BIRDS OF THE SWARTBERG CIRCLE ROUTE
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 email@example.com. On request, guided birding excursions at Minwater or elsewhere can be arranged.
A few bird species to look out for
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.
aka Cape Bunting
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.
aka Orange-breasted sunbird
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.
aka Blue Crane
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.
aka Cardinal Woodpecker
Cape Rock Thrush
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.
aka Cape Rock Thrush
Southern black korhaan
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.
aka Southern black korhaan