List of birds of South Africa

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This article concerns the list of birds from South Africa (country). For the list of birds from Southern Africa (region), see List of Southern African birds.
Southern bald ibis, a vulnerable endemic species

South Africa is a large country, ranked 25th by size in the world, and is situated in the temperate latitudes and subtropics. Due to a range of climate types present, a patchwork of unique habitat types occur, which contribute to its biodiversity and level of endemism. This list incorporates the mainland and nearshore islands and waters only. The submerged though ecologically important Agulhas Bank is for most part inside its territorial waters. Offshore, South Africa's territory includes the Prince Edward Islands in the Subantarctic Indian Ocean.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2016 edition.[1] Taxonomic changes are on-going. As more research is gathered from studies of distribution, behaviour and DNA, the order and number of families and species may change. Furthermore, different approaches to ornithological nomenclature have led to concurrent systems of classification (see Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy and IOU taxonomy).

Unless otherwise noted, the list is that of BirdLife South Africa.[2] Notes in the status column are also from this source. Notes of population status, such as "Endangered", refer to the worldwide population, not the South African part of it. Unless otherwise noted in the "status" column, the species is a resident or regularly-occurring migrant.

"Vagrant" means the species rarely or accidentally occurs in South Africa. "Endemic" means the species is found only in South Africa. "SLS endemic" means the species is found only in South Africa and the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland. Lesotho is surrounded by South Africa and Swaziland nearly so.

This list contains 839 species, of which 18 are endemic, 20 are SLS endemic, and 11 have been introduced by humans. Of the 839, 115 are considered vagrants.

Contents

Ostriches[edit]

Order: Struthioniformes   Family: Struthionidae

Ostriches are flightless birds native to Africa. They are the largest living species of bird. They are distinctive in appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at high speeds.

Common name Binomial Status
Common ostrich Struthio camelus

Ducks, geese, and waterfowl[edit]

Fulvous whistling-duck

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds adapted to an aquatic existence, with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.

Common name Binomial Status
White-faced whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata
Fulvous whistling-duck Dendrocygna bicolor
White-backed duck Thalassornis leuconotus
Mute swan Cygnus olor Introduced
Comb duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
South African shelduck Tadorna cana
Spur-winged goose Plectropterus gambensis
African pygmy-goose Nettapus auritus
African black duck Anas sparsa
Yellow-billed duck Anas undulata
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Introduced
Cape shoveler Anas smithii
Red-billed duck Anas erythrorhyncha
Northern pintail Anas acuta
Hottentot teal Anas hottentota
Garganey Anas querquedula
Cape teal Anas capensis
Southern pochard Netta erythrophthalma
Maccoa duck Oxyura maccoa Near threatened

Guineafowl[edit]

Helmeted guineafowl

Order: Galliformes   Family: Numididae

The guineafowl are a family of birds native to Africa. They typically eat insects and seeds, are ground-nesting, and resemble partridges, except with featherless heads.

Common name Binomial Status
Helmeted guineafowl Numida meleagris
Crested guineafowl Guttera pucherani

Pheasants, partridges, and allies[edit]

Common quail

Order: Galliformes   Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds consisting of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowl, and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump and have broad, relatively short wings.

Common name Binomial Status
Indian peafowl Pavo cristatus Introduced
Common quail Coturnix coturnix
Harlequin quail Coturnix delegorguei
Chukar Alectoris chukar Introduced
Red-billed francolin Pternistis adspersus
Cape francolin Pternistis capensis
Natal francolin Pternistis natalensis
Swainson's francolin Pternistis swainsonii
Red-necked francolin Pternistis afer
Crested francolin Francolinus sephaena
Coqui francolin Peliperdix coqui
Red-winged francolin Scleroptila levaillantii
Orange River francolin Scleroptila gutturalis
Gray-winged francolin Scleroptila africanus SLS endemic
Shelley's francolin Scleroptila shelleyi

Grebes[edit]

Order: Podicipediformes   Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land.

Common name Binomial Status
Little grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Great crested grebe Podiceps cristatus
Eared grebe Podiceps nigricollis

Flamingos[edit]

Order: Phoenicopteriformes   Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingos are large gregarious wading birds found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down.

Common name Binomial Status
Greater flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
Lesser flamingo Phoeniconaias minor Near threatened

Penguins[edit]

Jackass penguins

Order: Sphenisciformes   Family: Spheniscidae

The penguins are a group of flightless aquatic birds living almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of marine life caught while swimming underwater.

Common name Binomial Status
King penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus Vagrant
Jackass penguin Spheniscus demersus Endangered
Southern rockhopper penguin Eudyptes chrysocome Vagrant; vulnerable
Moseley's rockhopper penguin Eudyptes moseleyi Vagrant; endangered
Macaroni penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus Vagrant; vulnerable

Albatrosses[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, with those of the genus Diomedea having the largest wingspan of any extant bird.

Common name Binomial Status
Yellow-nosed albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos Endangered
Indian yellow-nosed albatross Thalassarche carteri Endangered
Gray-headed albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma Vagrant; endangered
Buller's albatross Thalassarche bulleri Vagrant; near threatened
White-capped albatross Thalassarche cauta Near threatened
Salvin's albatross Thalassarche salvini Vagrant; vulnerable
Chatham albatross Thalassarche eremita Vagrant; vulnerable
Black-browed albatross Thalassarche melanophrys Near threatened
Sooty albatross Phoebetria fusca Vagrant; endangered
Light-mantled albatross Phoebetria palpebrata Vagrant; near threatened
Royal albatross Diomedea epomophora Vagrant; vulnerable
Wandering albatross Diomedea exulans Vulnerable
Laysan albatross Phoebastria immutabilis Vagrant; near threatened

Shearwaters and petrels[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.

