Your Favourites
Login / Register
LOCAL TIME: 11:48 pm | Saturday, 16 November
ShowMe™ Pretoria RSS Feed ShowMe Pretoria Facebook Page Follow ShowMe™ Pretoria on Twitter

Bird Watching in Pretoria

Pretoria offers bird enthusiasts a spectacular birding diversity because of its variety in habitat types – A true birdwatchers paradise.

Austin Roberts

Pretoria must rank amongst the world’s finest Capital Cities for birding if rated by the number of wild spaces offering a variety of habitats supporting large numbers of wildlife and in access of 400 bird species within a 50km radius of the city centre.

Pretoria is located at the convergence of the Bushveld to the North and the temperate Highveld (grasslands) to the South and as if by design the Magaliesberg in a series of ridges completes the landscape.

The Austin Roberts Bird Hall named after a former ornithologist in the Transvaal Museum with its static display of mounted birds should not be missed. This will afford the visitor the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the size and plumage of the more elusive species. Another such place is the National Zoological Gardens with numerous indigenous birds in the gardens or in captivity. They also offer regular bird identification courses for those who may want to broaden their knowledge.

African Green Pigeon

Bird watching is not exclusive to ornithologists and Birdlife Northern Gauteng has an active membership and encourages birders of all levels to participate in club activities.

The city host numerous Nature Reserves, parks and open spaces some of which can only be visited by prior arrangement or during organised club outings. The following birding sites have been selected as ideal for family outings or ease of access. In summer most of these birding sites should yield in access of 100 and in winter no less than 50 bird species.

We have put together a list of some of Pretoria’s hot spots for birding with summaries of the areas and what you can expect to find on your trip. View our printable map of birding spots in Pretoria here.

Birding in Pretoria

Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary
Faerie Glen Nature Reserve
Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve
Pretoria National Botanical Garden
Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve
Roodeplaat Dam
Wonderboom Nature Reserve

Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary

Situated in the leafy suburb of Muckleneuk in Pretoria, the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary offers visitors a selection of common water birds and garden birds.

Specials

Olive Thrush, African Hoopoe, Black-collared Barbet and Crested Barbet, Black-throated Canary, Bronze Mannikin, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Burchell’s Coucal, Cape Robin-Chat,Cape White-eye, Common Fiscal, Common Waxbill, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Groundscraper Thrush, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Red-faced Mousebird, Speckled Mousebird, Streaky-headed Seedeater

Contact

Telephone:+27 (0)12 440 8316 / 012 341 0591

Fax:+27 (0)12 341 0483

156 Melk Street, New Muckleneuk, Pretoria, 0181

Directions

At the Fountain Circle near Unisa, take George Storrar Drive eastwards towards Groenkloof. George Storrar then becomes Middle Street. After crossing Florence Ribeiro (old Queen Wilhelmina), turn left into Melk Street to reach the Blue Crane restaurant where the best viewpoints (and secure parking) is to be found. The sanctuary is surrounded by Middel, Dey, Boshoff and Melk Streets.


 

Faerie Glen Nature Reserve

To the East of Pretoria lies the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve that forms part of the Bronberg Conservation area established in 1980. The North of the reserve is hemmed in by the Bronberg with a hiking trail along the ridge for the more energetic where Cape Rock-Thrush or Striped Pipit have been spotted. The reserve offers some access to wheelchair users along the Southern side of the Moreletta Spruit. Well represented habitats such as grassland, woodland, wetlands and the Moreletta floodplain supports around 150 possible bird species.

After entering the reserve visitors should listen for the repetitive call of the Lesser Honeyguide in the tall Eucalyptus trees and the patient birder might be rewarded with a visual as the bird forces out every salable of the call. Look out for African Black Duck on some of the narrow pools or flying along the stream. The river vegetation and adjoining grassland will be frequented by Burchell’s Coucal, Malachite Kingfisher, in summer White-throated Swallow always a delight, Lesser Swamp-Warbler, Cape Grassbird, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cape, Masked Weaver, Red-collared Widowbird, African Firefinch and flocks of Common Waxbbill.

