Birding in Hlane Royal National Park (Swaziland)

Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:28 am

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Re: Birding in Hlane Royal National Park (Swaziland)

Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:47 am


White-backed Night-Heron, Marabou Stork, Martial Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Black Sparrowhawk, Bateleur, White-headed Vulture, Crested Guineafowl, African Finfoot, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Bennett's Woodpecker, Retz's Helmet-Shrike, Eastern Nicator, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Pink-throated Twinspot.

Hlane comprises predominantly of Acacia nigrescens woodland, with extensive riverine vegetation along several rivers and streams.

1. In Ndlovu camp you might find Ostrich or Black-bellied Bustard, Kurrichane Thrush, Groundscraper Thrush, Bennett's Woodpecker, Crested Barbet, and Green-winged Pytilia are regular features here. Brown-headed Parrot is regularly encountered (listen out for its high-pitched call). Paradise Flycatchers building nests above the huts, Red-faced Mousebird, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Violett-backed Starling, Cape glossy Starling, Chin-spot Batis, Brubru, Black-headed Oriole, Southern Masked Weaver, Red-headed Weaver, Spotted Flycatcher, Blue Waxbill, Red-backed Shrike, Red-billed Oxpecker and many Lesser-striped Swallows, Dark-capped Bulbul, Diedrik’s cuckoo, Fork-tailed Drongo, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Cape Turtle-Dove and Laughing Dove all around the camp area. In summer, look out for Grey-headed Kingfisher which occasionally is recorded here. A pair of African Scops-Owl roosts here.
Blacksmith Lapwing, Three-banded Plover, Common Sandpiper, White-faced Duck and Black-headed Heron are about at the waterhole.

2. Game drives through the lion and elephant enclosures, as well as surrounding areas reveal a variety of bushveld species including White-headed Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture and Cape Vulture (the first three species breed in the park), and a wide range of eagles including the threatened Bateleur. Other species likely to be seen are Brown-crowned Tchagra, Common Scimitarbill, Black-bellied Bustard, Crested Guineafowl, Green-winged Pytilia, White-bellied Sunbird, Red-billed Oxpecker, Pale Flycatcher, Burchells Coucal, Crested Francolin, Pin-tailed Wydah, Crested Guineafowl, Grey Hornbill and Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill. Marabou Stork breeds just north of the elephant enclosure (the only known locality south of the Limpopo where regular breeding takes place).

3. Two bird hides at Mahlindza Waterhole are excellent for evening viewing. Mahlindza Waterhole and Hunter's Rock support small numbers of waterbirds such as Water Thick-knee, Grey Heron, Malachite Kingfisher, Egyptian Goose, African Jacana, White-faced Duck, Black Crake, Water Dikkop, Blacksmith Lapwing, Wood Sandpiper.

4. Simunye Nature Reserve Dam has been incorporated in the Royal Hlane NP and is situated a few kilometers away near the township of Simunye. The Earth Dam (in the old Simunye Nature Reserve) is a haven for waterbirds. A pair of African Fish-Eagle breeds here. Black Crake and African Crake, African Jacana, Open-billed Stork, Blacksmith Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Hamerkop, Hadeda Ibis, White-faced Duck, Water Thick-knee, Three-banded Plover, Wood Sandpiper and Purple Heron are easily seen here. Look out for African Finfoot from the Sundwvini Picnic site (go to the eastern end of the picnic site and look downstream onto the banks of the dam). A pair of White-backed Night-Heron roosts in thick bush at this picnic spot. Listen out for the call of Red-chested Flufftail from the dam wall.