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Field Guides Tour Report
South Africa 2015
Oct 8, 2015 to Oct 31, 2015
Terry Stevenson

The striking Crimson-breasted Gonolek was one of the final highlights of our tour. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

Our small group on the 2015 South Africa tour enjoyed our best weather ever as we traveled from the arid northwest to Cape Town, and then from Durban to Lesotho, St. Lucia and the grasslands around Wakkerstroom, and then to the Kruger and Polokwane reserves.

From Johannesburg, we took a flight west to Upington and then drove to Pofadder -- a "wild frontier town" in the arid country near the Namibian border. Avian highlights here included our first Ostrich, Ludwig's and Karoo bustards, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Bradfield's Swift, White-backed Mousebird, Pririt Batis, Red, Karoo, Spike-heeled and Karoo Long-billed larks, Rufous-eared Warbler, Orange River White-eye, Karoo and Tractrac chats, and Yellow Canary, while mammals included Cape Ground Squirrel and Slender-tailed Meerkat.

We then drove west and south through Springbok, where we had good sightings of Verreaux's Eagle, Yellow-rumped Eremomela and Layard's Warbler in the local reserve, and then to Lambert's Bay, where a visit to the local Cape Gannet colony was a photographer's dream. Early the next morning found us watching the endemic Cape Lark, and then in a nearby kloof (canyon), where we all had wonderful looks at the delightful Fairy Flycatcher, while area farmlands yielded a flock of 22 Blue Cranes.

Heading to Cape Town, we passed through the West Coast National Park where a close adult Black Harrier stole the show. During two days based in Simonstown, we had one of our best pelagic trips ever: five species of albatross (all seen really well), both giant-petrels, Cape and White-chinned petrels, Great and Sooty shearwaters, and over 100 Black-bellied Storm-petrels were just a few of the highlights. Our day trip to Betty's Bay and Stony Point provided such varied species as Jackass Penguin, Bank Cormorant, Cape Francolin, African Oystercatcher, Cape Rockjumper, Cape Sugarbird, Cape Rock-Thrush, Orange-breasted Sunbird, and Cape Siskin.

We then flew north to Durban and began the second part of our tour with a visit to Underberg and the Sani Pass. On a wonderful drive to more than 10,000 feet in Lesotho, we recorded such special birds as Bald Ibis, Lammergeier, Cape Griffon, Ground Woodpecker, Drakensburg Rockjumper, Cape Grassbird, Bush Blackcap, Gurney's Sugarbird, Buff-streaked Bushchat, Mountain Pipit, and Drakensburg Siskin. Sloggett's Ice Rat was the cutest mammal, Rhebok the most notable endemic, and -- at up to 2,000 pounds -- Common Eland was the largest.

Heading back towards the coast, we stopped off in forest patches at Bulwer and Oribi Gorge, where the totally different habitat provided us with a great selection of new birds, including Knysna Turaco, Narina Trogon, Trumpeter Hornbill, Brown-necked (Cape) Parrot, Olive Bushshrike, Barratt's Warbler, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Forest Canary, and Swee Waxbill.

On the coast at St. Lucia, we visited a patch of coastal forest where the endemic Woodward's Batis and Rudd's Apalis were both seen well, while the nearby estuary gave us a good selection of gulls, terns and shorebirds. Driving further north to the Mkuze area, we were once again in a different habitat with the chance to observe many new birds and mammals at close quarters. White Rhinos a mere 15 meters from the viewing blind were undoubtedly a major highlight, but we also enjoyed Hippos, Common Giraffe, African Buffalo, Nyala, Blue Wildebeest and Impala. Birds included some nice looks at Crested Guineafowl, Greater and Lesser flamingos, Great White and Pink-backed pelicans, Bateleur, Gray Go-away-bird, White Helmetshrike, White-throated Robin-Chat, the very localized Neegaard's Sunbird, Pink-throated Twinspot, and Lemon-breasted Seedeater.

We then headed inland to the high grasslands around Wakkerstroom, where (with the help of our local guide) we were soon seeing all the region's most special birds -- Denham's, White-bellied (Barrow's) and Blue bustards, Wattled Crane, Eastern Clapper, Rudd's, Eastern Long-billed, and Botha's larks, South African (Cliff) Swallow, Cloud Cisticola, and Yellow-breasted Pipit.

Heading yet further north, we spent three nights in Kruger National Park, where we enjoyed a wealth of both birds and mammals including African Wild Dog, Black-backed Jackal, Spotted Hyaena, some magnificent big-maned male Lions, African Elephants, Zebra, Warthog, Hippo, and many species of antelopes and gazelles. Birds varied from Natal and Swainson's francolins in the grasslands, to Saddle-billed Storks, Goliath Herons, and Hamerkops along the rivers, while vultures fed on Lion kills, and Bateleurs and Martial Eagle crossed the skies. Double-banded Sandgrouse won the prize for being the most camouflaged bird, Lilac-breasted Roller the most colorful, and Arrow-marked Babbler the noisiest!

The final part of our tour took us west to Polokwane, but first, we stopped at the mist forest at Magoebaskloof -- and misty it was, with most of the morning shrouded in thick fog! However, we persevered and were soon getting good looks at Rameron Pigeon, no less than 23 Brown-necked (Cape) Parrots, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Chorister Robin-Chat, and Orange Ground-Thrush. Scope views of a Bat Hawk, and a responsive African Wood-Owl were icing on the cake!

Polokwane Game Reserve then gave us a final chance to catch up on any of the acacia bush country birds that we were still missing. And what a lovely way it was to finish our tour, with just a few of the final highlights being the striking Crimson-breasted Gonolek, the rare and localized Short-clawed Lark, Ashy Tit, Burnt-neck Eremomela, Rufous-vented Warbler, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, Groundscraper Thrush, Black-faced Waxbill, and Green-winged Pytilia.


