A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

South Africa 2023

September 30-October 22, 2023 with Jesse Fagan and Tarry Butcher guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
What a year it was for wildflowers in the Cape area! Tarry Butcher (right) and our group revel in the purple bloom and spectacular landscape. This photo was taken along Route 355 between Ceres and Calvinia by guide Jesse Fagan.

This tour is easily divided into two parts. The first part is focused on the Western Cape area beginning in Cape Town, working our way north into the dry desert ("karoo") region near Calvinia. The second half begins in Durban and includes a couple of weeks moving east and north with stops in the Drakensberg Mountains, Wakkerstroom grasslands, and several nights in Kruger NP. It's whirlwind three-week tour that covers a lot of ground, but allows for a comprehensive understanding of South (Southern) African flora and fauna. In summary, you see a lot of critters while covering roughly 3000 miles!

The group met in Cape Town and we quickly moved north to Ceres where we spent an afternoon birding the gravel "road" called R355. This track cuts across large areas of uninhabited desert grasslands and scrub called "karoo."' The karoo is home to many specialties including Yellow-rumped Eremomela, Rufous-eared Warbler, Layard's Warbler, Kopje Warbler, and Karoo Chat, among many others. We had a great afternoon here enjoying the purple wildflower explosion and finding our target birds. The next day we moved further north to Calvinia which was our home base for three nights as we explored the deserts and karoo as far north as Brandvlei. Water seemed to be readily available in the reservoirs and desert oases, a result of good spring rains (that explains the wildflowers!), which meant birds were less concentrated at some of the water tanks that we often rely on. Despite struggling with a few of the larks, we did well in this area having observations of Namaqua Sandgrouse, Maccoa Duck, Karoo Lark, and Karoo Bustard. Leaving Ceres, we headed for the coast with a night in Lambert's Bay. We visited the Cape Gannet colony and enjoyed a nice afternoon birding until dusk at the Lambert's Bay lagoon. We continued our loop back down to Cape Town with a detour at West Coast National Park where we had displaying Cape Lark, Black Bustard wandering down a grassy track, and several elegant Bonteboks. Back in Cape Town we were hampered by wind, which made going out on a boat impossible, but we regrouped and with visits to Rooi Els, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and Strand Fontein, where we enjoyed lots of birds, plants, and some memorable scenery.

After bouncing around the Cape area for more than a week, we flew east to Durban and in heavy rain and fog eventually arrived to the small town of Underberg. The next morning we piled into 4x4 vehicles for an adventure up to Sani Pass and a new country for many, Lesotho. This was a magical day filled with blue skies, scenic cliffs and mountains, and plenty of cool birds and mammals. There were several species only seen here on the trip like Cape Griffon, Bearded Vulture, Ground Woodpecker (bird of the trip!), Drakensberg Prinia, and Yellow-tufted and Rock pipits. And we enjoyed a cold one at the Highest Pub in Africa while watching Sloggett's Ice Rats run in and out of their holes. The next few days had us stopping in Eshowi (Marutswa Nature Reserve), Saint Lucia, and Mkuze (Mkuze Game Reserve). These were all productive stops and Mkuze gave us our first taste of the big game possible in this country. All the large mammals were present including Burchell's Zebra, Warthog, Hippopotamus, Common Giraffe, Nyala, and Greater Kudu. Plus, one van had an "intimate" experience with a rambunctious group of vervet monkeys!

The Wakkerstroom highlands is another spot with several important species that we can't find in other areas of the tour. The weather again wasn't necessarily in our favor. Heavy rains and fog made conditions difficult, especially the muddy roads. However, we persevered and made the best of the situation. We still managed to find Blue Bustard, a displaying Denham's Bustard, Yellow-breasted Pipit, and Black-winged Lapwing. Thankfully, we had a local guide named Lucky! One of the big highlights of the tour came next when we entered the famous Kruger National Park. In fact, according to the group, our top tour experience occurred here when we enjoyed time with an old male leopard. But, there were other experiences, too, like a Spotted Hyena with pups, Nile Crocodiles, a lion (!), elephants, Klipspringer, a bunch of cool herps, and, of course, a dung beetle pushing, well, dung. Next, we climbed into the highlands with a night in Bramesole and a visit to some quality afromontane forest. Here we were able to catch up with Cape Parrot and Orange Ground-Thrush. Finally, we ended the tour in Polokwane with some game drives, new birds, and inquisitive giraffes.

What a trip! Tarry and I would like to thank this awesome group and we both hope to see everyone again soon on the birding trail. All the best in 2024 and beyond,

—Jesse aka Motmot (from Lima, Peru)

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 (Ostriches)

COMMON OSTRICH (Struthio camelus)

Some people would say you can't come to Africa without seeing one of these. We did see them, and many were wild, but a few had dubious origins.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)

FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor)

WHITE-BACKED DUCK (Thalassornis leuconotus)

One was tucked into the surface vegetation at the Tronox Ponds near Fairbreeze. This was a birdy spot!

EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca)

Nearly an everyday bird.


SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis)

AFRICAN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus auritus)

A pair were on the same Tronox Pond with the White-backed. Our only ones of the trip.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We shot out of the gates on the first day with a bang, capturing this singing Victorin's Warbler near Bainskloof Pass. Photo by participants David and Judy Smith.

CAPE SHOVELER (Spatula smithii)


Just a couple on this tour, but seen pretty well from our breakfast lookout in Kruger NP.

