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Bird Watching

Birds at Royal Jozini Private Game Reserve in southern eSwatini

Because Royal Jozini has such diverse eco systems within its boundaries – from mountain (The Lebombo’s) to wetland (Lake Jozini) with savannah and bushveld as well, there are a vast number of bird species that can be seen from time to time.

Swaziland boasts sightings of some 503 species – (507 with introduced species like ostriches) and there are three that no longer occur in Swaziland at all. These are the Wattled Crane, the Kori Bustard and the Yellow-billed Oxpecker.  52 of those 507 are regarded as rare or “accidental”.

The water birds often seen are Grebes (3 types), Cormorant and Darter, Bittern, Heron and Egrets, Hammerkop, Ibis and Spoonbill, Storks, Ducks and Geese, as well as the “water lily walking” Jacanas.

Then we get the raptors, Osprey and the African Fish Eagle (who doesn’t get a thrill at it’s haunting call?) plus 37 other species of eagles, kites, vultures, hawks, buzzards and harriers.

In the 1970’s I remember when we drove throughout Southern Africa, we would often see Secretary Birds in the fields and the bush as we traversed the countryside – but over the years, the sighting of these magnificent birds has become rare. We were thrilled to see a pair at Royal Jozini, right on the border of the Pongola Game reserve recently.

There are Falcons and 10 species of Pheasants and Partridges in Swaziland, as well as Helmeted and Crowned Guinea fowl.

There are Cranes and Crakes,  Rails, Gallinules and Coots, Flufftails and Finfoots, Bustards and Buttonquails and a myriad of wading birds.

And that’s not even half of them!