Common name Binomial Status
Southern giant-petrel Macronectes giganteus
Northern giant-petrel Macronectes halli
Southern fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides
Antarctic petrel Thalassoica antarctica Vagrant
Cape petrel Daption capense
Kerguelen petrel Aphrodroma brevirostris Vagrant
Great-winged petrel Pterodroma macroptera
Soft-plumaged petrel Pterodroma mollis
Barau's petrel Pterodroma baraui Vagrant; endangered
White-headed petrel Pterodroma lessonii Vagrant
Atlantic petrel Pterodroma incerta Vagrant; endangered
Blue petrel Halobaena caerulea Vagrant
Fairy prion Pachyptila turtur Vagrant
Broad-billed prion Pachyptila vittata Vagrant
Salvin's prion Pachyptila salvini Vagrant
Antarctic prion Pachyptila desolata
Slender-billed prion Pachyptila belcheri Vagrant
Gray petrel Procellaria cinerea Vagrant; near threatened
White-chinned petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis Vulnerable
Spectacled petrel Procellaria conspicillata Vulnerable
Streaked shearwater Calonectris leucomelas Vagrant; near threatened
Cory's shearwater Calonectris diomedea
Flesh-footed shearwater Ardenna carneipes Near threatened
Great shearwater Ardenna gravis
Wedge-tailed shearwater Ardenna pacifica Vagrant
Sooty shearwater Ardenna grisea Near threatened
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus
Little shearwater Puffinus assimilis Vagrant
Tropical shearwater Puffinus bailloni Vagrant

Storm-petrels[edit]

Wilson's storm-petrel 'pattering' on the ocean surface

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.

Common name Binomial Status
Wilson's storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Gray-backed storm-petrel Garrodia nereis Vagrant
White-faced storm-petrel Pelagodroma marina Vagrant
European storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
White-bellied storm-petrel Fregetta grallaria Vagrant
Black-bellied storm-petrel Fregetta tropica
Leach's storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa Vulnerable
Matsudaira's storm-petrel Oceanodroma matsudairae Vagrant; vulnerable

Tropicbirds[edit]

Order: Phaethontiformes   Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.

Common name Binomial Status
White-tailed tropicbird Phaethon lepturus Vagrant
Red-billed tropicbird Phaethon aethereus Vagrant
Red-tailed tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda Vagrant

Storks[edit]

Black stork

Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory.

Common name Binomial Status
African openbill Anastomus lamelligerus
Black stork Ciconia nigra
Abdim's stork Ciconia abdimii
Woolly-necked stork Ciconia episcopus Vulnerable
White stork Ciconia ciconia
Saddle-billed stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
Marabou stork Leptoptilos crumenifer
Yellow-billed stork Mycteria ibis

Frigatebirds[edit]

Order: Suliformes   Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black, or black-and-white, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have colored inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.

Common name Binomial Status
Lesser frigatebird Fregata ariel Vagrant
Great frigatebird Fregata minor Vagrant

Boobies and gannets[edit]

Breeding colony of Cape gannets

Order: Suliformes   Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium to large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish.

Common name Binomial Status
Brown booby Sula leucogaster Vagrant
Red-footed booby Sula sula Vagrant
Cape gannet Morus capensis Vulnerable
Australasian gannet Morus serrator Vagrant

Cormorants[edit]

Order: Suliformes   Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage coloration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white, and a few being colorful.

Common name Binomial Status
Long-tailed cormorant Microcarbo africanus
Crowned cormorant Microcarbo coronatus Near threatened
Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Cape cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis Endangered
Bank cormorant Phalacrocorax neglectus Endangered

Darters[edit]

Order: Suliformes   Family: Anhingidae

Darters are often called "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark-brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape, and a larger bill than the female. The females have much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving.

Common name Binomial Status
African darter Anhinga rufa

Pelicans[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes.

Common name Binomial Status
Great white pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
Pink-backed pelican Pelecanus rufescens

Hamerkop[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Scopidae

The hamerkop is a medium-sized bird with a long shaggy crest. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. Its plumage is drab-brown all over.

Common name Binomial Status
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta

Herons, egrets, and bitterns[edit]

The Goliath heron is the world's largest species of heron

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons, and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises, and spoonbills.

Common name Binomial Status
Great bittern Botaurus stellaris
Little bittern Ixobrychus minutus
Dwarf bittern Ixobrychus sturmii
Gray heron Ardea cinerea
Black-headed heron Ardea melanocephala
Goliath heron Ardea goliath
Purple heron Ardea purpurea
Great egret Ardea alba
Intermediate egret Mesophoyx intermedia
Little egret Egretta garzetta
Snowy egret Egretta thula Vagrant
Little blue heron Egretta caerulea Vagrant
Slaty egret Egretta vinaceigula Vagrant; vulnerable
Black heron Egretta ardesiaca
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis
Squacco heron Ardeola ralloides
Rufous-bellied heron Ardeola rufiventris
Striated heron Butorides striata
Black-crowned night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax
White-backed night-heron Gorsachius leuconotus

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Hadada ibis

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Threskiornithidae

Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.

Common name Binomial Status
Glossy ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Sacred ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
Southern bald ibis Geronticus calvus SLS endemic; vulnerable
Hadada ibis Bostrychia hagedash
African spoonbill Platalea alba

Secretary-bird[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Sagittariidae

The secretary-bird is a bird of prey easily distinguished from other raptors by its long crane-like legs.

Common name Binomial Status
Secretary-bird Sagittarius serpentarius Vulnerable

Osprey[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Pandionidae

The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.

Common name Binomial Status
Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Hawks, eagles, and kites[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers, and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-shouldered kite Elanus caeruleus
African harrier-hawk Polyboroides typus
Palm-nut vulture Gypohierax angolensis
Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus Near threatened
Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus Vagrant; endangered
European honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus
African cuckoo-hawk Aviceda cuculoides
White-headed vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis Critically endangered
Lappet-faced vulture Torgos tracheliotos Endangered
Hooded vulture Necrosyrtes monachus Critically endangered
White-backed vulture Gyps africanus Critically endangered
Rüppell's griffon Gyps rueppelli Vagrant; critically endangered
Cape griffon Gyps coprotheres Endangered
Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus Near threatened
Black-breasted snake-eagle Circaetus pectoralis
Brown snake-eagle Circaetus cinereus
Fasciated snake-eagle Circaetus fasciolatus Near threatened
Bat hawk Macheiramphus alcinus
Crowned eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus Near threatened
Martial eagle Polemaetus bellicosus Vulnerable
Long-crested eagle Lophaetus occipitalis
Lesser spotted eagle Clanga pomarina
Wahlberg's eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi
Booted eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
Ayres's hawk-eagle Hieraaetus ayresii
Tawny eagle Aquila rapax
Steppe eagle Aquila nipalensis Endangered
Verreaux's eagle Aquila verreauxii
African hawk-eagle Aquila spilogaster
Lizard buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus
Dark chanting-goshawk Melierax metabates
Pale chanting-goshawk Melierax canorus
Gabar goshawk Micronisus gabar
African marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus
African marsh harrier Circus ranivorus
Black harrier Circus maurus Vulnerable
Pallid harrier Circus macrourus Near threatened
Montagu's harrier Circus pygargus
African goshawk Accipiter tachiro
Shikra Accipiter badius
Little sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus
Ovampo sparrowhawk Accipiter ovampensis
Rufous-chested sparrowhawk Accipiter rufiventris
Black goshawk Accipiter melanoleucus
Black kite Milvus migrans
Yellow-billed kite Milvus aegyptius See notes below[note 1][note 2]
African fish-eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
Common buzzard Buteo buteo
Forest buzzard Buteo trizonatus SLS endemic
Red-necked buzzard Buteo auguralis Vagrant
Jackal buzzard Buteo rufofuscus

Bustards[edit]

Rüppell's bustard

Order: Otidiformes   Family: Otididae

Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays.