YELLOW-BILLED DUCK (Anas undulata)

CAPE TEAL (Anas capensis)

RED-BILLED DUCK (Anas erythrorhyncha)

One of the least common waterfowl species we encountered on the tour, but still seen several times in small numbers.

SOUTHERN POCHARD (Netta erythrophthalma)

MACCOA DUCK (Oxyura maccoa)

Several times on small ponds in the Calvinia area.

Numididae (Guineafowl)

HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris)


These were common at Mkuze Game Reserve.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

CRESTED FRANCOLIN (Ortygornis sephaena)

COQUI FRANCOLIN (Campocolinus coqui) [*]

GRAY-WINGED FRANCOLIN (Scleroptila afra) [E]

COMMON QUAIL (Coturnix coturnix)

Heard early on in the tour, but surprisingly we managed views of flushing birds and birds running along in the grass at two different spots. That's pretty remarkable!

CAPE SPURFOWL (Pternistis capensis) [E]

This endemic was fairly common in the Western Cape including residential areas and gardens.

NATAL SPURFOWL (Pternistis natalensis)

All three of the next spurfowl species were seen in the Kruger area sometimes overlapping in habitat. Swainson's was probably the most common, however, of the the three.

SWAINSON'S SPURFOWL (Pternistis swainsonii)

RED-NECKED SPURFOWL (Pternistis afer)

Also, seen at Marutswa Nature Reserve.

Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)

GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Karoo Prinias were fairly common in the karoo habitat near Calvinia. Excellent capture by participants David and Judy Smith.

LESSER FLAMINGO (Phoeniconaias minor)

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)

EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea)

RAMERON PIGEON (Columba arquatrix)

Finally caught up with this species in the taller forest at Dlinza Forest.

DELEGORGUE'S PIGEON (Columba delegorguei)

Our target at Dlinza Forest; we had good looks in the scope of several close birds in the canopy.

LEMON DOVE (Aplopelia larvata)

Visiting the blind at Dlinza Forest.

MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens)

There was a stop on our Kruger tour where these were around the picnic area.

RED-EYED DOVE (Streptopelia semitorquata)

RING-NECKED DOVE (Streptopelia capicola)

LAUGHING DOVE (Spilopelia senegalensis)

EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur chalcospilos)

TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria)

NAMAQUA DOVE (Oena capensis)

Only seen once and briefly at West Coast NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This female Namaqua Sandgroouse holds very still in hopes that any potential threat will not see her. We did, of course! We had good numbers of sandgrouse around Brandvlei where this photo was taken by David and Judy Smith.


Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)

NAMAQUA SANDGROUSE (Pterocles namaqua)

Seen well a few times during our trip up to Brandvlei.

Otididae (Bustards)

KORI BUSTARD (Ardeotis kori)

What a bustard trip! We found all ten species listed on the checklist. The Kori was our last species to find, which we did during a drive at Kruger NP.

LUDWIG'S BUSTARD (Neotis ludwigii) [E]

DENHAM'S BUSTARD (Neotis denhami)

WHITE-BELLIED BUSTARD (BARROW'S) (Eupodotis senegalensis barrowii) [E]

BLUE BUSTARD (Eupodotis caerulescens) [E]

Endemic to South Africa. We had distant, but diagnostic views of a couple of pairs in the Wakkerstroom area. One of the more difficult bustards to find.

KAROO BUSTARD (Eupodotis vigorsii) [E]

Another bustard endemic to South Africa. We had good looks on two different days during our birding in the karoo habitat around Calvinia.

RED-CRESTED BUSTARD (Eupodotis ruficrista)

BLACK BUSTARD (Eupodotis afra) [E]

WHITE-QUILLED BUSTARD (Eupodotis afraoides) [E]

BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster)

Musophagidae (Turacos)

LIVINGSTONE'S TURACO (Tauraco livingstonii)

KNYSNA TURACO (Tauraco corythaix) [E]

This endemic we missed at Dlinza Forest, but caught up with it again at Bramesole in the afromontane forest.

PURPLE-CRESTED TURACO (Tauraco porphyreolophus)

Our first turaco species of the trip, so it was exciting!

GRAY GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides concolor)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

WHITE-BROWED COUCAL (BURCHELL'S) (Centropus superciliosus burchellii)

GREEN MALKOHA (Ceuthmochares australis)

Surprisingly common in the Eshowi area.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This tour is excellent for waterfowl; in fact, fourteen species were recorded this year! Cape Teal were fairly common in the Western Cape area where this individual was photographed. Tremendous shot by David and Judy Smith.

PIED CUCKOO (Clamator jacobinus)

Seen in the Kruger area dashing or skulking around in the dry forest vegetation.

DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius)

All three Chrysococcyx species were seen, but especially heard. They are most often identified by voice.

KLAAS'S CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx klaas)

AFRICAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx cupreus)

RED-CHESTED CUCKOO (Cuculus solitarius)

It was fun to scope this species right before we walked into the restaurant near dark in Cape Town.

AFRICAN CUCKOO (Cuculus gularis)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

FIERY-NECKED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus pectoralis) [*]

Apodidae (Swifts)

ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba)

AFRICAN SWIFT (Apus barbatus)

LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis)


AFRICAN PALM SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus)

Sarothruridae (Flufftails)

BUFF-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura elegans) [*]

RED-CHESTED FLUFFTAIL (Sarothrura rufa) [*]

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

AFRICAN RAIL (Rallus caerulescens)

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata)

AFRICAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio madagascariensis)

BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra)

We saw a bunch at different times on this tour! Seems rather odd for a crake.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We spent the morning scanning cliff faces for rockjumpers at Rooi Els near Cape Town. It was a beautiful day, albeit a bit windy, but we still managed to find the rockjumper! Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.
Gruidae (Cranes)

GRAY CROWNED-CRANE (Balearica regulorum)

BLUE CRANE (Anthropoides paradiseus) [E]

Always a treat to see this elegant bird. We did generally well finding different pairs in fields to scope and observe.

