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Birding in Groenkloof (Head Office)

Although the grounds of the SANParks head office are small in area and limited in habitat diversity, a visit here can be rewarding.

The offices’ gardens provide an excellent opportunity to view some interesting species in sub-urban Pretoria . The location atop the Muckleneuk Ridge allows for an interesting influx of woodland and bushveld species.

Hadeda Ibis, Grey Go-away Bird (Lourie), Green (Red-billed) Woodhoopoe, Crested Barbet, Dark-capped (Black-eyed) Bulbul, Cape White-eye, Fiscal Shrike and Fiscal Flycatcher are some of the more prominent species. White-bellied and Amethyst (Black) Sunbird should be looked for feeding on the garden’s aloes. Cape and White-throated Robin-chat, Southern Boubou and Karoo Thrush frequent the dense undergrowth. Red-winged and Glossy Starlings are plentiful. Less familiar sub-urban birds such as Red-throated Wryneck, Arrow-marked Babbler and Grey Hornbill all regularly frequent the trees and lawn area immediately left of the entrance gate, leading to the administration offices. Thick-billed Weaver breed in the reeds adjacent the pond above the canteen area. Cardinal Woodpecker, Brown-backed Honeybird (Sharp-billed Honeyguide) and Fairy Flycatcher are also found but are less regularly seen, while Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle,Peregrine Falcon and Rock Kestrel have been recorded overhead. In summer, Jacobin, Red-chested, Black and Diderick Cuckoo have all been recorded. White-fronted Bee-eater and Crimson-breasted Shrike are 2 of the more colourful visitors that have been seen. Jameson’s Firefinch frequent the dense undergrowth behind the staff parking and used to come to a bird table where seed was put out for them.

(For more birding information and park bird checklist, go to Information for Birders)