Common name Binomial Status
Kori bustard Ardeotis kori Near threatened
Ludwig's bustard Neotis ludwigii Endangered
Denham's bustard Neotis denhami Near threatened
White-bellied bustard Eupodotis senegalensis
Blue korhaan Eupodotis caerulescens SLS endemic; near threatened
Karoo bustard Eupodotis vigorsii
Red-crested bustard Eupodotis ruficrista
Black bustard Eupodoti afra Endemic; vulnerable
White-quilled bustard Eupodoti afraoides
Black-bellied bustard Lissotis melanogaster

Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots[edit]

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.

Common name Binomial Status
Corn crake Crex crex
African rail Rallus caerulescens
African crake Crecopsis egregia
Striped crake Amaurornis marginalis
Spotted crake Porzana porzana
Black crake Zapornia flavirostra
Little crake Zapornia parva Vagrant
Baillon's crake Zapornia pusilla
Allen's gallinule Porphyrio alleni
Purple gallinule Porphyrio martinicus Vagrant
African swamphen Porphyrio madagascariensis
Eurasian moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Lesser moorhen Gallinula angulata
Red-knobbed coot Fulica cristata

Flufftails[edit]

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Sarothruridae

Common name Binomial Status
Buff-spotted flufftail Sarothrura elegans
Red-chested flufftail Sarothrura rufa
Streaky-breasted flufftail Sarothrura boehmi Vagrant
Striped flufftail Sarothrura affinis
White-winged flufftail Sarothrura ayresi Critically endangered

Finfoots[edit]

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Heliornithidae

Heliornithidae is a small family of tropical birds with webbed lobes on their feet similar to those of grebes and coots.

Common name Binomial Status
African finfoot Podica senegalensis

Cranes[edit]

Blue crane

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged, and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances".

Common name Binomial Status
Gray crowned-crane Balearica regulorum Endangered
Blue crane Anthropoides paradiseus Vulnerable
Wattled crane Bugeranus carunculatus Vulnerable

Sheathbills[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Chionidae

Common name Binomial Status
Snowy sheathbill Chionis alba Vagrant

Thick-knees[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Burhinidae

The stone-curlews and thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow-black bills, large yellow eyes, and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats.

Common name Binomial Status
Water thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus
Spotted thick-knee Burhinus capensis

Stilts and avocets[edit]

Black-winged stilt

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus
Pied avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Oystercatchers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus Vagrant; near threatened
African oystercatcher Haematopus moquini Near threatened

Plovers and lapwings[edit]

Nesting blacksmith lapwing

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short thick necks, and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-bellied plover Pluvialis squatarola
American golden-plover Pluvialis dominica Vagrant
Pacific golden-plover Pluvialis fulva Vagrant
Long-toed lapwing Vanellus crassirostris Vagrant
Blacksmith lapwing Vanellus armatus
White-headed lapwing Vanellus albiceps
Senegal lapwing Vanellus lugubris
Black-winged lapwing Vanellus melanopterus
Crowned lapwing Vanellus coronatus
Wattled lapwing Vanellus senegallus
Lesser sand-plover Charadrius mongolus
Greater sand-plover Charadrius leschenaultii
Caspian plover Charadrius asiaticus
Kittlitz's plover Charadrius pecuarius
Common ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula
Three-banded plover Charadrius tricollaris
White-fronted plover Charadrius marginatus
Chestnut-banded plover Charadrius pallidus Near threatened

Painted-snipes[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Rostratulidae

Painted-snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly colored.

Common name Binomial Status
Greater painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis

Jacanas[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Jacanidae

The jacanas are a group of waders found throughout the tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat.

Common name Binomial Status
Lesser jacana Microparra capensis
African jacana Actophilornis africanus

Sandpipers and allies[edit]

Marsh sandpiper

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers, and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Common name Binomial Status
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata Near threatened
Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa Vagrant; near threatened
Hudsonian godwit Limosa haemastica Vagrant
Bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica Near threatened
Ruddy turnstone Arenaria interpres
Great knot Calidris tenuirostris Vagrant; endangered
Red knot Calidris canutus Near threatened
Ruff Calidris pugnax
Broad-billed sandpiper Calidris falcinellus Vagrant
Curlew sandpiper Calidris ferruginea Near threatened
Temminck's stint Calidris temminckii Vagrant
Long-toed stint Calidris subminuta Vagrant
Red-necked stint Calidris ruficollis Vagrant; near threatened
Sanderling Calidris alba
Dunlin Calidris alpina Vagrant
Baird's sandpiper Calidris bairdii Vagrant
Little stint Calidris minuta
White-rumped sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis Vagrant
Buff-breasted sandpiper Calidris subruficollis Vagrant; near threatened
Pectoral sandpiper Calidris melanotos Vagrant
Asian dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus Vagrant; near threatened
Great snipe Gallinago media Vagrant; near threatened
African snipe Gallinago nigripennis
Terek sandpiper Xenus cinereus
Wilson's phalarope Phalaropus tricolor Vagrant
Red-necked phalarope Phalaropus lobatus Vagrant; near-threatened
Red phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius
Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Spotted redshank Tringa erythropus Vagrant
Common greenshank Tringa nebularia
Lesser yellowlegs Tringa flavipes Vagrant
Marsh sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Wood sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common redshank Tringa totanus

Buttonquail[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Turnicidae

The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young.

Common name Binomial Status
Small buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus
Hottentot buttonquail Turnix hottentotta Endemic

Crab plover[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Dromadidae

Common name Binomial Status
Crab plover Dromas ardeola Vagrant

Pratincoles and coursers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Glareolidae

Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings, and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings, and long, pointed bills which curve downwards.

Common name Binomial Status
Burchell's courser Cursorius rufus
Temminck's courser Cursorius temminckii
Double-banded courser Smutsornis africanus
Three-banded courser Rhinoptilus cinctus
Bronze-winged courser Rhinoptilus chalcopterus
Collared pratincole Glareola pratincola
Black-winged pratincole Glareola nordmanni Near threatened
Rock pratincole Glareola nuchalis Vagrant

Skuas and jaegers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants.

