Birding Routes

INTRODUCTION TO BIRDING ALONG THE CAPE WHALE COAST Show details

ENDEMIC BIRD SPECIES OF THE CAPE WHALE COAST REGION Show details


THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL BIRD SPECIES OF THE CAPE WHALE COAST REGION
Many visitors to the Overstrand local municipal area (named the Cape Whale Coast for marketing purposes) are attracted by the diversity of endemic 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 South Africa, as a country, is considered by some to be the third most biologically diverse country in the world. A whopping 57 of the Southern Africa's endemic bird species and 32 of the near- endemic species are found in relatively close proximity to the Cape Whale Coast region. With these 89 species the region alone boasts more endemic birds than most countries have to offer. A further advantage is that most of these species are fairly easily accessible and several guides, eager to part with appropriate local knowledge, are readily 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.

Fynbos clad mountains at Fernkloof, Hermanus
King Protea  (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 this habitat type and can be tracked down relatively easily in several different localities spread throughout the Cape Whale Coast. Most of these birding destinations are readily accessible and often feature dramatic sea and mountain landscapes. Top destinations for these “Fynbos specials” include the world-renowned Rooiels site, the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens in Betty's Bay, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve at Kleinmond, the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus and several privately owned properties throughout the region, to mention a few. Entrance to these reserves is often free or available at a minimal cost. The endemic birds associated with these Fynbos habitats are the difficult to find HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL, SOUTHERN BLACK KORHAAN, CAPE ROCK-JUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN'S WARBLER.

Cape Rock-jumper at Rooiels  (Carin Malan)

 

Cape Sugarbird at Harold Porter (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange-breasted Sunbird at Fernkloof (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A further group of endemics is associated with the cold Benguela current along the west coast of Southern Africa and consists of the BANK, CAPE and CROWNED CORMORANTS, CAPE GANNET, HARTLAUB'S GULL, AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and AFRICAN PENGUIN. Some of these species are also readily found in the Overstrand region at destinations such as Stony Point, Harderbaai in Onrus, the Danger Point peninsula and the Franskraal shoreline. These fifteen species are hugely sought-after by birders from other provinces and countries and form the backbone of marketing efforts to attract bird-watchers to the province.

African Black Oystercatchers, Franskraal  (Carin Malan)
African Penguins at Stony Point (Carin Malan)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The region's impressive list of endemics does, however, not end there. Species that prefer more mountainous and hilly habitats include JACKAL BUZZARD, GREY-WINGED FRANCOLIN, CAPE and SENTINEL ROCK-THRUSHES and GROUND WOODPECKER. Look for these species at locations such as Rooiels and the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus. Endemics or near-endemics attracted to forests or thickets include CAPE BATIS, SOUTHERN BOUBOU, FOREST BUZZARD, BURCHELL'S COUCAL, SOUTHERN TCHAGRA, KNYSNA WARBLER and KNYSNA and OLIVE WOODPECKERS. The top spots where these species might be found in the Overstrand region include the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens at Betty's Bay and Witkrans near Gansbaai.

Blue Crane along the Swart River road (Anton Odendal)
Knysna Woodpecker - Stanford (Richard Masson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many birders 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 are also endemic. And then general species such as GREY-BACKED CISTICOLA, CAPE GRASSBIRD, BLACK HARRIER, CAPE LONGCLAW, SOUTH AFRICAN SHELDUCK and CAPE SHOVELER have not even been mentioned yet. To crown it all, this list is by no means comprehensive. 

Black Harrier near Stanford  (Richard Masson)
Ground Woodpecker at Fernkloof (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Western Cape in general and the Overstrand region in particular have limitless potential for attracting South African and international bird-watchers to our shores due to the huge number of endemic species found here. This web page, developed by members of BirdLife Overberg, is an attempt to help realise this vast potential.
Members of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust have recently started offering pelagic birding cruises from Kleinbaai. This product further enhances the region's reputation as a top birding destination and will be discussed in detail in the next section of this web page. Visit the section on "PELAGIC ENCOUNTERS FROM KLEINBAAI IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE DYER ISLAND CONSERVATION TRUST" for more detail in this regard.

(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 Siskin at Stanford  (Anton Odendal)
Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Onrus (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Grassbird at Fernkloof  (Anton Odendal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PELAGIC ENCOUNTERS FROM KLEINBAAI IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE DYER ISLAND CONSERVATION TRUST Show details

THE ROOIELS SITE - IN SEARCH OF THE CAPE ROCK-JUMPER Show details

AFRICAN PENGUINS AND CORMORANTS AT STONY POINT Show details

THE HAROLD PORTER NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS Show details

BIRDING AT THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE AND KLEINMOND Show details

BIRDING AT ROOISAND ALONG THE BOT RIVER ESTUARY Show details

BIRDING AT FISHERHAVEN & THE HAWSTON SEWAGE WORKS Show details

THE VERMONT SALT PAN Show details

BIRDING AT ONRUS AND HARDERBAAI Show details

BIRDING ALONG THE HEMEL & AARDE VALLEY AND ROTARY WAY SCENIC DRIVE Show details

BIRDING ALONG THE HERMANUS CLIFF PATHS AND THE KLEIN RIVER ESTUARY Show details

THE FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE AT HERMANUS Show details

BIRDING IN AND AROUND STANFORD Show details

FROM STANFORD TO THE UILENKRAALS ESTUARY AND BEYOND Show details

THE DANGER POINT PENINSULA Show details

DYER ISLAND AND SURROUNDS Show details

THE UILENKRAALS VALLEY TO BAARDSKEERDERSBOS AND BEYOND Show details

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

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 1: KARWYDERSKRAAL AND SWART RIVER ROADS Show details

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 2: THE OUDEKRAAL ROAD Show details

WHEATBELT BIRDING CIRCLE ROUTE 3: THE PAPIESVLEI AREA Show details

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Show details