WATTLED CRANE (Bugeranus carunculatus)

We had a secret spot near Underberg where all three species of crane were in the same field.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

WATER THICK-KNEE (Burhinus vermiculatus)

SPOTTED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus capensis)

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

AFRICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus moquini) [E]

We picked up this endemic species at Lambert's Bay and south to Cape Town.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

BLACKSMITH LAPWING (Vanellus armatus)

WHITE-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus albiceps)

A few were along the river during our drive from Berg-en-dal and Satara in Kruger NP.

SENEGAL LAPWING (Vanellus lugubris)

BLACK-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus melanopterus minor)

We worked hard scanning fields to find this species in the Wakkerstroom area.

CROWNED LAPWING (Vanellus coronatus)

WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus senegallus)

KITTLITZ'S PLOVER (Charadrius pecuarius)

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)

THREE-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius tricollaris)

WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER (Charadrius marginatus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
This is what African Penguins do for most of the day, ha ha. Hang out and wait for the next wave. Photo by participant Mary Trombley at Betty's Bay.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)

AFRICAN JACANA (Actophilornis africanus)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

RUFF (Calidris pugnax)

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta)

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola)

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

GRAY-HOODED GULL (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus)

HARTLAUB'S GULL (Chroicocephalus hartlaubii) [E]

We caught up with our first good ones around Lambert's Bay and then again in Cape Town, but it took a bit of discerning to separate them from Gray-headed Gull.

KELP GULL (VETULA) (Larus dominicanus vetula) [E]

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

AFRICAN SKIMMER (Rynchops flavirostris)

A couple of birds were on the Lower Sabie River as we drove to the Satara camp.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Bontebok was photographed by guide Jesse Fagan at West Coast National Park. This is an elegant creature found in the coastal fynbos of the Western Cape area, though it is rare. The population was reduced to just 17 individuals in the early twentieth century. Conservation efforts have brought that population up to 2,500-3,000 individuals.
Spheniscidae (Penguins)

AFRICAN PENGUIN (Spheniscus demersus) [E]

This endemic was seen at Betty's Bay where they were literally walking up to our feet. Unfortunately, the board walk was closed allowing access to the larger colony.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

AFRICAN OPENBILL (Anastomus lamelligerus)

BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra)


SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis)

These were around the Lower Sabie River in Kruger NP. One of the more elegant looking storks.

MARABOU STORK (Leptoptilos crumenifer)

I wouldn't call this one "elegant," but a few participants were happy to see them. We came across a large roosting site at Polokwane NR.


Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)

CAPE GANNET (Morus capensis)

The gannet colony at Lambert's Bay was a treat. Up to 20,000 pairs nest here!

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa rufa)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LONG-TAILED CORMORANT (Microcarbo africanus)

CROWNED CORMORANT (Microcarbo coronatus) [E]

Not many, but we saw them at Lambert's Bay and in the Cape Town area. Definitely one you had to be paying attention to find.

BANK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax neglectus) [E]

We scoped two different birds at Betty's Bay. Unfortunately, we were not able to get closer b/c the board walk was closed.

CAPE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax capensis) [E]

GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Field Guides Birding Tours
From the Western Cape area we moved east to Durban and climbed into the tiny land-locked country of Lesotho. We were in search of highland Drakensberg species. This photo by participants David and Judy Smith was taken at Sani Pass at the Lesotho border.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

GREAT WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

Our only ones were in Lambert's Bay.

Scopidae (Hamerkop)

HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)

BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala)

GOLIATH HERON (Ardea goliath)

Singles in the eastern part of the country around St. Lucia and again in Kruger.

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides)

Just one from the bridge in Wakkerstroom.

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

AFRICAN SACRED IBIS (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

SOUTHERN BALD IBIS (Geronticus calvus) [E]

We had our first near Sani Pass in Lesotho, but also again in Kruger NP.

HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash)

Seen EVERYDAY of the tour. Or at least heard!


Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the stranger birds that we saw in Lesotho was the Southern Bald Ibis, a species restricted to just Lesotho and South Africa. Photo by participants David and Judy Smith.
Sagittariidae (Secretarybird)

SECRETARYBIRD (Sagittarius serpentarius)

What a bizarre bird. This is the closest thing that we have to a living dinosaur. A walking velociraptor. We had several over the course of this tour which is very unusual. Good eyes in this group for spotting them!

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus)

AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK (Polyboroides typus)

PALM-NUT VULTURE (Gypohierax angolensis)

We made a special trip to the Umlalazi NR for this species, which paid off. Several were seen perched and soaring.

BEARDED VULTURE (Gypaetus barbatus)

Also known as Lammergeier! A couple of soaring birds were seen at Sani Pass much to the excitement of our group.

AFRICAN CUCKOO-HAWK (Aviceda cuculoides)

WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis)

LAPPET-FACED VULTURE (Torgos tracheliotos)

HOODED VULTURE (Necrosyrtes monachus)


CAPE GRIFFON (Gyps coprotheres) [E]

This was a good pick-up by our local guide who spotted these way up on the cliff face as we were making our way up to Sani Pass.

BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus)

BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus pectoralis)

One carrying a snake at our lodge in Polokwane was super cool!

BROWN SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinereus)

BAT HAWK (Macheiramphus alcinus)

We made a special trip to a "secret" spot to see this rather odd looking bird. A rare and local species, but has a wide range.

MARTIAL EAGLE (Polemaetus bellicosus)

LONG-CRESTED EAGLE (Lophaetus occipitalis)

Finding a banded bird near Underberg and learning about its history was a treat. Seems it was found injured, rehabilitated, and released in good condition!

WAHLBERG'S EAGLE (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)

TAWNY EAGLE (Aquila rapax)

VERREAUX'S EAGLE (Aquila verreauxii)

AFRICAN HAWK-EAGLE (Aquila spilogaster)

It was cool seeing a pair doing display flights over the cliffs during our Kruger drive.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of our targets near Sani Pass was this endemic Drakensberg Rockjumper photographed by guide Tarry Butcher. Obviously, we did very well seeing it and watching it "jump" around the rocks.

PALE CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax canorus) [E]

Good numbers on the telephone poles around Calvinia.

AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus ranivorus)

BLACK HARRIER (Circus maurus) [E]

This rare and local endemic was seen a few times in the Cape area. According to Tarry, populations seem to be on the rise which is good to hear.

LITTLE SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter minullus)

BLACK KITE (YELLOW-BILLED) (Milvus migrans parasitus)

AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus vocifer)

COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo)

FOREST BUZZARD (Buteo trizonatus)

Similar to the previous species, but found in montane forest which is where we saw it: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (above the cliffs) and again in Bremesole.

JACKAL BUZZARD (Buteo rufofuscus) [E]

Strigidae (Owls)

AFRICAN SCOPS-OWL (Otus senegalensis) [*]


For those that stayed a bit longer you were rewarded with great views of this special owl!

SPOTTED EAGLE-OWL (Bubo africanus)

VERREAUX'S EAGLE-OWL (Ketupa lacteus)

PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum)

We scoped one during the day at the Satara campground.

AFRICAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium capense)

We found one at night in the Berg-en-dal campground.

AFRICAN WOOD-OWL (Strix woodfordii)

Another evening owl seen just outside our lodge at Bramesole.

Coliidae (Mousebirds)

SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD (Colius striatus)


RED-FACED MOUSEBIRD (Urocolius indicus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Hard not to include a photo of these cuties. Sloggett's Ice Rat! Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.
Trogonidae (Trogons)

NARINA TROGON (Apaloderma narina)

Our one and only possible trogon of the tour! Seen a couple of times.

Upupidae (Hoopoes)

EURASIAN HOOPOE (AFRICAN) (Upupa epops africana)

Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitarbills)

GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus)

They are often found in small to medium "flocks" as family groups fly from bush to bush. They are also quite vocal. Seen well at Kruger and Polokwane in the dry forest.

COMMON SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)

Bucorvidae (Ground-Hornbills)

SOUTHERN GROUND-HORNBILL (Bucorvus leadbeateri)

Always a treat. Another dinosaur bird.

Bucerotidae (Hornbills)

CROWNED HORNBILL (Lophoceros alboterminatus)

AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus)



TRUMPETER HORNBILL (Bycanistes bucinator)

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

MALACHITE KINGFISHER (Corythornis cristatus)

BROWN-HOODED KINGFISHER (Halcyon albiventris)

By far the most common kingfisher encountered on this trip. Unlike New World kingfishers, these are usually found in dry areas away from water.

GIANT KINGFISHER (Megaceryle maxima)

It does live up to its name. Singles were seen a few times on this tour.

PIED KINGFISHER (Ceryle rudis)

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

WHITE-FRONTED BEE-EATER (Merops bullockoides)

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Here is the group probably looking for one of those rare pipits in Lesotho. Photo by guide Jesse Fagan.

LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus)

EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster)

Migrants and wintering birds were already in South Africa.

Coraciidae (Rollers)

LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER (Coracias caudatus)

One of the most photographed birds of the African bush? Seen well at Kruger NP.

RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius)

We lucked out finding a pair on our drive out of Kruger NP.

BROAD-BILLED ROLLER (Eurystomus glaucurus)

Lybiidae (African Barbets)

CRESTED BARBET (Trachyphonus vaillantii)

WHITE-EARED BARBET (Stactolaema leucotis)

YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus bilineatus)

RED-FRONTED TINKERBIRD (Pogoniulus pusillus)

Just one at Mkuze NP.

PIED BARBET (Tricholaema leucomelas)

BLACK-COLLARED BARBET (Lybius torquatus)

Indicatoridae (Honeyguides)

LESSER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator minor)

SCALY-THROATED HONEYGUIDE (Indicator variegatus)

GREATER HONEYGUIDE (Indicator indicator)

Picidae (Woodpeckers)


Seen well near Wakkerstroom, but often heard and can be tricky in their behaviors.

CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Chloropicus fuscescens)

BEARDED WOODPECKER (Chloropicus namaquus)

OLIVE WOODPECKER (Chloropicus griseocephalus)

GROUND WOODPECKER (Geocolaptes olivaceus) [E]

One of our targets for the Sani Pass! Good looks and photographs for everyone.