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Struthionidae (Ostrich)

We spotted a handful of Karoo Bustards near the "wild frontier town" of Pofadder. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

OSTRICH (Struthio camelus) – We saw what we considered to be truly wild birds near Pofadder and at Kruger; in all we saw about 60.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca) – Very common and widespread at wetlands throughout the tour.
SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna cana) – Three near Franklin, and 6 at Wakkerstroom. [E]
SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis) – We saw a total of about 180 between Oribi Gorge and the Wakkerstroom area.
AFRICAN BLACK DUCK (Anas sparsa) – One in a rocky river bed near Pongola.
YELLOW-BILLED DUCK (Anas undulata) – The most common and widespread duck; with a total of about 170.
CAPE SHOVELER (Anas smithii) – Small numbers at Velddrif, Franklin, and Wakkerstroom. [E]
RED-BILLED DUCK (Anas erythrorhyncha) – Four at Mkuze, and 7 at Wakkerstroom.
CAPE TEAL (Anas capensis) – Two near Springbok.
SOUTHERN POCHARD (Netta erythrophthalma) – We saw a female at Franklin, and 4 (males and females) at Wakkerstroom.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris) – Very common and widespread.
CRESTED GUINEAFOWL (Guttera pucherani) – Great looks at St. Lucia and Mkuze.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
COQUI FRANCOLIN (Francolinus coqui) – One seen and several heard at Polokwane.
CRESTED FRANCOLIN (Francolinus sephaena) – About 10 at Kruger.
CAPE FRANCOLIN (Francolinus capensis) – About 20 in the Lambert's Bay to Cape Town region. [E]
NATAL FRANCOLIN (Francolinus natalensis) – Twelve at Kruger, and about 10 at Polokwane.
SWAINSON'S FRANCOLIN (Francolinus swainsonii) – Fairly common from Wakkerstroom to Kruger and Polokwane; in all we saw about 45.
COMMON QUAIL (Coturnix coturnix) – We flushed 1 in the coastal grasslands near Lambert's Bay.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Ten near Underberg, and about 100 at Wakkerstroom.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus) – One at Velddrif, and 2 near Wakkerstroom.
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – One at Velddrif.
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus) – About a dozen near Johannesburg airport, 75 at Velddrif, and 80 at Mkuze.
LESSER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus minor) – Thirty at Velddrif, and 2 at Mkuze.
Spheniscidae (Penguins)
JACKASS PENGUIN (Spheniscus demersus) – A great afternoon visit to the colony at Stony Point. [E]
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS (ATLANTIC) (Thalassarche chlororhynchos chlororhynchos) – About a dozen on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS (INDIAN) (Thalassarche chlororhynchos bassi) – One on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche cauta) – About 200 on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche melanophris) – Twenty during the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
WANDERING ALBATROSS (Diomedea exulans) – Great looks this year, with at least 3 (sometimes sitting on the water right next to the boat) off Cape Point.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)

The Cape Gannet colony at Lambert's Bay was a photographer's dream! (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL (Macronectes giganteus) – About a dozen on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL (Macronectes halli) – One on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
CAPE PETREL (Daption capense) – Great looks at these gorgeous petrels on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL (Procellaria aequinoctialis) – At least 600 were seen on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
GREAT SHEARWATER (Puffinus gravis) – About 200 on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
SOOTY SHEARWATER (Puffinus griseus) – About 10 on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
Hydrobatidae (Storm-Petrels)
WILSON'S STORM-PETREL (Oceanites oceanicus) – About 40 on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
EUROPEAN STORM-PETREL (Hydrobates pelagicus) – One seen well, and perhaps 2 others on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL (Fregetta tropica) – Our best trip ever for this species; with 100+ on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
AFRICAN OPENBILL (Anastomus lamelligerus) – About 250 at Mkuze.
BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra) – Two flying over the top of Sani Pass, and 4 at Kruger.
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus) – About 20 between Oribi Gorge and Mkuze, and 1 at Kruger.
SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) – Three at Kruger.
MARABOU STORK (Leptoptilos crumenifer) – About 20 at Kruger.
YELLOW-BILLED STORK (Mycteria ibis) – One at St. Lucia.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
CAPE GANNET (Morus capensis) – Eight thousand at the colony at Lambert's Bay, and about 300 off Cape Point.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) – About 100 at a variety of places along the coast, and 6 at Kruger.
CAPE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax capensis) – Many thousands in the Cape area. [E]
BANK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax neglectus) – About 30 were at the colony at Stony Point. [E]
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax africanus) – Widespread at a variety of freshwater wetlands.
CROWNED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax coronatus) – Fifty at Lambert's Bay, and 5 at Stony Point. [E]
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa rufa) – Singles at Johannesburg and Kruger.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
GREAT WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus onocrotalus) – About 80 at Mkuze.
PINK-BACKED PELICAN (Pelecanus rufescens) – Six at St. Lucia, and 5 at Mkuze.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – Two at Kruger.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – Widespread in small numbers.
GOLIATH HERON (Ardea goliath) – The world's largest heron; we saw 1 at Mkuze, and 6 at Kruger.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – One at Wakkerstroom.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Small numbers at a variety of scattered wetlands.

We had at least eight Ground Woodpeckers on our drive up the Sani Pass road -- which topped out at more than 10,000 feet. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia) – One at Wakkerstroom.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Widespread in small numbers.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Common and widespread.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – One at Mkuze.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Three at Kruger.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Seen at Velddrif, Mkuze and Wakkerstroom; in all we saw about 120.
SACRED IBIS (Threskiornis aethiopicus) – Very common and widespread.
BALD IBIS (Geronticus calvus) – One at the top of Sani Pass, and then about 10 near Wakkerstroom; what a great bird! [E]
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Very common and widespread.
AFRICAN SPOONBILL (Platalea alba) – Fifty at Mkuze, and a few others at widespread scattered wetlands.
Sagittariidae (Secretary-bird)
SECRETARY-BIRD (Sagittarius serpentarius) – Two singles in the Wakkerstroom area.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Two at Mkuze.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – Small numbers in a variety of widespread open grassland country.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – Singles at Underberg and Wakkerstroom.
LAMMERGEIER (Gypaetus barbatus) – Great looks at a flying bird at the top of Sani Pass.
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – One in flight as we were leaving Kruger.
LAPPET-FACED VULTURE (Torgos tracheliotos) – Two near Hluhluwe, and about 6 at Kruger.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – The most common vulture; with a total of about 170.
CAPE GRIFFON (Gyps coprotheres) – Eighteen in the Underberg to Sani Pass area. [E]
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – Two at Mkuze, and about 10 at Kruger.
BLACK-BREASTED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus pectoralis) – We saw an immature bird near Pongola.
BROWN SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinereus) – One to the west of Kruger.
BAT HAWK (Macheiramphus alcinus) – Fantastic scope views of 1 near Tzaneen.
MARTIAL EAGLE (Polemaetus bellicosus) – We saw single adults near Pofadder and at Kruger.
LONG-CRESTED EAGLE (Lophaetus occipitalis) – Small numbers around Underberg and St. Lucia.
WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi) – Two at Mkuze, and 3 at Kruger.
BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus) – Two dark morph birds were seen between Piketburg and the West Coast NP.
TAWNY EAGLE (Aquila rapax) – One at Mkuze, and 4 at Kruger.
VERREAUX'S EAGLE (Aquila verreauxii) – Two at Goegap GR.
PALE CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax canorus) – Six in the Pofadder area. [E]
AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus ranivorus) – One at Franklin Marsh.
BLACK HARRIER (Circus maurus) – Great looks at this striking harrier in West Coast NP. [E]
AFRICAN GOSHAWK (Accipiter tachiro) – One at Magoebaskloof.
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – Common and widespread.
AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer) – Small numbers at St. Lucia, Mkuze, and Kruger.
COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo) – Fairly common and widespread; with a total of about 50.
JACKAL BUZZARD (Buteo rufofuscus) – Small numbers were widespread throughout the tour. [E]
Otididae (Bustards)
LUDWIG'S BUSTARD (Neotis ludwigii) – One near Pofadder. [E]
DENHAM'S BUSTARD (Neotis denhami) – Great looks at a displaying male and 2 females near Wakkerstroom.
WHITE-BELLIED BUSTARD (BARROW'S) (Eupodotis senegalensis barrowii) – Three seen and several more heard near Wakkerstroom. [E]
BLUE BUSTARD (Eupodotis caerulescens) – Four near Wakkerstroom. [E]
KAROO BUSTARD (Eupodotis vigorsii) – Five near Pofadder. [E]
RED-CRESTED BUSTARD (Eupodotis ruficrista) – We saw a single female at Kruger.
BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster) – We saw a single male on top of a termite hill near Wakkerstroom.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

