Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa

10,000 Birds

The history of Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa is a slightly unusual one. It is a good place for South African birders, as several species are found here and nowhere else in South Africa, and it holds a small number of endemics that it shares with the Mozambique lowlands. The park did have a pack of African Wild Dogs, or Painted Wolves, the species I had gone to Africa to see. Birding Lion South Africa

South Africa’s endemic birds

10,000 Birds

My home country of South Africa can only be described as a birding paradise! In this post, I’d like to focus on a small selection of South Africa’s special endemic birds. Cape (or Rufous) Rockjumper is a true South African endemic and restricted to the southwest Cape. The Cape Rockjumper (here a female) is best sought at Rooiels, on the east coast of South Africa, north of Cape Town. South Africa’s national bird is the Blue Crane.

Ghoulish Primate Experiment in South Africa

Critter News

animal experimentation animal research primates south africaWarning! This is just horrible and sick, sick, sick. It's at a vomit level with me. From news24.com. Johannesburg - A Bloemfontein man received a criminal record on Friday for a "backyard experiment" on a pregnant monkey, the NSPCA said. The NSPCA in November 2008 charged Jordaan for his "merciless treatment" of a heavily pregnant vervet monkey. He had severed her spinal cord to paralyse her for a "backyard experiment.

Week 16: South Africa and Kruger National Park

10,000 Birds

After a very long day of 7 hours of driving, 11 hours flying and then 9 hours more driving, we have arrived at our temporary home here in South Africa. Daily park fees are such that we opted for the annual “Wild Card” that is good not only for Kruger, but nearly every park in South Africa. In the same first day plus a couple of hours, my Africa bird count is at 66 species. Trips Kruger National Park South Africa The Little Big Year

Birding and Safari-ing South Africa with the ABA

10,000 Birds

And so, I went on the American Birding Association Safari to South Africa. It was the right time of year, October–spring in South Africa, the right price, and the right people—president of the American Birding Association Jeff Gordon, energetic emissaries George Armistead and Liz Gordon, and, very importantly, fellow 10,000 Birds beat writer Adam Riley and the staff of Rockjumper, who masterfully organized and guided the ABA Safari. Trips ABA South Africa

Yellow-billed Kites in South Africa

10,000 Birds

It is now treated as its own species, confined to Africa and the tip of Arabia (Black Kites also migrate here from Europe and Asia). Birds kites South Africa Last weekend I finally caved and bought a new laptop to replace the one that swan-dived off my bed last November. My desktop simply can’t cope with the number and size of images that modern digital cameras produce, and this meant that I was finally able to start sorting through my many photos I took on my trip.

Wakkerstroom, South Africa: It’s a Lark

10,000 Birds

I’ve not made spectacular progress writing up my trip to Africa earlier this year, so perhaps I should get on that. So instead let’s talk about South Africa’s best kept birding secret (at least outside of the country) Wakkerstroom. This sleepy little village lies about 4 hours south east of Johannesburg in the upland area on the border with KwaZulu Natal. Birding South Africa

Smuggled Parrots in South Africa

10,000 Birds

A sad reminder of what is ultimately behind the birds you find in cages: birds being taken from the wild and subjected to horrible stress and, often, death. Even birds that were bred in captivity are still not domesticated, have wild instincts, and are not meant to live in cages. Asides

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, 5th edition

10,000 Birds

For several years I lived and birded in the south of Africa , and still have my battered second edition (1997) of the Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, the most trusted local field guide. Before that, while you all know what South Africa is, what exactly is Southern Africa?

Birding Mkuze

10,000 Birds

Mkuze Game Reserve is in the Eastern part of South Africa, about 5 hours away from Johannesburg, and one of the best places I have ever been to for bird photography. More birds of South Africa here. Birding Africa Mkuze South Africa

2020 84

A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines ? The Curator White Blend (2016)

10,000 Birds

This week’s wine is a very easy-drinking white blend from the South African winery A.A. Cockatoos aren’t even from Africa, of course, but we’ve got better things to do than ponder the provenance of a caged parrot – like open this bottle.