GOLDEN-TAILED WOODPECKER (Campethera abingoni)

Field Guides Birding Tours
And here we are again looking for another rare pipit (this time the Yellow-breasted) in the fog and rain at Wakkerstroom. Does this look like fun? It was. Photo by participant Mary Trombley.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

ROCK KESTREL (Falco rupicolus)

GREATER KESTREL (Falco rupicoloides)

LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus)

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

CAPE PARROT (Poicephalus robustus)

Caught up with this rare and local species at Woodbush near Bramesole.

BROWN-HEADED PARROT (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus)

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)

GRAY CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina caesia)

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)


This species was quite common in the eastern half of the country, at least by voice.

Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)

BLACK-THROATED WATTLE-EYE (Platysteira peltata)

A good find for us while walking the boardwalk at the Saint Lucia estuary.

CAPE BATIS (Batis capensis) [E]

WOODWARDS' BATIS (Batis fratrum)

Also, a good find and catch-up for us on the Saint Lucia boardwalk.

CHINSPOT BATIS (Batis molitor)

Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)

WHITE HELMETSHRIKE (Prionops plumatus)

Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)

BRUBRU (Nilaus afer)

One was on the grounds of the lodge in Polokwane.

BLACK-BACKED PUFFBACK (Dryoscopus cubla)

BLACK-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra senegalus)

BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Some folks in a certain van driven by a certain driver (name: Tarry Butcher), might remember what this is all about. A monkey in the van? Photo by participant Mary Trombley.

SOUTHERN BOUBOU (Laniarius ferrugineus) [E]

CRIMSON-BREASTED GONOLEK (Laniarius atrococcineus) [E]

BOKMAKIERIE (Telophorus zeylonus) [E]

SULPHUR-BREASTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus sulfureopectus)

OLIVE BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus olivaceus)

BLACK-FRONTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus nigrifrons)

We worked hard for this one in the forest behind our lodge in Bramesole, but it paid off big time!

FOUR-COLORED BUSHSHRIKE (FOUR-COLORED) (Telophorus viridis quadricolor)

I prefer the old name, Gorgeous Bushshrike. Seen well in the dry forest scrub at Mkuze.

GRAY-HEADED BUSHSHRIKE (Malaconotus blanchoti)

Dicruridae (Drongos)


Found in the interior of tall forest unlike the more common Fork-tailed.

FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis)

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)

AFRICAN CRESTED-FLYCATCHER (Trochocercus cyanomelas)


Laniidae (Shrikes)

MAGPIE SHRIKE (Lanius melanoleucus)

SOUTHERN FISCAL (Lanius collaris)

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

CAPE CROW (Corvus capensis)

PIED CROW (Corvus albus)

WHITE-NECKED RAVEN (Corvus albicollis)

Chaetopidae (Rockjumpers)

CAPE ROCKJUMPER (Chaetops frenatus) [E]

A trip target for most clients was seeing a rockjumper! We did well seeing both species, this being the first at Rooi Els.

DRAKENSBERG ROCKJUMPER (Chaetops aurantius) [E]

Even better looks at this species. A male went about its business near the vehicle while we watched and photographed.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We continued our journey east and north working our way into the highlands, but not before a stop at the scenic Blyde River. Photo by participants David and Judy Smith.
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)

FAIRY FLYCATCHER (Stenostira scita) [E]

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

SOUTHERN BLACK-TIT (Melaniparus niger)

ASHY TIT (Melaniparus cinerascens) [E]

GRAY TIT (Melaniparus afer) [E]

Almost a miss, but we saw them well at Sani Pass.

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)

SOUTHERN PENDULINE-TIT (Anthoscopus minutus) [E]

Tarry heard one from the moving vehicle as we made our way out of West Coast NP. It came in close and showed well; we didn't even need to get out of the vans!

Alaudidae (Larks)

SPIKE-HEELED LARK (Chersomanes albofasciata) [E]

SHORT-CLAWED LARK (Certhilauda chuana) [E]

KAROO LONG-BILLED LARK (Certhilauda subcoronata) [E]

Nice looks at this desert species near Brandvlei.

EASTERN LONG-BILLED LARK (Certhilauda semitorquata) [E]

A bird of the Wakkerstroom highlands that we watched singing and displaying.

CAPE LARK (Certhilauda curvirostris) [E]

A very responsive bird at West Coast NP after we searched in the Lambert's Bay area with no luck.

SABOTA LARK (Calendulauda sabota)

KAROO LARK (Calendulauda albescens) [E]

CAPE CLAPPER LARK (Mirafra apiata) [E]

We had a pair of singing birds in the coastal dunes south of Lambert's Bay.

EASTERN CLAPPER LARK (Mirafra fasciolata) [E*]

RUFOUS-NAPED LARK (Mirafra africana)

RED-CAPPED LARK (Calandrella cinerea)

LARGE-BILLED LARK (Galerida magnirostris) [E]

One of the more common larks in the karoo habitat near Calvinia.

Macrosphenidae (African Warblers)

CAPE CROMBEC (Sylvietta rufescens)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Nice photo by guide Tarry Butcher of an African Hawk-Eagle captured during display flights with its mate near our first night's lodging in Kruger NP.

CAPE GRASSBIRD (Sphenoeacus afer) [E]

On our first climb out of Cape Town at Bainskloof Pass.

VICTORIN'S WARBLER (Cryptillas victorini) [E]

Incredible to see this bird so well. Also at Bainskloof Pass on our first morning out of Cape Town.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

YELLOW-RUMPED EREMOMELA (Eremomela gregalis) [E]

BURNT-NECK EREMOMELA (Eremomela usticollis)

NAMAQUA WARBLER (Phragmacia substriata) [E]

BARRED WREN-WARBLER (Calamonastes fasciolatus) [E]

GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (Camaroptera brachyura)

GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) [*]

BAR-THROATED APALIS (Apalis thoracica)


RUDD'S APALIS (Apalis ruddi) [E]

We were fortunate to have so many good looks at this species. Seen both days birding the Saint Lucia forest.