A male Dideric Cuckoo peers from the bushes at Mkuze. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

AFRICAN RAIL (Rallus caerulescens) – Amazing looks this tour; 1 at Franklin marsh, and then at least 3 at Wakkerstroom.
BLACK CRAKE (Amaurornis flavirostra) – One at Mkuze, 3 at Wakkerstroom, and 1 at Kruger.
PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio) – Sometimes split as African Purple Swamphen; we saw 2 at Franklin Marsh, and about 40 at Wakkerstroom.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – Widespread in small numbers.
RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata) – Very common in a variety of scattered wetlands throughout the tour.
Gruidae (Cranes)
GRAY CROWNED-CRANE (Balearica regulorum) – We saw these fabulous cranes at Franklin and Wakkerstroom.
BLUE CRANE (Anthropoides paradiseus) – Nice looks at a flock of 22 near Piketburg, and then 3 near Wakkerstroom. [E]
WATTLED CRANE (Bugeranus carunculatus) – Three distant birds at Franklin, and then good looks at 2 near Wakkerstroom.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
WATER THICK-KNEE (Burhinus vermiculatus) – About 10 at Kruger.
SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis) – Three in the coastal dunes near Lambert's Bay.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Widespread at wetlands throughout the tour.
PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta) – Five near Pofadder, and about 30 at St. Lucia.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
AFRICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus moquini) – Good looks at Lambert's Bay, and near Cape Town. [E]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACKSMITH LAPWING (Vanellus armatus) – Common and widespread.
BLACK-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus melanopterus) – Two near Wakkerstroom.
CROWNED LAPWING (Vanellus coronatus) – Widespread in small numbers.
WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus) – Six at Wakkerstroom, and 3 at Kruger.
KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius) – Two at Lambert's Bay.
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – About 20 at St. Lucia.
THREE-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius tricollaris) – Small numbers near Pofadder, Franklin, and Kruger.
WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus) – Eight at Lambert's Bay, 4 at St. Lucia, and 3 at Kruger.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – Five at Mkuze, and 4 at Kruger.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Small numbers at St. Lucia, Mkuze, and Kruger.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – Widespread in small numbers.
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – Four at Velddrif.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – One at Wakkerstroom, and 3 at Kruger.
WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus) – One at St. Lucia.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – Two at St. Lucia.
RUFF (Calidris pugnax) – About 15 at St. Lucia.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – Ten at Velddrif, 8 at St. Lucia, and about 50 at Mkuze.
LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) – Twelve at Velddrif, and 1 at Kruger.
AFRICAN SNIPE (Gallinago nigripennis) – Great looks at about 8 at Wakkerstroom.
Stercorariidae (Skuas and Jaegers)
BROWN SKUA (FALKLAND) (Stercorarius antarcticus antarcticus) – One on the pelagic trip off Cape Point.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
GRAY-HOODED GULL (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus) – A few at Johannesburg, and then about 100 at St. Lucia, and 1 at Wakkerstroom.
HARTLAUB'S GULL (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii) – Very common at Lambert's Bay, and in the Cape area. [E]

A male Pin-tailed Whydah's tail can easily double his body length. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

KELP GULL (CAPE) (Larus dominicanus vetula) – The most numerous gull throughout the Cape region. [E]
LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons) – One at West Coast NP.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – Four at West Coast NP, and 5 at St. Lucia.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – Singles (in breeding plumage) were seen at Franklin Marsh, and at Kruger.
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – About 400 at Lambert's Bay, and 100+ off Cape Point.
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) – Fifty at Lambert's Bay, 2 near Simonstown, and 1 at St. Lucia.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – About 40 at Lambert's Bay, and 10 off Cape Point.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
NAMAQUA SANDGROUSE (Pterocles namaqua) – One hundred in the Pofadder area.
DOUBLE-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles bicinctus) – Nice looks at a male and 3 females at Kruger.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Small numbers in a variety of towns.
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea) – Common and widespread.
RAMERON PIGEON (Columba arquatrix) – About 20 at Magoebaskloof.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – One at Satara in Kruger NP.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Fairly common at a variety of places between St. Lucia and Magoebaskloof.
RING-NECKED DOVE (Streptopelia capicola) – Very common and widespread.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – Common at a variety of scattered sites.
EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur chalcospilos) – Common at Mkuze, and a few at Kruger and Tzaneen.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Some of the group saw 1 at Magoebaskloof.
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis) – Small numbers at Upington, Pofadder and Kruger.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Three at Oribi Gorge, 1 at St. Lucia, and 6 at Kruger.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
LIVINGSTONE'S TURACO (Tauraco livingstonii) – One seen well and several heard at St. Lucia.
KNYSNA TURACO (Tauraco corythaix) – Nice looks at Bulwer Forest, Oribi Gorge, and Magoebaskloof. [E]
PURPLE-CRESTED TURACO (Tauraco porphyreolophus) – Good scope views of 1 near the gate to Kruger.
GRAY GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides concolor) – Very common at Kruger and Polokwane, and a few others elsewhere.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius) – One at Oribi Gorge and many others heard.
KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas) – One in the Mkuze area.
AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus) – Heard at Magoebaskloof.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – Nice looks at 2 at Mkuze.
WHITE-BROWED COUCAL (BURCHELL'S) (Centropus superciliosus burchellii) – About 6 in the Kruger area.
Strigidae (Owls)
SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL (Bubo africanus) – We flushed 2 at Paleisheukloof.
PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum) – Two singles at Kruger.
AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii) – Great looks at our hotel at Magoebaskloof.
Apodidae (Swifts)
ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba) – About 20 in the Pofadder area, and then 6 at Oribi Gorge.
AFRICAN SWIFT (Apus barbatus) – A total of about 60 at Howick and Oribi Gorge.
BRADFIELD'S SWIFT (Apus bradfieldi) – Four near Pofadder.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Very common and widespread.
HORUS SWIFT (Apus horus) – Two near Underberg.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – Small numbers were seen at a variety of widespread sites; in all we saw about 12.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Small numbers were seen in areas with palm trees throughout the tour.
Coliidae (Mousebirds)
SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD (Colius striatus) – Widespread in small numbers.
WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD (Colius colius) – Common from Upington to the Cape. [E]
RED-FACED MOUSEBIRD (Urocolius indicus) – About 30 in the Mkuze area, and 4 at Polokwane.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
NARINA TROGON (Apaloderma narina) – Wonderful scope views of a calling male at Oribi Gorge, and several others heard elsewhere.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
GRAY-HEADED KINGFISHER (Halcyon leucocephala) – One at Kruger.
BROWN-HOODED KINGFISHER (Halcyon albiventris) – We saw a total of 6 at Oribi Gorge, Mkuze, and Kruger.
STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) – Singles at Mkuze and Kruger.
GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima) – One at Oribi Gorge.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – Widespread at a variety of wetland sites.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