Common name Binomial Status
South polar skua Stercorarius maccormicki Vagrant
Brown skua Stercorarius antarcticus
Pomarine jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus
Parasitic jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus

Gulls, terns, and skimmers[edit]

Kelp gull

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls,terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years. Skimmers are a small family of tropical tern-like birds. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed by flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla Vagrant
Sabine's gull Xema sabini
Slender-billed gull Chroicocephalus genei Vagrant
Grey-hooded gull Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus
Hartlaub's gull Chroicocephalus hartlaubii
Black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus Vagrant
Franklin's gull Leucophaeus pipixcan Vagrant
Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus Vagrant
Kelp gull Larus dominicanus See note[note 3]
Brown noddy Anous stolidus Vagrant
Lesser noddy Anous tenuirostris Vagrant
Sooty tern Onychoprion fuscatus Vagrant
Bridled tern Onychoprion anaethetus Vagrant
Little tern Sternula albifrons
Damara tern Sternula balaenarum Vulnerable
Gull-billed tern Gelochelidon nilotica Vagrant
Caspian tern Hydroprogne caspia
Black tern Chlidonias niger Vagrant
White-winged tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybrida
Roseate tern Sterna dougallii
Black-naped tern Sterna sumatrana Vagrant
Common tern Sterna hirundo
Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea
Antarctic tern Sterna vittata
White-cheeked tern Sterna repressa Vagrant
Great crested tern Thalasseus bergii
Sandwich tern Thalasseus sandvicensis
Elegant tern Thalasseus elegans Vagrant
Lesser crested tern Thalasseus bengalensis
Black skimmer Rynchops niger Vagrant
African skimmer Rynchops flavirostris Near threatened

Sandgrouse[edit]

Order: Pterocliformes   Family: Pteroclidae

Sandgrouse have small, pigeon-like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes.

Common name Binomial Status
Namaqua sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua
Yellow-throated sandgrouse Pterocles gutturalis
Double-banded sandgrouse Pterocles bicinctus
Burchell's sandgrouse Pterocles burchelli

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere.

Common name Binomial Status
Rock pigeon Columba livia Introduced
Speckled pigeon Columba guinea
Rameron pigeon Columba arquatrix
Delegorgue's pigeon Columba delegorguei
Lemon dove Columba larvata
European turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur Vagrant; vulnerable
Mourning collared-dove Streptopelia decipiens
Red-eyed dove Streptopelia semitorquata
Ring-necked dove Streptopelia capicola
Laughing dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Emerald-spotted wood-dove Turtur chalcospilos
Blue-spotted wood-dove Turtur afer
Tambourine dove Turtur tympanistria
Namaqua dove Oena capensis
African green-pigeon Treron calvus

Turacos[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes   Family: Musophagidae

The turacos, plantain eaters, and go-away-birds make up the family Musophagidae. They are medium-sized arboreal birds. The turacos and plantain eaters are brightly colored, usually in blue, green, or purple. The go-away-birds are mostly gray and white.

Common name Binomial Status
Livingstone's turaco Tauraco livingstonii
Knysna turaco Tauraco corythaix SLS endemic
Purple-crested turaco Tauraco porphyreolophus
Gray go-away-bird Corythaixoides concolor

Cuckoos[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes   Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails, and strong legs.

Name Binomial Status
Senegal coucal Centropus senegalensis
White-browed coucal Centropus superciliosus
Black coucal Centropus grillii
Green malkoha Ceuthmochares australis
Great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius
Levaillant's cuckoo Clamator levaillantii
Pied cuckoo Clamator jacobinus
Thick-billed cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti
Dideric cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius
Klaas's cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas
African emerald cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus
Barred long-tailed cuckoo Cercococcyx montanus Vagrant
Black cuckoo Cuculus clamosus
Red-chested cuckoo Cuculus solitarius
African cuckoo Cuculus gularis
Madagascar cuckoo Cuculus rochii Vagrant
Common cuckoo Cuculus canorus

Barn-owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Tytonidae

Barn-owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.

Name Binomial Status
African grass-owl Tyto capensis
Barn owl Tyto alba

Typical owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Strigidae

The typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk.

Name Binomial Status
African scops-owl Otus senegalensis
Southern white-faced owl Ptilopsis granti
Cape eagle-owl Bubo capensis
Spotted eagle-owl Bubo africanus
Verreaux's eagle-owl Bubo lacteus
Pel's fishing-owl Scotopelia peli
Pearl-spotted owlet Glaucidium perlatum
African barred owlet Glaucidium capense
African wood-owl Strix woodfordii
Marsh owl Asio capensis

Nightjars and allies[edit]

Order: Caprimulgiformes   Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized ground-nesting nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs, and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves.

Name Binomial Status
Pennant-winged nightjar Caprimulgus vexillarius
Eurasian nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
Rufous-cheeked nightjar Caprimulgus rufigena
Fiery-necked nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis
Swamp nightjar Caprimulgus natalensis
Freckled nightjar Caprimulgus tristigma
Square-tailed nightjar Caprimulgus fossii

Swifts[edit]

Order: Apodiformes   Family: Apodidae

Swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang.

Name Binomial Status
Mottled spinetail Telacanthura ussheri
Bat-like spinetail Neafrapus boehmi
Alpine swift Apus melba
Common swift Apus apus
African swift Apus barbatus
Bradfield's swift Apus bradfieldi
Little swift Apus affinis
Horus swift Apus horus
White-rumped swift Apus caffer
African palm-swift Cypsiurus parvus

Mousebirds[edit]

Order: Coliiformes   Family: Coliidae

The mousebirds are slender grayish or brown birds with soft, hairlike body feathers and very long thin tails. They are arboreal and scurry through the leaves like rodents in search of berries, fruit, and buds. They are acrobatic and can feed upside down. All species have strong claws and reversible outer toes. They also have crests and stubby bills.

Name Binomial Status
Speckled mousebird Colius striatus
White-backed mousebird Colius colius
Red-faced mousebird Urocolius indicus

Trogons[edit]

Order: Trogoniformes   Family: Trogonidae

The family Trogonidae includes trogons and quetzals. Found in tropical woodlands worldwide, they feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons have soft, often colorful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage.

Name Binomial Status
Narina trogon Apaloderma narina

Hoopoes[edit]

Order: Bucerotiformes   Family: Upupidae

Hoopoes have black, white, and orangey-pink coloring with a large erectile crest on their head.