TAWNY-FLANKED PRINIA (Prinia subflava)

BLACK-CHESTED PRINIA (Prinia flavicans)

KAROO PRINIA (Prinia maculosa) [E]

DRAKENSBERG PRINIA (Prinia hypoxantha) [E]

KOPJE WARBLER (Euryptila subcinnamomea) [E]

This endemic was seen on our second day north of Ceres. One of our targets that showed very well for the group as it skulked among the rocks.

RUFOUS-EARED WARBLER (Malcorus pectoralis) [E]

Good looks at this species near Ceres in the karoo habitat.

RATTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola chiniana)

Common in Kruger NP.

RED-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola subruficapilla) [E]

One of the more common cisiticolas in the Cape area.

WAILING CISTICOLA (Cisticola lais)

RUFOUS-WINGED CISTICOLA (Cisticola galactotes)

LEVAILLANT'S CISTICOLA (Cisticola tinniens)

Also fairly common throughout the tour.

PIPING CISTICOLA (Cisticola fulvicapilla)

ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)

DESERT CISTICOLA (Cisticola aridulus)

Our last species of cisticola for the tour! Seen at the Polokwane Reserve.

CLOUD CISTICOLA (Cisticola textrix) [E]

Field Guides Birding Tours
Great shot by participants David and Judy Smith of the aptly named White-bellied Bustard seen at Wakkerstroom.


Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)


COMMON REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

LESSER SWAMP WARBLER (Acrocephalus gracilirostris)

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

BARRATT'S WARBLER (Bradypterus barratti)

Showed well during a stop on our way up to Sani Pass.

LITTLE RUSH WARBLER (Bradypterus baboecala)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

PLAIN MARTIN (Riparia paludicola)

BANDED MARTIN (Neophedina cincta)

ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

WHITE-THROATED SWALLOW (Hirundo albigularis)

WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii)

PEARL-BREASTED SWALLOW (Hirundo dimidiata)

GREATER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis cucullata)

LESSER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica)

SOUTH AFRICAN SWALLOW (Petrochelidon spilodera)

BLACK SAWWING (Psalidoprocne pristoptera)

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)

SOMBRE GREENBUL (Andropadus importunus)

YELLOW-BELLIED GREENBUL (Chlorocichla flaviventris)

TERRESTRIAL BROWNBUL (Phyllastrephus terrestris)

Several seen in the Saint Lucia forest understory were our only ones. Quite difficult to see well, but they make a lot of chatter.

YELLOW-STREAKED GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus flavostriatus)

We encountered this species in the afromontane forest around Bramesole where they were fairly common.

COMMON BULBUL (DARK-CAPPED) (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Say, "Cheese!" A fantastic old male Leopard hung around for our group giving us ample photo opps and enjoyment. Fun photo from participant Mary Trombley!

CAPE BULBUL (Pycnonotus capensis) [E]

Endemic to South Africa where it was only seen in the Cape area.

Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)


Good looks in the afromontane forest at Bramesole.

Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)

LAYARD'S WARBLER (Curruca layardi) [E]

CHESTNUT-VENTED WARBLER (Curruca subcoerulea)

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

CAPE WHITE-EYE (CAPE) (Zosterops virens capensis)

This subspecies was seen in the western part of the country.

CAPE WHITE-EYE (GREEN) (Zosterops virens virens)

The subspecies encountered east of Durban.

SOUTHERN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops anderssoni)

Seen in Kruger NP.

Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)

ARROW-MARKED BABBLER (Turdoides jardineii)

Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)

RED-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus erythrorynchus)

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

WATTLED STARLING (Creatophora cinerea)

COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]

VIOLET-BACKED STARLING (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster)

RED-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus morio)

BLACK-BELLIED STARLING (Notopholia corusca corusca)

This species was fairly common around Saint Lucia.

BURCHELL'S STARLING (Lamprotornis australis)

Good numbers in the Kruger area.

AFRICAN PIED STARLING (Lamprotornis bicolor) [E]

Field Guides Birding Tours
So cute, right? You just might want to pack one in your suitcase. We saw this Klipspringer at Kruger NP; photo by participants David and Judy Smith.

GREATER BLUE-EARED STARLING (Lamprotornis chalybaeus)

A lovely starling that was hanging around the picnic areas in Kruger NP.

CAPE STARLING (Lamprotornis nitens) [E]

Despite the name, it wasn't seen in the Cape area, but common east of Durban.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

SPOTTED GROUND-THRUSH (Geokichla guttata)

ORANGE GROUND-THRUSH (Geokichla gurneyi)

Awesome views of singing bird at Woodbush. It took some time, but eventually we had one in the scope!

GROUNDSCRAPER THRUSH (Turdus litsitsirupa)

KURRICHANE THRUSH (Turdus libonyana)

OLIVE THRUSH (Turdus olivaceus)

KAROO THRUSH (Turdus smithi) [E]

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)


SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata)

MARIQUA FLYCATCHER (Bradornis mariquensis)

PALE FLYCATCHER (Agricola pallidus)

CHAT FLYCATCHER (Agricola infuscatus) [E]

GRAY TIT-FLYCATCHER (Fraseria plumbea)

ASHY FLYCATCHER (Fraseria caerulescens)

FISCAL FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis silens) [E]

SOUTHERN BLACK-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis pammelaina)

KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas coryphoeus) [E]

BROWN SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas signata) [E]

A good pick-up was finding a singing bird at the entrance to Mkuzi NP.

