The Limpopo Province, with its vast unexplored areas and diverse habitats, offers one of the most exciting birding destinations in Southern Africa. Habitats range from vast tracts of montane grassland to afro-temperate forests, bushveld and wetlands. There have been over 600 species recorded in the province to date.
The Eastern Escarpment (including Magoebaskloof) and the Soutpansberg mountain range create relief in the landscape which allows for the development of afro-temperate forests, with Cape Parrot, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Barratt’s Warbler, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, and Orange Ground Thrush. While the eastern lower slopes and valleys of Magoebaskloof provide reliable sites for the elusive Bat Hawk and Green Twinspot.
Spotted Ground-thrush Zoothera guttata ©Ian Merrill Birding Ecotours
The lowland rivers such as the Limpopo, Levubu and Letaba rivers form corridors for species normally associated with coastal forests with birds such as Mottled Spinetail, Lemon-breasted Canary, Pel’s Fishing Owl and White-fronted Plover on them.
Leopard Panthera pardus ©John Tinkler Birding Ecotours
Nylsvley is one of the best known wetlands in South Africa and due to its importance for birds has been declared a RAMSAR site. The area has over 365 bird species recorded, with 104 of these being water birds. The flood plain is inundated every two to four years and when it floods, several rare and endangered water birds breed here. All three of the bittern species occur and breed here and all of the southern African herons have been recorded here. The largest recorded breeding concentrations in South Africa of Great Egret, Black Heron, Squacco Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron occur at Nylsvley. Streaky breasted Flufftail have been recorded here and Striped Crake and Lesser Moorhen and Allan’s Gallinule breed here too. Pygmy Goose, White-backed Duck and Comb Duck are some of the 15 duck and goose species that occur at Nylsvley in the wet years.
©Martin Benadie Birding Ecotours
Many different kinds of woodland and bushveld types are found within the province hosting an incredible variety of birds including Crimson-breasted Shrike, African Wren-Warbler, Short-clawed Lark and Black-faced Waxbill. There are a number of species that are easier to find in the Limpopo Province than in the rest of the country. These are Short-clawed Lark, Shelley’s Francolin, Grey-headed Parrot, African Broadbill & Crested Guineafowl. In addition to this, many Central and East African bird species reach their southern-most distribution here and thus will not be found anywhere else in the country. These include species such as Black-fronted Bush Shrike, Arnott’s Chat, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Racket-tailed Roller, Senegal Coucal and Tropical Boubou.
Cape Starling Lamprotornis nitens ©James Reveley Birding Ecotours
The province has three National Parks and numerous provincial and municipal reserves within its borders. Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe and Maraklele National Parks are visited by hundreds of birdwatchers every year. Provincial Nature Reserves and Municipal Reserves are important sites for bird conservation. For example Blouberg Nature Reserve which is the home to one of the largest Cape Vulture breeding colonies in Southern Africa and Polokwane Nature Reserves has healthy populations of Short-clawed Lark.
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos © John Tinkler Birding Ecotours
Because Limpopo Province has tracts of relatively unexplored habitats as well as its more famous sites, intrepid birders are fortunate to have the opportunity to make exiting discoveries wherever they venture.
Kruger National Park (Map)
The world-famous Kruger National Park is situated in the north-eastern corner of South Africa, it is famous for its great diversity of carnivores, large mammals and other wildlife. (See the Kruger destination page)
Text Source: Fatbirder
Map Source: Googlemaps™
Photo Source: © Birding Ecotours