SA Rare Bird News Report - 17 March 2014

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Trevor Hardaker

Mar 17, 2014, 2:03:35 PM3/17/14
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This is the Southern African Rare Bird News Report issued at 20h00 on Monday, 17 March 2014. 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



As usual, let’s start off with some more EUROPEAN HONEY BUZZARD records.


1 bird at Louis Trichardt on Wednesday (Limpopo)

1 bird in Centurion on Saturday (Gauteng)

1 bird in the Baviaanskloof near Komdomo on Saturday (Eastern Cape)

1 bird at Paarl Mountain yesterday (Western Cape)

1 bird at the Van Zylsrus Hotel yesterday (Northern Cape)

1 bird at Hangklip Forest, Soutpansberg yesterday (Limpopo)

1 bird on a farm 40km east of Kalkrand yesterday (Namibia)



European Honey Buzzard at Van Zylsrus Hotel

© Belinda van der Merwe

European Honey Buzzard east of Kalkrand

© Wessel Swanepoel



On to the other news and, starting in the Western Cape, it was a relatively quiet weekend with a couple of surprise confirmations after long silences. The AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL at the Postcard Café in Jonkershoek was confirmed as still being present on the weekend (seen both days) whilst, down at Vermont Pan, it was confirmed on Saturday that the SEDGE WARBLER was also still present there.


Up into the Northern Cape where there was some surprise on the weekend when 6 RED-BILLED OXPECKERS were located along the Askham road whilst a further 4 birds were reported along the Olifantshoek road from Van Zylsrus. Another exciting record was that of a CHESTNUT WEAVER building a nest in a Southern Masked Weaver colony at the base of the ‘kop’ of Spitskop in Spitskop Nature Reserve in Upington. Following on from records in 2011 of birds at Nossob in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, then Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and then at Twee Rivieren, also in the KTP, then in 2012 again in the KTP just south of Union’s End and in 2013 at Augrabies Falls National Park, this becomes only the 6th ever record of this species for South Africa.


Down into the Eastern Cape, there was some excitement this afternoon on Bird Island in Algoa Bay when a RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD was located there. According to the island staff, the bird has apparently been in the general area for at least a week now, but they did not know what it was nor what significance it held. It was also confirmed that at least one AUSTRALIAN GANNET was still present on the island this afternoon as well. Elsewhere in the province, a YELLOW-BILLED STORK was present beside the river between Nature's Rest and Hickman's River mouth in East London on Saturday whilst, yesterday, a GARDEN WARBLER was mist-netted and ringed in a garden in Port Alfred.



Red-billed Oxpeckers near Ashkam

© Belinda van der Merwe

Garden Warbler in Port Alfred

© Tony Tree



Moving into Kwazulu Natal, there was some excitement on Friday when a GREY-HEADED KINGFISHER was located at The Cavern in the northern Drakensberg, well out of range for this species.


In Gauteng, the LESSER MOORHEN was still present at Glen Austin Pan until at least Saturday.


In the North-west Province, the Zaagkuilsdrift road produced up to 10 individual RIVER WARBLERS calling along the first 13km stretch of the road although actually seeing the birds proved to be quite difficult whilst an OLIVE-TREE WARBLER near Tree Frog Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve has also been causing some local excitement recently.


And finally, in Namibia, there has been no further confirmation of the “flock” of GULL-BILLED TERNS claimed recently from Walvis Bay despite searching by locals, but at least one COMMON REDSHANK was confirmed as present there. And just for the sake of completeness, I include a shot below too of one of the GULL-BILLED TERNS reported from Okashana Spring in Etosha last week which was mentioned in the previous report.



Grey-headed Kingfisher at The Cavern

© Rolf Wiesler

Gull-billed Tern at Okashana Spring

© Wessel Swanepoel



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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