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Field Guides Tour Report
South Africa 2018
Oct 4, 2018 to Oct 26, 2018
Terry Stevenson & Joe Grosel

We covered a lot of ground, and saw many wonderful creatures on this tour. Included in our sightings was this family of Common Ostrich, photographed by participant Cathy Douglas.

Our October 2018 South Africa tour tried a slightly different route, cutting out several long drives, yet providing us with an almost identical number of birds and mammals. As usual we had a mixed bag of weather, varying from hot (around 95F) at Brandvlei, to cold (50F) at Wakkerstroom, we had a whole morning of rain at St. Lucia, but Kruger, which can be hot and humid, was exceptionally pleasant throughout our stay. With so many endemic and other wonderful birds to choose from it's always difficult to pick a top few, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed the African Penguin and Cape Gannet colonies, 9 species of bustards, Blue Crane, Knysna Turaco, both Cape and Drakensberg Rockjumpers and Cape and Gurney's Sugarbirds (both in families endemic to Southern Africa), a dozen endemic larks, the unique Bush Blackcap, and a whole mix of prinias, scrub-robins, rock-thrushes, sunbirds, canaries, and waxbills restricted to the continents southern most country. Mammals were varied too, ranging from huge African Elephants and Giraffes, to tiny Blue Duikers and cute Sloggett's Ice Rats, in between we enjoyed Lion, Leopard, Ratel, Slender-tailed Meerkat, both Black and White Rhinos, a whole variety of antelopes, and the greatest surprise of all, the rarely seen Ground Pangolin!

Our route began in Johannesburg, where we spent the night before catching the morning flight to Cape Town. Here we picked up our two mini-buses and then made a short drive north to Ceres stopping along the way at Bain's Kloof. Here amongst, a wealth of spectacular and unfamiliar plants, we began our first serious birding; Cape Francolin, three Verreaux's Eagles soared above a distant peak, we saw our first Red-eyed and Laughing doves (species we later see almost daily), Speckled Mousebird was a new family for some, White-necked Ravens came in close to check us out, Cape Grassbird and Victorin's Warbler (both often skulking endemics) showed surprisingly well, and eventually a Malachite Sunbird put on a good show too, finally as we headed to our hotel we made an impromptu stop and finished the day with close scope views of a small flock of lovely Swee Waxbills.

The following day found us heading north across the Tanqua Karoo and beyond to the arid country around Calvinia and Brandvlei. During two and a half days in this area, we enjoyed so many new birds, with just a few of the highlights being Secretarybird, Pale Chanting-Goshawk, Black Harrier, Ludwig's and Karoo bustards, Double-banded Courser, Namaqua Sandgrouse, White-backed Mousebird, Greater Kestrel, Bokmakierie, Spike-heeled, Karoo Long-billed and Large-billed larks, large numbers of displaying Black-eared Sparrow-larks, Fairy Flycatcher (now in a new family Stenostiridae), Black-fronted Bulbul, Namaqua Prinia, Layard's Warbler, Orange River White-eye, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Sickle-winged, Karoo, and Tractrac chats, Lark-like Bunting, Yellow, White-throated and Black-headed canaries, and Red-headed Finch. We also saw our first large mammals which included Common Giraffe and Burchell's Zebra, while smaller species were Springbok, Klipspringer, Yellow Mongoose, and playful Slender-tailed Meerkats.

Heading west to Lambert's Bay, we called in at a nearby kloof to find the 'difficult' Protea Canary - great looks at 3 this year. And then in Lambert's Bay itself, we made a visit to the famous Cape Gannet colony where about 4000 pairs breed and you can walk to within 25 yards of the colonies edge. Watching the to-ing and fro-ing, displaying, and only half controlled landings is a wonderful sight...but not the only great birds to be seen around here - 23 African Oystercatchers was an exceptional number, flocks of Great Crested, Sandwich and Common terns were roosting on the rocks, Hartlaub's and Kelp gulls were noisily everywhere, and White-fronted Plovers ran hurriedly across the sandy promontory.

We then headed south for a three night stay near Cape Town, birding along the way in the karoo and fynbos vegetation, farmlands, some tidal flats and pools near Veldriff, and then to West Coast National Park. Some of the most memorable birds along this route were Common Ostrich, South African Shelduck, Cape Shoveler, flocks of both Greater and Lesser flamingos, African Spoonbill, a striking male Black Bustard, 23 Blue Cranes, a variety of plovers and sandpipers including the tiny and localized Chestnut-banded Plover, Cape, Cape Clapper, and Karoo larks, Cape Bulbul, and Southern Double-banded Sunbird.

We then had three nights in the Cape Town region (actually at Simonstown), where on the first day we took a pelagic trip, and then on the second visited some beautiful areas in this unique floral kingdom, and also went to a colony of African (Jackass) Penguins. Without a clue why, the boat trip was strangely quiet this year (perhaps depleting or moving fish stocks) but we still enjoyed Humpback and Southern Right whales, Indian Yellow-nosed and White-capped albatrosses, White-chinned Petrels, Great and Sooty shearwaters, and Long-tailed Jaeger. Our day to Stony Point and Betty's Bay was in total contrast and just packed with new species, including two new families for everyone on the tour - Rockjumpers and Sugarbirds. Just a few of the great birds enjoyed this day were breeding Bank Cormorants next to the African Penguin colony, Jackal Buzzard, Ground Woodpecker, Cape Batis, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Cape Rockjumper (a close pair with 2 juveniles), Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Sugarbird (many feeding on a gorgeous hillside covered on yellow protea flowers), Cape Rock-Thrush, Orange-breasted Sunbird and Cape Siskin.

The next part of our tour took us on a flight to Durban where we picked up new vehicles and then headed inland to Underberg, our base for the following day visit to the Sani Pass and Lesotho. What a wonderful day this turned out to be, as with the help of local guides we just moved from one new bird to the next, finding Red-necked and Gray-winged francolins, Southern Bald Ibis, Bearded Vulture, Cape Griffon (about 50 feeding on a dead horse), Black Goshawk, Gray Crowned and Wattled cranes, Spotted Eagle-Owl, Malachite Kingfisher, Rufous-necked Wryneck, Olive Woodpecker, Drakensberg Rockjumper, African Yellow Warbler, Barratt's Warbler, Drakensburg Prinia, Bush Blackcap, Gurney's Sugarbird, Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Buff-streaked Bushchat, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Mountain Pipit and Drakensberg Siskin.

Moving on, we back-tracked to the coast, making a short stop at Mtunzini where we picked up Pink-backed Pelican, Goliath Heron, Giant Kingfisher, Purple-crested Turaco, White-eared Barbet, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Square-tailed Drongo and Yellow-bellied Greenbul. Red Duiker and Black-faced Vervet Monkey were new to our mammal list here. And then, after a night at a comfortable guest house at Eshowe, we visited the Dlinza Forest adding Lemon Dove, Narina Trogon, Trumpeter Hornbill, Black-collared Barbet, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Southern Boubou, Southern Black-Tit, Terrestrial Brownbul, Chorister Robin-Chat, and a very obliging pair of Spotted Ground-Thrush. Blue Duikers (running around like crazy things) were the star mammals.

Heading north and back to the coast, we had a very rainy morning at St. Lucia, but still managed to pick up most of the important birds, including Crested Guineafowl, Woodward's Batis, Four-colored Bushshrike (normally a real skulker, but showing really well this time), Rudd's Apalis, Mouse-colored Sunbird, and Southern Brown-throated and Forest weavers. Hippos in the tidal river, and two large bull Elephants shoving each other around, made for interesting mammal watching.

Continuing north, we then had two nights on a private game ranch at Bayala Lodge. This not only gave us a wide variety of birds and mammals right on our door step, but also allowed for a day trip to the nearby Mkuze Game Reserve. Highlights during our stay here included Crested Francolin, Woolly-necked and Yellow-billed storks, African Cuckoo-Hawk, Brown Snake-Eagle, Spotted Thick-knee, African Jacana, Gray Go-away-bird, Red-chested and Dideric cuckoos, Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, Red-faced Mousebird, Green Woodhoopoe, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Crested Barbet, Black Cuckooshrike, Eastern Nicator (now in the new family Nicatoridae), African Penduline-Tit, Gray Tit-Flycatcher, White-throated Robin-Chat, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, and the simply gorgeous Pink-throated Twinspot. We also had some great encounters with mammals, from playful Chacma Baboons, to uncommon Side-striped Jackals, African Elephants (including one which totally blocked the road for one of our vehicles), 7 White Rhinos, more Hippos, Common Giraffe, Nyala, Greater Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, and several hundred Impala.

In total contrast, we then heading further west and into the high altitude grasslands at Wakkerstroom. Here, in the big open sky country, is one of Africa's most localized larks, and they really put us to the test this year as we walked back and forth across their favored grassy habitat. Almost at the point of giving up, there they were, two flushed birds flew over our heads and landed about 200 yards away. We slowly followed to their landing spot, and after some careful scanning we were all rewarded with fabulous looks at Rudd's Lark! Other new birds in this area included Moccoa Duck, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, African Marsh-Harrier, African Rail, African Swamphen and African Snipe at the wetlands. The open farmland gave us Swainson's Francolin, Denham's, White-bellied and Blue bustards, Black-winged Lapwing, Marsh Owl, Eastern Long-billed, Eastern Clapper and Botha's larks, Pale-crowned and Wing-snapping cisticolas, Yellow-breasted Pipit, and Orange-throated Longclaw. Yellow Mongoose and Slender-tailed Meerkats were also seen nicely, as were Rhebok, Bontebok, and Black Wildebeest.

