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Forest Birds of South Africa

Greater Double-Collared Sunbird

Photos of some of the shy bird inhabitants of the forest canopy.

I've just arrived home from a month-long trip to the amazing country of South Africa where, with my good friend Charlie Kitchen, I photographed much of the endemic birdlife of the Western Cape province. The subtemperate forests of Wilderness are a crossroads where western and eastern species meet, so the sheer variety in this one small area is overwhelming.

We stayed at the beautiful Kingfisher Country House, a short walk from the Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail. A true hotspot for forest birding, the bird feeders attract some of the shyest forest species, from Lemon Doves and White-Starred Robin to the endemic Knsyna Warbler and Knysna Turaco. The lodge owner Sue has devoted 17 years attracting these birds to her garden, and over time these normally shy animals have grown so accustomed to her that many feed from her hand without fear.

These is a selection from my short stay there, taken from the breakfast balcony. The balcony looks into the canopy, allowing the possibility for treetop photography from the comfort of an armchair! On one evening, the light was dappled after a huge wildfire had coursed through the neighbouring forests, and unsurprisingly many birds seemed to seek refuge here.

Common Fiscal

Southern Masked Weaver

Cape Turtle Dove

Southern Boubou

Greater Double-Collared Sunbird

Lemon Dove

Cape Bulbul

Cape Turtle Dove

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