2020 65

Birding Cape Town

10,000 Birds

In November 2018, I spent a few days birding in Cape Town, South Africa. The beaches further south of Boulders Beach are productive as well – I saw African Oystercatcher as well as that most typical beach wanderer, the Ostrich. Birding Cape Town South AfricaWhile apparently not the safest of places, it is a great spot to see birds. Here are some of my sightings. An absolute highlight were the African Penguins at Boulders Beach.

2019 54

The Little Big Year 2018: Best Birds of the Year!

10,000 Birds

Our first Day In South Africa, I spotted the Burchell’s Courcal, as it flew across the road in front of us we entered Kruger National Park. Another South African favorite was the Arrow-marked Babbler. We were able to photograph 6 different hornbills in South Africa, but these regal little Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills quickly became an all time favorite. South Africa was simply indescribable in the way I felt when I was there.

2019 67

South African Caught Smuggling Live Crocodiles

Critter News

Tags: wildlife smuggling wildlife crime reptiles crocodile south africa endangered species

2009 100

No two scaups are equal

10,000 Birds

At this point, let us travel in time, back to the last day of the year 2001, and down to the Lowveld National Botanical Garden in Nelspruit, in South Africa’s province of Mpumalanga. Trips Serbia South Africa turacos waterbirdsJanuary is sort of a birding sprint – you start fresh and, all of a sudden, head for them all. In a typical birding year, no other month will bring you that many new species as January.

2017 63

Southern Black Bustards

10,000 Birds

And if you like bustards, you could do a lot worse than the plains, deserts, fynbos and grasslands of Southern Africa, which hold a number of species including several endemics. One such endemic is the Southern Black Bustard (or Southern Black Korhaan, as small bustards in South Africa are known as korhaans) This species has a pretty restricted distribution, confined to the fynbos scrubland around Cape Town in Southern Africa’s Western Cape. I love bustards.

2016 50

Madikwe; Paradise Restored

10,000 Birds

Madikwe , in South Africa, wasn’t a site of importance before it came into existence. And so South Africa’s fifth largest park came to be (it’s worth remembering that its largest park, Kruger, is the size of Israel) on marginal land that no one in particular could do much with. My books weren’t helping much so I had resorted to looking for large green areas on Google Maps on the border of South Africa and Botswana, and I happened on Madikwe.

2016 63

Cape Sugarbirds in Kirstenbosch

10,000 Birds

Earlier this year, Duncan wrote a charming piece about Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa. Birding Cape Sugarbird Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens South AfricaI already buy into the value of such gardens for freshly-arrived birders and know Kirstenbosch to be one of the best. On a damp, cold day in the UK, I took myself back via Duncan’s post and a few old photos.

2015 52

Impala Jousting

10,000 Birds

The Impala is an slim, elegant antelope which is seen over most of sub-Saharan Africa, wherever there are a few Acacia bushes or some grass. Birding Impala South Africa Young males are turned out of the maternal herds once they reach an age at which they begin to compete with the dominant male. They form bachelor herds where they test their strength against their peers, finding their natural place in the hierarchy.

2014 72

Shadows of Africa

10,000 Birds

A dusty-red road leads me through Marico bushveld deeper into the 750 square kilometers large wilderness of the Madikwe Game Reserve – the 4th largest reserve in South Africa, home to 350 bird and 66 mammal species, some 4 hours’ drive from Johannesburg. This game reserve has 900 elephants – the second largest population in South Africa, after the Kruger National Park with 13,000. Trips Mammals South Africa

The Sunbird and the Parasite

10,000 Birds

Back to the site, and back from 6 weeks in Africa (with four weeks gloriously cut off from any news of an election kind… I highly recommend it). Of course, travelling from Africa back to New Zealand is a big deal and I’m still somewhat fried (especially as real life hit with with a bat when I got back). The species is found in the highlands of Eastern Africa, but in South Africa they live down to sea-level in places like Cape Town. I’m back!

2016 55

Week 17: Kruger NP, Crocodile Bridge to Lower Sabie

10,000 Birds

This Mocking Cliff Chat was found at a rest stop on the fare south eastern side of the park. Trips Crocodile Bridge Camp Kruger National Park Little Big Year Lower Sabie Camp South AfricaBy the time you see this in the United States, I will have had a full week to explore this amazing area, and the wildlife that calls this home. The schedule is a bit daunting, as we are up before 5 AM to get to the gate for the 6AM opening.