We then continued to the most northern part of our tour, the world famous Kruger National Park. Although there are no particular endemics to look for here, there is a wealth of more widespread African bush country and water birds, and of course the big mammals that have made this park so well known. Again, just some of the highlights were: Common Ostrich, Natal Francolin, Saddle-billed Stork, White-headed, White-backed, and Hooded vultures, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, Kori Bustard, White-headed Lapwing, Double-banded Sandgrouse, Pearl-spotted Owlet, a pair of Barn Owls (including a lovely golden morph), 20 Southern Ground-hornbills, Southern Yellow-billed and Southern Red-billed hornbills, White-fronted Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, Brown-headed Parrot, Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike, Arrow-marked Babbler, Kurrichane Thrush, Burchell's Starling, both Red-billed and Yellow-billed oxpeckers, Mariqua Sunbird, and Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver. Over thirty species of mammals were seen, varying from Wahlberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat to Black-backed Jackal, the uncommon Ratel (or Honey Badger), tiny Dwarf Mongoose, huge Elephants (at least 400 this tour), Spotted Hyaena, Lion, Leopard, the rare Black Rhino (admittedly a far away), Warthog, Hippo, Giraffe, a dozen species of antelopes of which Impala and Blue Wildebeest were the most numerous, Sharpe's Grysbok the least common, Greater Kudu the most imposing, and Klipspringer the most statuesque. Undoubtedly, though, mammal of the trip had to be Ground Pangolin, rarely seen in daylight (or even at night) we had one walking around near to the road at 4:30 in the afternoon!

We now began to return back towards Johannesburg, breaking the journey twice along the way. Firstly in the Magoebaskloof area where we found Bat Hawk (a pair by their nest), Crowned Eagle, Rameron Pigeon, Knysna Turaco (great looks), Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Brown-necked (Cape) Parrot (becoming increasingly rare), Olive Bushshrike, Gray Cuckooshrike, African Crested-Flycatcher, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, White-starred Robin, Groundscraper Thrush,

Holub's Golden-Weaver, and African Firefinch. Our second stay was in a classic area of acacia country near Polokwane. It was a fantastic way to conclude the tour, with new birds including Coqui Francolin, Marabou Stork, Crimson-breasted Gonolek (striking red, black and white), Short-clawed Lark (rare and localized), Ashy Tit, Southern (Cape) Penduline-Tit, Desert Cisticola, Mariqua Flycatcher, Kalahari Scrub-Robin, Scaly Weaver, White-browed Sparrow-Weaver, Black-faced Waxbill, and the simply gorgeous Violet-eared Waxbill. And here, we also saw the most stunning antelope of all, a fabulous male Sable right in the middle of the road.

Our next South Africa tour runs October 3-25, 2019.

Thanks to all of you for exploring this wonderful country with Joe and me.

-- Terry

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

We got a good view of this African Openbill Stork as it captured and ate a water snail. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Struthionidae (Ostriches)
COMMON OSTRICH (Struthio camelus) – Small numbers at Bayala, Kruger and Polokwane. We also saw several groups in West Coast NP which included males, females and young ones.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – Eight near St. Lucia, about a dozen in the Bayala-Mkuze area, and 1 at Kruger.
WHITE-BACKED DUCK (Thalassornis leuconotus) – One of our group saw a distant bird near Ermelo.
EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca) – By far the most common of the wildfowl we saw, with a total of about 600.
SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna cana) – We saw about 30 in the Calvinia to Lambert's Bay area, 6 near Wakkerstroom, and 2 near Ermelo. [E]
SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis) – Widespread in small numbers (especially in farmland); in all we saw about 90.
HOTTENTOT TEAL (Spatula hottentota) – One at Wakkerstroom.
CAPE SHOVELER (Spatula smithii) – Small numbers near Ceres, Lambert's Bay, Wakkerstroom, and Ermelo; in all we saw about 25. [E]
AFRICAN BLACK DUCK (Anas sparsa) – Some of the group saw 1 near Ceres, and then we all saw 2 adults and 4 juveniles at Howick Falls.
YELLOW-BILLED DUCK (Anas undulata) – Widespread in small numbers; in total we saw about 200.
CAPE TEAL (Anas capensis) – About a dozen between Lambert's Bay and Veldriff.
RED-BILLED DUCK (Anas erythrorhyncha) – Two on the way to St. Lucia, and then 18 near Wakkerstroom.

Verreaux's Eagle-Owl is always a treat to see, and this one was no exception. It had captured a Natal Francolin, so in a way, this was a two-for-one viewing. Fortunately, we were able to find some live Francolin's as well! Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

SOUTHERN POCHARD (Netta erythrophthalma) – Eight in the Wakkerstroom area, and then 6 at Ermelo.
MACCOA DUCK (Oxyura maccoa) – Sixty at Fickland Pan was an exceptionally high number.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris) – Common and widespread in a variety of farmland and open bush country.
CRESTED GUINEAFOWL (SOUTHERN) (Guttera pucherani barbata) – Great looks at 3 at St. Lucia, and then 15 at Mkuze. Some authorities now consider this form a distinct species 'Southern Crested Guineafowl'.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
COMMON QUAIL (Coturnix coturnix) – Three singles were flushed from long grass to the south of Lambert's Bay, and we then flushed a fourth bird at Fickland Pan.
CAPE FRANCOLIN (Pternistis capensis) – Widespread in small numbers in the Cape region; in total we saw about 20, with a dozen in West Coast NP. [E]
NATAL FRANCOLIN (Pternistis natalensis) – First seen at Bayala (dead in the talons of a Verreaux's Eagle-Owl) and then 3 live birds there, followed by a dozen at Kruger, and 2 at Polokwane.
SWAINSON'S FRANCOLIN (Pternistis swainsonii) – Four near Wakkerstroom, about 80 at Kruger, and 1 at Polokwane.
RED-NECKED FRANCOLIN (Pternistis afer) – Three at the bottom of Sani Pass.
CRESTED FRANCOLIN (Dendroperdix sephaena) – Small numbers at Mkuze, Kruger, and Polokwane.
COQUI FRANCOLIN (Peliperdix coqui) – Some of the group saw 1 at Polokwane.
GRAY-WINGED FRANCOLIN (Scleroptila afra) – Nice scope views of a tee'd up calling bird in Lesotho. [E]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Seen on a variety of widespread scattered pools; in all we saw about 100.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus) – Three near Ceres, and 1 at Fickland Pan.
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – At least 400 were on the salt pools at Veldriff.
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus) – About 1600 between Lambert's Bay and Veldriff, 80 at St. Lucia, and 30 near Wakkerstroom.
LESSER FLAMINGO (Phoeniconaias minor) – At least 300 were with Greater Flamingos between Lambert's Bay and Veldriff.
Spheniscidae (Penguins)
AFRICAN PENGUIN (Spheniscus demersus) – Two hundred in the Simonstown area, and 300+ at Stony Point. [E]
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS (INDIAN) (Thalassarche chlororhynchos bassi) – Good close looks at 1 on our pelagic trip, and a second bird more distantly.
WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche cauta) – Also known as Shy Albatross; we saw about 15 on our pelagic trip.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL (Procellaria aequinoctialis) – About 200 on our pelagic trip off Cape Point.
GREAT SHEARWATER (Ardenna gravis) – Fifty on our pelagic trip.
SOOTY SHEARWATER (Ardenna grisea) – About a dozen on our pelagic trip.
Hydrobatidae (Storm-Petrels)
WILSON'S STORM-PETREL (Oceanites oceanicus) – Some of our group saw 1 on our pelagic trip.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
AFRICAN OPENBILL (Anastomus lamelligerus) – Great close looks at 1 catching and eating a water snail at Kruger.

South Africa is well-known as the place to see quintessential African mammals such as these Common Giraffes. They are often accompanied by Oxpeckers; in this case, it is a Red-billed Oxpecker. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra) – One on a power pole in the arid country north of Calvinia was totally unexpected.
WOOLLY-NECKED STORK (Ciconia episcopus) – Two singles at Mkuze.
SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) – We saw 4 of these spectacular storks in the Kruger area.
MARABOU STORK (Leptoptilos crumenifer) – Three in flight over 'The Ranch' near Polokwane.
YELLOW-BILLED STORK (Mycteria ibis) – One at Mkuze, and about 10 at Kruger.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
CAPE GANNET (Morus capensis) – About 3000 at the Lambert's Bay colony were just fabulous, and we then had 250+ during our pelagic trip.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Microcarbo africanus) – We saw a total of about 20 at a variety of scattered freshwater wetlands.
CROWNED CORMORANT (Microcarbo coronatus) – About 20 at Lambert's Bay, and 6 at Simonstown. [E]
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) – Widespread both at freshwater and saltwater sites; in all we saw about 100.
CAPE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax capensis) – Many hundreds in the Cape region. [E]
BANK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax neglectus) – We saw small colonies at Simonstown (30) and Stony Point (80). [E]
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa rufa) – One in flight on the way to Cape Town, and 1 at Bayala.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
PINK-BACKED PELICAN (Pelecanus rufescens) – Six at Mtunzini (on tree tops), and 1 at St. Lucia.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – Two singles in the eastern lowlands, and 2 more at Kruger.

