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Birders

Northern Cape

Augrabies Falls National Park | Auob Riverbed | Dune Roads | Mata Mata |
Namaqualand National Park | Nossob | Nossob Riverbed | Richtersveld National Park | Riverbeds | Thornveld | Twee Rivieren |

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

General Birding

The Kalagadi Transfrontier Park has a list of approximately 280 species of which only about 92 are resident. The remainder comprises mainly nomadic, migratory and vagrant species, which number about 17, 50 and 121 respectively. A variety of raptors may be seen, the commonest being Tawny and Blackbreasted Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Whitebacked and Lappetfaced Vulture, as well as smaller species such as Pale Chanting Goshawk, Gabar Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon and Greater Kestrel. Less common are Martial Eagle and Rednecked Falcon. Barn, Spotted and Giant Eagle Owl are common, while Pearlspotted, Whitefaced and Scops Owl may also be seen. Larks and Finchlarks are abundant particularly after good rains which is also a good time to see seed-eaters such as Violeteared Waxbill, Blackthroated Canary, Shafttailed Whydah and Larklike Bunting. Kori Bustard is common along both the Auob and Nossob riverbeds with Ludwig's Bustard being relatively common during summer.

Twee Rivieren

Species that can be seen throughout the year include Whitebrowed Sparrowweaver (which breeds in the camp), Crimsonbreasted Boubou, Brubru, Pririt Batis, Blackchested Prinia, Yellowbellied Eremomela, Scimitarbilled Woodhoopoe, Redeyed Bulbul, Marico Flycatcher, Redheaded Finch and Yellow Canary. These species are however all widespread in the park. During the summer months species such as Diederick Cuckoo, Willow and African Marsh Warbler, as well as European, Greater Striped, South African Cliff and Whitethroated Swallow amongst others may be seen. All occurring swallows are widespread in the park during summer. Rufouscheeked Nightjar can also be heard at night during summer. Other species present in summer are Spotted Flycatcher, Cape White-eye and Longbilled Crombec. The winter season is a good period for spotting Fairy Flycatcher and Dusky Sunbird that move into the park. Spotted Eagle Owls are resident in camp and Pearlspotted and Whitefaced Owl may occasionally be heard or seen. European, Whiterumped, Little and Bradfield's Swift may be seen during the rainy season while passing through.

Mata Mata

This camp exhibits a variety of typical woodland birds that may also be found in and along the dry river courses of the park. Species that are present year round include Cardinal and Goldentailed Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Pied Barbet, Swallowtailed Bee-eater, Ashy Tit, Glossy Starling and Greyheaded Sparrow. Pearlspotted and Whitefaced Owl are also common while Scops Owl can be seen or heard in some years. Striped Kingfisher occurs throughout the year and may be heard calling from the riverbed outside the camp. Great Spotted Cuckoo can also be seen in summer during some years.

Nossob

Nossob Camp and its surrounds exhibit a blend of species typical of the other camps, and has the added attraction of a wide variety of raptor species. Typical birds of the camp include Yellowbilled Hornbill, Glossy and Burchell's Starling (mainly in winter), Black Crow, Forktailed Drongo, Kalahari Robin and Violeteared Waxbill. A special to look out for is the Great Sparrow that frequents the campsite as well as the surrounding waterholes. Summer migrants include European Golden Oriole, Jacobin Cuckoo, Lesser Grey and Redbacked Shrike. Other species that move into the area during summer are Marico Sunbird and Longbilled Crombec.

Riverbeds

The two dry riverbeds in the park, namely the Nossob and Auob, support a wide spectrum of bird species and are the focus points of bird activity. The higher number and density of bird species may be primarily attributed to the large camel thorn trees (Acacia erioloba) found along these river courses, which provide important nesting and roosting sites for a variety of birds. Although the two riverbeds essentially support similar bird populations, some species are more likely to be encountered in one or the other.

Nossob Riverbed

The Nossob Riverbed is rated as one of the best places in South Africa to view raptors, particularly during the summer months when large numbers of migratory eagles, kites and falcons move through the park. Resident raptors are few and often far between throughout the whole park, although some species may be common during the summer season. Resident eagles to be seen include Martial, Tawny, Bateleur, Blackbreasted and Brown Snake Eagle (which is somewhat uncommon), while the migrant species include Steppe, Wahlberg's, Booted and Lesser Spotted Eagle. Other migratory raptors include Black and Yellowbilled Kite, Steppe Buzzard, Montagu's and Pallid Harrier, European Hobby, and a number of kestrel species. Black Harrier and Gymnogene occur as vagrants and can be seen at any time throughout the year.