2018 50

Nyala, Southern Africa’s Stunning Antelope

10,000 Birds

I’m a big fan of the antelopes, a group that is most commonly associated with Africa but which also occurs in Asia and, if you stretch the term to be cladistically meaningful, Europe and North America. But it is in Africa that the group reaches its most diverse, from the enormous Eland to the diminutive Suni, and a whole range of body types in between. Mammals antelope South Africa

Falakhe’s Story

10,000 Birds

Early starts are the rule when monitoring endagered species in Mkuze Game Reserve, in South Africa, but there’s a particular urgency to this morning’s start. After a few hours we guesstimated that the pack had moved south and after checking the shooting range (where the park rangers tasked with the unenviable responsibility of protecting the park’s rhinos practised their art) we joined the road to the less touristy southern part of the park.

2015 70

Village Weavers

10,000 Birds

In many ways the weaver family is for Africa are similar beasts to the pseudowarblers of North America (sometimes called wood-warblers). In the meantime, in order to rectify this I present some images of the Village Weaver, a widespread African species that ranges from Senegal to Ethiopia and down to South Africa. Village Weavers can be told from other black-masked weavers in Southern Africa by the yellow reaching the bill on the forehead.

2015 54

Birding Cape Town

10,000 Birds

I’m not certain why the Cape of Good Hope is the cape everyone talks about, it isn’t the southernmost point in Africa (that goes to Cape Agulhas, 150 kilometres to the south east). Birding Cape Town South Africa Urban BirdingI’m a big fan of city birding.

2016 60

Southern Pied Babblers

10,000 Birds

While there as some very attractive members of the family (or families, scientists can’t make up their minds) in Asia, in Africa the babblers tend towards the restrained when it comes to plumage. In Southern Africa this species tends to be found in the drier savannah habitats (but not the driest). Birds babbler Babblers South AfricaA nasty little virus and a failure of my internet at home has left me at another deadline with nothing to show for myself.

2015 56

Whining self-pity…. or…. Pilanesberg leftovers.

10,000 Birds

As the main title clearly shows, I shall greatly miss South Africa, but will always be grateful that I was given the opportunity to visit. it was impossible to visit Africa without returning with less than 3 dozen reels. Birding Pilanesberg National Park South AfricaThe airline business is a competitive and cut-throat arena in which to operate. Emphasis is placed on cost and more importantly, the reduction thereof. Helmeted Guineafowl.

2015 55

Drakensberg Rockjumpers

10,000 Birds

A couple of years ago Adam posted a story on this site that so entranced me that when I went to South Africa a bit over a year ago the location he described was top of my bucket list. The Drakensberg Rockjumper is one of two species in the rockjumper family, one of those recent splits that came about when people realised that not everything in Africa could be lumped with known European families. Birds KwaZulu Natal South Africa

2016 43

Birding Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town

10,000 Birds

The high endemism that results from this makes the area supremely important for floral conservation, and the focus on South African plants, rather than the world’s, seems appropriate rather than narrow. Two of them will be familiar to anyone that has birded in Africa (and possibly further afield), the Egyptian Goose and Helmeted Guineafowl. One of Africa’s oddest birds of prey, it isn’t rare if you travel, but it was a awesome lifer on my first day of the trip.

2015 73

African Penguins in Peril

10,000 Birds

I grew up in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Cape Town, South Africa. In fact, there is no other region in Africa that offers such a fantastic level of endemism in such an accessible location. Over 40 species of South African endemics can be found in the Cape – Cape Sugarbirds, Cape Rockjumpers, Orange-breasted Sunbirds to name but a few. In 1979 the South African population was estimated at 56,900 pairs.

White-fronted Plover

10,000 Birds

It was whilst walking along the beach at Kommetjie, a coastal village near Cape Town in South Africa, that I came across a pair of White-fronted Plovers. This tiny plover is endemic to Africa, south of the Sahara. Birding South Africa White-fronted Plover Charming Charadrius marginatus. The female flushed from a patch of broken shells by a mat of beached Kelp weed. She didn’t flush very far until an unleashed dog dashed past.

2014 55

Is my Rhino Still Alive?

