Over 450 species of bird can be found in this area.Pafuri Rivercamp is situated in one of South Africa's prime birding areas. The pafuri region of the Kruger park is well known for it's superb birdlife, but there are a variety of other habitats in the area. Within a 50 km radius of the camp you will find riverine forest, open palm-studded grassland, dry Kalahari bushveld, indigenous evergreen montane forest, broad-leaved woodland, mixed Acacia woodland and Nwambiya Sandveld.
The area is known for it's specials, and due to the fact that the region is largely unexplored, new birds (for the area) are constantly being discovered. Commonly seen specials include Wattle-eyed flycatcher, Yellow White-eye, Lemon-breasted Canary, Greyheaded Parrot, Mottled Spinetail and African Finfoot. Less common but still seen occasionally, are Dickinson's Kestrel, Thickbilled Cuckoo, Pel's Fishing Owl, Goldenbacked Pytilia, Rackettailed Roller, Yellowbilled Oxpecker, Whitebacked Night Heron, Narina Trogon and Yellowspotted Nicator. Vagrants such as Silverycheeked Hornbill, Mangrove Kingfisher and Angola Pitta are very occasionally seen. The Grey Headed Parrots in the area have cross-bred with the Cape Parrot higher up in the Soutpansberg.
BIRDING IN THE AREA
Generally people who visit Pafuri spend most of their time birding the Luvuvhu and Mutale Rivers. Most of the area's specials can be found along these rivers, as well as a host of other birds. Particularly common are bulbuls (Blackeyed, Yellowbellied and Terrestial), Hornbills (including Crowned and Trumpeter), Robins (Natal, Whitethroated, Heuglin's and Bearded) and many small insectivorous birds; Bleating Warblers, Apalises and Eremomelas.
Roadside birding is very good, especially in summer, and birds that are almost certain to be seen include Rollers (all very common, except for Rackettailed), Whitecrowned Shrikes and Bee Eaters.
The area is especially rewarding for raptorphiles, with 13 species of eagle, all 12 owls, and a host of smaller raptors occurring here in great numbers. Wood Owls and Spotted Eagle Owls are regularly seen in and around the camp, while African Hawk Eagles, Black Eagles and Crowned Eagles are often seen soaring around the many rocky hills in the area.
The evergreen forests in the nearby Soutpansberg are home to many sought after birds, such as Bluespotted Dove, Pinkthroated Twinspot, Cinnamon Dove and Knysna Lourie. Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of these forests, there are bound to be many more waiting to be discovered.
The dry woodland, to the west of the camp, is where you will find birds such as Kori Bustard, Crimsonbreasted Boubou, Kalahari Robins and a variety of seed eaters; Chestnutbacked and Greybacked Finchlarks, Whydahs, Melba Finch and Widows.
In January 2000 we discovered a colony of Mottled Spinetails approximately 50 km from the camp. The colony normally numbers about 300 birds, although this drops to about 50 during the breeding season of December to March. Usual roosts for Spinetails are 2 to 6 birds. This is the largest known colony of these birds, and the only known roosting site outside the Kruger Park. It is believed that this colony constitutes almost the entire South African population for this species. The birds return to their roost (an enormous hollow Baobab tree) every evening, and so provide an excellent opportunity to view this otherwise rarely seen bird. Before entering the roost, they circle the tree in their hundreds at great speed, at times flying only metres away from observers - a truly spectacular sight, made so much more special by the fact that the birds are rare. The site can be accessed by a two wheel drive vehicle (in dry weather), although there is about 35km of bumpy dirt road to negotiate. En-route to the Spinetail roost one travels through a unique area similar to the Nwambiya Sandveld in Kruger. This is a remnant of the Kalahari Red Sand deposited here by the opening of the Limpopo to the Indian Ocean.
Please contact Lou Arthur at email@example.com, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.