Birding Trip Report: Rooiwal

Spring has arrived and with it a new season for birds and birders.

(Click images  to enlarge)

Black-crowned Night-Heron

I would like to thank Dr.Hannes Coetzee, DA councilor and pastor of Harvest Ministries for giving us access to his property. It is also a privilege to have an avifaunal specialist like Rihann Geyser with you on a birding trip.

Rihann in action
Rihann in action

It is amazing to see the immediate change because of the change in season. Instead of birds flocking together in bird parties, more birds focus on building nests.

Birding in a team (one with a notebook and one with a camera) works like a dream.

Ben Fouche





Ben Fouche and I went birding in the 2530_2810 pentad just north Pretoria, situated within the 2528CA quarter degree grid cell (q.d.g.c.)  to gather data for the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2 (SABAP2).


Atlasing started on Portions 135, 136 and 137 of the farm Grootvlei 272 JR (25°31’48.71” S 28°14’12.49” E). These smallholdings form part of several smallholdings bordering the eastern banks of the Apies River north of Rooiwal Power Station, one of the favourite Gauteng birding spots. 50 bird species were seen during the 1st hour of birding and the list stood on 70 species at the end of the 2nd hour. Birds seen includes species such as Ground-scrapper Thrush,

Ground-scraper Thrush
Groundscraper Thrush, Gevlekte Lyster, (Psophocichla litsitsirupa)

Magpie Shrike,

Magpie Shrike
Magpie Shrike
Magpie Shrike
Magpie Shrike


African Wattled Lapwing, African Green Pigeon, Rattling Cisticola, African Pipit, Orange-breasted Waxbill, Zitting Cisticola, a female Northern Black Korhaan, foraging on the bare agricultural cropland in close vicinity of Spotted Thick-knees, Black-headed Oriole, Brown-crowed Tchagra, Thick-billed Weaver, Amethyst Sunbird, Burnt-necked Eremomela,


Burnt-necked Eremomela
Burnt-necked Eremomela


Kurrichane Thrush, Red-billed Firefinch, Bar-throated Apalis, African Grey Hornbill, and Black-backed Puffback. Red-breasted Swallow and Lesser Striped Swallow which are both intra-African migrants that has recently returned from their northern migratory range were also seen. The river and riparian vegetation added species such as African Reed Warbler actively calling from the reed next to the river,

African Reed Warbler
African Reed Warbler



Giant Kingfisher, Black Crake,

Black Crake
Black Crake

Lesser Swamp-warbler, Green-backed Heron, breeding Village Weavers, Little Rush-Warbler, Common Waxbill,

Common Waxbill
Common Waxbill

Brown-throated Martin, and stunning views of a Black-crowned Night-Heron.


From here we headed to Rooiwal Sewerage Works, which consists of several setting ponds that attract a variety of water bird species throughout the year. Surrounding these setting pond are open lawn areas, exotic trees and old agricultural lands. Rooiwal added species such as African Jacana, Southern Pochard,

Southern Pochard
Southern Pochard – Female


Squacco Heron,

Squacco Heron
Squacco Heron


Cape Shoveler, Purple Heron,

Purple Heron
Purple Heron




Wood Sandpiper (Palearcticmigrant),

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper


Pied Avocet,

Pied Avocet
Pied Avocet


African Purple Swamphen, Pin-tailed Whydah,

Pin-tailed Whydah female
Pin-tailed Whydah female

Black-winged Stilt, Burchell’s Coucal, African Fish-Eagle calling from a far-off distance, Hamerkop, Wattled Starling,

Wattled Starling
Wattled Starling


Cape Teal, Little Stint (Palaearctic migrant),

Little Stint
Little Stint




Hottentot Teal,


Hottentot Teal
Hottentot Teal


Hottentot Teal
Hottentot Teal


African Snipe,

African Snipe
African Snipe


South African Cliff-swallow (intra-African migrant), a single White-fronted Bee-eater

White-fronted Bee-eater
White-fronted Bee-eater


White-fronted Bee-eater
White-fronted Bee-eater


a single Ruff and a single Common Greenshank(both Palaearctic migrants).