We had several good views of the Black Crake. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LITTLE BITTERN (Ixobrychus minutus) – Good looks at 3 in the reedbeds at Wakkerstroom.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Common and widespread.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – Common and widespread.
GOLIATH HERON (Ardea goliath) – One at Mtunzini, and 1 on the way to Berg en Dal.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Two singles near Wakkerstroom and Kruger, although not seen by all of the group.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Three at Kruger.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia) – Two near Underberg, 1 near Ermelo, and 1 at Kruger.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Fairly common and widespread.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Very common and widespread.
SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides) – Small numbers at Wakkerstroom and Kruger.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Three at Kruger.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Two at Wakkerstroom, and 2 near Kruger.

Yellow-throated Longclaw resembles the North American meadowlarks, but it is actually in the same family as wagtails and pipits. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Eight near Lambert's Bay, and 2 at Mkuze.
SACRED IBIS (Threskiornis aethiopicus) – Common and widespread.
SOUTHERN BALD IBIS (Geronticus calvus) – Nice looks at 1 in Lesotho, then 4 near Himeville, and 1 near Wakkerstroom. [E]
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Very common and widespread.
AFRICAN SPOONBILL (Platalea alba) – Small numbers were widespread at a variety of mainly fresh water sites; in all we saw about 44.
Sagittariidae (Secretarybird)
SECRETARYBIRD (Sagittarius serpentarius) – Great looks at 1 walking and then in low flight on the way to Calvinia, and then 8 others between Mkuze, Kruger and Polokwane.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – Small numbers were seen in a variety of mainly open farmland; in total we saw about 20.
AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus) – We saw an adult in flight at St. Lucia.
BEARDED VULTURE (Gypaetus barbatus) – We saw single immature and adult birds at the top of Sani Pass - always a treat to see these wonderful birds of wild wild places.
AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides) – Two at Mkuze.
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – We saw a single immature bird at Kruger.
HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Two at Kruger.

We saw 9 species of bustards on this tour, including this Black-bellied Bustard flying across a road. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – The most common large vulture (which are all rapidly disappearing in Africa); in total we saw about 50 - mainly between Mkuze and Kruger.
CAPE GRIFFON (Gyps coprotheres) – Fantastic looks this tour, with at least 48 in Lesotho, many of them feeding on the ground on a dead horse; we also saw 3 near Polokwane. [E]
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – Three at Mkuze, and about 12 at Kruger.
BLACK-BREASTED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus pectoralis) – Some of the group saw an adult in flight west of Calvinia, and then we all saw an immature bird at Kruger.
BROWN SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinereus) – Two single adults at Bayala.
BAT HAWK (Macheiramphus alcinus) – Fabulous views of a pair near their nest at Agatha.
CROWNED EAGLE (Stephanoaetus coronatus) – One near Kruger, and 1 at Magoebaskloof.
LONG-CRESTED EAGLE (Lophaetus occipitalis) – Small numbers at scattered sites in the highlands; in all we saw about 7.
WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi) – Three at Mkuze, 1 at Bayala, and about a dozen at Kruger.
BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus) – We saw 2 singles near Ceres (both light and dark morphs), and a second dark morph on the way to Lambert's Bay.
TAWNY EAGLE (Aquila rapax) – About 8 in the Kruger to Mkuze area.
VERREAUX'S EAGLE (Aquila verreauxii) – Three at Bain's Kloof.

The unusual Ground Woodpecker is a South African endemic that we saw well in the Sani Pass. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

AFRICAN HAWK-EAGLE (Aquila spilogaster) – Two at Tzaneen.
LIZARD BUZZARD (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) – One near Tzaneen chasing an African Hawk-Eagle.
PALE CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax canorus) – About 12 in the Calvinia to Lambert's Bay area. [E]
AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus ranivorus) – Some of our group saw 1 east of Cape Town, and then we all has fabulous looks of 1 flying low over the marshes at Wakkerstroom.
BLACK HARRIER (Circus maurus) – Great looks at a gorgeous adult south of Calvinia. [E]
AFRICAN GOSHAWK (Accipiter tachiro) – Singles at Betty's Bay, St. Lucia, and Magoebaskloof.
BLACK GOSHAWK (Accipiter melanoleucus) – One at the bottom of Sani Pass.
BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus) – Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 50.
AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer) – Another widespread raptor, with singles and pairs throughout the tour; in all we saw about 22.
COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo) – We saw about 6 at widespread sites throughout the tour.
JACKAL BUZZARD (Buteo rufofuscus) – Widespread in small numbers throughout the tour; in all we saw about 25. [E]
Otididae (Bustards)
KORI BUSTARD (Ardeotis kori) – Four at Kruger.
LUDWIG'S BUSTARD (Neotis ludwigii) – Just great this tour, with several sightings in the Calvinia area; in all we saw about 24, including a group of 15 feeding all together. [E]
DENHAM'S BUSTARD (Neotis denhami) – One, high on a ridge near Daggakraal.
WHITE-BELLIED BUSTARD (BARROW'S) (Eupodotis senegalensis barrowii) – Two near Dirkiesdorp, and 2 near Fickland Pan. [E]
BLUE BUSTARD (Eupodotis caerulescens) – Five in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
KAROO BUSTARD (Eupodotis vigorsii) – Three in the arid country near Calvinia. [E]
RED-CRESTED BUSTARD (Eupodotis ruficrista) – One at the south end of Kruger.
BLACK BUSTARD (Eupodotis afra) – Quite difficult this tour, but eventually we all got great looks at 2 single flying males in the Lambert's Bay area. [E]
BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster) – Singles at Bayala and Kruger.

This Yellow-billed Stork was intent on catching its supper, allowing us to get a good look at it. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AFRICAN RAIL (Rallus caerulescens) – Brief, but good looks at 1 in the reedbeds at Wakkerstroom.
BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra) – Several good looks in the Wakkerstroom to Kruger area.
AFRICAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio madagascariensis) – About 10 in the Wakkerstroom marshes.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – One near Wakkerstroom, and about 80 in the Kruger area.
RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata) – Widespread at freshwater wetlands throughout the tour.
Sarothruridae (Flufftails)
BUFF-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura elegans) – Heard in the forest at Magoebaskloof.
Gruidae (Cranes)
GRAY CROWNED-CRANE (Balearica regulorum) – About 100 in the farmlands near Underberg, and 6 further east.
BLUE CRANE (Anthropoides paradiseus) – One on the way to Lambert's Bay, a flock of 23 north of Veldriff, 10 near Sani Pass, and 18 in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
WATTLED CRANE (Bugeranus carunculatus) – Two adults and a juvenile near Underberg.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
WATER THICK-KNEE (Burhinus vermiculatus) – We saw a total of about 10 at Bayala and Kruger.
SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis) – Three pairs were seen between Bayala and Kruger.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Widespread in small numbers.

Participant Cathy Douglas got this great portrait of a Cape Batis.

PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta) – A dozen near Lambert's Bay, and 20 at St. Lucia.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
AFRICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus moquini) – Twenty-three together at Lambert's Bay were an unusually high number for the area, and we also saw several singles near Simonstown. [E]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACKSMITH LAPWING (Vanellus armatus) – Widespread around wetlands throughout the tour; in all we saw about 120.
WHITE-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus albiceps) – We saw 2, and then 3 of these gorgeous lapwings at Kruger.
BLACK-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus melanopterus) – Two at Fickland Pan.
CROWNED LAPWING (Vanellus coronatus) – Small numbers at Ceres, Lambert's Bay, Wakkerstroom, and Kruger; in all we saw about 25.
WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus) – First seen at Bayala, and then at Mkuze, Wakkerstroom, Kruger.
KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius) – Eight to the south of Lambert's Bay,
COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – Six in the Lambert's Bay to Veldriff area.
THREE-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius tricollaris) – Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 20.
WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus) – We saw about 16 between Lambert's Bay and Veldriff.
CHESTNUT-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius pallidus) – Nice looks at this attractive tiny plover south of Lambert's Bay.

The Side-Striped Jackal is uncommon, so we were glad to find a pair on our night drive at Bayala. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)
AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus) – Small numbers on wetlands from Bayala, to Wakkerstroom, and on to Kruger.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
RUFF (Calidris pugnax) – About a dozen at Veldriff.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – Two near Lambert's Bay, and perhaps a 100 or more, distantly at St. Lucia.
LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta) – About 10 close birds near Lambert's Bay and the a couple of hundred distantly at St. Lucia.
AFRICAN SNIPE (Gallinago nigripennis) – Nice looks at 2 singles at Wakkerstroom.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Singles at Lambert's Bay, Mtunzini, Bayala, and in the Kruger area.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – Small numbers at 4 scattered wetland sites.
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – Two between Lambert's Bay and Veldriff.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – We saw a total of about 30 between Wakkerstroom and Kruger.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
DOUBLE-BANDED COURSER (Smutsornis africanus) – A pair with 2 juveniles near Brandvlei.
Stercorariidae (Skuas and Jaegers)
LONG-TAILED JAEGER (Stercorarius longicaudus) – One flew over our boat about 20 miles off Cape Point.

