along the way as well.


A reminder that, from Saturday, please contact Garret Skead with all your rarity news and updates so that he can share via SARBN:
Cell: 071 612 6370


Let’s start with a few scarcity reports…




·         Two birds in Lower Illovo (KZN) this morning.

·         One on the Nibela Peninsula (KZN) on Tuesday and again this morning.

·         One in a garden in Nelspruit (Mpumalanga) yesterday.

·         One in a garden in Windhoek (Namibia) yesterday.

·         One over Fernwood in Newlands (Western Cape) on Tuesday.

·         One west of Albertinia (Western Cape) at -34.1897, 21.4583 on Tuesday.

·         One at Umlalazi Nature Reserve (KZN) on Tuesday.

·         One on a farm near Dominionville (North-west Province) on Monday.




·         One just south of Letaba in the Kruger National Park (Limpopo) yesterday.



European Honey Buzzard in Nelspruit

© Micha Feher

European Honey Buzzard in Windhoek

© Christa Handl



European Honey Buzzard in Fernwood, Newlands

© Otto Schmidt

European Honey Buzzard in Lower Illovo

© Adam Cruickshank



Green Sandpiper near Letaba

© Trygve Hvidsten



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, Strandfontein Sewage Works was still attracting attention this week with the BAIRD’S SANDPIPER still around today (seen on Pan S2 this afternoon and Pan S5 on Tuesday evening), a LESSER SAND PLOVER found on Pan S2 yesterday and still there today, the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE also still on Pan S2 today and a SAND MARTIN seen over Pan P2 this morning as well. Up on the west coast, Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif held on to some of its attractions with the AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE there on Tuesday. Rooisand Nature Reserve was also a popular birding destination with 5 BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS seen again briefly there on Tuesday, at least one LESSER SAND PLOVER still there this morning and also a rather surprizing female EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE moving through quickly yesterday as well while there was also a SAND MARTIN seen there this morning. Further east at De Hoop Nature Reserve, a male EURASIAN GOLDEN ORIOLE was reported around the campsite on Tuesday and a LESSER STRIPED SWALLOW was also seen moving with other aerial feeders around the main office area on Tuesday as well. A EUROPEAN ROLLER along the road to Infanta near Malgas yesterday was also a nice find for the area.


Over on the Garden Route, it appears that the mega BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS have moved off from Voelvlei near Mossel Bay and, despite extensive searches over the last few days in the area, have not been seen again since they were seen taking flight and heading off into the distance on Monday morning. Elsewhere, 2 BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS were seen along the R325 near Gouritz at -34.339, 21.859 yesterday, several LESSER STRIPED SWALLOWS were still around the bridge over the Goukamma River on the N2 near Sedgefield on Tuesday and a EUROPEAN ROLLER was found in farmlands inland of Great Brak River at -33.9793, 22.2609 on Tuesday and was still there yesterday.



Baird’s Sandpiper at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Michael Smither

Lesser Sand Plover at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Garret Skead



Baird’s Sandpiper at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Helmo van der Schyff



Lesser Sand Plover at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Ian Rijsdijk

Lesser Sand Plover at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Cliff Dorse



Lesser Sand Plover at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© John Graham

Lesser Sand Plover at Strandfontein Sewage Works

© Alan Collett



American Golden Plover at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Dean Boshoff

Red-necked Phalarope at Kliphoek Salt Pans

© Dean Boshoff



Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Charles Britz

Lesser Sand Plover at Rooisand Nature Reserve

© Joel Radue



In the Eastern Cape, the BLACK HERON was still at the pan opposite the turn-off to Perseverance yesterday, the 3 EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHERS were still at the Gamtoos River estuary yesterday with a couple of RED KNOTS and a GREATER SAND PLOVER also still there on Tuesday, a single BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER was seen near Cape St Francis at -34.189, 24.802 on Tuesday, another group of at least 15 BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATERS were seen along the Golden Mile between Cannon Rocks and Alex Forest yesterday, there were still at least 4 RED KNOTS on the Kromme River estuary in St Francis Bay yesterday and also a single GREATER SAND PLOVER still there on Tuesday.



