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Although bird numbers are not always impressive (compared to the bird rich eastern and northern parts of South Africa), the Table Mountain National Park’s cumulative bird list is a large one and there are several endemic species.

The diversity of habitats present (ocean, shoreline, cliff-face, rocky highland, fynbos, forest and suburbia) contributes to the large species count, as does the geographical positioning at a continent’s corner, which means many vagrants swell the list, due to weather conditions blowing stray birds or miscalculated flight journeys on the part of individual birds. Please note that this list is not all inclusive.

In fynbos regions one should search for Grey-backed Cisticola (Cisticola subruficapilla), Karoo Prinia (Prinia maculosa), Cape Sugarbird (Pomerops cafer), Orange-breasted (Nectarina violacea), Malachite (Nectarina famosa) and Lesser Double Collared (Nectarina chalybea) sunbirds. Cape Siskin (Pseudochloroptila totta), Cape Rock-thrush (Monticola rupestris) and Ground Woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus) should be looked for in rocky areas at higher elevation.

Birds of Prey should also be looked for overhead in higher altitude areas. Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle (Aquila verreauxii), Jackal (Buteo rufofuscus) and Steppe (Buteo buteo vulpinus) buzzards, Rock Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), and Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus) should all be scanned for.

In forest patches look for Sombre Bulbul (Andropadus importanus), Olive Thrush (Turdis olivaceus), Cape Batis (Batis capensis), Dusky (Muscicapa adusta) and Paradise flycatchers (Terpsiphone viridis), African Olive/ Rameron Pigeon (Columba arquatrix) and Cinnamon Dove (Aplopelia larvata).

African Wood-Owl (Strix woodfordii) are often present in forest areas as are Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk (Accipiter rufiventris) and African Goshawk (Accipiter tachiro). Dense thicket on forest fringes is the haunt of the Knysna Warbler (Bradypterus sylvaticus).

One of the birding highlights of the peninsula is the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) colony at Boulders Beach. Other seabird’s include: Cape Gannet (Morus capensis), Black-browed Albatross (Diomedea melanophris), Sooty Shearwater, White-chinned and Giant petrels can be seen all year round when strong winds bring the birds closer to shore.

In winter look out for the Shy (Diomedea cauta) and Yellow-nosed (Diomedea chlororhynchos) albatross and Pintado Petrel (Daption capense).

Along the Peninsula coastline, the endangered African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini) can be found as well as four resident species of cormorant namely – Crowned (Phalacrocorax coronatus), Bank (Phalacrocorax neglectus), White-breasted (Phalacrocorax carbo) and Cape Cormorant (Phalacrocorax capensis). Kelp (Larus dominicanus), Hartlaub’s (Larus hartlaubii) and Black-headed (Larus ridibundus) gulls are abundant throughout.

View/Download the Birding Checklist (Cape of Good Hope Section)