Name Binomial Status
Eurasian hoopoe Upupa epops

Woodhoopoes and scimitar-bills[edit]

Order: Bucerotiformes   Family: Phoeniculidae

The woodhoopoes are related to the hoopoes, hornbills, and ground-hornbills. They most resemble the hoopoes with their long curved bills, used to probe for insects, and short rounded wings. However, they differ in that they have metallic plumage, often blue, green, or purple, and lack an erectile crest.

Name Binomial Status
Green woodhoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus
Common scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas

Ground-hornbills[edit]

Order: Bucerotiformes   Family: Bucorvidae

Name Binomial Status
Southern ground-hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri Vulnerable

Hornbills[edit]

Order: Bucerotiformes   Family: Bucerotidae

Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly colored.

Name Binomial Status
Crowned hornbill Lophoceros alboterminatus
African gray hornbill Lophoceros nasutus
Southern yellow-billed hornbill Tockus leucomelas
Southern red-billed hornbill Tockus rufirostris
Trumpeter hornbill Bycanistes bucinator

Kingfishers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails.

Name Binomial Status
Half-collared kingfisher Alcedo semitorquata
Malachite kingfisher Corythornis cristatus
African pygmy-kingfisher Ispidina picta
Gray-headed kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala
Woodland kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis
Mangrove kingfisher Halcyon senegaloides
Brown-hooded kingfisher Halcyon albiventris
Striped kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti
Giant kingfisher Megaceryle maxima
Pied kingfisher Ceryle rudis

Bee-eaters[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Meropidae

The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia, and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly colored plumage, slender bodies, and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colorful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar.

Name Binomial Status
White-fronted bee-eater Merops bullockoides
Little bee-eater Merops pusillus
Swallow-tailed bee-eater Merops hirundineus
White-throated bee-eater Merops albicollis Vagrant
Blue-cheeked bee-eater Merops persicus
Madagascar bee-eater Merops superciliosus Vagrant
European bee-eater Merops apiaster
Southern carmine bee-eater Merops nubicoides

Rollers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Coraciidae

Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colorful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not

Name Binomial Status
European roller Coracias garrulus
Lilac-breasted roller Coracias caudatus
Racket-tailed roller Coracias spatulatus
Rufous-crowned roller Coracias naevius
Broad-billed roller Eurystomus glaucurus

African barbets[edit]

Order: Piciformes   Family: Lybiidae

The barbets are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly colored.

Name Binomial Status
Crested barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii
White-eared barbet Stactolaema leucotis
Green barbet Stactolaema olivacea
Yellow-rumped tinkerbird Pogoniulus bilineatus
Red-fronted tinkerbird Pogoniulus pusillus
Yellow-fronted tinkerbird Pogoniulus chrysoconus
Pied barbet Tricholaema leucomelas
Black-collared barbet Lybius torquatus

Honeyguides[edit]

Order: Piciformes   Family: Indicatoridae

Honeyguides are among the few birds that feed on wax. They are named for the greater honeyguide which leads traditional honey-hunters to bees' nests and, after the hunters have harvested the honey, feeds on the remaining contents of the hive.

Name Binomial Status
Wahlberg's honeyguide Prodotiscus regulus
Lesser honeyguide Indicator minor
Scaly-throated honeyguide Indicator variegatus
Greater honeyguide Indicator indicator

Woodpeckers[edit]

Order: Piciformes   Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails, and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks.

Name Binomial Status
Rufous-necked wryneck Jynx ruficollis
Bennett's woodpecker Campethera bennettii
Golden-tailed woodpecker Campethera abingoni
Knysna woodpecker Campethera notata Near threatened
Ground woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus SLS endemic
Cardinal woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens
Bearded woodpecker Dendropicos namaquus
Olive woodpecker Dendropicos griseocephalus

Falcons[edit]

Order: Falconiformes   Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons.

Common name Binomial Status
Pygmy falcon Polihierax semitorquatus
Lesser kestrel Falco naumanni Vulnerable
Rock kestrel Falco rupicolus
Greater kestrel Falco rupicoloides
Dickinson's kestrel Falco dickinsoni
Red-necked falcon Falco chicquera
Red-footed falcon Falco vespertinus Near threatened
Amur falcon Falco amurensis
Eleonora's falcon Falco eleonorae Vagrant
Sooty falcon Falco concolor Near threatened
Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo
African hobby Falco cuvierii Vagrant
Lanner falcon Falco biarmicus
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus
Taita falcon Falco fasciinucha Vulnerable

Old World parrots[edit]

Order: Psittaciformes   Family: Psittaculidae

Common name Binomial Status
Rose-ringed parakeet Psittacula krameri Introduced
Rosy-faced lovebird Agapornis roseicollis

African and New World parrots[edit]

Order: Psittaciformes   Family: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two to the back.

Common name Binomial Status
Brown-necked parrot Poicephalus robustus
Meyer's parrot Poicephalus meyeri
Brown-headed parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus

African and green broadbills[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calyptomenidae

The broadbills are small, brightly colored birds which feed on fruit and also take insects in flycatcher fashion, snapping their broad bills. Their habitat is canopies of wet forests.

Common name Binomial Status
African broadbill Smithornis capensis

Pittas[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Pittidae

Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards and are stocky, with fairly long, strong legs, short tails, and stout bills. Many are brightly colored. They spend the majority of their time on wet forest floors, eating snails, insects, and similar invertebrates.

Common name Binomial Status
African pitta Pitta angolensis Vagrant

Wattle-eyes and batises[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Platysteiridae

The wattle-eyes, or puffback flycatchers, are small stout passerine birds of the African tropics. They get their name from the brightly colored fleshy eye decorations found in most species in this group.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-throated wattle-eye Platysteira peltata
Cape batis Batis capensis
Woodward's batis Batis fratrum
Chinspot batis Batis molitor
Pririt batis Batis pririt

Vangas, helmetshrikes, and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Vangidae

The helmetshrikes are similar in build to the shrikes, but tend to be colorful species with distinctive crests or other head ornaments, such as wattles, from which they get their name.

Common name Binomial Status
White helmetshrike Prionops plumatus
Retz's helmetshrike Prionops retzii
Chestnut-fronted helmetshrike Prionops scopifrons Vagrant

Bushshrikes and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Malaconotidae

Bushshrikes are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colorful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive.

