Avitourism (aka bird-watching tourism, birding, or even twitching) is considered to be one of the fastest growing areas of eco-tourism internationally and, with the wonderful diversity we have, South Africa is a haven for casual and hardcore bird-watchers.

With well over 900 species recorded in Southern Africa, it’s no wonder this is a desirable location for those pursuing our feathered friends. And the Klein Karoo has hosted a surprising number of those.

Book your bird watching tour with Minwater Eco Adventures at On request, guided birding excursions at Minwater or elsewhere can be arranged.

A few bird species to look out for

Cape Bunting

(Emberiza capensis)

Afrikaans: Rooivlerkstreepkoppie
Size: 16cm
Colour: Grey brown with dark streaks and chestnut wing coverts. Adults have a black crown, white supercilium (plumage on the head) and white ear coverts with black borders.
Distribution & Habitat: Southern Africa, including Angola, Malawi and parts of Zimbabwe. Most commonly found in South Africa and Lesotho. Preferred habitat is dry shrubland, rocky mountain slopes and dry watercourses.

*Emberiza capensis
aka Cape Bunting

Cape Bunting - Bird Watching
Orange-breasted sunbird

(Anthobaphes violacea)

Afrikaans: Oranjeborssuikerbekkie
Size: 13cm (female) | 17cm (male)
Colour: Male’s head and mantle are a vibrant metallic green and its upper breast is a metallic violet. The lower breast is a fiery orange fading to a paler yellow belly. Females are dull olive green with paler underparts.
Distribution & Habitat: Endemic to South Africa, these birds occur within the Western Cape region’s fynbos biome as well as coastal scrublands. During summer, they migrate to higher altitudes in search of nectar-rich plants.

*Anthobaphes violacea
aka Orange-breasted sunbird

Swartberg Circle Route - Orange Breasted Sunbird
Blue Crane

(Anthropoides paradiseus)

Afrikaans: Bloukraanvoël
Size: 110cm – 120cm
Colour: A pale blue-grey body that turns darker towards the neck and head. The lores (between the eyes and bill) and the crown are much lighter, almost white, while the long tertial wing feathers that trail to the ground are dark to blackish grey.
Distribution & Habitat: Endemic to South Africa, they occur in the southern and eastern parts and prefer dry grassy plains, hills and valleys with access to both uplands and wetlands — especially during breeding season. These altitudinal migrants nest in the lower grasslands and move down to lower altitudes for winter.

*Anthropoides paradiseus
aka Blue Crane

Swartberg Circle Route - Blue Crane

(Dendropicos fuscescens)

Afrikaans: Kardinaalspeg
Size: 14cm – 15cm
Colour: Its back is dull olive green with paler flecks, while its underparts are white with short black streaks. The head has an olive-brown crown and a prominent black malar stripe that separates the white face and throat. Males also have a distinct red hind crown.
Distribution & Habitat: Widespread across Sub-Saharan Africa, they have a wide range of habitats across western and central Africa and are commonly found in woodland, savannah and riverine forest.

*Dendropicos fuscescens
aka Cardinal Woodpecker

Swartberg Circle Route - Bird Watching
Cape Rock Thrush

(Monticola rupestris)

Afrikaans: Kaapse kliplyster
Size: 19cm – 21cm
Colour: The male bird has a blue-grey head and throat with orange breast and dark-brown back. The female has duller underparts and her head is mainly brown with lighter specks.
Distribution & Habitat: This endemic species occurs across eastern and southern parts of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Their preferred habitat is rocky areas like cliffs, ravines, steep hillsides and scree slopes, but they’re also often found in towns bordering their natural habitat.

*Monticola rupestris
aka Cape Rock Thrush

Swartberg Circle Route - Bird Watching
Southern black korhaan

(Afrotis afra)

Afrikaans: Swartvlerkkorhaan
Size: 25cm – 28cm
Colour: The male bird has a black underbelly and neck while the main body plumage is of a checkered black and white pattern. The female’s head, neck and breast is the same colour as her body, the checkered brown and white pattern.
Distribution & Habitat:The Southern black korhaan is endemic to southwestern South Africa and prefers open, semi-arid habitats such as shrub-lands and savannahs.

*Afrotis afra
aka Southern black korhaan

Swartberg Circle Route - Southern Black Korhaan
A birding list will be ready soon for you to use on your next expedition!