PIC: Rufous-tailed scrub robin draws twitchers across the continent to Cape
There's in a new kid in Cape Town making bird-lovers twitch with excitement! The rufous-tailed scrub robin has been spotted in Cape Town reserve and now, bird lovers are travelling great distances to be able to tick off their must-see bird lists.
This small scrub robin does not usually migrate further than Kenya, but it has subsequently found the habitat provided at the City’s reserve to its liking, the City of Cape Town announced.
The bird was first spotted in the Zeekoevlei at the False Bay Nature Reserve by Peter Steyn and André Demblon on 17 July this year. It is likely that the bird arrived around May and will depart around September.
To date, more than 900 birders have flocked to view the rufous-tailed scrub robin. The City of Cape Town says, "Some bird enthusiasts even came from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to view this vagrant bird".
South African birders have travelled from as far afield as KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga to see the robin.
Vagrant birds are basically lost individuals that turn up well out of range. "We are very excited that the rufous-tailed scrub robin chose to make the False Bay Nature Reserve its temporary home as we continue to build on the reserve’s status as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and a Ramsar site," the City's Johan van der Merwe says.
The False Bay Nature Reserve is one of the City’s three identified Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, is a site of global significance for bird conservation, and is the City’s only Ramsar site - a wetland of international importance. Would you like to spot the rare robin?
The Rondevlei section of the False Bay Nature Reserve has six bird hides and a vlei side trail.
This is a popular bird-watching location in Cape Town. Plans are under way to refurbish and improve the bird hides, as well as make them universally accessible. Improvements to the facilities in the Strandfontein Birding Area section of the reserve are also being planned, which will include a new bird-watching platform.
Birders and members of the public are encouraged to visit and enjoy the City’s nature reserves and, should they come across any ringed birds, to please forward all relevant information to SAFRing.
Details to look out for include the location of the sighting (as accurately as possible – ideally GPS coordinates), the date and time of sighting, the ring colour and, if visible, the letters/numbers on the ring and on which leg the ring is fitted.
This is what the robin looks like:
Photo by MICHELE NEL
Birds are known to be effective indicators of biodiversity hotspots, so Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) such as the False Bay Nature Reserve hold large and representative proportions of other species too.
The conservation of IBAs therefore ensures conservation of other biodiversity and ecosystems and also supports human well-being.
The IBA Programme is an international Birdlife Partnership initiative, with over 120 birdlife partners – making it the largest nature conservation network in the world. IBAs are sites of global significance for bird conservation, identified nationally.
The Rietvlei section of Table Bay Nature Reserve and the Steenbras Nature Reserve are the City’s other IBAs.