African Green Pigeon
The only green pigeon in the region, it's flight is straight with rapid wing beats. It has a hunched shape and flat-bellied appearance. When a feeding flock is disturbed, their wings clatter and whirr as they make a noisy departure.
They appear parrot-like when somtimes clinging upside-down while feeding on fruit.
They are shy and not very often seen, more often than not being discovered by their unique call.
The call is an un-dove-like series of liquid, whistled tweeloo - tweeloo- rweeloo.
They love ripe figs and can also often be found eating the seeds of the pigeonwood, hence the trees name.
This bird had me confused to begin with. At first I did not see it's whiskers, which is definitely barbet-like. It has a very dark brown body, almost black, with a slightly less dark brown head and a white stripe behind the eye. It also has a white belly. Sexes are alike.
The voice is a high-pitched kreep-kreep-kreep changing in pitch to a higher pitched krip-krip-krip. When courting, which is the sound that caught my attention, is a persitent twitter.
The food is mainly fruit, especially figs. Also insects.
They breed in decayed trunks in early summer, laying 3 - 6 white eggs from October to December. This one seems to have made a nest in the highest dead tree on the property. They are paracitised by most honeyguides.
Blackeyed Bulbul (now the Dark Capped Bulbul)
This Bulbul reaches a length of 20cm. It's iris is dark brown and the eyering, bill, legs and feet are black. The black head is slightly crested with no coloured eye wattle. The back is greyish brown, the breast dark brown shading to a whitish belly. The undertail is yellow and obvious.
The voice is the same as that of other Pycnonotis bulbuls, klip-klop-kollop and variations thereof.
They are usually in pairs and in areas where the food source is good, they gather in loose groups.
They feed on fruit, nectar, insects and small lizards. They breed September to April laying 3 white to pale pink eggs which are spotted, speckled and blotched with red, brown and grey.
Sombre Bulbul (now the Sombre Greenbul)
The length of this little bird reaches about 23cm. Its iris is white to pale cream. The bill is black. The legs and feet are grey-ish black. Above is pale greyish to olive green. Below is paler grey, tinged green. The eye is white.
The voice is a rather penetrating Willie Willie Willie, come out and fight me coward.
They are usually solitary or in pairs and keep to dense foliage. They are elusive and easily overloohed except when calling. They are difficult to see but sometimes perch on top of a tree. They forage mostly in the upper branches but also in undergrowth or among leaf litter.
The diet consists of insects, fruit and small snails.
The breeding season is October to April in KZN, laying the eggs in a shallow, thin cup of twigs, rootlets and tendrils lined with fine grass. The eggs are dull whitish or cream with cloudy spots and scrolls of greenish brown and grey.
This is a noisy bird with a harsh scolding call. It has short legs and sits boldly upright while perching prominently, like a shrike.
It is insectiverous, often catching food in flight. It also eats fly eggs, larva and spiders. It sometimes eats berries.
It has a cup-shaped nest built into a tree and lays a clutch of two to three eggs.
Red capped Robin Chat (formerly the Natal Robin)
This bird never seems to have a call of its own. It mimics more than thirty other bird species quite accurately! If you go out early in the morning to catch a glimpse of a crowned eagle you will probably find a Red Capped Robin (or as I prefer, a Natal Robin). Its own call, heard in the mornings, is something like "preep-proop..preep-proop..preep-proop". It has often been confused with the Chorister Robin.
It feeds on insects, spiders, worms, centipedes, fruit, small frogs and lizards.
Surprisingly, it is listed as scarce to common. They are most common from May to August, when you can see it hopping along the grass searching for insects.
Half Collared Kingfisher
This kingfisher is medium sized, about 18cm in length and a mass of about 40 grammes. The dark-blue patches on either side of the neck form the half collar. The legs and feet are red. The sexes are very alike but the males bill is entirely black while the female has some red at the base of the lower mandible.
They feed almost exclusively on fish.
It nests in burrows dug into vertical river banks, very often concealed by reeds and grasses. They usually lay between 3 and 4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes taking 1 th o 2 hour shifts. The chicks stay in the nest for about 27 days, learning to fly very soon after leaving the nest.