A couple of female Double-banded Sandgrouse make themselves as inconspicuous as possible. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

WHITE-FRONTED BEE-EATER (Merops bullockoides) – Nice looks at 1 at Kruger.
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – One at Kruger.
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – Widespread in small numbers.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER (Coracias caudatus) – We saw these gorgeous birds at Mkuze and Kruger.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – One at Kruger.
Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (AFRICAN) (Upupa epops africana) – Small numbers of the African 'form' was widespread throughout the tour.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitar-bills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Several groups were seen at Kruger, and a few other small flocks elsewhere.
COMMON SCIMITAR-BILL (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) – Two at Kruger, and 3 at Polokwane.
Bucorvidae (Ground-Hornbills)
SOUTHERN GROUND-HORNBILL (Bucorvus leadbeateri) – Good looks at a single bird at Kruger.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
SOUTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus rufirostris) – About 80 at Kruger.
SOUTHERN YELLOW-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus leucomelas) – Forty at Kruger, and 1 at Polokwane. [E]
CROWNED HORNBILL (Tockus alboterminatus) – Eight at Oribi Gorge.
AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Tockus nasutus) – Six at Kruger.
TRUMPETER HORNBILL (Ceratogymna bucinator) – First seen at Oribi Gorge, and then at St. Lucia; in all we saw about 55.
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
CRESTED BARBET (Trachyphonus vaillantii) – We saw these attractive barbets at Oribi Gorge, Kruger and Polokwane.
WHITE-EARED BARBET (Stactolaema leucotis) – About a dozen at St. Lucia.
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus) – Two seen and many heard at St. Lucia.
RED-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus pusillus) – One at Mkuze.
PIED BARBET (Tricholaema leucomelas) – Two near Pofadder, and 2 at Springbok.
BLACK-COLLARED BARBET (Lybius torquatus) – Fairly common and widespread in the east and northern part of the tour.
Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
WAHLBERG'S HONEYGUIDE (Prodotiscus regulus) – One at Polokwane.
LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) – Some of the group saw 1 at Oribi Gorge.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RUFOUS-NECKED WRYNECK (Jynx ruficollis) – Great looks at the bottom of Sani Pass.
GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER (Campethera abingoni) – Two at Mkuze, and 1 at Kruger.

The male Greater Double-collared Sunbird definitely qualifies as "eye candy"! (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

KNYSNA WOODPECKER (Campethera notata) – Several heard, and then 2 seen flying across the road at Oribi Gorge. [E]
GROUND WOODPECKER (Geocolaptes olivaceus) – Great looks at about 8 along the Sani Pass road. [E]
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens) – Singles at Oribi Gorge, Mkuze, and at Kruger.
BEARDED WOODPECKER (Dendropicos namaquus) – One at Keimoes.
OLIVE WOODPECKER (Dendropicos griseocephalus) – Nice looks this year at Sani Pass and Oribi Gorge.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus) – Singles at four widespread scattered areas.
GREATER KESTREL (Falco rupicoloides) – Good looks at 4 in the Pofadder area.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Two distant birds at Howick, and then a much closer pair at Wakkerstroom.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – One at Muizenburg.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BROWN-NECKED PARROT (Poicephalus robustus) – Also known as Cape Parrot; we saw this globally threatened bird at Bulwer (2) and then at Magoebaskloof (23) - our best views ever!
BROWN-HEADED PARROT (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus) – Four at Satara in Kruger NP.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
WOODWARD'S BATIS (Batis fratrum) – Difficult this year, but eventually we all saw 1 in the St. Lucia forest.
CHINSPOT BATIS (Batis molitor) – Small numbers at Mkuze, Kruger, and Polokwane.
PRIRIT BATIS (Batis pririt) – We saw a single female near Pofadder. [E]
CAPE BATIS (Batis capensis) – 3 at Bulwer Forest and 4 at Oribi Gorge
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops plumatus) – A flock of 8 at Mkuze.
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)
BRUBRU (Nilaus afer) – We saw a total of 8 in the Mkuze and Kruger areas.
BLACK-BACKED PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus cubla) – Widespread in small numbers.
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus) – Singles at Mkuze and Polokwane.
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – One at Kruger.
SOUTHERN TCHAGRA (Tchagra tchagra) – We saw this very localised endemic at Oribi Gorge.
SOUTHERN BOUBOU (Laniarius ferrugineus) – Widespread in small numbers. [E]
CRIMSON-BREASTED GONOLEK (Laniarius atrococcineus) – We saw about a dozen of these striking birds at Polokwane. [E]
BOKMAKIERIE (Telophorus zeylonus) – Two near Pofadder, 6 in the Lambert's Bay to Cape Town area, and 1 near Wakkerstroom. [E]
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus) – We saw an immature in the forest at St. Lucia, and then a beautiful adult near Hluhluwe.
OLIVE BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus olivaceus) – Nice looks at this normally shy bushshrike at Oribi Gorge and Magoebaskloof.
BLACK-FRONTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus nigrifrons) – Two in the forest at Magoebaskloof.
FOUR-COLORED BUSHSHRIKE (FOUR-COLORED) (Telophorus viridis quadricolor) – Heard at St. Lucia and Mkuze.
GRAY-HEADED BUSHSHRIKE (Malaconotus blanchoti) – Good looks at 1 at Kruger.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
SOUTHERN FISCAL (Lanius collaris) – Common and widespread.
SOUTHERN FISCAL (SOUTHERN) (Lanius collaris subcoronatus) – Sometimes split as Latakoo Fiscal, we saw 2 in the Upington area. [E]
MAGPIE SHRIKE (Corvinella melanoleuca) – About 50 at Kruger, and 10 at Polokwane.
WHITE-CROWNED SHRIKE (Eurocephalus anguitimens) – One of our group saw 1 near Tzaneen.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
AFRICAN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus larvatus) – Small numbers at Oribi Gorge, Kruger, and Polokwane.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus ludwigii) – Three at Oribi Gorge, 2 at St. Lucia, and 2 at Magoebaskloof.
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis) – Common and widespread.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
AFRICAN CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Trochocercus cyanomelas) – We saw a total of 4 in the forest at St. Lucia.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – Widespread in small numbers.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
CAPE CROW (Corvus capensis) – Most common around Wakkerstroom, but also a few others elsewhere.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Common and widespread.
WHITE-NECKED RAVEN (Corvus albicollis) – First seen near Cape Town, and then about 20 between Durban and the Sani Pass.
Chaetopidae (Rockjumpers)
CAPE ROCKJUMPER (Chaetops frenatus) – Can be difficult, but we were lucky this tour and saw 4 in the Rooiels area. [E]
DRAKENSBERG ROCKJUMPER (Chaetops aurantius) – Great looks at 3 near the top of Sani Pass. [E]
Nicatoridae (Nicators)
EASTERN NICATOR (Nicator gularis) – Great scope views of this skulker in the forest at St. Lucia.
Alaudidae (Larks)
RUFOUS-NAPED LARK (Mirafra africana) – Two near Wakkerstroom, and 1 at Polokwane.
CAPE CLAPPER LARK (Mirafra apiata) – One seen and several heard near Lambert's Bay. [E]
EASTERN CLAPPER LARK (Mirafra fasciolata) – Good close views of 2 in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]