Common name Binomial Status
Brubru Nilaus afer
Black-backed puffback Dryoscopus cubla
Black-crowned tchagra Tchagra senegalus
Brown-crowned tchagra Tchagra australis
Southern tchagra Tchagra tchagra
Tropical boubou Laniarius major
Southern boubou Laniarius ferrugineus
Crimson-breasted gonolek Laniarius atrococcineus
Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus
Sulphur-breasted bushshrike Telophorus sulfureopectus
Olive bushshrike Telophorus olivaceus
Black-fronted bushshrike Telophorus nigrifrons
Four-colored bushshrike Telophorus viridis
Grey-headed bushshrike Malaconotus blanchoti

Cuckooshrikes[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Campephagidae

The cuckooshrikes are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although some species are brightly colored.

Common name Binomial Status
Grey cuckooshrike Coracina caesia
White-breasted cuckooshrike Coracina pectoralis
Black cuckooshrike Campephaga flava

Shrikes[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A shrike's beak is hooked, like that of a bird of prey.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-backed shrike Lanius collurio
Lesser grey shrike Lanius minor
Southern fiscal Lanius collaris
Magpie shrike Corvinella melanoleuca
White-crowned shrike Eurocephalus anguitimens

Old world orioles[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Oriolidae

The Old World orioles are colorful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles though they appear similar.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian golden oriole Oriolus oriolus
African golden oriole Oriolus auratus
African black-headed oriole Oriolus larvatus

Drongos[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Dicruridae

The drongos are mostly black or dark gray in color, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright when perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground.

Common name Binomial Status
Square-tailed drongo Dicrurus ludwigii
Fork-tailed drongo Dicrurus adsimilis

Monarch flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Monarchidae

The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching.

Common name Binomial Status
African crested-flycatcher Trochocercus cyanomelas
African paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis

Crows and ravens[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Corvidae

The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence.

Common name Binomial Status
House crow Corvus splendens Introduced
Cape crow Corvus capensis
Pied crow Corvus albus
White-necked raven Corvus albicollis

Rockjumpers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Chaetopidae

Common name Binomial Status
Cape rockjumper Chaetops frenatus Endemic
Drakensberg rockjumper Chaetops aurantius SLS endemic

Nicators[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Nicatoridae

Common name Binomial Status
Eastern nicator Nicator gularis

Larks[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds.

Common name Binomial Status
Spike-heeled lark Chersomanes albofasciata
Short-clawed lark Certhilauda chuana
Karoo long-billed lark Certhilauda subcoronata
Eastern long-billed lark Certhilauda semitorquata SLS endemic
Cape lark Certhilauda curvirostris Endemic
Agulhas lark Certhilauda brevirostris Endemic; near threatened
Dusky lark Pinarocorys nigricans
Black-eared sparrow-lark Eremopterix australis
Chestnut-backed sparrow-lark Eremopterix leucotis
Gray-backed sparrow-lark Eremopterix verticalis
Sabota lark Calendulauda sabota
Fawn-colored lark Calendulauda africanoides
Red lark Calendulauda burra Endemic; vulnerable
Karoo lark Calendulauda albescens Endemic
Barlow's lark Calendulauda barlowi
Rudd's lark Heteromirafra ruddi Endemic; vulnerable
Cape clapper lark Mirafra apiata
Eastern clapper lark Mirafra fasciolata
Rufous-naped lark Mirafra africana
Flappet lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea
Monotonous lark Mirafra passerina
Latakoo lark Mirafra cheniana Near threatened
Red-capped lark Calandrella cinerea
Stark's lark Spizocorys starki
Sclater's lark Spizocorys sclateri Near threatened
Pink-billed lark Spizocorys conirostris
Botha's lark Spizocorys fringillaris Endemic; endangered
Large-billed lark Galerida magnirostris

Swallows[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hirundinidae

The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings, and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base.

Common name Binomial Status
Plain martin Riparia paludicola
Bank swallow Riparia riparia
Banded martin Riparia cincta
Rock martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula
Barn swallow Hirundo rustica
White-throated swallow Hirundo albigularis
Wire-tailed swallow Hirundo smithii
Pearl-breasted swallow Hirundo dimidiata
Montane blue swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea Vulnerable
Greater striped-swallow Cecropis cucullata
Lesser striped-swallow Cecropis abyssinica
Rufous-chested swallow Cecropis semirufa
Mosque swallow Cecropis senegalensis
South African swallow Petrochelidon spilodera
Common house-martin Delichon urbicum
Black sawwing Psalidoprocne pristoptera
Gray-rumped swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga

Fairy flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Stenostiridae

Common name Binomial Status
Fairy flycatcher Stenostira scita

Tits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Paridae

The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects.

Common name Binomial Status
Southern black-tit Melaniparus niger
Ashy tit Melaniparus cinerascens
Gray tit Melaniparus afer

Penduline-tits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Remizidae

The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds related to the true tits. They are insectivores.

Common name Binomial Status
African penduline-tit Anthoscopus caroli
Southern penduline-tit Anthoscopus minutus

Bulbuls[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Pycnonotidae

Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colorful with yellow, red, or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests.

Common name Binomial Status
Sombre greenbul Andropadus importunus
Yellow-bellied greenbul Chlorocichla flaviventris
Terrestrial brownbul Phyllastrephus terrestris
Yellow-streaked greenbul Phyllastrephus flavostriatus
Common bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus
Black-fronted bulbul Pycnonotus nigricans
Cape bulbul Pycnonotus capensis Endemic

African warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Macrosphenidae

Common name Binomial Status
Cape crombek Sylvietta rufescens
Cape grassbird Sphenoeacus afer
Victorin's warbler Cryptillas victorini Endemic

Leaf warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Phylloscopidae

Common name Binomial Status
Yellow-throated woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapillus
Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus

Reed-warblers and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Acrocephalidae

Common name Binomial Status
African yellow-warbler Iduna natalensis
Olive-tree warbler Hippolais olivetorum
Icterine warbler Hippolais icterina
Sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Marsh warbler Acrocephalus palustris
Eurasian reed-warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
African reed-warbler Acrocephalus baeticatus
Basra reed-warbler Acrocephalus griseldis Vagrant
Lesser swamp-warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris
Great reed-warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus

Grassbirds and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Locustellidae

Common name Binomial Status
Fan-tailed grassbird Schoenicola brevirostris
Barratt's warbler Bradypterus barratti
Knysna warbler Bradypterus sylvaticus Endemic; vulnerable
Little rush-warbler Bradypterus baboecala
Eurasian river warbler Locustella fluviatilis

Cisticolas and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cisticolidae

The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or gray appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub.