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills were common in Kruger National Park, where participant Kathleen John got this lovely image.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
GRAY-HOODED GULL (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus) – Small numbers at Johannesburg, and then about 60 in the St. Lucia area.
HARTLAUB'S GULL (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii) – Very common all along the shores in the Cape region. [E]
KELP GULL (VETULA) (Larus dominicanus vetula) – Another very common gull, both along the shore and at sea in the Cape. [E]
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – About 30 at Veldriff, and then singles at Mtunzini and St. Lucia.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – Sixty at Mkuze were by far the most for any single area, but we also saw small numbers at 3 other widely scattered sites.
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – About 70 at Lambert's Bay, and then another 300+ around the Cape and during our pelagic trip.
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) – Thirty at Lambert's Bay, and then about a further 70 between there and the Cape.
SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis) – Six at Lambert's Bay, and 10 near Simonstown.
Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)
NAMAQUA SANDGROUSE (Pterocles namaqua) – We saw several small flocks in the Calvinia and Brandvlei areas.
DOUBLE-BANDED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles bicinctus) – Nice looks at a pair at Kruger.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Widespread in many towns and villages throughout most of the tour.
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea) – Common and widespread away from forest.

Endemic to South Africa, this male Cape Rockjumper is one of a pair that we saw at Rooiels. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

RAMERON PIGEON (Columba arquatrix) – Small numbers in the forests at Bulwer, Dlinza, Agatha, and Magoebaskloof.
LEMON DOVE (Columba larvata) – Some of the group saw 1 in Dlinza Forest.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – Two at Kruger.
RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata) – Very common and widespread.
RING-NECKED DOVE (Streptopelia capicola) – Very common and widespread.
LAUGHING DOVE (Streptopelia senegalensis) – Another common and widespread dove.
EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur chalcospilos) – Small numbers from Bayala to Wakkerstroom, and on to Kruger.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Some of the group saw 1 at Dlinza Forest.
NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis) – Common in the dry country from Ceres to Brandvlei, and then west to the Lambert's Bay area.
AFRICAN GREEN-PIGEON (Treron calvus) – Two at St. Lucia, 2 at Wakkerstroom, and 1 at Kruger.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
LIVINGSTONE'S TURACO (Tauraco livingstonii) – Nice scope looks at 3 at St. Lucia.

We saw this handsome White-browed Coucal in Mkuze-Bayala. This is the Burchell's subspecies, which might be split as a full species some day. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

KNYSNA TURACO (Tauraco corythaix) – We saw about 5 of these endemic turacos in the forest at Magoebaskloof. [E]
PURPLE-CRESTED TURACO (Tauraco porphyreolophus) – Small numbers were widespread in more open woodland and gardens than the previous species; in all we saw about 25.
GRAY GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides concolor) – Seen from Mkuze to Kruger in the north and then around Polokwane; in all we saw about 50.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
WHITE-BROWED COUCAL (BURCHELL'S) (Centropus superciliosus burchellii) – Two singles in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – Three singles in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas) – Singles at St. Lucia, and Mkuze.
AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus) – Heard in the forests at Dlinza, St. Lucia, and Magoebaskloof.
BLACK CUCKOO (Cuculus clamosus) – Heard by everyone (in several locations) and seen by one of our group at Mkuze.
RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius) – Several heard, and 2 singles seen well at Mkuze and Magoebaskloof.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – A roosting pair at Kruger included the usual white breasted form, and also a beautiful golden morph.
Strigidae (Owls)
SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL (Bubo africanus) – We saw a fairly hidden pair at Himeville, and then a pair with 2 juveniles at Bayala.
VERREAUX'S EAGLE-OWL (Bubo lacteus) – Some of the group saw an adult with a freshly killed Natal Francolin at Bayala.

The Pink-throated Twinspot is a beauty! Photo by participant Kathleen John.

PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum) – Two at Kruger.
MARSH OWL (Asio capensis) – We flushed 1 in the grassland near Fickland Pan.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
FIERY-NECKED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus pectoralis) – Heard at Bayala and Kruger. [*]
Apodidae (Swifts)
ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba) – About a dozen near Ceres, 15 at Howick Falls, and 5 near Tzaneen.
AFRICAN SWIFT (Apus barbatus) – One at Rooiels, 2 at Sani Pass, a dozen at Howick Falls, and 2 at Magoebaskloof.
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Common and widespread.
HORUS SWIFT (Apus horus) – One on the way to Calvinia.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – Fairly widespread; in all we saw about 40.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Another fairly widespread swift (although this species was usually found near palm trees); in all we saw about 100.
Coliidae (Mousebirds)
SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD (Colius striatus) – Common and widespread away from arid areas of the west.
WHITE-BACKED MOUSEBIRD (Colius colius) – Replaces Speckled Mousebird in the drier areas around Calvinia and Brandvlei. [E]

These White-fronted Bee-eaters posed nicely for us in Kruger. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

RED-FACED MOUSEBIRD (Urocolius indicus) – Two in the South-west Cape, and then about 50 in the Mkuze-Bayala area, and 6 at Kruger.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
NARINA TROGON (Apaloderma narina) – Heard in several forests and seen nicely at Dlinza and St. Lucia.
Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (AFRICAN) (Upupa epops africana) – Widespread in small numbers. All the birds we saw were of the richly colored form with black ends to the wings, which are often considered specifically distinct as African Hoopoe; in all we saw about 10.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitarbills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Two at Mkuze, and 6 at Kruger.
COMMON SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) – Singles at Mkuze and Bayala, and 2 more at Kruger.
Bucorvidae (Ground-Hornbills)
SOUTHERN GROUND-HORNBILL (Bucorvus leadbeateri) – Amazing this tour, with at least 20 at Kruger including 8 together right next to our vehicles.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
CROWNED HORNBILL (Lophoceros alboterminatus) – Four were seen flying away at Marutswa Forest, and we then had far better views of 1 at Dlinza, and 2 in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus) – Four at Kruger.
SOUTHERN YELLOW-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus leucomelas) – At least 22 were seen at and around Kruger. [E]
SOUTHERN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus rufirostris) – About 40 at Kruger.
TRUMPETER HORNBILL (Bycanistes bucinator) – We saw these big noisy hornbills at Dlinza and St. Lucia (30), and then at Kruger (6), and finally near Tzaneen (2).
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
HALF-COLLARED KINGFISHER (Alcedo semitorquata) – One at Blyde.
MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus) – One near Himeville, and 3 at Kruger.
AFRICAN PYGMY-KINGFISHER (Ispidina picta) – Two from the bird hide at Mkuze.
MANGROVE KINGFISHER (Halcyon senegaloides) – Heard at Mtunzini. [*]
BROWN-HOODED KINGFISHER (Halcyon albiventris) – One at St. Lucia, and about 6 at Kruger.
STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) – Five singles in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima) – Good looks at this huge kingfisher at Mtunzini, St. Lucia, and Kruger.
PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis) – Widespread in small numbers at a variety of wetlands; in all we saw about 30.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
WHITE-FRONTED BEE-EATER (Merops bullockoides) – Good looks at 2 close birds at Kruger.

Sykes Monkey was one of our mammal sightings; we found three in the forest at Magoebaskloof. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – A pair at Mkuze, and 1 at Kruger.
BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER (Merops persicus) – Some of the group saw up to 5 at the entrance to Kruger NP.
EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster) – About 30 in the Calvinia to Lambert's Bay area, 20 at Mkuze-Bayala, 30+ at Kruger, and 6 at Polokwane.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER (Coracias caudatus) – We saw about 40 of these strikingly colorful birds at Kruger, and a couple of other singles elsewhere.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – Two singles at Kruger.
BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus) – Two at Mkuze, and 1 at Bayala.
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
CRESTED BARBET (Trachyphonus vaillantii) – Two in the Mkuze-Bayala area, 3 at Wakkerstroom, and 2 at Kruger.
WHITE-EARED BARBET (Stactolaema leucotis) – Fifteen at Mtunzini, and about 30 around St. Lucia.
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus) – One at Mtunzini, and 3 at St. Lucia.
RED-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus pusillus) – One at Marutswa Forest was unexpected.
YELLOW-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus chrysoconus) – Good looks at 1 at Tzaneen.
PIED BARBET (Tricholaema leucomelas) – Some of the group saw 1 north of Ceres.
BLACK-COLLARED BARBET (Lybius torquatus) – Small numbers from St. Lucia to Wakkerstroom and on to Kruger and Polokwane; in total we saw about 30.
Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)
LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor) – One at Bayala.
SCALY-THROATED HONEYGUIDE (Indicator variegatus) – Some of the group saw 1 at Dlinza, and a few others saw 1 at St. Lucia, but very tough this year.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RUFOUS-NECKED WRYNECK (Jynx ruficollis) – Great looks at 2 single birds near Himeville and Wakkerstroom.

This Cape Sugarbird was feeding on protea, one of the specialties of the Cape floristic region of South Africa. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER (Campethera abingoni) – Two at Mtunzini, and 2 at Mkuze-Bayala.
GROUND WOODPECKER (Geocolaptes olivaceus) – Nice scope views of 2 at Rooiels, and then up to 7 more along the Sani Pass - wonderful bird! [E]
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Dendropicos fuscescens) – Small numbers at Mkuze-Bayala, Kruger and Polokwane, with a total of 10.
OLIVE WOODPECKER (Dendropicos griseocephalus) – Singles at the bottom of Sani Pass, and at Dlinza.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (RUFESCENT) (Falco tinnunculus rufescens) – This form is sometimes split as Rock Kestrel; we saw about 7 in the Cape region, and 1 at Sani Pass.
GREATER KESTREL (Falco rupicoloides) – Four in the Calvinia and Brandvlei areas.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Small numbers in a variety of open country; in all we saw about 9.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Two to the south of Calvinia.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
BROWN-NECKED PARROT (Poicephalus robustus) – Also known as Cape Parrot; we heard them at Marutswa, and then had great looks at about a dozen at Magoebaskloof.
BROWN-HEADED PARROT (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus) – Six at Kruger.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
CAPE BATIS (Batis capensis) – This very attractive batis was first seen at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, and then at Sani Pass, and the Marutswa, Dlinza and Magoebaskloof forests. [E]
WOODWARD'S BATIS (Batis fratrum) – Despite the rainy weather we still managed to see 3 at St. Lucia.
CHINSPOT BATIS (Batis molitor) – The common batis from Mkuze to Kruger and then west to Polokwane; in all we saw about 14.