The Bokmakiere can be a shy and elusive bird, though this one didn't appear to get that message! (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

RUDD'S LARK (Heteromirafra ruddi) – Thanks to our local guide 'Lucky' we saw three of these rare and localised larks in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
SABOTA LARK (Calendulauda sabota) – About a dozen at Kruger, and 8 at Polokwane.
FAWN-COLORED LARK (Calendulauda africanoides) – Three in the Pofadder area. [E]
RED LARK (Calendulauda burra) – Another very localised lark we saw well; great looks at 2 near Pofadder. [E]
SPIKE-HEELED LARK (Chersomanes albofasciata) – Six near Pofadder, and about a dozen in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
CAPE LARK (Certhilauda curvirostris) – Also known as Cape Long-billed Lark, we saw 1 near Lambert's Bay. [E]
EASTERN LONG-BILLED LARK (Certhilauda semitorquata) – One with a tiny juvenile near Wakkerstroom. [E]
KAROO LONG-BILLED LARK (Certhilauda subcoronata) – Three in the Pofadder area. [E]
SHORT-CLAWED LARK (Certhilauda chuana) – We had good looks at this extremely localised endemic at Polokwane. [E]
RED-CAPPED LARK (Calandrella cinerea) – Two in Lesotho, and about 10 at Wakkerstroom.
STARK'S LARK (Spizocorys starki) – Three in the Pofadder area. [E]
BOTHA'S LARK (Spizocorys fringillaris) – Great scope looks at yet another very localised endemic lark near Wakkerstroom. [E]
LARGE-BILLED LARK (Galerida magnirostris) – One near Lambert's Bay, and 2 in Lesotho. [E]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PLAIN MARTIN (Riparia paludicola) – Seen over the marshes near Underberg and Wakkerstroom.
BANDED MARTIN (Riparia cincta) – About 30 in the Wakkerstroom area.
ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula) – Widespread in small numbers; with a total of about 40.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Fairly common during the latter part of the tour.
WHITE-THROATED SWALLOW (Hirundo albigularis) – Often near water, we had great looks at this attractive swallow at several widespread sites.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii) – One at Mkuze, and 2 at Kruger.
GREATER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis cucullata) – Widespread in small numbers.
LESSER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – We saw this attractive swallow at Oribi Gorge, Mkuze, and Wakkerstroom.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa) – Four at Kruger.
MOSQUE SWALLOW (Cecropis senegalensis) – Pairs at Kruger and Polokwane.
SOUTH AFRICAN SWALLOW (Petrochelidon spilodera) – Fond of nesting under culverts and bridges, we saw about 150 in the Wakkerstroom area.
BLACK SAWWING (Psalidoprocne pristoptera) – Small numbers at Bulwer, Oribi Gorge, and Magoebaskloof.
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
FAIRY FLYCATCHER (Stenostira scita) – Great looks at this attractive endemic at Paleisheukloof, and then along the Sani Pass. [E]
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
SOUTHERN BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus niger) – Six at Mkuze, and about 10 at Kruger.
ASHY TIT (Melaniparus cinerascens) – Nice looks at 2 at Polokwane. [E]
GRAY TIT (Melaniparus afer) – Also known as Southern Gray Tit, we saw 1 nicely in Lesotho. [E]
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
SOMBRE GREENBUL (Andropadus importunus) – Widespread in wooded areas throughout the tour.
YELLOW-BELLIED GREENBUL (Chlorocichla flaviventris) – About a dozen at St. Lucia, and 2 at Mkuze.
TERRESTRIAL BROWNBUL (Phyllastrephus terrestris) – Two at St. Lucia, and 2 at Mkuze.
YELLOW-STREAKED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus flavostriatus) – Nice looks at 1 during a foggy morning at Magoebaskloof.
COMMON BULBUL (DARK-CAPPED) (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor) – Common and widespread away from the arid north-west.
BLACK-FRONTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus nigricans) – More commonly known as Red-eyed Bulbul; we saw them commonly from Upington to Pofadder. [E]
CAPE BULBUL (Pycnonotus capensis) – Small numbers from Goegap to the Cape. [E]
Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)

A calling male Narina Trogon gave us fabulous scope views at Oribi Gorge. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