Common name Binomial Status
Bar-throated apalis Apalis thoracica
Yellow-breasted apalis Apalis flavida
Rudd's apalis Apalis ruddi
Green-backed camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura
Miombo wren-warbler Calamonastes undosus
Barred wren-warbler Calamonastes fasciolatus
Kopje Warbler Euryptila subcinnamomea
Rufous-eared warbler Malcorus pectoralis
Red-faced cisticola Cisticola erythrops
Rock-loving cisticola Cisticola aberrans
Rattling cisticola Cisticola chiniana
Tinkling cisticola Cisticola rufilatus
Red-headed cisticola Cisticola subruficapilla
Wailing cisticola Cisticola lais
Winding cisticola Cisticola galactotes
Levaillant's cisticola Cisticola tinniens
Croaking cisticola Cisticola natalensis
Piping cisticola Cisticola fulvicapilla
Zitting cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Desert cisticola Cisticola aridulus
Cloud cisticola Cisticola textrix
Pale-crowned cisticola Cisticola cinnamomeus
Wing-snapping cisticola Cisticola ayresii
Tawny-flanked prinia Prinia subflava
Black-chested prinia Prinia flavicans
Karoo prinia Prinia maculosa
Drakensberg prinia Prinia hypoxantha SLS endemic
Namaqua prinia Prinia substriata
Yellow-bellied eremomela Eremomela icteropygialis
Greencap eremomela Eremomela scotops
Yellow-rumped eremomela Eremomela gregalis
Burnt-neck eremomela Eremomela usticollis

Sylviid warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sylviidae

The family Sylviidae ("Old World warblers") is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as one common name implies, in Europe, Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.

Common name Binomial Status
Bush blackcap Sylvia nigricapilla SLS endemic; near threatened
Eurasian blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Vagrant
Garden warbler Sylvia borin
Layard's warbler Sylvia layardi
Rufous-vented warbler Sylvia subcaerulea
Greater whitethroat Sylvia communis

White-eyes[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Zosteropidae

The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull color like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast, or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye.

Common name Binomial Status
African yellow white-eye Zosterops senegalensis
Cape white-eye Zosterops capensis
Orange River white-eye Zosterops pallidus

Laughingthrushes[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Leiothrichidae

Common name Binomial Status
Southern pied-babbler Turdoides bicolor
Arrow-marked babbler Turdoides jardineii

Sugarbirds[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Promeropidae

Common name Binomial Status
Gurney's sugarbird Promerops gurneyi
Cape sugarbird Promerops cafer endemic

Hyliotas[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hyliotidae

Common name Binomial Status
Southern hyliota Hyliota australis

Old World flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae

Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.

Common name Binomial Status
Dusky-brown flycatcher Muscicapa adusta
Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Mariqua flycatcher Bradornis mariquensis
Pale flycatcher Agricola pallidus
Chat flycatcher Agricola infuscatus
Gray tit-flycatcher Fraseria plumbea
Ashy flycatcher Fraseria caerulescens
Fiscal flycatcher Melaenornis silens
Southern black-flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina
Karoo scrub-robin Cercotrichas coryphoeus
Brown scrub-robin Cercotrichas signata
Bearded scrub-robin Cercotrichas quadrivirgata
Rufous-tailed scrub-robin Cercotrichas galactotes Vagrant
Kalahari scrub-robin Cercotrichas paena
Red-backed scrub-robin Cercotrichas leucophrys
Cape robin-chat Cossypha caffra
White-throated robin-chat Cossypha humeralis
White-browed robin-chat Cossypha heuglini
Red-capped robin-chat Cossypha natalensis
Chorister robin-chat Cossypha dichroa SLS endemic
Collared palm-thrush Cichladusa arquata
White-starred robin Pogonocichla stellata
Thrush nightingale Luscinia luscinia Vagrant
Collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis Vagrant
Common redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus Vagrant
Short-toed rock-thrush Monticola brevipes
Sentinel rock-thrush Monticola explorator SLS endemic
Cape rock-thrush Monticola rupestris SLS endemic
African stonechat Saxicola torquatus
Buff-streaked bushchat Saxicola bifasciatus SLS endemic
Boulder chat Pinarornis plumosus Vagrant
Southern anteater-chat Myrmecocichla formicivora
White-headed black-chat Myrmecocichla arnotti
Mocking cliff-chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
Sicklewing chat Cercomela sinuata
Karoo chat Cercomela schlegelii
Tractrac chat Cercomela tractrac
Familiar chat Cercomela familiaris
Mountain wheatear Oenanthe monticola
Northern wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Vagrant
Pied wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka Vagrant
Capped wheatear Oenanthe pileata

Thrushes and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.

Common name Binomial Status
Spotted ground-thrush Geokichla guttata Endangered
Orange ground-thrush Geokichla gurneyi
Groundscraper thrush Psophocichla litsitsirupa
Kurrichane thrush Turdus libonyana
Olive thrush Turdus olivaceus
Karoo thrush Turdus smithi

Starlings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen.

Common name Binomial Status
European starling Sturnus vulgaris Introduced
Wattled starling Creatophora cinerea
Common myna Acridotheres tristis Introduced
Violet-backed starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
Pale-winged starling Onychognathus nabouroup
Red-winged starling Onychognathus morio
Black-bellied starling Notopholia corrusca
Burchell's glossy-starling Lamprotornis australis
Meves's glossy-starling Lamprotornis mevesii
African pied starling Lamprotornis bicolor SLS endemic
Lesser blue-eared starling Lamprotornis chloropterus Vagrant
Greater blue-eared starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus
Cape starling Lamprotornis nitens

Oxpeckers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Buphagidae

Common name Binomial Status
Red-billed oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus
Yellow-billed oxpecker Buphagus africanus

Sunbirds[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Nectariniidae

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed.

Common name Binomial Status
Plain-backed sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi
Collared sunbird Hedydipna collaris
Orange-breasted sunbird Anthobaphes violacea Endemic
Eastern olive sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea
Mouse-colored sunbird Cyanomitra veroxii
Amethyst sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina
Scarlet-chested sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis
Malachite sunbird Nectarinia famosa
Southern double-collared sunbird Cinnyris chalybeus
Neergaard's sunbird Cinnyris neergaardi Near threatened
Greater double-collared sunbird Cinnyris afer SLS endemic
Mariqua sunbird Cinnyris mariquensis
Purple-banded sunbird Cinnyris bifasciatus
White-breasted sunbird Cinnyris talatala
Variable sunbird Cinnyris venustus Vagrant
Dusky sunbird Cinnyris fuscus

Wagtails, pipits, and longclaws[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Motacillidae

Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They are slender ground-feeding insectivores of open country.