This bird is hardly ever seen, as it sleeps during the day in the shade, but is heard calling often in the early morning. It sounds something like "Good-Lord-deliverus" , hence the name of Litanybird. When hiking throught the bush, you may be lucky enough to disturb a sleeping bird which then flies off with tremendous speed, so fast that you can't really see what it is.
They are usually solitary or in pairs. Hawks prey on them from tree branches.
They eat insects and spiders, thier favorite food being beetles.
They have no nests but lay thier eggs on leaf litter and debris on the ground below trees. They lay 2 pale-ivory or pale salmon eggs from September to November. The young leaves the nest after about 10 days and flies at about 24 days.
Greyheaded Bush Shrilke (also known as the spookvoël)
The length of this bird is 25-26cm. It has a lightyellow iris, a black bill and blue-grey legs and feet. The top of the head and upper mantle, is grey. The rest of the upper parts areyellow-green, with wing feathers tipped light yellow. Below is brilliant yellow and the breast washed orange. The tail is greenish-yellow with a pale-yellow tip. The large bill is black and hooked and the eye is yellow.
The voice is a mournful hooting whistle, almost ghost like whooooo, whooooo, whooooo sometimes ending in a whoooooip.
They are usually solitary or in pairs. They are easily overlooked, except ror the load call. They are also mobbed by smaller birds.
They eat isects, including wasps, frogs, lizzards, small mammals and birds and birds eggs and nestlings.
They breed during September to January in KZN, laying thier eggs in a shallow loosely built bowl of stout twigs,roots, grass and leaves, lined with tendrils, rootlets and bark fibres. Usually only 2 young are reared.
Spotted Thick-knee (formerly water dikkop)
This wader can reach up to 45.5cm in height and is well comoflaged with brown and white speckled feathers which makes for easy hiding in grassland and savannas wher it roams. It's head is large and round, with a yellow eye and short stout beak. It has long yellow legs with a prominent knee-joint, hence the name Thick-knee.
This bird is nocturnal and lays on the ground in the grass during the day, making it difficult to spot.
It feeds on insects, small mammals and lizards.
It is solitary or in pairs when breeding, otherwise may be gregarious in flocks of 40-50 birds.
Although nocturnal, they may be active during cloudy days.
They are vocal at night or on heavily overcast days, especially after rain. The voive is an almost eerie loud piping, rising in pitch and volume and then dying away.
They breed mainly August to December and lay the eggs in a shallow scrape in the ground, somtimes lined with dry plant fragments or antelope droppings. The eggs are pale cream or the colour of clay and blotched and spotted with irregular angular marks of dark brown and grey, usually a clutch of 2.
Water Thick-knee (formerly water dikkop)
Very similar in shape to the Spotted Thick-knee, this bird has a pale green iris, black bill and pale greenish-grey legs and feet. It is slightly smaller than the Spotted Thick-knee. It has a conspicuous grey wingbar when at rest and dark above and whitish below. The voice is more strident and less musical than the Spotted Thick-knee, otherwise sounding similar. They occur solitary or in pairs when breeding, otherwise in flocks of 20-30 birds. They are mainly nocturnal but more active during the day than the Spotted Thick-knee and often vocal in full dylight. They prefer to run rather than fly when disturbed, but flies strongly with irregular wingbeats.
They breed August to January, usually laying 2 eggs similar in appearance to the Spotted Thick-knee.
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird (formerly goldenrumped tinker barbet)
This tiny bird is about 12cm long. It's crown and upper back is solid black and streaked with yellow. The throat, stripe behind the eye and the stripe from the forehead to the side of the neck is white. The belly is a light greyish yellow and the rump almost golden yellow, hence the previous name.
The voice is short bursts of between 4-6 clinking notes - poo-poo-poo-poo-poo....each lasting 1.5 to 2 seconds with short pauses between.
They are usually solitary or in pairs. They tend to perch in the middle to upper srtata of forest. Thehy areoften tame and could be coaxed to sit on your hand. They are often seen darting for insects flying straight with whirring wings. The call from treetops throughout the day during October to April. They eat fruit and insects.
