SA Rare Bird News Report - 21 September 2020

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Trevor Hardaker

Sep 21, 2020, 12:01:45 PM9/21/20



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 Monday, 21 September 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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Surprize, surprize, it’s a Monday evening report… I thought I would get one out tonight as I am away for the long weekend, so will not be sending out a formal report on Thursday evening. If anything major turns up in the interim though, I will be sure to send out an alert about it.


Alright, on to the news and, starting in the Western Cape, the rarity pot is certainly starting to warm up now to a nice sizzle… Without a doubt, the best record of the last few days goes to the outlandish LONG-TOED LAPWING that was found around the Old Friends hide at Rietvlei Wetland Reserve near Milnerton on Saturday afternoon and was still there today. This bird is way out of range and totally unexpected anywhere near Cape Town! Not only is it the first ever record for the province, but it still remains a very rare bird anywhere in South Africa. Kwazulu Natal has the lion’s share of previous records with 12 in total all coming from the very northern reaches of Zululand – 4 of those are prior to 1964, there are another 7 records between 1983 and 1993 and then their most recent record was in 2002 from Nsumo Pan (thanks to Digby Cyrus for providing this info). Outside of those, I can only find reference to 3 other records in the country after a bit of searching – there is mention of a bird in Pilanesberg National Park in the mid-1980s, there was a bird in February 2006 at Geinab waterhole near Union's End in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and, most recently, there was the popular bird at Ngwenya Lodge in August 2015. If this list is comprehensive, it would make the Rietvlei bird only the 16th ever record for South Africa, so a pretty big deal whichever way one looks at it! If anyone is aware of other records not mentioned here, please do let me know about them.


Elsewhere, lingerers included the GOLIATH HERON still at Distell Dam in Stellenbosch on Saturday and the GREEN-BACKED HERON still at Island Lake at Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve near Robertson on Saturday while the west coast chimed in with 1 LESSER and 2 GREATER SAND PLOVERS at the salt marsh south of Geelbek restaurant in the West Coast National Park on Saturday. They were all still there yesterday and at least the Lesser Sand Plover was still on view this morning as well.


The Garden Route was not to be outdone in terms of provincial megas and, this morning, there was much surprize when a DARK-CAPPED BULBUL was found coming in to drink at the bird bath at Aqua Marina Guest House in Hill Street in Mossel Bay (later this afternoon, it was actually confirmed that there are 2 birds present there!!). To the best of my knowledge, this is only the second ever record for the province following another record some years back also on the Garden Route. Also still attracting interest, the YELLOW-THROATED PETRONIA was also still coming to the feeders at Reflections Eco-Reserve near Wilderness this morning while at least one AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL was still present along the Keurbooms River in Plettenberg Bay this afternoon at Silverstreams River Estate.



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Andy Bullmore

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Dana Goldberg



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Duggy Loock

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Joel Radue



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Tony Kent

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Cathy Kent



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Elmarie Brits

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Francois Dreyer



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Karen Powell

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Louis van Wyk



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Susan Gie

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Riel Tredoux



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Marieta Foord

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Rob Bowie



Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Paul Verwey

Long-toed Lapwing at Rietvlei

© Steve Williams



Long-toed Lapwing twitchers at Rietvlei

© Trevor Hardaker



Long-toed Lapwing twitchers at Rietvlei

© Karin Wilson



Lesser Sand Plover at Geelbek

© Garret Skead

Lesser Sand Plover at Geelbek

© Michael Mason



Lesser Sand Plover at Geelbek

© Pieter Verster

Greater Sand Plover at Geelbek

© Michael Mason



Dark-capped Bulbul in Mossel Bay

© Michal Groenewald

Yellow-throated Petronia at Reflections Eco-reserve

© Mike Buckham



African Pied Wagtail along the Keurbooms River

© Leslie Schoof



Kwazulu Natal was not to be outdone and also produced a provincial mega when the first ever record for the province of RUFOUS-CHEEKED NIGHTJAR was found on Bamboo Mountain farm near Underberg on Thursday night. The bird remained in the immediate area and continued to show on both Friday and Saturday nights as well and is bound to attract further attention as many of the keenest provincial listers head in that direction to try and add this species to their KZN lists.


The province held on to a number of its other good birds as well with the EURASIAN CURLEW still in Durban Bay on Sunday, the HARTLAUB’S GULL still at the Umgeni River mouth on Saturday, at least 2 AFRICAN CRAKES still in the grasslands near Mtunzini on Sunday, the GREY-HEADED KINGFISHER still around Mtunzini on Saturday and 1 male and 2 female RED-HEADED WEAVERS still around Leopard Mountain Lodge in Manyoni Private Game Reserve on Sunday as well. Other new reports included an immature PALM-NUT VULTURE seen at Oribi vulture colony on Friday and a lone LESSER FLAMINGO found this afternoon at St Michael’s beach at the river mouth on the Shelley Beach side. News also filtered through on the weekend of an exhausted RED-FOOTED BOOBY that was found at Durban’s oil mooring facility on 13 September and was taken to a rehabilitation centre to be nursed back to health.



Rufous-cheeked Nightjar near Underberg

© Bart Fokkens

Palm-nut Vulture at Oribi vulture colony

© David Allan



African Crake in Mtunzini

© Terry Stallard

Red-footed Booby found in Durban harbour




In Gauteng, the SLATY EGRET was still at Gnu Valley farm in Muldersdrift yesterday.


Over in the North-west Province, the popular LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was also still at Rockwall Dam near Rustenburg until at least Saturday.



Slaty Egret at Gnu Valley farm

© Jean van Rooyen

Lesser Black-backed Gull at Rockwall Dam

© Lukas Niemand



And finally, in Limpopo, there were still 2 AFRICAN SKIMMERS at Sable Dam in the Kruger National Park this morning while there was also some local excitement when a COLLARED PRATINCOLE was found at Houtrivier Dam near Polokwane at -23.782, 29.229 on Thursday and was still there on Saturday.



African Skimmers at Sable Dam

© Matimba Bush Lodge

Collared Pratincole at Houtrivier Dam

© Leonie Kellermann



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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