Species that are irregularly seen in the extreme northern reaches of the Nossob are Rosyfaced Lovebird and Grey Hornbill. The latter has also been recorded from Twee Rivieren during the winter months when there appears to be some northward movement of these birds from areas south of the park. Groundscraper Thrush is reasonably common and can be found under or near the canopies of Camel Thorns, where they feed on the ground. Bokmakierie is a species not easily seen and appears to be shyer that the birds in the southern and eastern parts of its distribution. Grassveld Pipits may be seen during particular years in the patches of short grasslands of the riverbed, and where the patches of grass are dense and long, one is bound to find Desert Cisticola. The wet season (November to March) marks the time when numerous migrating storks and other water related birds find their way into the park. Large numbers of White and Abdim's Stork can be seen feeding on insects along the riverbed, while less common species such as Black and Marabou Stork may be found in limited numbers near waterholes. Unusual species that is either migrating or that are blown off course by strong winds may also be found by chance, such as members of the heron, egret and duck families. Waders such as Little Stint, Ruff, Blackwinged Stilt, Threebanded Plover and sandpipers, amongst others, may also stop over to utilise the waterpoints for feeding.

Auob Riverbed

Birds that should be looked out for in the riverbed include Striped Kingfisher, Redbilled Woodhoopoe, Purple Roller, Capped Wheatear, Mountain Chat and Shorttoed Rock Thrush (the latter two species are only occasionally seen in winter). Giant Eagle Owl can be spotted in dense camel thorn trees, particularly along the short loop roads along the northern part of the riverbed. The waders as described for the Nossob River may also be found after rainstorms either at large water pools or waterholes.

Dune Roads

There are 2 roads that cross the duneveld in the park, the one being 55 km long the other 35km. These roads traverse mainly through open grassland with occasional shrubs and trees, and provide many birders with good views of a number of species. Birds to look out for on these roads are Anteating Chat, Rufouseared Warbler, Chat Flycatcher, Cape Penduline Tit, Clapper, Spikeheeled and Fawncoloured Lark. Greybacked and Blackeared Finchlark, Pinkbilled and Stark's Lark may be found after good summer rains where there is an abundance of grass seed. Chestnutbacked Finchlark has been recorded in the park and may also be seen. One should also look for Burchell's and Namaqua Sandgrouse that frequent the verges of these roads. With luck some Buffy Pipit may be found in limited numbers in the dune areas. Kurrichane Buttonquail, Common and Harlequin Quail have all been recorded and may be seen (with an exceptional amount of alertness and luck) where grass patches are dense. The Whitequilled Korhaan and the less obtrusive Redcrested Korhaan may be seen anywhere in the duneveld together with the Doublebanded Courser which is easily overlooked while driving.

Thornveld and Botswana Wilderness Trail (including the Mabuasehube area)

The Acacia thorn savanna that characterises the areas covered by wilderness trail and the Mabuasehube section of the Kalahari Transfrontier Park, supports additional species that are rarely encountered along the wooded riverbeds. These species include Pied Babbler, Bennett's and Bearded Woodpecker, Threestreaked Tchagra, Helmuted Guineafowl, Redbilled Francolin and Little Banded Goshawk. Species such as Goldenbreasted Bunting and Blackcheeked Waxbill have been recorded but are not easily found.

Augrabies Falls National Park

Both Black Stork and Black Eagle breed in the park. Other species of interest that occur include: Pygmy Falcon, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Rosyfaced Lovebird, Namaqua and Blackchested Prinia, Cinnamonbreasted Warbler, Tractrac, Mountain and Karoo Chat, Marico, Chat and Fairy Flycatcher and Great Sparrow. There is also an isolated western population of Doublebanded Sandgrouse in addition to Namaqua Sandgrouse.

Namaqualand National Park

Species account and birding information still to be compiled.

Richtersveld National Park

Species account and birding information still to be compiled.