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April 04, 2014

10 Brilliant Bird-watching Spots in Cape Town

Birding is just for grey-haired Ornithologists studying migrating patterns of some peculiar species, right? Wrong!
Whether you are looking at ticking-off some seriously rare birds from your life-list, or just want to enjoy a casual outing spotting some beautiful feathered creatures - Cape Town is an amazing destination to do just that.

Birding in Cape Town is a fun and interesting activity, enjoyed by young and old. Image: Leani Jansen van Vuuren.

Did you know that the Cape Sugarbird, yes that bird that locals casually spot whilst rambling through the fynbos, is actually a very sought-after species that is endemic only to this area?
With more than 610 bird species recorded in Cape Town, and 60 of Southern Africa’s 86 endemic birds found in the Western Cape, it is well worth grabbing your bird-book and binoculars and go on a mission around the Mother City in search of some significant sights.

The Cape Sugarbird is a fynbos specialist, found only in this region. Image: Anton Odendal.

Rare species on our doorstep

Because of our diverse range of unique vegetation, certain birds can be found only in the Western Province, such as the Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, Victorin's Warbler, Protea Seedeater, Black Harrier, Forest Canary and the Benguela current specials. Another significant sighting is South Africa’s National bird, the beautiful Blue Crane that is currently a vulnerable species and that can be spotted around the Cape Whale Coast - sometimes even along the N2 highway if you are lucky.

Start making your wish list now, pack a picnic basket and head off to one these fabulous birding areas in and around the Mother City:

10 brilliant bird-watching spots in #lovecapetown

1. Table Mountain National Park
Spot these three: Cape Sugarbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Protea Seedeater.

The Orange-breasted Sunbird can be spotted in Table Mountain National Park and Kirstenbosch Gardens. Image: Anton Odendal.

2. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Spot these three: Orange-breasted Sunbird, Cape Bulbul, Forest Canary.

3. West Coast National Park and the Langebaan Lagoon
Spot these three: Greater and Lesser flamingo, African Black Oystercatcher, Black Harrier.

4. Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach
Spot these three: African Penguin, Crowned Cormorants & White-backed Mousebird.

The African Penquin is endemic to the Western Cape and can be spotted at Boulder's Beach. Image: Anton Odendal.

5. Intaka Island, Century City
Spot these three: Malachite Kingfisher, Karoo Robin, Yellow-billed Egret.

6. Strandfontein Sewage Works
3 Birds to spot: Hartlaub’s Gull, Great White Pelican, African Marsh Harrier.

7. Cape Pelagics Birding Cruises
Spot these three: Arctic Terns, Shy Albatross, Sub-Antarctic Skua.

8. Rondevlei Nature Reserve & Cape Flats-wetland
Spot these three: African Spoonbill, White Stork, European Shoveller.

9. Suburban gardens and parks
Spot these three: Cape Siskin, Greater Striped Swallow, Cape Sparrow.

10. World of Birds, Hout Bay
Spot these three: Saddle-billed Stork, Ground Hornbill, Verreaux Eagle Owl.

Fantastic bird-routes one hour from #lovecapetown

1. Winelands
Click here to download your check-list specifically for this region.

2. Overberg
Click here to download your check-list specifically for this region.

3. West Coast
Click here to download your check-list specifically for this region.

At our wetlands, dams and riviers some special waterbirds can be seen. Image: Leani Jansen van Vuuren.

Other great birding areas that can be reached via a three hour drive from the city, includes the dryer Karoo region and the Garden Route with its wetter forest-vegetation, both promising amazing sightings specific to the areas.

For more information on birding routes, endemic species and to book tours or birding courses, visit www.westerncapebirding.co.za.

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