Southern Masked Weaver

Specials

Regular summer visitors are Red-chested Cuckoo, Black Cukoo, White-rumped Swift, Barn, Greater Striped, Lesser Striped Swallow, Black Cuckooshrike, Great Reed-Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Violet-backed Starling and European Bee-eaters that hawk for insects overhead or perch on the steep Southern slope of the mountain.

On the lower slopes of Renosterkop and in early summer the visitor should pay attention to the high-pitched insect-like call of the Brown-Backed Honeybird uttered during its typical aerial display.

Red-throated Wryneck seems to favor the areas with sparse vegetation and antheaps to the South-Western corner close to Glenwood and Jeremy Street.

Contact

Telephone: +27 (0)12 358 1510

Fax: +27 (0)12 358 0467

Directions

From the N1, take the Atterbury turn-off to the east. At January Masilela (old Louis Botha Avenue), turn left and follow the directions to the reserve. The reserve will be on your right hand side just after Glenwood Road.

Birding in Pretoria

Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve

Situated in a quiet suburb of Pretoria, The Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve offers a collection of interesting bird species with its diversity in mixed habitat.

Specials

Black Cuckooshrike, Black-throated Canary, African Sedge Warbler, Cardinal Woodpecker, Cape Reed Warbler, Desert Cisticola,European Marsh Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Great Reed Warbler, Jameson’s Firefinch, Orangebreasted Waxbill, Long-billed Crombec, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Redchested Flufftail, Sharpbilled Honeyguide

Download: Moreleta Nature Reserve checklist

Contact

Telephone: +27 (0)12 358 1510

Fax: +27 (0)12 358 0467

Email: adelenel@tshwane.gov.za

Directions

From the N1, take the Rigel Avenue turn-off and travel east. Turn left into Solomon Mahlangu (old Hans Strijdom Avenue); right into Rubenstein Street; and left into Helios Street. Parking is available in Helios Street.


 

Pretoria National Botanical Gardens

The Garden boasts restaurants and ablution facilities; smooth walkways provide easy access to wheelchair users and the visually impaired alike to enjoy birding or birdcalls in a relaxed setting.

The well watered gardens are good for birding throughout the year. Although summer is the time for numbers in winter contrast Weavers and White-eyes will be gorging themselves on nectar rich Aloe blossoms discoloring their plumages in delight.

Specials

The Dassie Trail not suitable for wheelchairs follows the length of the ridge that divides the garden into a manicured South and a wilder North, nevertheless rewarding. The trail passes through a series of habitats and a few acacia patches that will ensure a variety of species such as Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Acacia Pied Barbet, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Neddicky, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Black-crowned Tchagra, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Long-billed Crombec, and Streaky-headed Seedeater and in winter Fairy Flycatcher.

Along the densely vegetated southern slope of the ridge the visitor should find Cape Robin-Chat, White-throated Robin-Chat, Southern Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, Bar-throated Apalis and may even be rewarded by a sighting of Thick-billed Weaver the latter nesting on a pond to the west of the tea garden.

Red-throated Wryneck forage on the lawns to the South-West which is also home to African Wattled Lapwing, Crowned Lapwing, Blacksmith Lapwing and Spotted Thick-knee passing the heat of the day under a shady tree.

Contact

Telephone: +27(0)12 843 5172/3/4

Fax: +27(0)12 804 4992

Email:pretoriagarden@sanbi.org.za

2 Cussonia Ave, Brummeria, Pretoria

Directions

The gardens are situated between between Cussonia and Pretoria Roads, and are mostly easily reached from the N1 / N4 interchange. Travel eastwards along the N4 and at the Val de Grace Interchange turn left (north-east) and then left again into Cussonia Ave. The entrance is situated on the right, and secure parking is available.


 

Rietvlei Nature Reserve

With its wide grassland, combinations of wetland and dense habitats this area offers hours of relaxed birding.