BEARDED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas quadrivirgata) [*]

KALAHARI SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas paena) [E]

Seen at Polokwane Nature Reserve on our last day of birding.

RED-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucophrys)

CAPE ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha caffra)

Fairly common throughout the tour.

WHITE-THROATED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha humeralis) [E]

A lovely bird seen well at Mkuze and again on the grounds of the Satara campground.

WHITE-BROWED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha heuglini)

One was skulking along the river bank of the Lower Sabie in Kruger NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Such an incredible shot by participant Mary Trombley of this African Darter.

RED-CAPPED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha natalensis)

CHORISTER ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha dichroa) [E]

WHITE-STARRED ROBIN (Pogonocichla stellata)

Fairly common at Woodbush in the forest understory.

SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola explorator) [E]

Seen at Sani Pass.

CAPE ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola rupestris) [E]

AFRICAN STONECHAT (Saxicola torquatus)

BUFF-STREAKED CHAT (Campicoloides bifasciatus) [E]

Seen well at Sani Pass and again in Wakkerstroom.

SICKLE-WINGED CHAT (Emarginata sinuata) [E]

This species and the next two, were seen in the Calvinia area.

KAROO CHAT (Emarginata schlegelii) [E]

TRACTRAC CHAT (Emarginata tractrac) [E]

Similar to the previous two species, but quite pale overall. Seen in the desert around Blandvlei.

MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris)

SOUTHERN ANTEATER-CHAT (Myrmecocichla formicivora)

MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR (Myrmecocichla monticola monticola)

CAPPED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe pileata)

FAMILIAR CHAT (Oenanthe familiaris)

Promeropidae (Sugarbirds)

GURNEY'S SUGARBIRD (Promerops gurneyi) [E]

Our local guide spotted a pair during our climb up to Sani Pass. We had excellent looks, but they were our only ones!

CAPE SUGARBIRD (Promerops cafer) [E]

A few times in the Cape Town region, but the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens were THE place for photographing this species.

Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris)

ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Anthobaphes violacea) [E]

This endemic was seen well during our first day climbing up to Bainskloof Pass.

OLIVE SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra olivacea)

MOUSE-COLORED SUNBIRD (Cyanomitra veroxii)

AMETHYST SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra amethystina)

SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis)

MALACHITE SUNBIRD (Nectarinia famosa)

A common sunbird in the Cape area, but the males always catch your attention.

Field Guides Birding Tours
These giraffes came from way up on the hillside to investigate us. They seemed bored when we told them we were, "birdwatching." Photo taken at the Polokwane Game Reserve by guide Jesse Fagan.



MARIQUA SUNBIRD (Cinnyris mariquensis)

PURPLE-BANDED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris bifasciatus)

WHITE-BREASTED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris talatala)

DUSKY SUNBIRD (Cinnyris fuscus) [E]

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)


Coming into and out of their big stick nests at the Kruger watering hole.

SCALY WEAVER (Sporopipes squamifrons)


RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps)

SPECTACLED WEAVER (Ploceus ocularis)

CAPE WEAVER (Ploceus capensis) [E]

AFRICAN GOLDEN-WEAVER (Ploceus subaureus)


LESSER MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus intermedius)


VILLAGE WEAVER (Ploceus cucullatus)

FOREST WEAVER (Ploceus bicolor)

RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea)

SOUTHERN RED BISHOP (Euplectes orix)

YELLOW BISHOP (Euplectes capensis)

WHITE-WINGED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes albonotatus)

FAN-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes axillaris)

LONG-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes progne)

GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons)

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

BRONZE MANNIKIN (Spermestes cucullata)

SWEE WAXBILL (Coccopygia melanotis) [E]

A pair were seen at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and again at Kruger NP.

BLACK-FACED WAXBILL (Brunhilda erythronotos)

A pair were responding to the owl tape in the dry forest scrub at Polokwane Nature Reserve.

BLACK-TAILED WAXBILL (Glaucestrilda perreini)

Several drinking at the Mkuze watering hole.

COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild)

VIOLET-EARED WAXBILL (Granatina granatina)

Along with Black-faced Waxbill, this species was also responding to the owl tape.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Well, after a long tour guides attempt to get any shut-eye possible. Mary Trombley catches guide Jesse Fagan in a moment of zen as he waits for the luggage.

SOUTHERN CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus angolensis)


AFRICAN FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rubricata)

JAMESON'S FIREFINCH (Lagonosticta rhodopareia)

Viduidae (Indigobirds)

PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura)


Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

CAPE SPARROW (Passer melanurus) [E]

Fairly common throughout the tour and in a variety of habitats.


Seen in the eastern half of the country. Not super common, but recorded most days.

YELLOW-THROATED BUSH SPARROW (Gymnoris superciliaris)

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

CAPE WAGTAIL (Motacilla capensis)

MOUNTAIN WAGTAIL (Motacilla clara)

One was seen at the Blyde River Bridge.

AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp)

AFRICAN PIPIT (Anthus cinnamomeus)

MOUNTAIN PIPIT (Anthus hoeschi) [E]

Sani Pass was the place for pipits! We added three new species not seen anywhere else on the tour: Mountain, Long-billed, and Yellow-tufted.