Red-chested Cuckoos were seen and heard at Mkuze and Magoebaskloof. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

PRIRIT BATIS (Batis pririt) – Heard in the Calvinia area. [E*]
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)
BRUBRU (Nilaus afer) – One at Kruger.
BLACK-BACKED PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus cubla) – Fairly common in a variety of open woodland and forest edge; in all we saw about 40.
BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus) – Five at Bayala, and 1 at Kruger.
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – One at Bayala, and then heard at Polokwane.
SOUTHERN BOUBOU (Laniarius ferrugineus) – Heard frequently from Underberg onwards, but often difficult to see. Eventually though we all got good looks at up to 10 birds. [E]
CRIMSON-BREASTED GONOLEK (Laniarius atrococcineus) – We saw at least 4 of these striking bushshrikes at Polokwane. [E]
BOKMAKIERIE (Telophorus zeylonus) – Three near Calvinia, about 8 at Lambert's Bay, 1 at Sani Pass, and several others heard. [E]
SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus) – Great looks at this beautiful bird at Kruger.
OLIVE BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus olivaceus) – Often shy and difficult to see well - it was the same this year, but about half of the group saw 1 or 2 at Magoebaskloof.
BLACK-FRONTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus nigrifrons) – Another shy bushshrike some of us saw at Magoebaskloof.
FOUR-COLORED BUSHSHRIKE (FOUR-COLORED) (Telophorus viridis quadricolor) – Surprisingly, this really shy bushshrike showed well at St. Lucia.
GRAY-HEADED BUSHSHRIKE (Malaconotus blanchoti) – Two at Kruger.

The gorgeous Southern Cordonbleu was common in the northern part of the tour. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
GRAY CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina caesia) – One at Marutswa, and 2 at Magoebaskloof.
BLACK CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campephaga flava) – Three at Mkuze, and 1 at Polokwane.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
SOUTHERN FISCAL (Lanius collaris) – Common and widespread.
MAGPIE SHRIKE (Corvinella melanoleuca) – About 50 in the acacia country at Kruger, and then another dozen at Polokwane.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
AFRICAN BLACK-HEADED ORIOLE (Oriolus larvatus) – Two at Dlinza, 1 at Mkuze, and 6 at Kruger.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus ludwigii) – Small numbers in forest interior at Mtunzini, Dlinza, St. Lucia, and Magoebaskloof.
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis) – Replaces the previous species in more open country, and commonly so throughout the east.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
AFRICAN CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Trochocercus cyanomelas) – Some of the group saw 1 at Magoebaskloof.
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – Fairly common and widespread away from arid areas.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
CAPE CROW (Corvus capensis) – About 20 in the Calvinia area, and then in the highlands around Underberg and Wakkerstroom.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – Common and widespread.
WHITE-NECKED RAVEN (Corvus albicollis) – Widespread in small numbers; in all we saw about 25.
Chaetopidae (Rockjumpers)
CAPE ROCKJUMPER (Chaetops frenatus) – Fabulous looks at a close pair with 2 juveniles at Rooiels. [E]
DRAKENSBERG ROCKJUMPER (Chaetops aurantius) – Great looks at this rockjumper too! Three near the top of Sani Pass. [E]
Nicatoridae (Nicators)
EASTERN NICATOR (Nicator gularis) – Normally very secretive, but we were lucky this tour with everyone seeing 1 at Mkuze.

The most common of the turacos we saw was the Purple-crested. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

Alaudidae (Larks)
SPIKE-HEELED LARK (Chersomanes albofasciata) – About a dozen in the Calvinia area, and 10 at Kruger. [E]
SHORT-CLAWED LARK (Certhilauda chuana) – Great looks at a pair of these very localized endemics at Polokwane. [E]
KAROO LONG-BILLED LARK (Certhilauda subcoronata) – Three near Calvinia. [E]
EASTERN LONG-BILLED LARK (Certhilauda semitorquata) – Three in the high altitude rocky grasslands near Wakkerstroom. [E]
CAPE LARK (Certhilauda curvirostris) – Two to the south of Lambert's Bay. [E]
BLACK-EARED SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix australis) – Just amazing this tour, with about 300 in the Calvinia area - including many displaying males. [E]
CHESTNUT-BACKED SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix leucotis) – About 15 at Kruger.
GRAY-BACKED SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix verticalis) – Nice looks at a total of about 100 in the Calvinia area.
SABOTA LARK (Calendulauda sabota) – One on the way to Brandvlei, and the about 30 between Mkuze, Kruger, and Polokwane.
KAROO LARK (Calendulauda albescens) – One south of Lambert's Bay. [E]
RUDD'S LARK (Heteromirafra ruddi) – After a good deal of walking we all finally caught up with 2 of these extremely rare and localized larks - excellent close looks too! [E]
CAPE CLAPPER LARK (Mirafra apiata) – We saw about 20 displaying birds south of Lambert's Bay. [E]
EASTERN CLAPPER LARK (Mirafra fasciolata) – Three in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
RUFOUS-NAPED LARK (Mirafra africana) – About 6 at Bayala.
RED-CAPPED LARK (Calandrella cinerea) – Singles at Calvinia and near Lambert's Bay, and then several small groups at Mkuze and Wakkerstroom.
BOTHA'S LARK (Spizocorys fringillaris) – Another extremely localized endemic lark; we saw 7 of these in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
LARGE-BILLED LARK (Galerida magnirostris) – About a dozen in the Ceres to Calvinia and Lambert's Bay area, and then 2 in Lesotho. [E]

This male Honey Badger, or Ratel, posed nicely for us on a roadside in Kruger. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PLAIN MARTIN (Riparia paludicola) – Small numbers (usually around wetlands) at Himeville, Mkuze-Bayala, Wakkerstroom, and Kruger.
BANDED MARTIN (Riparia cincta) – Two at West Coast NP, and 4 near Dirkiesdorp.
ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula) – Common around cliffs and villages in the Cape region.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – These migrants from Europe were uncommon during the early part of the tour, but became more numerous from mid-tour onwards, 1000+ at Wakkerstroom were by far the highest single total.
WHITE-THROATED SWALLOW (Hirundo albigularis) – Widespread around a variety of scattered wetlands throughout the tour; in total we saw about 18.
WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii) – Two at Mkuze, and 5 at Kruger.
PEARL-BREASTED SWALLOW (Hirundo dimidiata) – Two near Calvinia, 1 at West Coast NP, and 2 at Polokwane.
GREATER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis cucullata) – Widespread in small numbers, with a total of about 80.
LESSER STRIPED-SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – These very attractive swallows were seen commonly from Dlinza to St. Lucia, and on to Mkuze, Wakkerstroom, and Kruger.
RUFOUS-CHESTED SWALLOW (Cecropis semirufa) – Two at Mkuze, 5 near Wakkerstroom, and 1 at Kruger.
SOUTH AFRICAN SWALLOW (Petrochelidon spilodera) – About 40 were nesting under a bridge near Calvinia, and we then saw another 30 in the Wakkerstroom area.
BLACK SAWWING (Psalidoprocne pristoptera) – First seen at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, and then at Sani Pass, Marutswa Forest, Mkuze, and near Wakkerstroom.
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
FAIRY FLYCATCHER (Stenostira scita) – Now in a new family Stenostiridae, we saw 2 of these charming flighty birds in a kloof north of Ceres, and then 1 at Paleisheuwelkloof. [E]
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
SOUTHERN BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus niger) – One at Dlinza Forest, and then 4 in the Mkuze-Bayala area, and 1 at Kruger.

