SA Rare Bird News Report - 09 December 2021

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Trevor Hardaker

Dec 9, 2021, 11:00:40 AM12/9/21



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, 09 December 2021.


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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Let’s start with a few scarcity reports from the last few days first…




·         One at Manyoni Private Game Reserve (KZN) today (and also on Tuesday).

·         One at Cecelia Forest (Western Cape) yesterday.

·         One in Potchefstroom near the dam (North-west Province) yesterday.

·         One at Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge in Katima Mulilo (Namibia) yesterday.

·         One over Meerensee in Richard’s Bay (KZN) on Tuesday.

·         One at the Umngazi River at Port St Johns (Eastern Cape) on Monday.

·         One in Meyersdal (Gauteng) at -26.282, 28.095 on Monday.




·         One at Bokaa Dam (Botswana) at -24.448, 25.992 on Monday.



European Honey Buzzard in Meerensee

© Karen Jansen van Vuuren

European Honey Buzzard at Port St Johns

© Anton Pearson



European Honey Buzzard at Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge

© Dayne Braine

European Honey Buzzard in Potchefstroom

© Jaco Botes



European Honey Buzzard at Manyoni Private Game Reserve

© Adam Riley

European Honey Buzzard at Cecilia Forest

© Dana Goldberg



On to the rest of the news and, starting in the Western Cape, there were still several FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCKS at Wildevoelvlei near Kommetjie on Tuesday while no fewer than 20 FULVOUS WHISTLING DUCKS were also still at Paardevlei near The Strand today as well. There was some surprize when a JACOBIN CUCKOO was found along Victoria Road near Camps Bay at -33.981, 18.362 on Tuesday while the big excitement came when Southern Africa’s 18th BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was discovered at the mouth of the Eerste River at Macassar Sewage Works at -34,079, 18,765 on Tuesday. The bird remained faithful to this site and was still showing well there today. As a reminder, this species was originally added to the Southern African list based on a specimen collected in Walvis Bay in Namibia in October 1863! There was then a wait of more than 100 years before the next one was found in October 1984 at Olifantsbos in the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park. Subsequent records have been in October 1985 on the Berg River in Veldrif, December 1992 in Mkhuze Game Reserve, September 1997 in Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe, May 1998 at Geelbek in the West Coast National Park, September 1998 in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, December 1999 at Strandfontein Sewage Works, September 2000 in Sossusvlei in Namibia, December 2000 in the Kruger National Park, December 2001 at Marievale Bird Sanctuary (this bird returned for several seasons), September 2002 at Kenhardt Sewage Works, October 2004 on the Berg River at Veldrif, December 2008 at Wadrif Salt Pan, October 2018 at Van Stadens Resort near Port Elizabeth, November 2020 at Strandfontein Sewage Works and, most recently, just a few weeks ago in November 2021 at Bronkhorstspruit Dam Nature Reserve.


Up on the west coast, a LUDWIG’S BUSTARD was seen north of Paternoster at -32.787, 17.956 yesterday, a couple of SAND MARTINS were present at Kliphoek Salt Pans in Velddrif yesterday and both a GREATER SAND PLOVER and a LESSER SAND PLOVER were still at the mouth of the Olifants River at -31.698, 18.192 this afternoon while, further east, the GREATER SAND PLOVER was also still at the Uilenkraals River, east of Gansbaai, on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the RED-BACKED SHRIKE was still near the Korintepoort Dam close to Riversdale at -34.010, 21.179 on Tuesday, a EUROPEAN ROLLER was seen along the Hoekwil Road in Wilderness yesterday and the EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER was also still at the Keurbooms River estuary in Plettenberg Bay today.



Jacobin Cuckoo near Camps Bay

© Dana Goldberg

Baird’s Sandpiper at Macassar Sewage Works

© Willem Botes



Baird’s Sandpiper at Macassar Sewage Works

© Stanislav Novotny

Baird’s Sandpiper at Macassar Sewage Works

© Lester van Groeningen



Baird’s Sandpiper at Macassar Sewage Works

© Michael Wright

Baird’s Sandpiper at Macassar Sewage Works

© Charles Britz



Fulvous Whistling Ducks at Paardevlei

© Stanislav Novotny



Fulvous Whistling Ducks at Paardevlei

© Basil Boer

Ludwig’s Bustard near Paternoster

© Irene Boshoff



Greater Sand Plover at the Olifants River mouth

© Tim Ponton

Lesser Sand Plover at the Olifants River mouth

© Tim Ponton



Red-backed Shrike near Riversdale

© Lester van Groeningen

Eurasian Oystercatcher in Plettenberg Bay

© Mike Bridgeford



In the Eastern Cape, a PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER was found at the estuary at Hamburg at -33.279, 27.484 on Tuesday, the EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER at the Kariega River mouth at Kenton-on-Sea remained popular and was still on view yesterday and a MARABOU STORK was seen at Addo Heights in Addo National Park on Monday afternoon.



