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Birders

Birding on Kruger's Wilderness Trails

Kruger has 7 Wilderness Trails spread over the length of the park. These trails allow up to 8 guests to spend 3 nights in rustic camps and go out on morning and afternoon walks in the company of experienced and armed trail leaders, with back-up rifles as added security. It is as close to nature, to tracking wildlife, big and small as one can get. For the birding purist it offers a never to be forgotten chance to observe birds in their natural habitat and in the case of some of the more reclusive species, to go to their known haunts with excellent chances of special sightings.

Please note: Nyalaland has the most species diversity and local specials. This should not discount the other trails for birds because it is the walking that is the key here. Walking is the ideal way to do birding, as it frees one from vehicle limitations and it takes place in exclusive areas free from disturbance associated in high density tourist areas. A comprehensive bird list is available at the trails camps.

The following is an account of some of the special birding attractions for both South Africa and for Kruger of each of the 7 trails.

For more general information on the trails go to Wilderness Trails.

Nyalaland

White Pelican; Black Stork; African Cuckoo Hawk; Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle; African Crowned Eagle; African Goshawk; Peregrine Falcon; Rock Kestrel; Dickinson's Kestrel; Crested Guinea fowl; Common Moorhen; African Finfoot; White-crowned Lapwing (Plover); Three-banded Courser; Grey-headed (Cape) Parrot; African Wood-Owl; Pel's Fishing Owl; Horus Swift; Mottled & Böhm's Spinetail; Blue-cheeked Bee-eater; Crowned Hornbill; Fawn-coloured Lark; Mosque Swallow; African Golden Oriole; Yellowbellied Greenbul (Bulbul); Eastern (Yellow-spotted) Nicator; Familiar Chat; Arnot's Chat; Bearded Scrub Robin; Green-capped Eremomela; Grey-backed Camaroptera (Bleating Warbler); Black-throated Wattle-eye (Wattle-eyed Flycatcher); Long-tailed Wagtail; Striped Pipit; Tropical Boubou; Gorgeous Bush-shrike; Meve’s (Long-tailed) Starling; Yellow-billed Oxpecker; Yellow White-eye; Pink-throated Twinspot ; Lemon-breasted Canary and Streaky-headed Seedeater (Canary).

Birders should clearly state their interests to their ranger host at the commencement of the trail, or communicate in writing beforehand. Walks can be arranged to look in 'known' localities for specials like the Pel's Fishing Owl and the Finfoot. The Mottled Spinetail is a resident in the Trails camp.

Olifants

Ostrich; African Goshawk; Peregrine Falcon; Crested Guineafowl; Corncrake; Common Moorhen; Greater Painted-Snipe; White-crowned Lapwing (Plover); Pel's Fishing Owl; Horus Swift; Crowned Hornbill; Mosque Swallow; Pearl-breasted Swallow; Grey-rumped Swallow; Brown-throated Martin; Yellowbellied Greenbul (Bulbul); Eastern (Yellow-spotted) Nicator; Bearded Scrub Robin; Rufous-winged (Black-backed) Cisticola; Marico Flycatcher and Streaky-headed Seedeater (Canary).

Birders should clearly state their interests to their ranger host at the commencement of the trail, or communicate in writing beforehand. Walks can be arranged to look in 'known' localities for specials like Pel's Fishing Owl. There are a reasonable number of sightings of this bird throughout the year, but no guarantee can be offered.

Sweni

Ostrich; Black-crowned and White-backed Night Herons; Montagu's and Pallid Harrier; Corncrake; Common Moorhen; Kori Bustard; Temminck's Courser; Mourning Dove; Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl; Blue-cheeked Bee-eater; Mosque Swallow; Olive-tree Warbler; Desert Cisticola; Marico Flycatcher; Fiscal Flycatcher; Yellow-crowned (Golden) Bishop; African Quail-Finch and Orange-breasted Waxbill.

This trail area is situated on open plains and is well characterised by a high density of raptors. Birders should clearly state their interests to their ranger host at the commencement of the trail, or in writing beforehand.

Metsi Metsi

Ostrich; Black-crowned and White-backed Night Herons; African Pygmy-Goose; Montagu's and Pallid Harrier; Shelley's Francolin; Allen’s (Lesser) Gallinule; Lesser Moorhen; Kori Bustard; Senegal (Lesser Black-winged) Plover; Black Coucal; Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl; Mosque Swallow; Yellowbellied Greenbul (Bulbul); Olive-tree Warbler; Desert Cisticola; Rufous-winged (Black-backed) and Croaking Cisticola; Striped Pipit; and Orange-breasted Waxbill.

Birders should clearly state their interests to their ranger host at the commencement of the trail or communicate beforehand in writing. Leeupan is en route and a stop over there in season can produce several Kruger wet year specials.

Napi

African Barred Owlet; Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl; Pennant-winged Nightjar; Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird (Tinker Barbet); Grey Penduline Tit; Groundscraper Thrush; Yellowbellied Eremomela; Croaking and Lazy Cisticola; Bushveld Pipit; Amethyst (Black) Sunbird; Fantailed (Red-shouldered) and Red-collared Widowbirds; and Green Twinspot.

Napi and the other two Southern trails are excellent for real woodland\bushveld birding. Birders should clearly state their interests to their ranger host at the commencement of the trail, or do so in writing beforehand.

Wolhuter

Black-crowned and White-backed Night Herons; Lizard Buzzard; Lanner Falcon; Osprey; Yellow-fronted Tinker Barbet; Red-throated Wryneck; Groundscraper Thrush; Familiar Chat; Mocking Cliff-Chat; Croaking and Lazy Cisticola; Pale (Pallid) Flycatcher; Striped and Bushveld Pipit; Fiscal Shrike; Gorgeous Bush-shrike; Black Sunbird; Thick-billed Weaver; Red-collared Widowbird; Green Twinspot; African (Blue-billed) Firefinch; Swee Waxbill; Red-backed Mannikin; and Streaky-headed Seedeater (Canary).

The most important bird here is the Red-billed Oxpecker, an early warning for ever present White rhino. Wolhuter is fortunate to have a big dam, which accounts for regular sightings of Osprey. Birders should clearly state their interests to their ranger host at the start of the trail, or in writing beforehand.

Bushman

African Black Duck; Cuckoo Hawk; African Crowned Eagle; Jackal Buzzard; Lizard Buzzard; Shelley's Francolin; Wattled Lapwing (Plover); Freckled Nightjar; Broad-billed Roller; Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird (Tinker Barbet); Scaly-throated Honeyguide; Red-throated Wryneck; Rock Martin; Grey-rumped Swallow; Grey Penduline Tit; Mocking Cliff and Familiar Chats; Green-capped and Yellow-bellied Eremomela; Croaking and Lazy Cisticola; Pale (Pallid) Flycatcher; Long-tailed Wagtail; Striped and Bushveld Pipit; Amethyst (Black) Sunbird; Cuckoo Finch; Fantailed (Red-shouldered) and Red-collared Widowbirds; Green Twinspot; African (Blue-billed) Firefinch; Red-backed Mannikin; and Streaky-headed Seedeater (Canary).

Bushman is situated on the western boundary of the park and is on a higher altitude than the rest of the park, which accounts for a lot of unusual Kruger sightings. Birders should clearly state their interests to their ranger host at the start of the trail or do so in writing beforehand.