Specials

African Fish Eagle, African Grass Owl, African Rail, African Yellow Warbler, Anteating Chat, Banded Martin, Buffy Pipit, Cape Shoveller, Capped Wheatear, Desert Cisticola, European Roller, Fairy Flycatcher, Giant Kingfisher, Great Crested Grebe,Greater Honeyguide, Greater Kestrel, Greyheaded Gull, Halfcollared Kingfisher, Hobby Falcon, Little Bittern, Longtailed Widow, Northern Black Korhaan, Orange-throated Longclaw, Secretarybird, SpikeheeledLark, Thickbilled Weaver,White Stork and Common Quail.

Download: Rietvlei Nature Reserve checklist

Contact

Telephone: +27 (0)12 358 1810/1/2

Fax: +27 (0)12 345 3928

Directions

On the R21 take the Irene/Rietvleidam off-ramp and turn in an easterly direction (towards Rietvleidam). At the first four-way stop turn right towards Olifantsfontein and the St George’s Hotel. Drive for 1.5 km, crossing the Sesmylspruit. On the left is the signboard for the reserve. Turn left and follow the road up the hill to the main gate. Drive past the stone entrance until you get to the offices and entrance gate.

Birding in Pretoria

Roodeplaat Dam

This area offers a mix of open savannah veld and dense savannah woodland.Two bird hides that are situated on the banks of the Roodeplaat dam caters for birding and wildlife enthusiasts.

Specials

African Wattled Plover, Amethyst Sunbird,Blue Waxbill, Diderick Cuckoo, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler, Crested Barbet, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Brown Hooded Kingfisher, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Fork-tailed Drongo, Greater Blue Eared Starling, Long-billed Crombec , Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Shaft Tailed Whydah, Egyptian Goose, Southern Boubou ,Southern Masked-Weaver

Contact

Telephone: +27 (0)12 808 5131 / 5174

Fax: +27 (0)12 808 5086

Directions

Travelling on the N1 towards Polokwane (Pietersburg) take the Zambezi off-ramp (toll gate) and turn right towards Cullinan. Travel about 5km and turn left at the kameelfontein turnoff. Travel 3.7 km and turn left at the ‘Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve’ sign. Continue a short distance on a dirt road until you reach the gate.


 

Wonderboom Nature Reserve

As part of the Magaliesberg Range the reserve offers broad-leaved woodland covering the rocky slopes with some open grassland.

Specials

African Green-Pigeon, African Grey Hornbill, Bar-throated Apalis, Black-backed Puffback, Bush-Shrike, Canaries, Chinspot Batis,Fiscal Flycatcher, Grey-headed Shrike, Mountain Wheatear, Neddicky, and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Robins, Rock Martin, Shelley’s Francolin, Southern Boubou, Striped Pipit, White-bellied Sunbird and a Verreauxs Eagle breeding pair.

Contact

Telephone: +27 (0)12 341 0591 or +27 (0)12 440 8316

Gate phone number: +27 (0)12 543 0918

Directions

Drive northwards on Paul Kruger Street (R101) and Mansfield Avenue for about 6 to 7 km from the city centre. Immediately after the road goes through the gap in the Magaliesberg range turn right onto the M1 and cross the Apies River. The entrance is on the right about 300 metres from the R101.


 

We’d like to extend a special thank you to Constant, local birder extraordinaire, for supplying the information which we’ve used for this article and checklists.

 


 

Bird Club in Pretoria
BirdLife Northern Gauteng

BirdLife Northern Gauteng caters for residents of Pretoria and the northern parts of Gauteng.

Contact

Philip Calinikos | (Chairperson)
E-mail: chairperson@blng.co.za

Rita de Meillon | Club Secretary (General Enquiries)
Tel: (+27 (0)12 807 4002

Website: www.blng.co.za

 




Book your accommodation right here on ShowMe.

You can find the top hotels, lodges and Airbnb establishments conveniently placed on the map below. All you need to do is click on the place that’s conveniently located and within your budget and then make a booking. What could be easier?


If the map is not where you want to be, click on the ShowMe Pin and then enter the exact name of the location and the map will adjust accordingly.