Birding in Impendle

While the rest of us fossicked for flowers in Impendle Nature Reserve, Crystelle Wilson took the opportunity to check out birds in the Impendle pentad 2940_2950 for the SABAP2 bird atlas project.  Impendle is an Important Birding Area where many “specials” can be found. The vlei is very good for African Marsh Harrier Circus ranivorus, Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum and occasionnaly Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus. The surrounding rolling grassland holds six pairs, perhaps eight, of Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea. Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus, Denham’s Bustard Neotis denhami, Southern Ground-Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri and Black-winged Lapwing Vanellus melanopterus are also present. The Southern Ground-Hornbill family numbers 6–8. A flock of Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus is often present. The forest is home to Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus, Orange Ground Thrush Zoothera gurneyi, Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix and Forest Canary Crithagra scotops. Other southern African endemics include Cape Grassbird Sphenoeacus afer, Drakensberg Prinia Prinia hypoxantha, Jackal Buzzard Buteo rufofuscus and Gurney’s Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi.

This is Crystelle’s report (and pictures): It was a very hot day and bird activity had already gone quiet by 09h00. This was my list for the morning: Amur Falcon, Cape Wagtail, Greater Striped-Swallow, Sombre Greenbul, Black Sparrowhawk, Malachite Sunbird, Wailing Cisticola,

wailing cisticola

African Stonechat, Dark-capped Bulbul, Drakensberg Prinia, Le Vaillant’s Cisticola, Cape Longclaw,

cape longclaw

Cape Batis, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Ant-eating Chat,

Common Waxbill, African Black Swift, Common Swift, Croaking Cisticola, croaking cisticola

Cape Robin-Chat, Speckled Pigeon, Little Swift, African Marsh-Harrier, Cape Crow, African Pipit.

Unfortunately my car may have been responsible for the death of a Puff Adder. When I stopped to take pictures of a cisticola I became aware of a noise of a creature in distress. I didn’t see anything and drove off. On my return I saw a snake in the road and got out to try and move it out of the way so I could drive past. I noticed it was injured and then it curled up and died. Not a good experience.


Afterwards we relaxed with a picnic lunch sharing stories about the plants, birds, insects and other signs of animals which we had seen.  Alex thought it would be a good idea to visit in Spring and Lorenza made plans to bring her bicycle and spend a few days exploring the area.

impendle crew 106 res.

Should you wish to visit, you need to make arrangements before you go or you may find the gate locked.  Call Michael Ngubo, 072 542 3049 or Nicholas Mndaweni, 082 518 8219.  The Officer in Charge is Mbuyiselo Gxashi – his email address is

1 thought on “Birding in Impendle

  1. Samantha Rose

    I will be taking 3 field trips with about 30 kids and 8 adults from Impendle Eco-Schools at the very end of April and the first week of May. It is to learn about the flora & fauna of the reserve. If anyone from this Crew group would like to join us and share what you know and learned in the Reserve, you would be most welcome. I could reimburse petrol fare if needed. My cell is 083-599-4792 or




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