The Karoo region is famous for its wildflower displays, seen here in a lovely photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

ASHY TIT (Melaniparus cinerascens) – Good looks at 1 at Polokwane. [E]
GRAY TIT (Melaniparus afer) – Also known as Southern Gray Tit, we saw 2 in the arid country north of Ceres. [E]
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
AFRICAN PENDULINE-TIT (Anthoscopus caroli) – We saw a pair at Mkuze.
SOUTHERN PENDULINE-TIT (Anthoscopus minutus) – One at Polokwane was a good endemic to pick up on our last morning. [E]
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
SOMBRE GREENBUL (Andropadus importunus) – Widespread around the edges of several widespread forest areas; in all we saw (and heard) about 40.
YELLOW-BELLIED GREENBUL (Chlorocichla flaviventris) – Three at Mtunzini, 8 at St. Lucia, and 20 at Bayala.
TERRESTRIAL BROWNBUL (Phyllastrephus terrestris) – Rather skulking, but eventually we all got good views of up to 3 at Dlinza, and 6 at St. Lucia.
YELLOW-STREAKED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus flavostriatus) – Three in the forest at Magoebaskloof.
COMMON BULBUL (DARK-CAPPED) (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor) – Very common and widespread throughout the second half of the tour, from Underberg northwards.
BLACK-FRONTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus nigricans) – Prefers more arid country than the other 'bulbuls', we saw 4 in a dry river bed near Calvinia. [E]
CAPE BULBUL (Pycnonotus capensis) – Replaces the other 'bulbuls' in the Cape region where they are fairly common. [E]
Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)
CAPE CROMBEC (Sylvietta rufescens) – Singles and pairs at Mkuze-Bayala, Kruger, and Polokwane.
CAPE GRASSBIRD (Sphenoeacus afer) – Nice looks at 2 singles at Bain's Kloof and Sani Pass. [E]
VICTORIN'S WARBLER (Cryptillas victorini) – Great looks at this normally very shy bird at Bain's Kloof. [E]
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
YELLOW-THROATED WOODLAND-WARBLER (Phylloscopus ruficapilla) – Heard at Marutswa Forest, and then 3 seen at Magoebaskloof.
WILLOW WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochilus) – One at Mkuze.
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW-WARBLER (Iduna natalensis) – Nice looks at 2 at the bottom of Sani Pass.
ICTERINE WARBLER (Hippolais icterina) – One at Mkuze.
AFRICAN REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus baeticatus) – Three in a dry river bed in the Calvinia-Brandvlei area, and 1 near Himeville.
LESSER SWAMP WARBLER (Acrocephalus gracilirostris) – Two at Veldriff.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
BARRATT'S WARBLER (Bradypterus barratti) – Amazingly we all had good looks at this super skulker at the bottom of Sani Pass.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
BAR-THROATED APALIS (Apalis thoracica) – Small numbers at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, and at Marutswa Forest.
YELLOW-BREASTED APALIS (Apalis flavida) – Four at Mkuze, and 4 at Kruger.
RUDD'S APALIS (Apalis ruddi) – We saw these rather localized endemics at St. Lucia (4), and Mkuze (2). [E]
GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera brachyura) – The green-backed form was fairly common (although far more were heard than seen) at well wooded areas like Dlinza, St. Lucia, and parts of Mkuze. Gray-backed birds were at Kruger.
KOPJE WARBLER (Euryptila subcinnamomea) – Heard in a kloof north of Ceres. [E*]
RUFOUS-EARED WARBLER (Malcorus pectoralis) – Nice looks at a pair north of Ceres. [E]
RED-FACED CISTICOLA (Cisticola erythrops) – Heard at Kruger and Tzaneen. [*]
RATTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola chiniana) – Most common in the Mkuze-Bayala area (60+), and then Kruger (20), and finally at Polokwane (2).
RED-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola subruficapilla) – More commonly known as Gray-backed Cisticola, we saw about a dozen in the Calvinia to Lambert's Bay area. [E]

One of thirteen species of sunbirds we saw was the endemic Orange-breasted Sunbird, a real beauty! Photo by participant Kathleen John.

WAILING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lais) – Two at Sani Pass.
WINDING CISTICOLA (RUFOUS-WINGED) (Cisticola galactotes galactotes) – Some authorities now split this form as Rufous-winged Cisticola 'C. galactotes'; we saw 1 in a marsh near Mtunzini.
LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA (Cisticola tinniens) – Two in West Coast NP, 1 at the bottom of Sani Pass, and 6 at Wakkerstroom.
CROAKING CISTICOLA (Cisticola natalensis) – One at Bayala.
PIPING CISTICOLA (Cisticola fulvicapilla) – Also known as Neddicky, we saw 1 at Bain's Kloof, 4 in the Betty's Bay area, and 1 at Polokwane.
ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis) – Four in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
DESERT CISTICOLA (Cisticola aridulus) – Good looks at 1 in the dry grassland at Polokwane.
PALE-CROWNED CISTICOLA (Cisticola cinnamomeus) – Two in the Wakkerstroom area.
WING-SNAPPING CISTICOLA (Cisticola ayresii) – Four in the Wakkerstroom area.
TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava) – Small numbers at Dlinza, Kruger, and Tzaneen; in all we saw about 20.
BLACK-CHESTED PRINIA (Prinia flavicans) – One near Brandvlei, and then 2 at Polokwane.
KAROO PRINIA (Prinia maculosa) – Common in the Cape region, and then 4 more on the higher parts of Sani Pass. [E]
DRAKENSBERG PRINIA (Prinia hypoxantha) – Two on the lower slopes of Sani Pass. [E]
NAMAQUA PRINIA (Prinia substriata) – Three at our guest house at Calvinia. [E]

This young Spotted Eagle-Owl was one of two we saw with their parents at Bayala. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

YELLOW-BELLIED EREMOMELA (Eremomela icteropygialis) – Two north of Calvinia.
YELLOW-RUMPED EREMOMELA (Eremomela gregalis) – We saw 2 of these rather localized endemics north of Ceres. [E]
BURNT-NECK EREMOMELA (Eremomela usticollis) – Three at Bayala, and 4 at Polokwane.
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers)
BUSH BLACKCAP (Sylvia nigricapilla) – This interesting species (formerly considered to be a bulbul) is now placed in Sylviidae; we had great looks at 1 at the bottom of Sani Pass. [E]
GARDEN WARBLER (Sylvia borin) – One for some of the group at Kruger.
LAYARD'S WARBLER (Sylvia layardi) – Two near Ceres, and 2 in Lesotho. [E]
RUFOUS-VENTED WARBLER (Sylvia subcaerulea) – One near Calvinia, and 2 at Polokwane.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
AFRICAN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops senegalensis) – Two at Mkuze.
CAPE WHITE-EYE (Zosterops capensis) – Common and widespread throughout the tour.
ORANGE RIVER WHITE-EYE (Zosterops pallidus) – Two in the Calvinia area.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
ARROW-MARKED BABBLER (Turdoides jardineii) – About 20 at Kruger, and a dozen at Polokwane.
Promeropidae (Sugarbirds)
GURNEY'S SUGARBIRD (Promerops gurneyi) – Great looks at about half a dozen on the Sani Pass. [E]
CAPE SUGARBIRD (Promerops cafer) – At least 40 were in the Betty's Bay area. [E]
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
DUSKY-BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa adusta) – Small numbers at Betty's Bay, Sani Pass, Mtunzini, Dlinza, and Magoebaskloof.

These Lions were lounging in the shade in Kruger; we also heard them, but did not see them, at Bayala. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

MARIQUA FLYCATCHER (Bradornis mariquensis) – Two at Polokwane.
PALE FLYCATCHER (Agricola pallidus) – One at Mkuze.
CHAT FLYCATCHER (Agricola infuscatus) – Two in the arid country near Brandvlei. [E]
GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria plumbea) – One at Mkuze.
ASHY FLYCATCHER (Fraseria caerulescens) – Three at St. Lucia, and 1 at Mkuze.
FISCAL FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis silens) – Three or four in the Calvinia area. [E]
SOUTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis pammelaina) – About 8 in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas coryphoeus) – About 12 in the Brandvlei, Calvinia, and Lambert's Bay area. [E]
BEARDED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas quadrivirgata) – Great close looks at 2 at Mkuze.
KALAHARI SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas paena) – One at Polokwane. [E]
RED-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucophrys) – Small numbers from Mkuze-Bayala north and then west to Polokwane.
CAPE ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha caffra) – Widespread in small numbers; in all we saw about 50.
WHITE-THROATED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha humeralis) – We saw 2 of these very attractive robin-chats at Mkuze. [E]
WHITE-BROWED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha heuglini) – Two at Kruger.
RED-CAPPED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha natalensis) – One at Eshowe (for a few of us), and then good looks for everyone at St. Lucia.

The Golden-breasted Bunting is a lovely bird. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

CHORISTER ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha dichroa) – Can be shy and difficult to see well, but we were lucky and saw up to 4 at Dlinza. [E]
WHITE-STARRED ROBIN (Pogonocichla stellata) – One at Magoebaskloof.
SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola explorator) – Three in Lesotho, and 4 in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
CAPE ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola rupestris) – Two males at Rooiels, and then another at Sani Pass. [E]
AFRICAN STONECHAT (Saxicola torquatus) – Most common in the Wakkerstroom area (30+), but we also saw small numbers in open farmland and rocky country elsewhere.
BUFF-STREAKED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola bifasciatus) – We saw these attractive chats at Sani Pass (3), and near Wakkerstroom (1). [E]
SOUTHERN ANTEATER-CHAT (Myrmecocichla formicivora) – About 50 around Wakkerstroom, and small numbers at Sani Pass, and Polokwane.
MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris) – We saw a pair at Mkuze.
SICKLEWING CHAT (Cercomela sinuata) – Three north of Ceres, 1 near Calvinia, and about 10 in Lesotho. [E]
KAROO CHAT (Cercomela schlegelii) – Eight from north of Ceres to Calvinia and Brandvlei. [E]
TRACTRAC CHAT (Cercomela tractrac) – One on the way to Calvinia. [E]
FAMILIAR CHAT (Cercomela familiaris) – Small numbers around Ceres, Calvinia, the Cape, and Sani Pass.
MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe monticola) – Six in the Ceres area, and 2 at Sani Pass. [E]
CAPPED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe pileata) – Six south of Lambert's Bay, and singles at Ceres and Wakkerstroom.

