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:


SequenceRef   NoCommon   nameScientific   name
184Ibis   HadedaBostrychia   hagedash
2784Sparrow   HousePasser   domesticus
3734Myna   CommonAcridotheres   tristis
4392Mousebird   Red-facedUrocolius   indicus
5803Masked-Weaver   SouthernPloceus   velatus
6317Dove   LaughingStreptopelia   senegalensis
7649Prinia   Tawny-flankedPrinia   subflava
8808Bishop   Southern RedEuplectes   orix
9686Wagtail   CapeMotacilla   capensis
10314Dove   Red-eyedStreptopelia   semitorquata
11311Pigeon   SpeckledColumba   guinea
12557Thrush   GroundscraperPsophocichla   litsipsirupa
13439Barbet   CrestedTrachyphonus   vaillantii
14522Crow   PiedCorvus   albus
15245Lapwing   BlacksmithVanellus   armatus
16242Lapwing   CrownedVanellus   coronatus
17339Go-away-bird   GreyCorythaixoides   concolor
18724Shrike   MagpieCorvinella   melanoleuca
19763Sunbird   White-belliedCinnyris   talatala
20247Lapwing   African WattledVanellus   senegallus
21709Boubou   SouthernLaniarius   ferrugineus
22323Green-Pigeon   AfricanTreron   calvus
23642Cisticola   RattlingCisticola   chiniana
24692Pipit   AfricanAnthus   cinnamomeus
25503Swallow   Lesser StripedHirundo   abyssinica
26545Bulbul   Dark-cappedPycnonotus   tricolor
27100Duck   White-facedDendrocygna   viduata
28387Palm-Swift   AfricanCypsiurus   parvus
29838Waxbill   Orange-breastedAmandava   subflava
30431Barbet   Black-collaredLybius   torquatus
31533Babbler   Arrow-markedTurdoides   jardineii
32707Fiscal   CommonLanius   collaris
33385Swift   LittleApus   affinis
3461Egret   CattleBubulcus   ibis
35629Cisticola   ZittingCisticola   juncidis
36402Kingfisher   Brown-hoodedHalcyon   albiventris
37288Gull   Grey-headedLarus   cirrocephalus
38714Tchagra   Brown-crownedTchagra   australis
39517Drongo   Fork-tailedDicrurus   adsimilis
401035Korhaan   Northern BlackAfrotis   afraoides
411172White-eye   CapeZosterops   virens
42275Thick-knee   SpottedBurhinus   capensis
4355Heron   Black-headedArdea   melanocephala
44581Robin-Chat   CapeCossypha   caffra
45606Reed-Warbler   AfricanAcrocephalus   baeticatus
46395Kingfisher   GiantMegaceryle   maximus
47203Crake   BlackAmaurornis   flavirostris
48604Swamp-Warbler   LesserAcrocephalus   gracilirostris
4963Heron   Green-backedButorides   striata
50797Weaver   VillagePloceus   cucullatus
51576Stonechat   AfricanSaxicola   torquatus
52843Waxbill   CommonEstrilda   astrild
531104Thrush   KarooTurdus   smithi
54804Weaver   Thick-billedAmblyospiza   albifrons
55772Sunbird   AmethystChalcomitra   amethystina
56419Wood-Hoopoe   GreenPhoeniculus   purpureus
57786Sparrow   CapePasser   melanurus
58646Cisticola   Levaillant’sCisticola   tinniens
59509Martin   Brown-throatedRiparia   paludicola
6050Cormorant   ReedPhalacrocorax   africanus
6169Night-Heron   Black-crownedNycticorax   nycticorax
62192Guineafowl   HelmetedNumida   meleagris
6396Duck   Yellow-billedAnas   undulata
641Ostrich   CommonStruthio   camelus
65859Canary   Yellow-frontedCrithagra   mozambicus
66501Swallow   Red-breastedHirundo   semirufa
67601Eremomela   Burnt-neckedEremomela   usticollis
68552Thrush   KurrichaneTurdus   libonyanus
69424Hornbill   African GreyTockus   nasutus
70837Firefinch   Red-billedLagonosticta   senegala
71390Mousebird   SpeckledColius   striatus
72622Apalis   Bar-throatedApalis   thoracica
73588Scrub-Robin   White-browedCercotrichas   leucophrys
74712Puffback   Black-backedDryoscopus   cubla
7581Ibis   African SacredThreskiornis   aethiopicus
76228Jacana   AfricanActophilornis   africanus
77495Swallow   White-throatedHirundo   albigularis
7889Goose   EgyptianAlopochen   aegyptiacus
79102Pochard   SouthernNetta   erythrophthalma
80212Coot   Red-knobbedFulica   cristata
81210Moorhen   CommonGallinula   chloropus
8262Heron   SquaccoArdeola   ralloides
8357Heron   PurpleArdea   purpurea
846Grebe   LittleTachybaptus   ruficollis
8547Cormorant   White-breastedPhalacrocorax   carbo
8694Shoveler   CapeAnas   smithii
8752Darter   AfricanAnhinga   rufa
8897Teal   Red-billedAnas   erythrorhyncha
89264Sandpiper   WoodTringa   glareola
90269Avocet   PiedRecurvirostra   avosetta
91208Swamphen   African PurplePorphyrio   madagascariensis
92860Canary   Black-throatedCrithagra   atrogularis
93846Whydah   Pin-tailedVidua   macroura
94270Stilt   Black-wingedHimantopus   himantopus
954142Sparrow   Southern Grey-headedPasser   diffusus
96149Fish-Eagle   AfricanHaliaeetus   vocifer
974131Coucal   Burchell’sCentropus   burchellii
98138Eagle   Long-crestedLophaetus   occipitalis
9972Hamerkop   HamerkopScopus   umbretta
100735Starling   WattledCreatophora   cinerea
10198Teal   CapeAnas   capensis
102253Stint   LittleCalidris   minuta
10399Teal   HottentotAnas   hottentota
104250Snipe   AfricanGallinago   nigripennis
105504Cliff-Swallow   South AfricanHirundo   spilodera
106409Bee-eater   White-frontedMerops   bullockoides
107256Ruff   RuffPhilomachus   pugnax
108665Flycatcher   FiscalSigelus   silens
10983Ibis   GlossyPlegadis   falcinellus
110130Kite   Black-shoulderedElanus   caeruleus
111650Prinia   Black-chestedPrinia   flavicans
112607Warbler   MarshAcrocephalus   palustris
113263Greenshank   CommonTringa   nebularia
114818Widowbird   Long-tailedEuplectes   progne
115609Rush-Warbler   LittleBradypterus baboecala

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