CAPE CROMBEC (Sylvietta rufescens) – Small numbers at Mkuze, Kruger, and Polokwane.
CAPE GRASSBIRD (Sphenoeacus afer) – Fabulous looks at ths often shy skulker at Betty's Bay and along the Sani Pass. [E]
Phylloscopidae (Leaf-Warblers)
YELLOW-THROATED WOOD-WARBLER (Phylloscopus ruficapilla) – Three at Bulwer, and 2 at Magoebaskloof.
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW-WARBLER (Iduna natalensis) – One at the bottom of Sani Pass.
AFRICAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus baeticatus) – Two at Franklin Marsh.
LESSER SWAMP-WARBLER (Acrocephalus gracilirostris) – Best seen at Wakkerstroom, but also a few others elsewhere.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
BARRATT'S WARBLER (Bradypterus barratti) – Good looks at this super skulker at the bottom of Sani Pass.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
BAR-THROATED APALIS (Apalis thoracica) – Small numbers in forest patches at Bulwer, Sani Pass, and Magoebaskloof.
YELLOW-BREASTED APALIS (Apalis flavida) – Six at Mkuze, and 1 at Kruger.
RUDD'S APALIS (Apalis ruddi) – Two pairs in the forest at St. Lucia. [E]
GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera brachyura) – Small numbers at Oribi Gorge and St. Lucia.
MIOMBO WREN-WARBLER (STIERLING'S) (Calamonastes undosus stierlingi) – Nice looks at Kruger.
RUFOUS-EARED WARBLER (Malcorus pectoralis) – Great looks this tour at 1 in the low scrub near Pofadder. [E]
RATTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola chiniana) – About 6 at Kruger, and a dozen at Polokwane.
RED-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola subruficapilla) – More commonly known as Grey-backed Cisticola we saw about 20 in the Lambert's Bay area. [E]
WAILING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lais) – One on the Sani Pass road.
WINDING CISTICOLA (RUFOUS-WINGED) (Cisticola galactotes galactotes) – One at St. Lucia.
LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA (Cisticola tinniens) – Six at Franklin Marsh.
PIPING CISTICOLA (Cisticola fulvicapilla) – One at Kokstadt, and 1 at Polokwane.
ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis) – One near Upington.
CLOUD CISTICOLA (Cisticola textrix) – One (showing the breast streaking) near Wakkerstroom. [E]
WING-SNAPPING CISTICOLA (Cisticola ayresii) – One seen and several heard near Wakkerstroom.
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava) – One at Oribi Gorge, and 2 at Mkuze.
BLACK-CHESTED PRINIA (Prinia flavicans) – Two singles in the Pofadder area.
KAROO PRINIA (Prinia maculosa) – Common from Pofadder to Cape Town, and then 1 at the Sani Pass. [E]
DRAKENSBERG PRINIA (Prinia hypoxantha) – One along the Sani Pass road. [E]
YELLOW-RUMPED EREMOMELA (Eremomela gregalis) – Also known as Karoo Eremomela, we had good looks at this localised endemic near Springbok. [E]
BURNT-NECK EREMOMELA (Eremomela usticollis) – Fairly common at Polokwane.
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers)
BUSH BLACKCAP (Sylvia nigricapilla) – Wonderful looks at the bottom of Sani Pass, and at Bulwer. [E]
LAYARD'S WARBLER (Sylvia layardi) – One at Goegap. [E]
RUFOUS-VENTED WARBLER (Sylvia subcaerulea) – About 6 at Polokwane.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
CAPE WHITE-EYE (CAPE) (Zosterops capensis capensis) – Common and widespread. [E]
ORANGE RIVER WHITE-EYE (Zosterops pallidus pallidus) – Three at Keimoes, and 1 at Pofadder. [E]
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
ARROW-MARKED BABBLER (Turdoides jardineii) – About 40 at Kruger, and 10 at Polokwane.
Promeropidae (Sugarbirds)
GURNEY'S SUGARBIRD (Promerops gurneyi) – Great looks at 2 along the Sani Pass road. [E]
CAPE SUGARBIRD (Promerops cafer) – About 20 in the Betty's Bay area. [E]
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
PALE FLYCATCHER (Bradornis pallidus) – Two at Mkuze.
CHAT FLYCATCHER (Bradornis infuscatus) – About 10 in the Pofadder area. [E]
MARIQUA FLYCATCHER (Bradornis mariquensis) – Eight at Polokwane.
SOUTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis pammelaina) – Small numbers from Oribi Gorge to Kruger.
FISCAL FLYCATCHER (Sigelus silens) – Singles at Keimoes and Betty's Bay. [E]
DUSKY-BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa adusta) – Small numbers in a variety of widespread forest patches.

The Cape Sugarbird is one of South Africa's endemics, found only in the fynbos. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

ASHY FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa caerulescens) – Three at Oribi Gorge.
GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Myioparus plumbeus) – One at Kruger.
KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas coryphaeus) – Common from Springbok to West Coast National Park. [E]
BROWN SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas signata) – Two briefly at Oribi Gorge, and then great looks at a singing bird at St. Lucia. [E]
BEARDED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas quadrivirgata) – One at Mkuze.
KALAHARI SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas paena) – Nice looks at 2 at Polokwane. [E]
RED-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucophrys) – Six at Mkuze, and 8 at Polokwane.
CAPE ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha caffra) – Widespread in small numbers.
WHITE-THROATED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha humeralis) – We saw these 4 of these beautiful robin-chats at Mkuze and Kruger. [E]
RED-CAPPED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha natalensis) – About 10 at St. Lucia.
CHORISTER ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha dichroa) – Can be very shy and difficult to see, but we were lucky this tour and all had fabulous views of a singing bird at Magoebaskloof. [E]
WHITE-STARRED ROBIN (Pogonocichla stellata) – One at Magoebaskloof.
SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola explorator) – Nice looks at 5 or 6 in Lesotho. [E]
CAPE ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola rupestris) – Three in the Betty's Bay area, and 2 at the bottom of Sani Pass. [E]
AFRICAN STONECHAT (Saxicola torquatus) – Widespread at a variety of scattered sites; in all we saw about 100.
BUFF-STREAKED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola bifasciatus) – We saw these attractive chats along the Sani Pass road. [E]
SOUTHERN ANTEATER-CHAT (Myrmecocichla formicivora) – Fairly common around Pofadder, Lambert's Bay, and at Wakkerstroom.
SICKLEWING CHAT (Cercomela sinuata) – About 20 in Lesotho. [E]
KAROO CHAT (Cercomela schlegelii) – One near Pofadder. [E]
TRACTRAC CHAT (Cercomela tractrac) – One near Pofadder. [E]
FAMILIAR CHAT (Cercomela familiaris) – Small numbers from Upington to the Cape and at Underberg.
MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe monticola) – About 6 in the Pofadder area. [E]
CAPPED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe pileata) – About 6 at Goegap, and another 6 around Lambert's Bay.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ORANGE GROUND-THRUSH (Geokichla gurneyi) – After a lot of effort we finally all got great looks at 1 at Magoebaskloof.
GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH (Psophocichla litsitsirupa) – About 4 in the Polokwane area.
KURRICHANE THRUSH (Turdus libonyana) – Three at Kruger, and 4 at Polokwane.
OLIVE THRUSH (Turdus olivaceus) – Small numbers in the Cape and Underberg areas.
KAROO THRUSH (Turdus smithi) – Small numbers around Upington, the Cape, and Polokwane. [E]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – Fairly common and widespread. [I]
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Fairly common and widespread. [I]
WATTLED STARLING (Creatophora cinerea) – Eight at Kruger.
CAPE GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis nitens) – Very common from Mkuze to Polokwane. [E]
GREATER BLUE-EARED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis chalybaeus) – Four at Kruger.
BURCHELL'S GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis australis) – About 80 at Kruger.
BLACK-BELLIED GLOSSY-STARLING (Lamprotornis corruscus) – Twenty at Oribi Gorge, and 2 at Mkuze.
VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) – We saw these gorgeous starlings at Mkuze and Kruger.
AFRICAN PIED STARLING (Spreo bicolor) – Fairly common at Lambert's Bay, Underberg, and Wakkerstroom. [E]
RED-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus morio) – Common from Lambert's Bay to the Cape, around Underberg, and at Kruger.

