Birding Routes

THEEWATERSKLOOF BIRDING - INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS Show details

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

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 hamlet of Greyton at the foot of the Riviersonderend Mountains can be used as an excellent base to explore the bird-watching delights of the Overberg Wheatbelt and many more. The oak tree-lined streets and pretty gardens host the majority of garden birds of the region and it is adjacent to the Greyton Nature Reserve where a wide selection of endemic species are on view. From here a variety of rural drives can also be explored where birds typically associated with the Overberg Wheatbelt are on view. Examples are the farmlands between Greyton and the R43 towards Villiersdorp, the R406 between Caledon and Greyton, R406 between Greyton and Riviersonderend and the Krige circle route. (This description should be read with those of the R406 between Caledon and Greyton and the R406 between Greyton and Riviersonderend).
Further to this the village is very well positioned to accommodate mountain bikers and leisure cyclists, hikers and birders. The popular Saturday morning market is another added attraction and the historical mission station at Genadendal is in close proximity. Details of recreational activities can be found in the links in the dropdown menus below, or contact the local tourism office:
Telephone number +27 (0)28 254 9414
Cellular number +27 (0)82 647 8696
E-mail tourism@greyton.net or admin@greyton.net
Website www.greytontourism.com
A birding group is also active in the village and can be contacted regarding bird-watching opportunities and birding destinations:
Contact Ria Wills
Telephone number +27 (0) 28 254 9110
Cellular number +27 (0) 83 252 1183
E-mail ria@tcslearning.com

The description of species abundance in the region is based on findings in the local SABAP2 (the bird atlasing project) report cards. Several endemic or near-endemic species are abundant in the village and these include the BOKMAKIERIE, CAPE BULBUL, CAPE CANARY, FISCAL FLYCATCHER, KAROO PRINIA, CAPE WEAVER and CAPE WHITE-EYE. The SOUTHERN BOUBOU, CAPE SPURFOWL and SOUTHERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD are found commonly. Smaller numbers of the CAPE BATIS, YELLOW CANARIES, CAPE GRASSBIRD, PIED STARLING and SWEE WAXBILL are present.
An added attraction is the Greyton Nature Reserve that is literally within walking distance from the village. The CAPE SUGARBIRD is very common here and large numbers of these birds come down into the village to feed during summer. The CAPE SISKIN, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and CAPE ROCK-THRUSH occur in the reserve in smaller numbers. The CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER and VICTORIN'S WARBLER have been recorded rarely and it is recommended that visitors use local birders to assist them to find these illusive habitat specialists. Species that similarly rare include the ACACIA PIED BARBET, CAPE BUNTING, CAPE LONGCLAW, CAPE PENDULINE-TIT, KAROO SCRUB-ROBIN, MOUNTAIN WHEATEAR and GROUND WOODPECKER. This brief description, together with “Wheatbelt specials” highlighted in the two sections on the R406, clearly illustrates that Greyton is hugely underrated as a bird-watching destination. 

Cape Siskin  (Image by AO)
Karoo Scrub-Robin  (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birding in and around the village does however not end with the wide selection of endemic species available. Other very common species include the YELLOW BISHOP, CAPE ROBIN-CHAT and AMETHYST, GREATER DOUBLE-COLLARED and MALACHITE SUNBIRDS. Also look out for the FAMILIAR CHAT, AFRICAN HOOPOE, BROWN-HOODED KINGFISHER, BROWN-THROATED MARTIN, STREAKY-HEADED SEEDEATER, SOUTHERN GREY-HEADED SPARROW and OLIVE THRUSH. This “name dropping” exercise does not even scratch the surface of birds to be found in and around the village.

A tributary of the Riviersonderend River, flows past Greyton and this together some smaller ponds and dams add an impressive list of waterbirds to the village bird list. The YELLOW-BILLED DUCK, EGYPTIAN and SPUR-WINGED GEESE, COMMON MOORHEN, THREE-BANDED PLOVER and RED-BILLED TEAL are abundant, while species such as the BURCHELL'S COUCAL, BLACK CRAKE, AFRICAN BLACK DUCK, AFRICAN SNIPE, AFRICAN SPOONBILL and CAPE TEAL are reported as being fairly common. Most of the region's grebes, herons and kingfishers also fall in this category. Other species that are reported as being far less common include the WHITE-FACED DUCK, LITTLE EGRETS, AFRICAN RAIL and SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK.

Visitors that overnight in Greyton can expect to hear the hoots of the SPOTTED EAGLE-OWLS fairly regularly and the FIERY-NECKED NIGHTJAR, BARN OWL and SPOTTED and WATER THICK-KNEES are all present in good numbers. Also listen carefully for the rhythmic series of calls of the AFRICAN WOOD-OWL, a bird that is not readily available in most other parts of the Overberg. Greyton has further developed a reputation for the presence of flufftails and both the BUFF-SPOTTED and RED-CHESTED FLUFFTAILS are recorded occasionally. The mournful low-pitched call of the BUFF-SPOTTED FLUFFTAIL and the call of TAMBOURINE DOVE can often be heard at dawn. 
 

Spotted Eagle-Owl  (Image by CA)
Barn Owl  (Image by DM)











 

 



Rank vegetation, thickets and small isolated patches of indigenous forest further enhance the species diversity in and around Greyton. Most of these species are often difficult to observe due to their selective habitat preferences and knowing their calls often helps to locate them. The BAR-THROATED APALIS, BLUE-MANTLED CRESTED-FLYCATCHER, KLAAS'S CUCKOO, AFRICAN OLIVE-PIGEON and CARDINAL WOODPECKER are reported fairly often, while the AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER, FAIRY FLYCATCHER, SOMBRE GREENBUL and LESSER HONEYGUIDE occur in very small numbers. Also look for the AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER in summer. The AFRICAN GOSHAWK, AFRICAN HARRIER-HAWK and BLACK SPARROWHAWK also prefer this habitat type and can occasionally be seen. The same applies to the FOREST BUZZARD. 

Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher  (Image by CM)
African Dusky Flycatcher   (Image by AO)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Other birds of prey that can be seen fairly regularly include the JACKAL BUZZARD, AFRICAN FISH-EAGLE, ROCK KESTREL and BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE. The BOOTED and VERREAUX'S EAGLES sometimes patrol the skies. Only a few sightings of the PEREGRINE FALCON and MARTIAL EAGLE are on record and the STEPPE BUZZARD and YELLOW-BILLED KITE are numerous in summer months. The SOUTHERN PALE CHANTING GOSHAWK, BLACK HARRIER, AFRICAN MARSH-HARRIER and SECRETARYBIRD can occasionally be located along the many rural drives and circle routes that visitors can choose from around the village.

Most of the summer migrants that occur in the Overberg region have also been reported from Greyton. Interesting records include EUROPEAN BEE-EATER, BLACK, DIEDERICK and RED-CHESTED CUCKOOS, COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN, LESSER KESTREL and BANDED MARTIN. Huge mixed flocks of martins, swallows and swifts are often observed in the area around the river towards dusk.

This description makes it evident that serious bird-watchers that would like to enjoy the birding delights of the Western Cape Province in general and the Overberg Wheatbelt in particular should seriously consider spending some time, and preferably a few evenings in the Greyton area. It serves as a fantastic base to get to grips with the outstanding biodiversity of the area.
(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).

King Protea  (Image by AO)
Malachite Kingfisher  (Image by RM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE R406 BETWEEN GREYTON AND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

BIRDING IN AND AROUND RIVIERSONDEREND Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details