This demure and well-camouflaged White-fronted Plover was one of a number that we found near Lambert's Bay. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
SPOTTED GROUND-THRUSH (Geokichla guttata) – Often very shy and difficult to see well, but we were lucky and all had great close views of 2 at Dlinza.
ORANGE GROUND-THRUSH (Geokichla gurneyi) – Heard in the forests at Marutswa and Magoebaskloof. [*]
GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH (Psophocichla litsitsirupa) – One near Kruger, 1 near Tzaneen, and 4 at Polokwane.
KURRICHANE THRUSH (Turdus libonyana) – Four in the Underberg area, 3 at Kruger, and 1 near Tzaneen.
OLIVE THRUSH (Turdus olivaceus) – Fairly common between Betty's Bay, Sani Pass, Dlinza and Wakkerstroom; in all we saw about 18.
KAROO THRUSH (Turdus smithi) – One at our hotel in Johannesburg, and then about a dozen in the Polokwane area. [E]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – About 200 in the Cape region. [I]
WATTLED STARLING (Creatophora cinerea) – Five at Bayala, and 10 at Kruger.
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – This introduced species was widespread in small numbers, often around towns and villages. [I]
VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) – Singles males were seen at Mkuze-Bayala, and at Tzaneen.
RED-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus morio) – Widespread throughout the tour; in all we saw about 300.
BLACK-BELLIED STARLING (Notopholia corrusca) – Fairly common in the forests at Mtunzini, St. Lucia, and Mkuze.
BURCHELL'S STARLING (Lamprotornis australis) – About 35 at Kruger.
AFRICAN PIED STARLING (Lamprotornis bicolor) – Widespread in scattered areas throughout the tour, with a total of about 160. [E]
GREATER BLUE-EARED STARLING (Lamprotornis chalybaeus) – About 50 at Kruger.
CAPE STARLING (Lamprotornis nitens) – Common from Bayala north and then west to Polokwane. [E]

We had great views of this Drakensburg Rockjumper at Sani Pass, completing our sightings of this endemic family. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
RED-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) – A dozen in the Bayala area, and then about 80 at Kruger.
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus) – Eight (all on giraffe) at Kruger.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris) – Small numbers in forest and wooded areas in the east and north.
ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Anthobaphes violacea) – Ten in the Rooiels to Betty's Bay area. [E]
OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra olivacea) – Four in Dlinza Forest.
MOUSE-COLORED SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra veroxii) – Two at St. Lucia.
AMETHYST SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra amethystina) – Four around Underberg to the Sani Pass, and then singles at at Wakkerstroom and Tzaneen.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis) – Small numbers at Mkuze-Bayala, and Polokwane.
MALACHITE SUNBIRD (Nectarinia famosa) – These striking sunbirds were fairly widespread in the Cape region, at Sani Pass, and near Wakkerstroom; in all we saw about 30.
SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris chalybeus) – We saw a fantastic close singing bird at West Coast NP, and then about 8 at Rooiels-Betty's Bay, and 4 at Marutswa Forest. [E]
GREATER DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris afer) – A pair at Sani Pass, and then others at Marutswa, Dlinza, and Magoebaskloof. [E]
MARIQUA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris mariquensis) – One at Kruger, and 4 at Polokwane.
PURPLE-BANDED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris bifasciatus) – Two at St. Lucia, and 3 at Mkuze.
WHITE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris talatala) – Small numbers around Mkuze-Bayala, Kruger and Polokwane.
DUSKY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris fuscus) – We saw a pair near Calvinia. [E]

Little Swifts were widespread and common on the tour, seen here with a lining of guinea-fowl feathers in their their nest. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
CAPE WAGTAIL (Motacilla capensis) – Common and widespread.
MOUNTAIN WAGTAIL (Motacilla clara) – Two on the Blyde River.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – Six at Howick Falls, 3 at Mkuze, 4 at Kruger, and 2 at Polokwane.
AFRICAN PIPIT (Anthus cinnamomeus) – Very common in the Wakkerstroom area (120+), and a few others scattered in grasslands elsewhere.
MOUNTAIN PIPIT (Anthus hoeschi) – We saw 2 of these extremely local and little known pipits in Lesotho. [E]
LONG-BILLED PIPIT (Anthus similis) – One on the Sani Pass.
YELLOW-TUFTED PIPIT (Anthus crenatus) – Heard at Sani Pass. [E*]
YELLOW-BREASTED PIPIT (Hemimacronyx chloris) – Missed at our first attempt due to bad weather, but then good scope views of a male in breeding plumage on our return visit. [E]
ORANGE-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx capensis) – One near Himeville, and then at least 30 in the Wakkerstroom area. [E]
YELLOW-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx croceus) – One near St, Lucia, and then 3 in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)
LARK-LIKE BUNTING (Emberiza impetuani) – Very common around Calvinia and Brandvlei. [E]
CAPE BUNTING (Emberiza capensis) – Common in the Cape region (50), and then at Sani Pass (2). [E]
GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza flaviventris) – About a dozen on the Mkuze-Bayala area, and then a few at Wakkerstroom and at Kruger; in all we saw about 28.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Crithagra mozambica) – Common at Mkuze-Bayala and Kruger, with a few others scattered elsewhere in the east and north.
YELLOW CANARY (Crithagra flaviventris) – About 25 in the Ceres to Calvinia, Brandvlei and Lambert's Bay area. [E]
WHITE-THROATED CANARY (Crithagra albogularis) – About 35 between Calvinia, Brandvlei, and Paleisheuwelkloof. [E]
PROTEA CANARY (Crithagra leucoptera) – Great close scope views of 3 at Paleisheuwelkloof. [E]

Southern Double-collared Sunbird was seen very well on this tour. Photo by participant Kathleen John.

STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER (Crithagra gularis) – Singles at Ceres and Paleisheuwelkloof, and then pairs at Sani Pass, and Underberg.
CAPE SISKIN (Crithagra totta) – Five at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens. [E]
DRAKENSBERG SISKIN (Crithagra symonsi) – Eight at the top of the Sani Pass and in Lesotho. [E]
CAPE CANARY (Serinus canicollis) – Widespread at scattered sites, with a total of about 140. [E]
BLACK-HEADED CANARY (Serinus alario) – Can by difficult but we were lucky and saw 3 males in the Calvinia-Brandvlei area. [E]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Very common and widespread.
GREAT RUFOUS SPARROW (Passer motitensis) – One of our group saw 1 at Polokwane.
CAPE SPARROW (Passer melanurus) – Very common throughout the Cape region, but also around Underberg, Wakkerstroom, and Kruger. [E]
SOUTHERN GRAY-HEADED SPARROW (Passer diffusus) – Widespread in the east and north; in all we saw about 70.
YELLOW-THROATED PETRONIA (Petronia superciliaris) – Small numbers at Mkuze-Bayala, and Kruger; in all we saw about 12.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
RED-BILLED BUFFALO-WEAVER (Bubalornis niger) – About 50 at Kruger.
SCALY WEAVER (Sporopipes squamifrons) – Also known as Scaly-feathered Finch, we saw about a dozen at Polokwane.
WHITE-BROWED SPARROW-WEAVER (Plocepasser mahali) – About 20 at Polokwane.
RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps) – We saw a single male at Kruger.
SPECTACLED WEAVER (Ploceus ocularis) – Small numbers at Mkuze-Bayala, Kruger, Tzaneen, and Polokwane.
CAPE WEAVER (Ploceus capensis) – About 140 in the Cape region, and 20 near Himeville. [E]
AFRICAN GOLDEN-WEAVER (Ploceus subaureus) – Fifty in the reed beds at St. Lucia.
HOLUB'S GOLDEN-WEAVER (Ploceus xanthops) – We saw a pair nest building at Tzaneen.
SOUTHERN BROWN-THROATED WEAVER (Ploceus xanthopterus) – About a dozen in the St. Lucia reed beds. [E]
LESSER MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus intermedius) – Most common at Mkuze-Bayala and Polokwane (60+), and a few others elsewhere in the east and north.
SOUTHERN MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus velatus) – Common and widespread.
VILLAGE WEAVER (Ploceus cucullatus) – Common (and often around homesteads) in the east and north.
FOREST WEAVER (Ploceus bicolor) – Two at St. Lucia.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – About 30 near Calvinia, 40 at Bayala, and 1 at Kruger.
SOUTHERN RED BISHOP (Euplectes orix) – We saw many striking males in breeding plumage in the Cape region, and then others (mainly in non-breeding plumage) in the Wakkerstroom area.
YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP (Euplectes afer) – A bird in female-type plumage was in the Wakkerstroom area.
YELLOW BISHOP (Euplectes capensis) – About 30 in the Cape region included several great looking males, and we also saw 2 at Tzaneen.
WHITE-WINGED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes albonotatus) – Small numbers at Mkuze-Bayala, and near Blyde.
RED-COLLARED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes ardens) – Two near Bulwer, and about 60 in the Wakkerstroom area.
FAN-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes axillaris) – About 20 in the Underberg area, 10 near St. Lucia, and 6 at Mkuze-Bayala.
LONG-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes progne) – Striking birds (with super long tails) were making ariel displays over the Wakkerstroom grasslands, and we also saw them around Underberg; in total we saw about 300.
GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons) – Two females at St. Lucia, 1 near Wakkerstroom, and then 3 males at Tzaneen.