A Purple-crested Turaco, perched near the entrance gate to Kruger, gave us great opportunities for scope study. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

PALE-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus nabouroup) – Eight near Pofadder. [E]
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
RED-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) – Most common at Mkuze and Kruger; with a total of about 140.
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus) – About a dozen at Kruger where they favor feeding on giraffe.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris) – Small numbers at Oribi Gorge, Mkuze, and Kruger.
ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Anthobaphes violacea) – Nice looks at about a dozen of these attractive endemic sunbirds in the Rooiels and Betty's Bay area. [E]
EASTERN OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra olivacea) – Two at Oribi Gorge, and 1 at Wakkerstroom.
MOUSE-COLORED SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra veroxii) – Nice scope views of a singing bird at Oribi Gorge.
AMETHYST SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra amethystina) – Four at Oribi Gorge.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis) – About 20 in the Mkuze area.
MALACHITE SUNBIRD (Nectarinia famosa) – Nice looks from Springbok to the Cape, and around Underberg.
SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chalybeus) – Small numbers at Springbok, Betty's Bay, and at Magoebaskloof. [E]
NEERGAARD'S SUNBIRD (Cinnyris neergaardi) – Fabulous this year, with super close looks at 2 males from the hide at Mkuze. [E]
GREATER DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris afer) – Great looks at displaying males in the Sani Pass area. [E]
MARIQUA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris mariquensis) – One near Mkuze, and about 20 at Kruger.
PURPLE-BANDED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris bifasciatus) – Fairly common from St. Lucia to Mkuze.
WHITE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris talatala) – We saw a total of about 30 at Mkuze, Kruger and Polokwane.
DUSKY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris fuscus) – Six between Pofadder and Springbok. [E]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
CAPE WAGTAIL (Motacilla capensis) – Common and widespread.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – About a dozen between Mkuze, Wakkerstroom, Kruger and Polokwane.
AFRICAN PIPIT (Anthus cinnamomeus) – One near Lambert's Bay, and about 80 in the Wakkerstroom area.
MOUNTAIN PIPIT (Anthus hoeschi) – Nice looks at this very localised endemic in Lesotho. [E]
YELLOW-TUFTED PIPIT (Anthus crenatus) – Great scope views of this localised and difficult endemic near the top of Sani Pass. [E]
YELLOW-BREASTED PIPIT (Hemimacronyx chloris) – Yet another localised endemic pipit that we saw well; we had a female and then a male in the high grasslands above Wakkerstroom. [E]
ORANGE-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx capensis) – Two at Bulwer, and about 40 in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
LARK-LIKE BUNTING (Emberiza impetuani) – Extremely common around Pofadder. [E]
CAPE BUNTING (Emberiza capensis) – A total of about 20, at Springbok, in the Cape, and at Underberg. [E]
GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza flaviventris) – Singles at Bulwer, Mkuze, and Kruger.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
CAPE SISKIN (Pseudochloroptila totta) – Nice looks at a pair at Betty's Bay. [E]
DRAKENSBERG SISKIN (Pseudochloroptila symonsi) – About 6 at the top of the Sani Pass. [E]
CAPE CANARY (Serinus canicollis) – Small numbers from Lambert's Bay to the Cape, around Durban, and at Wakkerstroom. [E]
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Serinus mozambicus) – Seen in a variety of widely scattered areas; in all we saw about 50.
FOREST CANARY (Serinus scotops) – One at Bulwer. [E]
LEMON-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Serinus citrinipectus) – We saw of this localised and often difficult species at Mkuze. [E]
BRIMSTONE CANARY (Serinus sulphuratus) – One at Betty's Bay.
YELLOW CANARY (Serinus flaviventris) – Small numbers at Pofadder, Lambert's Bay, and in Lesotho. [E]
WHITE-THROATED CANARY (Serinus albogularis) – About 5 in the Pofadder area. [E]

The play of colors on a White-fronted Bee-eater are just amazing. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER (Serinus gularis) – Two at Paleisheukloof, and 4 at the bottom of Sani Pass.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Fairly common and widespread.
CAPE SPARROW (Passer melanurus) – Common and widespread away from forested areas. [E]
SOUTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer diffusus) – Most common at Kruger, but also at Mkuze and Polokwane.
YELLOW-THROATED PETRONIA (Petronia superciliaris) – About 10 at Mkuze.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
RED-BILLED BUFFALO-WEAVER (Bubalornis niger) – About 50 at Kruger.
SCALY WEAVER (Sporopipes squamifrons) – Three in the Pofadder area.
WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser mahali) – About 30 at Polokwane.
SOCIAL WEAVER (Philetairus socius) – More commonly known as Sociable Weaver; we saw about 50 (and their enormous nests) in the Pofadder area.
RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps) – Two (including a fabulous male in breeding plumage) at Kruger.
SPECTACLED WEAVER (Ploceus ocularis) – We saw single males at Mkuze and Kruger.
CAPE WEAVER (Ploceus capensis) – Fairly common and widespread. [E]
AFRICAN GOLDEN-WEAVER (Ploceus subaureus) – Three at St. Lucia.
SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER (Ploceus xanthopterus) – Nice looks at 3 males in the reed beds at St. Lucia. [E]
LESSER MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus intermedius) – We saw a single male at St. Lucia.
SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus velatus) – Fairly common and widespread.
VILLAGE WEAVER (Ploceus cucullatus) – Seen at a variety of widespread scattered sites.
FOREST WEAVER (Ploceus bicolor) – Six at Oribi Gorge, and about a dozen at St. Lucia.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – Small numbers in a variety of widely scattered bushed acacia country.
SOUTHERN RED BISHOP (Euplectes orix) – Fabulous looks at these gorgeous red and black fireballs in scattered reed beds throughout the tour.
YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP (Euplectes afer) – We saw a female at Wakkerstroom.
YELLOW BISHOP (Euplectes capensis) – Small numbers (including some breeding plumage males) at from Paleisheukloof to the Cape, and near Durban.
WHITE-WINGED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes albonotatus) – About 60 at Polokwane.
FAN-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes axillaris) – Most common in the sugar area around Durban, but also a few others elsewhere.
LONG-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes progne) – About 60 near Franklin, and another 100+ in the Wakkerstroom area.
GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons) – A female at Oribi Gorge, and a male at Mkuze.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
SWEE WAXBILL (Coccopygia melanotis) – We saw these lovely waxbills at the bottom of Sani Pass and at Magoebaskloof. [E]
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) – Widespread in small numbers.
BLACK-FACED WAXBILL (Estrilda erythronotos) – Three at Polokwane.
SOUTHERN CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus angolensis) – Seen acacia country at Mkuze, Kruger, and Polokwane.
PINK-THROATED TWINSPOT (Hypargos margaritatus) – Fantastic views this year of a pair in the sandveld forest at Mkuze. [E]
GREEN-WINGED PYTILIA (Pytilia melba) – One at Mkuze, and 2 at Polokwane.
AFRICAN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rubricata) – Nice looks at a male near Tzaneen.
BLACK-FACED QUAILFINCH (Ortygospiza atricollis) – Also known as African Quailfinch; we saw about 20 in flight near Wakkerstroom.
BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullata) – Five at Magoebaskloof, and about a dozen at Polokwane.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – We saw a total of 7 at Lambert's Bay, Pongola, and Wakkerstroom.
EASTERN PARADISE-WHYDAH (Vidua paradisaea) – Four (all in non-breeding plumage) at Mkuze and Polokwane.