10,000 Birds

The annual number of rhino poached in South Africa last year rose to 1,215, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told a media briefing in Pretoria two weeks ago. Let’s slow down at this moment and go back in time… July is the coldest of winter months in the south of Africa. Conservation Africa Mammals poaching South Africa

Birding on a Busted Foot

10,000 Birds

I found out on my second day in Mkuze, a great game reserve in South Africa, earlier this year when on my first dark night, poor visibility, uneven ground and unsteady footing resulted in a twisted ankle and a day in camp keeping weight off it. Birding injury South AfricaI was laid out with a bad back last week, which didn’t really affect my birding as I wasn’t planning any at the time.

2015 52

Moorcroft Manor, a Great Place to Lay a Birding Head Down

10,000 Birds

What sets Moorcroft Manor apart from the other (lovely I rush to add) places I stayed at in Southern Africa was the sheer numbers of birds I could see in the grounds. Mousebirds are a uniquely African family and they really brought it home to me that I was back in Africa after a decade. Another group that sings Africa to me are the antelopes. Trips hotel KwaZulu Natal Natal South Africa

2015 65

White-backed Vultures are Proper Birds

10,000 Birds

The White-backed Vulture is the most common species of vulture in Africa, although these days they are, like most vultures, globally endangered. The populations remain stable in Ethiopia, Tanzania and southern Africa, but have collapsed in West Africa and have declined in other parts as well. On my recent visit to southern Africa I saw them in several parks and even outside some protected areas, and in some numbers too. Birding South Africa vulture vultures

2015 61

The Ole’ Bucket List

10,000 Birds

Trips albatrosses bucket lists South Africa wish lists Well, this time next week I’ll be winging my way to Cape Town via Auckland and Singapore (air transport is weird sometimes), so this is my last beat post of the year. As New Zealand’s beat writer I think I’ve done an okay job of discussing the birding of an entirely different island for most of the year, so it’s only fair that I keep that winning streak going by talking about my target for the trip.

2014 68

Durban Botanical Gardens

10,000 Birds

When you talk about birding botanical gardens in South Africa, Kirstenbosch in Cape Town is perhaps what automatically comes to mind. But it would be a mistake to assume that they are the only botanical gardens in South Africa worth spending any time in. KwaZulu Natal is the easternmost province of South Africa, and an essential destination for any birder visiting the country. Birding botanical gardens Durban South Africa Urban Birding

2016 40

Rooiels – Funny Name, Serious Birding

10,000 Birds

I don’t think I’ve ever done a post on my home patch of Cape Town, South Africa. The little seaside village of Rooiels is famed for being a wonderful location to pick up some choice South African endemics but it is also one of the most beautiful spots in the Cape. Birding cape town penguins rockjumpers South Africa Worldwide Birding Adventures

2011 81

Pied Starlings

10,000 Birds

Africa is home to many striking and brightly coloured members of the starling family, a family that gets short thrift in many parts of the world due to the widespread introduction of a few rather, uh, domineering, species. The Pied Starling is not brightly coloured or shiny, even if it is, as as only recently been realised, it is in the genus of glossy starlings found across Africa, Lamprotornis. It’s endemic to Southern Africa, and not uncommon in its range.

2016 40

Top 10 from Home

10,000 Birds

I must be home-sick because last weekend I found myself browsing through my “SASOL Birds of Southern Africa&#. I then decided to reduce it further to South African endemics only. This was tough because this excluded species that occur in two countries within South Africa’s geographical area, Lesotho and Swaziland. Southern Black Korh aan West Coast National Park is one of my favorite places to go birding in South Africa.

2011 81

Rooi Els and Betty’s Bay

10,000 Birds

So, last time I promised to write about some of the other birding spots around Cape Town in South Africa. It turned out they were a Brit and Aussie being shown around by a local guide, Nick from Birding Africa. Trips Cape Town South AfricaRooi Els and Betty’s Bay are a great place to start. These are two small communities on the eastern edge of False Bay to the east of the city.

2016 46

The Nemesis Cat Defeated!

10,000 Birds

I finally broke this nemesis cat in Mkuze in South Africa. Mammals Trips Gallery Leopard Madikwe Mkuze South AfricaIf I were to describe my long time wildlife nemesis, my ultimate dip of dips, I would reach for a nemesis cat, not a nemesis bird. For there is no species that I had more comprehensively failed to see than the Leopard.

2015 45