Birding Routes

THEEWATERSKLOOF BIRDING - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL BIRD SPECIES OF THE THEEWATERSKLOOF REGION Show details


Many visitors to the Theewaterskloof area come here due to the diversity of endemic bird species to be found in the region. Endemism refers to species that are restricted to a certain region and that can be found nowhere else in the world. Southern Africa is fortunate to have a high level of endemism in all forms of life and in fact South Africa, as a country, is considered by some to be the third most biologically diverse country in the world. Many of the Southern Africa's endemic and near-endemic bird species are available at many locations in the Theewaterskloof region and the Overberg Wheatbelt Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. The region boasts with more endemic birds than most countries have to offer. A further advantage is that most of these species are fairly easily accessable and several bird guides ready to part with appropriate local knowledge are available. The development of these web pages is a further attempt to assist visiting birders to gain easier access to many of the region's special species.

Stereotypically most people believe that the “Cape endemics” mostly consist of birds associated with the Cape Floral Kingdom. This “kingdom” with 9 000 plant species (almost 70% of which are endemic), ranks among the wonders of the natural world. Several exciting and often endemic bird species are attracted to these habitat types and can be found relatively easily in several different localities spread around the Theewaterskloof region. Most of these birding destinations are readily accessible and often feature dramatic mountain landscapes. Top destinations for these “Fynbos specials” include Sir Lowry's Pass, the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, the Van der Stel Pass, Caledon Wildflower Garden and Greyton Nature Reserve, to mention a few. Entrance to these reserves is often free or at a minimal cost. 

The endemic birds associated with these Fynbos habitats are the difficult to find the HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL, SOUTHERN BLACK KORHAAN, CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER. These eight species are hugely sought-after by birders from other provinces and overseas and form the backbone of marketing efforts to attract bird-watchers to the province.  The region's impressive list of endemics does however not end there. Species that prefer more mountainous and hilly habitats include the JACKAL BUZZARD, BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES and GROUND WOODPECKER. 

Many are amazed to find out that several fairly common species often found in suburban gardens such as the CAPE BULBUL, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE SPARROW, CAPE SPURFOWL, SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD, SWEE WAXBILL, CAPE WEAVER and CAPE WHITE-EYE also fall into this category of endemism. And then one has not even mentioned general species such as the GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, CAPE GRASSBIRD, BLACK HARRIER, CAPE LONGCLAW, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK and CAPE SHOVELER.

To crown it all this list is by no means comprehensive. Several endemic species are found along the Overberg Wheatbelt Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and here mention should be made of species such as the BLUE CRANE, AGULHAS LONG-BILLED LARK and CAPE CLAPPER LARK, KAROO KORHAAN and SOUTHERN BLACK KORHAAN. These and many other species will be discussed in detail in the next section that highlights birding along the Overberg Wheatbelt Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.

The Western Cape Province in general and the Theewaterskloof region in particular has limitless potential for attracting South African and international bird-watchers to our shores. These webpages, sponsored by BirdLife Overberg, is an attempt to realise this vast potential. 

(Note that there are links to more information, trip reports and the like below the photographs that may be used to further plan a visit to the area).

Cape Sugarbird  (Image by CM)
Orange-breasted Sunbird  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Siskin  (Image by CA)

 

 

 

 

 

BIRDING IN THE OVERBERG WHEATBELT IMPORTANT BIRD AND BIODIVERSITY AREA - INTRODUCTORY OVERVIEW Show details

THE SIR LOWRYS PASS SITE Show details

THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE Show details

THE HIGHLANDS AND VALLEY ROADS LOOPS Show details

THE ELGIN/ GRABOUW COUNTRY CLUB & EIKENHOF DAM Show details

HOTTENTOTS HOLLAND NATURE RESERVE Show details

VILLIERSDORP Show details

THE THEEWATERSKLOOF DAM Show details

BOTRIVER VILLAGE AND VAN DER STEL PASS Show details

THE KARWYDERSKRAAL AND SWARTRIVIER ROADS Show details

CALEDON VILLAGE Show details

THE CALEDON WILD FLOWER GARDEN Show details

THE OUDEKRAAL ROAD AND TESSELAARSDAL Show details

THE R326 BETWEEN STANFORD AND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

THE R406 TO GREYTON Show details

GREYTON VILLAGE AND NATURE RESERVE Show details

THE R406 BETWEEN GREYTON AND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

BIRDING IN AND AROUND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details