WAHLBERG'S EPAULETTED FRUIT BAT (Epomophorus wahlbergi) – About 20 at Kruger.
BLUE MONKEY (Cercopithecus mitis) – The South African form known as Samango Monkey was fairly common at Oribi Gorge and Magoebaskloof.
BLACK-FACED VERVET MONKEY (Cercopithecus aethiops) – Common at Oribi Gorge, Mkuze, Kruger and Polokwane.
CHACMA BABOON (Papio ursinus) – Widespread; with a total of about 180 for the tour.
CAPE GROUND SQUIRREL (Xerus inaurius) – Two in the Pofadder area.
TREE SQUIRREL (Paraxerus cepapi) – About 30 at Kruger, and 10 at Polokwane.
SLOGGETT'S ICE RAT (Otomys sloggetti) – Two in Lesotho.
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus) – About 20 during our pelagic trip off Cape Point.
BLACK-BACKED JACKAL (Canis mesomelas) – One at Kruger.
HUNTING DOG (Lycaon pictus) – Really lucky to see this rare mammal this tour; with good close views at 9 near Berg-en-Dal in Kruger.
RATEL (HONEY BADGER) (Mellivora capensis) – Fantastic close looks during our evening walk at Satara, Kruger.
EGYPTIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes ichneumon) – One at Paleisheukloof.
SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus) – Two at Magoebaskloof.
BANDED MONGOOSE (Mungos mungo) – About 20 at St. Lucia, and 12 at Kruger.
DWARF MONGOOSE (Helogale parvula) – One at Kruger.
YELLOW MONGOOSE (Cynictis penicillata) – One near Pofadder, and about 6 at Wakkerstroom.
SLENDER-TAILED MEERKAT (Suricata suricatta) – Often difficult, but we were lucky this tour and saw small groups near Pofadder, at Goegap, and at Wakkerstroom.

African Wild Dogs (also known as Hunting Dogs) are now incredibly rare, so seeing nine close animals near Berg-en-Dal in Kruger was a real treat. (photo by participant Becky Hansen)

SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta) – We saw a total of 6 at Kruger.
WILD CAT (Felis silvestris) – Some of the group saw 1 at Satara, Kruger.
LION (Panthera leo) – Great close looks at 4 big-maned males and 2 females at Kruger.
CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus) – About 400 at Lambert's Bay, and 50+ in the Cape Point area.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – Many close encounters in Kruger - with a total of about 250, and also 3 big bulls at Mkuze.
ROCK HYRAX (Procavia capensis) – Fairly common in a variety of rocky areas during the first part of the tour.
BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (Equus burchelli) – Common at Mkuze, Kruger and Polokwane; in all we saw about 300.
WHITE RHINOCEROS (Ceratotherium simum) – Great (and often close) looks at Mkuze, Kruger and Polokwane GR.
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – Twenty at Mkuze, and about 40 at Kruger.
HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius) – Seen at St. Lucia, Mkuze, and Kruger; in all we saw about 130.
COMMON GIRAFFE (Giraffa camelopardalis) – Seen at Mkuze (30), Kruger (40), and Polokwane (6).
NYALA (Tragelaphus angasi) – Fairly common at Oribi Gorge, Mkuze, Kruger and Polokwane; in all we saw about 100.
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – Six at Kruger.
GREATER KUDU (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) – About 80 at Kruger, and 50 at Polokwane.
COMMON ELAND (Taurotragus oryx) – Three along the Sani Pass, and about 40 at Polokwane.
AFRICAN BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer) – We saw a single herd of at least 300 at Kruger, and smaller numbers at Mkuze and near Wakkerstroom.
RED DUIKER (Cephalophus natalensis) – Six at St. Lucia.
BUSH (GRAY) DUIKER (Sylvicapra grimmia) – One at Mkuze, and 2 at Kruger.
COMMON WATERBUCK (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) – Two at Mkuze, about 80 at Kruger, and 6 at Polokwane.
REEDBUCK (Redunca arundinum) – Also known as Southern Reedbuck, we saw 6 in the Sani Pass and Underberg area.
RHEBOK (Pelea capreolus) – Five at the Sani Pass.
SABLE ANTELOPE (Hippotragus niger) – About 15 at Polokwane.
GEMSBOK (Oryx gazella) – Five at Goegap, near Springbok.
BONTEBOK (Damaliscus dorcas) – Forty near Wakkerstroom.
BLACK WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes gnou) – Forty near Wakkerstroom.
BLUE WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes taurinus) – About 100 at Mkuze, 400 at Kruger, and 60 at Polokwane.
STEENBOK (Raphicerus campestris) – Widespread in small numbers.
IMPALA (Aepyceros malampus) – Most common at Kruger (800), but we also saw them at Mkuze and Polokwane.
SPRINGBOK (Antidorcas marsupialis) – Eight near Pofadder, and 20 near Wakkerstroom.


Reptiles seen on the tour included;

Namib Rock Agama; 2 near Pofadder.

Drakensburg Crag Lizard; 3 in Lesotho.

Southern Rock Agama; 1 at the Sani Pass.

Water Monitor; 2 at Kruger.

Nile Crocodile; 1 at St. Lucia, and about 10 at Kruger.

Berg Adder; 1 at the Sani Pass.

Leopard Tortoise 2 at Mkuze, 1 at Kruger, and 1 at Polokwane. Angulated Tortoise; 2 at West Coast NP.

Totals for the tour: 445 bird taxa and 46 mammal taxa