They lay thier white eggs in a hole carved in a dead tree trunk or the underside of a sloping branch.
This is a Twitcher's dream! There are very few birds that bird-watchers look for as much as this one! It has been absent in Leisure Bay for a very long time, but has recently been seen here again. It was a fairly common visitor to this area and almost dissapeared.
It has a very coarse voice somehting like Ku-Ru, Kuru, kuru repeated about ten times. Hopefully someone can provide a better sample.
It is a medium sized bird with reasonably bright colouring. It is confined to the Southeast, east and northeast parts of the country. It eats fruit, chameleons and insects. Seeing this bird here again suggests the ecology of this area is improving. This goes along with the froglife increasing in peoples' gardens.
Dark-backed Weaver (formerly Forest Weaver)
This weaver, formerly called the forest weaver, has a very descriptive Afrikaans name; Bosmusikant or forest musician. It has a wide variety of calls, most of which are very musical. They are long, high-pitched melodic phrases sung in duet. They were nesting in my garden until monkeys raided the nests.
They are generally solitary, in pairs or small groups of up to ten. Their diet consists of insects and fruit and they also love the nectar of erythrina flowers.
The nest has a long vertical tunnel made of vines and pliable twigs.They are easy to identify from other weavers as they have the dark backs and head.
This little birdy, about 10cm, has a black bill with an orange tip and legs and feet a pinkish brown. Above is olive green with a dull orange rump. The face and chin is a tomato red. It's sides and belly is spotted with white dots.
It's call is a sharp tik tik. A low pitched tirrr is an alarm call. Hopefully we'll be able to put sounds on this site soon.
This medium sized beauty has a brown iris, deep red bill with a black tip and pinkish-red legs and feet. Its crown is brown, as opposed to thee Greyheaded Kingfisher, which obviously has a grey crown. The upper back is black in the male and brown in the female. The lower back, rump, tail and wings are blue.
The voice is a sharp repeated ti-ti-ti ti-ti-ti falling in pitch.
It often visits domestic gardens and parks, usually solitary or in pairs. It perches on a branch, pole or telephone wire looking for food below. It also dives for fish, but it is not as expert as the aquatic kingfishers.
The food is mainly insects. Also lizards, crabs, small rodents, warblers and waxbills, small snakes and scorpions.
They breed in September to as late as April in KZN.
The nest is a long tunnel, about 1m long in a bank 1-3m above ground level. The chamber is lined with regurgitated anthropod fragments.
It lays about 2-3+ white eggs, sometimes up to 6. The young are fed by both parents.
These striking birdsoften frequent areas where humans are present. They are about 20cm long.
They are monogamous. the cup-shaped nests are usually lined with grass and feathers in a tangle of sticks and situated near water. In settlements the nests may be found on buildings. The nests are paracitised by the red-chested and Diederieks cuckoos and chicks have been recorded as the prey of Burchells coucal.
They are mainly insectivorous and ealso eat invertebrates, tadpoles, seeds small fish and human food scraps.
These are small birds related to rails and finfoots. There are nine species, seven of which are distributed accross sub-Saharan Africa,
They are highly secretive and seldom observed, so if you see one you are fortunate indeed! It appears that they might breed in South Africa in the Winter, so this is possibly the time to be on the lookout for them. Many species breed in the wet season and build domed nests which may be either high above the ground or amongst reeds.
Two species are considered endangered by the IUCN, the white-winged and the slender billed flufftails, due to land drainage for cultivation purposes.
Red Billed Firefinch
Also known as the Senegal firefinch.
It is about 10cm in length. The adult male is entirely scarlet except for the brown wings. The bill is pink and there is a yellow eye-ring. The females have brown upperparts and buff underparts.
They are abundant and often found around human habitation.
It is a small gregarious bird and feeds mainly on seeds and grains. Its nest is a large domed grass structure with a side entrance, low in a bush, where it lays 3 to 6 white eggs. The nest is parastisised by the indigo bird.
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