Mossel Bay, RSA, Malaria Free

The Bird Life at Nyaru Game Lodge

Nyaru Game Lodge is an outstanding birding spot, located on the western edge of the Garden Route Area of South Africa. The lodge is positioned on the banks of the ephemeral Matjiespoort River, and in front of the lodge is a reed bed which is home to a colony of Cape Weavers and Southern Red Bishops that can keep you entertained for hours as they build their intricately woven nests out of strips of reed that they collect in the reed beds. A number of bird feeders have been placed near the lodge’s swimming pool area, and these attracts an array of birds including Yellow Bishops, Common Waxbills and Pin-tailed Whydah. The nectar feeders attract a variety of sunbirds such as the Amethyst Sunbird, the Greater Double-collared Sunbird, the Malachite Sunbird and the Southern Double-collard Sunbird. The 500 hectare nature reserve on which the lodge is situated protects a rich variety plant and animal life including several notable vegetation types namely and their associated bird species.

Surrounding the lodge is Southern Cape Valley Thicket, that is found all the way along the banks of the Matjiespoort River and its tributaries; and which is home to Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Boubou, Olive Bushshike, Southern Tchagra, Fiscal Flycatcher, Black Cuckooshrike, Klaas’s Cuckoo and Jacobin Cuckoo. Mossel Bay Shale Renosterveld and Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos (which are both endangered vegetation types) are found and the slopes and crests of the hills bordering the valley as well as along the ridge that marks the boundaries of the catchment. The Fynbos surrounding the valley is the habitat of Cape Sugarbird, Malachite Sunbird, Protea Canary, Cape Grassbird and Victorin’s Warbler; while the Renosterveld and the areas of old pastures, that have been transformed to grasslands, are home to the near-threatened Agulhas Long-billed Lark as well as several other interesting birds such as the Blue Crane, the Karoo Scrub-robin, and the Cape Clapper Lark. There is a large dam on the reserve with extensive reed beds which is home to Malachite Kingfisher, Cape Weaver, Little Rush Warbler, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Yellow Bishop, Common Moorhen, Little Grebe and Egyptian Goose. Several species of raptors (also known as birds of prey) have been recoded, including the African Fish Eagle, the Jackal Buzzard, the Steppe Buzzard and the African Goshawk.

A recently conducted research project has been undertaken to determine the species richness and the status of the birdlife to be found at Nyaru Game Lodge. This project aimed to give birdwatchers an idea of the likelihood that they have of seeing any particular bird species during their stay at Nyaru. Therefore, the study was designed to determine the preserved abundance rather than the actual abundance of each specific bird species. For example, even though there may be only 3 Egyptian Geese on the reserve at any given time – you are highly likely to encounter them because of their relatively large size and thus they are given the status of being “abundant”; but on the other hand, even though there may be as many as half a dozen pairs of Cape Penduline-tits on the reserve – because of their small size they are easily overlooked, thus having been given the status of being “rare”. The research project concluded that Nyaru Game Lodge has a bird species richness of over 120 species of which 60 are listed as being at least fairly common. As a matter of fact, 77 bird species were recorded during one day of intensive birdwatching. A bird check list was compiled as a result of the project, and by clicking on BIRD CHECK LIST (click to download) you can download Nyaru’s comprehensive bird list to whet your appetite for birdwatching at Nyaru Game Lodge!

Some of Nyaru’s really special bird species include:

  • South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane is often encountered
  • 5 different species of shrike have been recorded namely: Bokmakierie, Southern Tchagra, Southern Boubou, Common Fiscal and Olive Bushshrike
  • 3 endemic lark species can be found namely: Large-billed Lark, Cape Clapper Lark, and Agulhas Long-billed Lark (which is a near-threatened species)
  • Seasonally, when the Proteas are in flower, Protea Canary and Cape Sugarbird are found in the Fynbos
  • Jackal Buzzard and Steppe Buzzard are often seen flying overhead
  • A pair of Cape Rock-thrush live at the main lodge and can be seen sitting on the roof!