The group posed for a photo at Magoebaskloof forest. We look very happy, having seen so many wonderful things! Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
SWEE WAXBILL (Coccopygia melanotis) – Four at Bain's Kloof, 1 on the way to Lambert's Bay, and 2 at Betty's Bay. [E]
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) – Widespread in small numbers; in all we saw about 40.
BLACK-FACED WAXBILL (Estrilda erythronotos) – Two pairs at Polokwane.
SOUTHERN CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus angolensis) – Common from Mkuze-Bayala to Kruger, and on to Polokwane.
VIOLET-EARED WAXBILL (Granatina granatina) – We saw 4 of these gorgeous waxbills at Polokwane.
PINK-THROATED TWINSPOT (Hypargos margaritatus) – One of the tours most gorgeous birds; we had long looks at a perched close male at Mkuze. [E]
GREEN-WINGED PYTILIA (Pytilia melba) – Another beautiful waxbill, we saw these at Mkuze-Bayala, Kruger, and Polokwane.
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta senegala) – Eight in the Mkuze-Bayala area.
AFRICAN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rubricata) – Three on a track in the forest at Magoebaskloof.
RED-HEADED FINCH (Amadina erythrocephala) – Two males near Calvinia, and 1 at Tzaneen.
ZEBRA WAXBILL (Sporaeginthus subflavus) – About 20 were feeding along a small road (but keeping to cover) near Dirkiesdorp.
BLACK-FACED QUAILFINCH (Ortygospiza atricollis) – Six in the Wakkerstroom area.
BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullata) – Two at Eshowe, 4 at Bayala, 30 at Tzaneen, and 12 at Polokwane.
BLACK-AND-WHITE MANNIKIN (RED-BACKED) (Spermestes bicolor nigriceps) – Some of the group saw 6 at Dlinza Forest.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Ten at Kruger were the most for any single area, but we also saw them at several other widely scattered sites; in total we saw about 20.
SHAFT-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua regia) – One female at Polokwane.

WAHLBERG'S EPAULETTED FRUIT BAT (Epomophorus wahlbergi) – About a dozen at Kruger.
SYKES MONKEY (Cercopithecus albogularis) – Three in the Magoebaskloof Forest.
BLACK-FACED VERVET MONKEY (Cercopithecus aethiops) – First seen at Mtunzini, and then commonly from St. Lucia to Mkuze-Bayala, Kruger, and Tzaneen.

Last, but certainly not least, perhaps our best sighting was this amazing Ground Pangolin! They are rarely encountered at all, much less during daylight, so we were extremely fortunate to see this fabulous creature. Photo by participant Cathy Douglas.

CHACMA BABOON (Papio ursinus) – Five near Betty's Bay, 10 at Sani Pass, about 60 in the Mkuze-Bayala area, and at least 150 at Kruger.
GROUND PANGOLIN (Manis temmincki) – We were extremely lucky to see this rarely encountered animal - not just close, but out feeding at 4:30 in the afternoon, truly a highlight of the tour - any tour!
SCRUB HARE (Lepus saxatalis) – Singles at Calvinia, Mkuze-Bayala, and near Wakkerstroom.
CAPE GROUND SQUIRREL (Xerus inaurius) – Two in the Calvinia area.
RED BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus palliatus) – Two at St. Lucia.
TREE SQUIRREL (Paraxerus cepapi) – About 6 at Kruger.
SLOGGETT'S ICE RAT (Otomys sloggetti) – Three at the top of Sani Pass.
HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae) – Three, off and around Cape Point.
SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE (Eubalaena australis) – Two in the Cape Point area.
SIDE-STRIPED JACKAL (Canis adustus) – A pair on our night drive at Bayala were quite a surprise.
BLACK-BACKED JACKAL (Canis mesomelas) – Four at Kruger.
RATEL (HONEY BADGER) (Mellivora capensis) – Great looks at a large male right next to the road at Kruger.
CAPE CLAWLESS OTTER (Aonyx capensis) – One at Wakkerstroom.
LARGE-SPOTTED GENET (Genetta tigrina) – One at Bayala for some of the group.
CAPE GRAY MONGOOSE (Herpestes pulverulentus) – Singles near Ceres, Calvinia, and Rooiels.
SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus) – Singles at Mkuze and Kruger.
BANDED MONGOOSE (Mungos mungo) – Some of the group saw a group of 8 at Polokwane.
DWARF MONGOOSE (Helogale parvula) – One at Kruger.
YELLOW MONGOOSE (Cynictis penicillata) – One near Calvinia, and about 6 in the Wakkerstroom area.
SLENDER-TAILED MEERKAT (Suricata suricatta) – Six and then 2 in the Calvinia area, and then groups of 12, 7 and about 20 around Wakkerstroom.
SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta) – Heard at Bayala, and then 4 were right next to the road at Kruger.
LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) – We saw a large male walking beside a river bed at Kruger.
LION (Panthera leo) – Heard only at Bayala, and we then saw 2 single males and 5 females at Kruger.
CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus) – Several hundred were seen at Lambert's Bay, and then a similar number around Cape Point.
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – We saw 2 big bulls near St. Lucia, and we then had many great encounters at Mkuze-Bayala, and Kruger - sightings included close up huge bulls, and females with young ones. Just wonderful!
ROCK HYRAX (Procavia capensis) – Six at Stony Point, and 1 at Sani Pass.
BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (Equus burchelli) – Six in the Calvinia-Brandvlei area, 50+ at Mkuze-Bayala, and 250+ at Kruger.
BLACK RHINOCEROS (Diceros bicornis) – A mother and baby were scoped in the far distance at Kruger.
WHITE RHINOCEROS (Ceratotherium simum) – Four, and then 7 at Bayala, and a total of 15 at Kruger - many great close views!
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – Twenty at Mkuze-Bayala, and about 70 at Kruger.
HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius) – Four at St. Lucia, about 30 at Mkuze-Bayala, and 80+ at Kruger.
COMMON GIRAFFE (Giraffa camelopardalis) – Three near Calvinia, 25 at Mkuze-Bayala, and 70 at Kruger - one of the group favorites!
NYALA (Tragelaphus angasi) – About 70 at Mkuze-Bayala, 6 at Kruger, and 6 at Polokwane.
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – Seven at Kruger.
GREATER KUDU (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) – We saw these huge spiral-horned antelopes at Bayala (3), and Kruger (50+).
COMMON ELAND (Taurotragus oryx) – Three at Sani Pass.
AFRICAN BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer) – Herds totaling at least 250 were seen at Kruger.
BLUE DUIKER (Cephalophus monticola) – At least 8 (all the red form) were very tame in the Dlinza Forest.
RED DUIKER (Cephalophus natalensis) – Two at Mtunzini, 3 at St. Lucia.
BUSH (GRAY) DUIKER (Sylvicapra grimmia) – Two to the south of Lambert's Bay, 1 at Sani Pass, and 4 at Kruger.
COMMON WATERBUCK (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) – Six at Bayala, and about 45 at Kruger.
REEDBUCK (Redunca arundinum) – Two at Sani Pass, and 1 near St. Lucia.
MOUNTAIN REEDBUCK (Redunca fulvorufula) – One at Kruger.
RHEBOK (Pelea capreolus) – Two at Sani Pass, and 2 in the Wakkerstroom area.
SABLE ANTELOPE (Hippotragus niger) – Great looks at 1 right on the road at Polokwane.
BONTEBOK (Damaliscus dorcas) – About 70 in the Wakkerstroom area.
TOPI (Damaliscus lunatus) – Fifteen at Polokwane.
HARTEBEEST (KONGONI) (Alcelaphus buselaphus) – One near Wakkerstroom.
BLACK WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes gnou) – About 50 near Wakkerstroom.
BLUE WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes taurinus) – Forty in the Mkuze-Bayala area, and then perhaps 600 at Kruger, and 20 at Polokwane.
KLIPSPRINGER (Oreotragus oreotragus) – One near Ceres.
ORIBI (Ourebia ourebi) – Two near Wakkerstroom.
STEENBOK (Raphicerus campestris) – Five in the Lambert's Bay to West Coast area, about 16 at Kruger, and 1 at Polokwane.
SHARPE'S GRYSBOK (Raphicerus sharpei) – We saw 1 of these uncommon antelopes at Kruger.
IMPALA (Aepyceros malampus) – About 400 in the Mkuze-Bayala area, 700+ at Kruger, and 40+ at Polokwane.
SPRINGBOK (Antidorcas marsupialis) – About 30 were seen in the Calvinia, Brandvlei, and Lambert's Bay area.


Additional mammals seen on the tour included;

Mauritian Tomb Bat; 3 at Bayala.

Egyptian Free-tailed Bat; about 70 at Kruger.

Reptiles included;

Nile Crocodile; at least 20 (including some huge ones) at Kruger.

Water Monitor; 3 singles at Kruger.

Southern Rock Agama; 3 in the Ceres area, and 1 at Howick Falls.

Southern Ground Agama; 4 in the Calvinia area.

Blue-headed Tree Agama; 2 at Mkuze.

Drakensburg Crag Lizard; 1 at the Sani Pass.

Tropical House Gecko; several seen at our guest house at Eshowe.

Striped Grass Snake; 1 at West Coast NP.

Angulated Tortoise; about 14 at various sites in the Cape region.

Leopard Tortoise; 1 at Mkuze.

Natal Hinged Tortoise; 1 Mkuze.

Marsh Terrapin; about 40 at Mkuze.

Totals for the tour: 479 bird taxa and 59 mammal taxa