The warmth of summer and the bounty of Autumn provide a feast to the visiting and resident bird land life, and a joy to the bird-watchers.
BLACK-WINGED STILT – Himantopus himantopus (Rooipootelsie). Prefers inland and coastal wetlands, such as commercial salt pans, flood plains, swamps and sewage works. It mainly eats insects, other invertebrates and fish, doing most of its foraging by locating prey visually before plucking them from the water surface. or by immersing its head in the water while locating prey with touch.Status: Not threatened.
AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER – Haematopus moquini (Swarttobie): Near endemic to southern Africa, occurring along the coast as far north as southern Angola. It generally prefers rocky and/or sandy shores, lagoons, estuaries and coastal pans. Mainly eats mussels and other aquatic invertebrates. Largely sedentary and territorial. Status: Near threatened.
GREAT WHITE PELICAN – Pelecanus onocrota/us (Witpelikaan). Prefers shallow lakes, estuaries, flood plain pans, dams, sheltered coastal bays and lagoons. Eats mostly fish, foragingsingly or in flocks herding fish shoals into shallow water. Also scavenges and often work cooperatively to raid other birds’ nests of chicks and eggs. This appears to be taught from one generation to the next, as in some colonies they do not do it at all. Status: Near threatened.
BLUE CRANE – Anthropoides paradiseus (Bloukraanvoel): Our national bird. Prefers open grassland, shrub land and cultivated land. Monogamous, territorial, performing a variety of courtship displays, e.g. running, dancing, the tossing of dung and vegetation into the air. The nest is often a simple scrape in dry ground with a layer of pebbles, vegetation and mammal dung. Omnivores. Status: Vulnerable.
BLACK HARRIER – Circus maurus (Witkruisvleivalk} Endemic to southern Africa. It generally prefers fynbos in the Western Cape, especially strand-veld and mountain fynbos. Largely resident, it mainly eats mice and birds,doing most of its hunting on blustery days, flying about 1-3 meters above ground. Once it spots prey it speedily drops onto the animal, often chasing it on the ground before finishing it off. Status: Near-threatened
STEPPE BUZZARD – Buteo vulpinus (Bruinjakkalsvoel): Often seen perched on telephone poles and fences this time of year, looking disheveled from its long flight from the Steppes in Russia, where it breeds during our winter months. It generally favours open habitats, such as savanna,grassland and open woodland, often moving into mosaics of croplands. Status: Not threatened.