Eurasian Oystercatcher at the Kariega River mouth

© Tim Cockcroft

Eurasian Oystercatcher at the Kariega River mouth

© Angus Paterson



Eurasian Oystercatcher at the Kariega River mouth

© Sabrina Elliott

Pacific Golden Plover at Hamburg

© Foden Saunders



Moving up the coast into Kwazulu Natal, the mega GOLDEN PIPIT continued to perform well near Albert Falls at -29,494, 30,386 today while the breeding plumaged FRANKLIN’S GULL was still present at the Umgeni River mouth in Durban until at least Tuesday (but has not been seen since then despite a number of people looking for it). However, other distractions there yesterday included the GREATER SAND PLOVER that was still present and a single HARTLAUB’S GULL too. Unfortunately, the reports of the WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at the Sappi wetlands in Stanger have also dried up with nothing received since late on Monday afternoon despite a number of people still searching for it. Other records of interest included a single BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER seen along the lower Illovo River at -30.103, 30.837 yesterday afternoon, a RUFOUS-BELLIED HERON at Umgovusa Dam at -29.039, 31.612 yesterday and a GREATER SAND PLOVER at the St Lucia estuary on Tuesday while Manyoni Private Game Reserve produced a DUSKY LARK this afternoon, a DARK CHANTING GOSHAWK yesterday and a juvenile AYRES’S HAWK EAGLE on Tuesday. A cruise aboard the MSC Orchestra also turned up both TROPICAL and CORY’S SHEATWATERS about 100km offshore of Richard’s Bay earlier today.



Blue-cheeked Bee-eater along lower Illovo River

© James Gradwell

Golden Pipit near Albert Falls

© Sarel van der Westhuizen



Golden Pipit near Albert Falls

© Trevor Packer



The Free State held on to the MADAGASCAN CUCKOO which was still in place at Soetdoring Nature Reserve at -28.832, 26.047 this afternoon.


Into Gauteng where the news was all about SLATY EGRETS with the long-staying individual still at Walkhaven Dog Park in Muldersdrift until at least Tuesday while another bird was also found at Marievale Bird Sanctuary at -26.334, 28.515 on Tuesday as well.


Mpumalanga’s offerings continued to be centred around Mkhombo Dam where a COLLARED PRATINCOLE, 2 GREY PLOVERS and a number of CASPIAN PLOVERS were all still present there yesterday.



Madagascan Cuckoo at Soetdoring Nature Reserve

© Pieter Lombaard

Slaty Egret at Walkhaven Dog Park

© Wayne Eloff



Up in Namibia, the YELLOW-THROATED LEAFLOVES were still around Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge in Katima Mulilo yesterday.


And finally, Mozambique delivered the bird of the week when Southern Africa’s 9th RED-THROATED PIPIT was found on the San Sebastian Peninsula near Vilanculous at -22.133, 35.453 yesterday afternoon and was still showing well there earlier today. Our first record dates back to March 1983 when a bird was found at the Umvoti River mouth (KZN). This was followed by records in January 1989 at Chirundu (Zimbabwe), March 1992 at Lake Manyame (Zimbabwe), January 1998 at the mouth of the Umvoti River (KZN) again, January 1999 at the mouth of the Swakop River (Namibia), March 2008 at Serra Choa (Mozambique), January 2015 at Avis Dam (Namibia) and, most recently, in December 2020 when 2 birds were present together at Gaborone Dame (Botswana).


Besides the Pipit, the San Sebastian Peninsula also had the added distraction of more than 50 CRAB PLOVERS present there yesterday as well while at least 4 SOOTY TERNS were seen on a cruise about 80km offshore of Inhambane yesterday.



Yellow-throated Leaflove at Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge

© Dayne Braine

Red-throated Pipit on the San Sebastian Peninsula

© Errol de Beer



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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