Common name Binomial Status
Western yellow wagtail Motacilla flava
Citrine wagtail Motacilla citreola Vagrant
Cape wagtail Motacilla capensis
Gray wagtail Motacilla cinerea Vagrant
Mountain wagtail Motacilla clara
African pied wagtail Motacilla aguimp
African pipit Anthus cinnamomeus
Mountain pipit Anthus hoeschi SLS endemic
Long-billed pipit Anthus similis
Plain-backed pipit Anthus leucophrys
Buffy pipit Anthus vaalensis
Striped pipit Anthus lineiventris
Yellow-tufted pipit Anthus crenatus SLS endemic
Tree pipit Anthus trivialis
Red-throated pipit Anthus cervinus Vagrant
Short-tailed pipit Anthus brachyurus
Bush pipit Anthus caffer
Golden pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus Vagrant
Yellow-breasted pipit Hemimacronyx chloris Endemic, vulnerable
Orange-throated longclaw Macronyx capensis
Yellow-throated longclaw Macronyx croceus
Rosy-throated longclaw Macronyx ameliae

Buntings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Emberizidae

The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.

Common name Binomial Status
Lark-like bunting Emberiza impetuani
Cinnamon-breasted bunting Emberiza tahapisi
Cape bunting Emberiza capensis
Golden-breasted bunting Emberiza flaviventris

Finches, canaries, and siskins[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.

Common name Binomial Status
Common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Introduced
Cape siskin Pseudochloroptila totta Endemic
Drakensberg siskin Pseudochloroptila symonsi SLS endemic
Black-headed canary Alario alario
Cape canary Serinus canicollis
Yellow-fronted canary Serinus mozambicus
Forest canary Serinus scotops SLS endemic
Black-throated canary Serinus atrogularis
Lemon-breasted seedeater Serinus citrinipectus
Brimstone canary Serinus sulphuratus
Yellow canary Serinus flaviventris
White-throated canary Serinus albogularis
Protea canary Serinus leucopterus Endemic
Streaky-headed seedeater Serinus gularis

Old World sparrows[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Passeridae

Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown, or gray birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects.

Common name Binomial Status
House sparrow Passer domesticus Introduced
Great rufous sparrow Passer motitensis
Cape sparrow Passer melanurus
Southern gray-headed sparrow Passer diffusus
Yellow-throated petronia Petronia superciliaris

Weavers and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Ploceidae

The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly colored, usually in red or yellow and black. Some species show variation in color only in the breeding season.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-billed buffalo-weaver Bubalornis niger
Scaly weaver Sporopipes squamifrons
White-browed sparrow-weaver Plocepasser mahali
Social weaver Philetairus socius
Red-headed weaver Anaplectes rubriceps
Spectacled weaver Ploceus ocularis
Cape weaver Ploceus capensis Endemic
African golden-weaver Ploceus subaureus
Holub's golden-weaver Ploceus xanthops
Southern brown-throated weaver Ploceus xanthopterus
Lesser masked-weaver Ploceus intermedius
Southern masked-weaver Ploceus velatus
Village weaver Ploceus cucullatus
Chestnut weaver Ploceus rubiginosus Vagrant
Forest weaver Ploceus bicolor
Red-headed quelea Quelea erythrops
Red-billed quelea Quelea quelea
Southern red bishop Euplectes orix
Yellow-crowned bishop Euplectes afer
Yellow bishop Euplectes capensis
White-winged widowbird Euplectes albonotatus
Red-collared widowbird Euplectes ardens
Fan-tailed widowbird Euplectes axillaris
Long-tailed widowbird Euplectes progne
Grosbeak weaver Amblyospiza albifrons

Waxbills and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Estrildidae

The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colors and patterns.

Common name Binomial Status
Swee waxbill Coccopygia melanotis
Green-backed twinspot Mandingoa nitidula
Black-tailed waxbill Estrilda perreini
Common waxbill Estrilda astrild
Black-faced waxbill Estrilda erythronotos
Southern cordonbleu Uraeginthus angolensis
Violet-eared waxbill Uraeginthus granatina
Peters's twinspot Hypargos niveoguttatus
Pink-throated twinspot Hypargos margaritatus
Green-winged pytilia Pytilia melba
Orange-winged pytilia Pytilia afra
Red-billed firefinch Lagonosticta senegala
African firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata
Jameson's firefinch Lagonosticta rhodopareia
Cut-throat Amadina fasciata
Red-headed finch Amadina erythrocephala
Zebra waxbill Sporaeginthus subflavus
African quailfinch Ortygospiza fuscocrissa
Bronze mannikin Spermestes cucullata
Magpie mannikin Spermestes fringilloides

Indigobirds and whydahs[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Viduidae

The indigobirds are finch-like species which usually have black or indigo predominating in their plumage. All are brood parasites which lay their eggs in the nests of estrildid finches.

Common name Binomial Status
Pin-tailed whydah Vidua macroura
Broad-tailed paradise-whydah Vidua obtusa Vagrant
Eastern paradise-whydah Vidua paradisaea
Shaft-tailed whydah Vidua regia
Village indigobird Vidua chalybeata
Variable indigobird Vidua funerea
Purple indigobird Vidua purpurascens
Parasitic weaver Anomalospiza imberbis

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/ retrieved 11 August 2016
  2. ^ Checklist of Birds in South Africa 2017, http://birdlife.org.za/publications/checklists, retrieved 11 February 2017

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Considered a subspecies of the preceding species by Clements; deemed a full species by BirdLife South Africa
  2. ^ Johnson JA, Richard T. Watson and David P. Mindell (2005). "Prioritizing species conservation: does the Cape Verde kite exist?" (PDF). Proc. R. Soc. B. 272 (1570): 1365–1371. doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3098. PMC 1560339Freely accessible. PMID 16006325.  This mitochondrial study of Milvus kites, employing three genes, determined that the black kite (Milvus m. migrans) of the Eurasian clade differs significantly from the allopatric yellow-billed kite, where the latter could be further subdivided into two groups: those from southern Africa and Madagascar differing from those in central, west and east Africa. These taxa are all distinct, though near-related as in the Eurasian clade. The study revealed besides that the two yellow-billed kite taxa could potentially be assigned species status. In such a three-way split the yellow-billed kite of southern Africa would be named M. parasitus.
  3. ^ Subspecies L. d. vetula is a resident breeder, sometimes called the Cape gull.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]