LONG-BILLED PIPIT (Anthus similis)

BUFFY PIPIT (Anthus vaalensis)

STRIPED PIPIT (Anthus lineiventris)

A incredible spot by Tarry was a singing bird waaaay up on the cliff at the entrance to Mkuze Game Reserve.

YELLOW-TUFTED PIPIT (Anthus crenatus) [E]

YELLOW-BREASTED PIPIT (Hemimacronyx chloris) [E]

One of our big endemic targets in Wakkerstroom. We had to battle the fog and rain for most of the morning, but eventually caught up with a pair.

ORANGE-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx capensis) [E]

Neither longclaws were common, but this endemic was the least common. Seen a couple of times on tour.


Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

YELLOW-FRONTED CANARY (Crithagra mozambica)

FOREST CANARY (Crithagra scotops) [E]

In the Cape area, but most common at Kirstenbosch.

BRIMSTONE CANARY (Crithagra sulphurata)

YELLOW CANARY (Crithagra flaviventris)

WHITE-THROATED CANARY (Crithagra albogularis)

PROTEA CANARY (Crithagra leucoptera) [E]

A pair was flying around the canyon, but most of the group never really caught up with them.


CAPE SISKIN (Crithagra totta) [E]

A good find was this species during a stop on our way up to Calvinia.

DRAKENSBERG SISKIN (Crithagra symonsi) [E]

CAPE CANARY (Serinus canicollis) [E]

BLACK-HEADED CANARY (BLACK-HEADED) (Serinus alario alario) [E]

An eruptive species that was around in small numbers at various places near Ceres and Calvinia. Often feeding near the ground or on flower heads.

Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)

GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza flaviventris)

CAPE BUNTING (Emberiza capensis) [E]

LARK-LIKE BUNTING (Emberiza impetuani) [E]



TOMB BAT SP. (Taphozous sp.)

BLACK-FACED VERVET MONKEY (Cercopithecus aethiops)

CHACMA BABOON (Papio ursinus)

SCRUB HARE (Lepus saxatalis)

CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis)


RED BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus palliatus)

SMITH'S BUSH SQUIRREL (Paraxerus cepapi)

SLOGGETT'S ICE RAT (Otomys sloggetti)

Was this a hit or what?!

HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae)

BLACK-BACKED JACKAL (Canis mesomelas)

CAPE CLAWLESS OTTER (Aonyx capensis)


It was cool seeing this animal near the lodge restaurant and again on our night drive.

EGYPTIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes ichneumon)

CAPE GRAY MONGOOSE (Herpestes pulverulentus)

Common in the Cape area.

SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus)

BANDED MONGOOSE (Mungos mungo)

DWARF MONGOOSE (Helogale parvula)

Often in small "packs" in the Kruger area.

YELLOW MONGOOSE (Cynictis penicillata)

SLENDER-TAILED MEERKAT (Suricata suricatta)

SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta)

Great experiences on two days with this large carnivore.

LEOPARD (Panthera pardus)

Amazing, amazing, amazing. What a close experience we had with a lazy old male.

LION (Panthera leo)

We had one male near the road which was great. We watched it for some time wandering down the center line before it ambled off into the brush.

CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus)

AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana)

ROCK HYRAX (Procavia capensis)

BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (Equus burchelli)

WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus)

HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius)

COMMON GIRAFFE (Giraffa camelopardalis)

NYALA (Tragelaphus angasi)

BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus)

GREATER KUDU (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

Probably one of the top grazers on this trip. Not common, but seen well at Kruger including one spectacular bull male.

COMMON ELAND (Taurotragus oryx)

AFRICAN BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer)

RED DUIKER (Cephalophus natalensis)

BUSH (GRAY) DUIKER (Sylvicapra grimmia)

COMMON WATERBUCK (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)

REEDBUCK (Redunca arundinum)

MOUNTAIN REEDBUCK (Redunca fulvorufula)

RHEBOK (Pelea capreolus)

SABLE ANTELOPE (Hippotragus niger)

What a show stopper. We caught up with this elegant creature at the Polokwane Game Reserve.

BONTEBOK (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus)

RED HARTEBEEST (Alcelaphus buselaphus caama)

BLUE WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes taurinus)

KLIPSPRINGER (Oreotragus oreotragus)

What cool creature! Seen up on a rocky outcropping during our game drive in Kruger.

STEENBOK (Raphicerus campestris)

IMPALA (Aepyceros malampus)

SPRINGBOK (Antidorcas marsupialis)


GROUND AGAMA (Agama aculeata)

NILE CROCODILE (Crocodylus niloticus)

LEOPARD TORTOISE (Stigmochelys pardalis)


Some other neat critters seen on the tour:

1) Southern Rock Agama (Agama atra) = Based on the distribution, this would be the one possibly seen around Calvinia.

2) Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus) = Seen at Mkuze Game Reserve.

3) Rock Monitor (Varanus albigularis) = Seen in Kruger NP.

4) Rough-scaled Plated Lizard (Broadleysaurus major) = Seen in the same spot as the previous species. They were side-by-side on the same dirt mound.

5) Boomslang (Dispholidus typus) = Unfortunately, one had been hit by a car, but it was still alive.

6) Spotted Bush Snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus) = Hunting frogs at one of the Mkuze watering holes.

7) Cape Terrapin (Pelomedus galeata) = Good numbers at the Mkuze watering holes.

Totals for the tour: 461 bird taxa and 50 mammal taxa