SA Rare Bird News Report - 13 February 2012

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Trevor Hardaker

Feb 13, 2012, 1:59:40 PM2/13/12
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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 21h00 on Monday, 13 February 2012. 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



Starting in the Western Cape, one of the regular pelagic trips yesterday turned up a juvenile WANDERING ALBATROSS as well as 2 RED (GREY) PHALAROPES whilst the TEREK SANDPIPER reported at Goose Marsh in Plettenberg Bay late last week was still present yesterday as well along with a second individual. A small flock of AMUR FALCONS were reported earlier today about 2km east of Stanford and, on Friday, an immature BROWN SNAKE EAGLE was seen on a farm near Wellington.


In the Eastern Cape, there have been a few interesting birds which seem to be defying definite ID at the moment until further clearer photos are available. The first concerns a GOLDEN PLOVER at Cape Recife near Port Elizabeth which was first identified as a Pacific Golden Plover. Only once the first photos were circulated did questions start arising as to the ID of the bird and, based on the apparent short legs (especially the tibia), the long wing projection and the tertial ending well short of the tail tip, it is suspected that it may actually be an American Golden Plover. However, until clearer photos are available, we will just have to wait and see what happens with the ID of this bird.


The second record involves a CUCKOO (and subsequently a second individual as well) on a farm just outside East London. This is a first year bird that is currently in moult. Initially thought to be a Common Cuckoo, subsequent evaluation of the photos suggests that it may well be an African Cuckoo, but again, more detailed photos are required before a definite ID can be made on this bird. However, either species would be a good record for the area! Both the above-mentioned birds were present throughout the weekend apparently and the plover was still on view earlier today.


Moving into Kwazulu Natal, a WESTERN MARSH HARRIER was reported from a farm at Pongola earlier today whilst, yesterday, a LESSER MOORHEN was noted at Thula Thula Private Game Reserve near Empangeni. The reserve has also had a EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARD present now for the last week while at least another 3 individuals were reported from Phinda Game Reserve on Friday. Also of interest on Friday in the province was the discovery of both a BRONZE-WINGED COURSER and a SOOTY FALCON on a farm at Empangeni.



Wandering Albatross on pelagic trip

© Jon Hartley

Terek Sandpiper at Goose Marsh

© Mike Bridgeford



Golden Plover sp at Cape Recife

© Stefan Strydom

Golden Plover sp at Cape Recife

© Gerrie Horn



Cuckoo in East London

© Edward Scheun

Eurasian Honey Buzzard at Phinda Game Reserve

© Daryl Dell



Bronze-winged Courser at Empangeni

© Bruce Nicholson

Sooty Falcon at Empangeni

© Bruce Nicholson



The Kruger National Park has offered some interesting sightings recently as well which span both the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces. Starting from the north, an AFRICAN HOBBY was seen foraging over Palm Vlei in the Makuleke Contractual Park last Saturday whilst this past weekend confirmed that the SENEGAL COUCALS were still present in the spot described in a previous SARBN report and additional sightings included a CUCKOO FINCH about 4km south of Boyela Waterhole and a EURASIAN HONEY BUZZARD along the Mahonie Loop.


Other good birds in the park over the weekend included at least 4 ALLEN’S GALLINULES at Leeupan along with 2 WHISKERED TERNS whilst Mazithi Dam produced at least 20 WHISKERED TERNS as well as 3 SOUTHERN POCHARDS and 2 male YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOPS, all good records for the area. Also of interest were 2 CAPE SHOVELERS at Rhidonda Pan between Phalaborwa and Letaba and WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER nesting 5km (on left) towards Nkumbe lookout from H1-2/H10 junction (Tshokwane).



Senegal Coucals south of Punda Maria

© Niall Perrins

Cuckoo Finch near Boyela Waterhole

© Niall Perrins



Allen’s Gallinule at Leeupan

© Duncan McKenzie

Whiskered Tern at Leeupan

© Duncan McKenzie



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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