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Alex’s Bird Chirp No. 5 – Twinspot Family

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Twinspot Family

There are three species of Twinspot, of which two can be found on our reserve. The Green Twinspot and the Pink-throated Twinspot.

Although the Twinspots are of similar size to the Waxbills, they differ by building oval nests with dark skeletonised leaves, rootlets and moss and not round ball-like nests with grass. The Pink throated Twinspot is also an  endemic resident to the Southern Africa region, occurring only from Southern Mozambique through Eastern Eswatini, down to the Northern Kwazulu-Natal coastline. Interestingly, the generic name for this pretty bird, “Hypargos” means “processing 100 eyes below” referring to the 100-eyed giant in Greek mythology. And “Margaritatus” meaning “adorned with pearls”.

The Pink throated Twinspot is easily identified by its pink face, throat, breast and rump. It has a brown crown and back. Other than the Green Twinspot it favours dry tropical and sub-tropical thickets, dense woodland and forest edges.

Females have a more greyish tone to their head and throat.

The Green Twinspot is a small and shy forest specie found in the eastern parts of Southern Africa where it spends its time in moist forests, as well as woodland and coastal scrub in winter. Its insect-like call, green upperparts and, in the case of the male, its red face, separate it from the Pink throated Twinspot.

The Pink throated Twinspot has often been seen in the reserve, especially at the lodges where there are feeders or water. The Green Twinspot, however, has not been recorded on the reserve as  yet (as at June 2020). We have mixed woodland and savanna occurring on the reserve, but not the ideal habitat of moist forest (closed-canopy, lush evergreen >20m height and thick undergrowth) which these birds prefer. Even though they have been recorded elsewhere in Eswatini it will be interesting to know whether we have them or not at Royal Jozini.

As at June 2020, we have added twelve more species of birds to our list, kindly given to us by a visitor staying at lodge 78. This brings our total to 274 species out of a possible of 468.

Our new entries are Bronze winged Courser, Gabar Goshawk, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Rock Martin, African Yellow White Eye, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Orange breasted Waxbill, Little Swift, Brown Headed Parrot, Yellow throated Bush  Sparrow, African Marsh Harrier and Burnt-neck Eremomela. The Orange breasted Waxbill was spotted at Kaden’s Pan as expected and this seems to be a good spot for birds favouring denser cover and tall grass.

See our latest birding list here