Juv Black-winged Stilt (L) and Common Greenshank (R)
Juv Black-winged Stilt (L) and Common Greenshank (R)




A single Long-creasted Eagle was seen in the pine trees west of the settling ponds.

Long-creasted Eagle
Long-creasted Eagle


Long-creasted Eagle
Long-creasted Eagle


Long-creasted Eagle
Long-creasted Eagle


All-in-all it was a great day of birding and nice to see the migrating birds returning from their northern migratory range.


Cape Sparrow Male
Cape Sparrow Male


The day ended on 115 species seen in just over 5 hours of birding, most species seen in one day for this pentad to date. A total of 7 bird species were added to the pentad list which are African Green-pigeon, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Little Rush-Warbler, Black-crowned Night-heron, Common Ostrich, Burnt-necked Eremomela and Bar-throated Apalis.


Rihann Geyser.

List of birds observed and submitted to SABAP2:


Sequence Ref   No Common   name Scientific   name
1 84 Ibis   Hadeda Bostrychia   hagedash
2 784 Sparrow   House Passer   domesticus
3 734 Myna   Common Acridotheres   tristis
4 392 Mousebird   Red-faced Urocolius   indicus
5 803 Masked-Weaver   Southern Ploceus   velatus
6 317 Dove   Laughing Streptopelia   senegalensis
7 649 Prinia   Tawny-flanked Prinia   subflava
8 808 Bishop   Southern Red Euplectes   orix
9 686 Wagtail   Cape Motacilla   capensis
10 314 Dove   Red-eyed Streptopelia   semitorquata
11 311 Pigeon   Speckled Columba   guinea
12 557 Thrush   Groundscraper Psophocichla   litsipsirupa
13 439 Barbet   Crested Trachyphonus   vaillantii
14 522 Crow   Pied Corvus   albus
15 245 Lapwing   Blacksmith Vanellus   armatus
16 242 Lapwing   Crowned Vanellus   coronatus
17 339 Go-away-bird   Grey Corythaixoides   concolor
18 724 Shrike   Magpie Corvinella   melanoleuca
19 763 Sunbird   White-bellied Cinnyris   talatala
20 247 Lapwing   African Wattled Vanellus   senegallus
21 709 Boubou   Southern Laniarius   ferrugineus
22 323 Green-Pigeon   African Treron   calvus
23 642 Cisticola   Rattling Cisticola   chiniana
24 692 Pipit   African Anthus   cinnamomeus
25 503 Swallow   Lesser Striped Hirundo   abyssinica
26 545 Bulbul   Dark-capped Pycnonotus   tricolor
27 100 Duck   White-faced Dendrocygna   viduata
28 387 Palm-Swift   African Cypsiurus   parvus
29 838 Waxbill   Orange-breasted Amandava   subflava
30 431 Barbet   Black-collared Lybius   torquatus
31 533 Babbler   Arrow-marked Turdoides   jardineii
32 707 Fiscal   Common Lanius   collaris
33 385 Swift   Little Apus   affinis
34 61 Egret   Cattle Bubulcus   ibis
35 629 Cisticola   Zitting Cisticola   juncidis
36 402 Kingfisher   Brown-hooded Halcyon   albiventris
37 288 Gull   Grey-headed Larus   cirrocephalus
38 714 Tchagra   Brown-crowned Tchagra   australis
39 517 Drongo   Fork-tailed Dicrurus   adsimilis
40 1035 Korhaan   Northern Black Afrotis   afraoides
41 1172 White-eye   Cape Zosterops   virens
42 275 Thick-knee   Spotted Burhinus   capensis
43 55 Heron   Black-headed Ardea   melanocephala
44 581 Robin-Chat   Cape Cossypha   caffra
45 606 Reed-Warbler   African Acrocephalus   baeticatus
46 395 Kingfisher   Giant Megaceryle   maximus
47 203 Crake   Black Amaurornis   flavirostris
48 604 Swamp-Warbler   Lesser Acrocephalus   gracilirostris