Blue-cheeked Bee-eater near Cape St Francis

© Pieter Heslinga

Black Heron near Perseverance

© Patrick Killian



Eurasian Oystercatchers at the Gamtoos River estuary

© Patrick Killian



Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, the popular MADAGASCAN CUCKOO remained in place in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve today, the SOOTY FALCON was still around Mbazwana today, Mpempe Pan held on to the TEMMINCK’S COURSER, at least 3 CASPIAN PLOVERS and a WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL this morning, the GULL-BILLED TERN was still on the Nibela Peninsula this morning and a SOOTY TERN was seen at the mouth of the iMfolozi River at St Lucia at -28.3958, 32.4230 on Tuesday. Other good provincial records included a LESSER MOORHEN at the bird hide at Zini River Estate in Mtunzini yesterday, a surprizing WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER at Bayala Private Safari Lodge on Tuesday, a DWARF BITTERN reported at Bisley Valley Nature Reserve yesterday and a SPOTTED CRAKE seen at Darvill Bird Sanctuary at -29.6, 30.438 this morning.



Madagascan Cuckoo in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

© Wayne Johnston

Sooty Falcon at Mbazwana

© Rod Oscroft



Madagascan Cuckoo in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve

© Ian Gordon



Into the Free State where the popular MADAGASCAN CUCKOO continued its stay at Soetdoring Nature Reserve today while the province’s first ever DUSKY LARK was also still at Soetdoring Nature Reserve until at least Tuesday.



Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Sarel van der Westhuizen

Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Geoff Finney



Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Jonathan Breytenbach

Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Sylvia Martens



Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Nick Fordyce

Dusky Lark at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© A. E. van Wyk



Dusky Lark at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Rick Nuttall

Dusky Lark at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Willem Naude



Gauteng chimed in with a LESSER MOORHEN found at Glenferness Dam at -25.9846, 28.0325 yesterday while the SLATY EGRET was also still at Gnu Valley farm in Muldersdrift on Tuesday.


Across in Mpumalanga, a SOOTY FALCON was found near Berg en Dal in the Kruger National Park at -25.413, 31.487 this morning, a single GREATER FLAMINGO was present at Jones’ Dam along the S36, also in the Kruger National Park, yesterday while there was much local excitement when a STRIPED CRAKE was found on the Singita Sabi Sands property along the Selati railway line on Tuesday.



Slaty Egret at Gnu Valley farm

© Rinish Singh

Sooty Falcon near Berg en Dal

© Matthew Axelrod



Striped Crake in the Sabi Sands

© Quinton Jossop

Striped Crake in the Sabi Sands

© Gareth Poole



Not to be outdone, Limpopo also held on to at least one STRIPED CRAKE still present just south of Letaba in the Kruger National Park at -23.859, 31.569 on Tuesday (but not seen since) while 2 AFRICAN OPENBILLS were found on a private reserve near Lephalale yesterday and the LESSER JACANA was still at the pan along the R36 at -24.235, 30.573 near Karongwe on Tuesday.



Striped Crake near Letaba

© Tionette Brits

Striped Crake near Letaba

© Richard McKibben



Striped Crake near Letaba

© Sally Franckeiss

African Openbills near Lephalale

© Angus Mclennan



Up in Namibia, the wayward SWAMP BOUBOU in Swakopmund was found again earlier today, this time at Rossmund Golf Course, there was a single RED-NECKED PHALAROPE present at Mile 4 Salt Works in Swakopmund yesterday while the YELLOW-THROATED LEAFLOVES were also back in the gardens of Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge in Katima Mulilo yesterday again.


And finally, in Zimbabwe, at least 2 SPUR-WINGED LAPWINGS (an adult and an immature) were still present at Lake Chivero on Tuesday.



Red-necked Phalarope at Mile 4 Salt Works

© Mark Boorman

Spur-winged Lapwing at Lake Chivero

© Innes Louw



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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