49 63 Heron   Green-backed Butorides   striata
50 797 Weaver   Village Ploceus   cucullatus
51 576 Stonechat   African Saxicola   torquatus
52 843 Waxbill   Common Estrilda   astrild
53 1104 Thrush   Karoo Turdus   smithi
54 804 Weaver   Thick-billed Amblyospiza   albifrons
55 772 Sunbird   Amethyst Chalcomitra   amethystina
56 419 Wood-Hoopoe   Green Phoeniculus   purpureus
57 786 Sparrow   Cape Passer   melanurus
58 646 Cisticola   Levaillant’s Cisticola   tinniens
59 509 Martin   Brown-throated Riparia   paludicola
60 50 Cormorant   Reed Phalacrocorax   africanus
61 69 Night-Heron   Black-crowned Nycticorax   nycticorax
62 192 Guineafowl   Helmeted Numida   meleagris
63 96 Duck   Yellow-billed Anas   undulata
64 1 Ostrich   Common Struthio   camelus
65 859 Canary   Yellow-fronted Crithagra   mozambicus
66 501 Swallow   Red-breasted Hirundo   semirufa
67 601 Eremomela   Burnt-necked Eremomela   usticollis
68 552 Thrush   Kurrichane Turdus   libonyanus
69 424 Hornbill   African Grey Tockus   nasutus
70 837 Firefinch   Red-billed Lagonosticta   senegala
71 390 Mousebird   Speckled Colius   striatus
72 622 Apalis   Bar-throated Apalis   thoracica
73 588 Scrub-Robin   White-browed Cercotrichas   leucophrys
74 712 Puffback   Black-backed Dryoscopus   cubla
75 81 Ibis   African Sacred Threskiornis   aethiopicus
76 228 Jacana   African Actophilornis   africanus
77 495 Swallow   White-throated Hirundo   albigularis
78 89 Goose   Egyptian Alopochen   aegyptiacus
79 102 Pochard   Southern Netta   erythrophthalma
80 212 Coot   Red-knobbed Fulica   cristata
81 210 Moorhen   Common Gallinula   chloropus
82 62 Heron   Squacco Ardeola   ralloides
83 57 Heron   Purple Ardea   purpurea
84 6 Grebe   Little Tachybaptus   ruficollis
85 47 Cormorant   White-breasted Phalacrocorax   carbo
86 94 Shoveler   Cape Anas   smithii
87 52 Darter   African Anhinga   rufa
88 97 Teal   Red-billed Anas   erythrorhyncha
89 264 Sandpiper   Wood Tringa   glareola
90 269 Avocet   Pied Recurvirostra   avosetta
91 208 Swamphen   African Purple Porphyrio   madagascariensis
92 860 Canary   Black-throated Crithagra   atrogularis
93 846 Whydah   Pin-tailed Vidua   macroura
94 270 Stilt   Black-winged Himantopus   himantopus
95 4142 Sparrow   Southern Grey-headed Passer   diffusus
96 149 Fish-Eagle   African Haliaeetus   vocifer
97 4131 Coucal   Burchell’s Centropus   burchellii
98 138 Eagle   Long-crested Lophaetus   occipitalis
99 72 Hamerkop   Hamerkop Scopus   umbretta
100 735 Starling   Wattled Creatophora   cinerea
101 98 Teal   Cape Anas   capensis
102 253 Stint   Little Calidris   minuta
103 99 Teal   Hottentot Anas   hottentota
104 250 Snipe   African Gallinago   nigripennis
105 504 Cliff-Swallow   South African Hirundo   spilodera
106 409 Bee-eater   White-fronted Merops   bullockoides
107 256 Ruff   Ruff Philomachus   pugnax
108 665 Flycatcher   Fiscal Sigelus   silens
109 83 Ibis   Glossy Plegadis   falcinellus
110 130 Kite   Black-shouldered Elanus   caeruleus
111 650 Prinia   Black-chested Prinia   flavicans
112 607 Warbler   Marsh Acrocephalus   palustris
113 263 Greenshank   Common Tringa   nebularia
114 818 Widowbird   Long-tailed Euplectes   progne
115 609 Rush-Warbler   Little Bradypterus baboecala
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