The Welgevonden Private Game Reserve is just three hours drive from Johannesburg and we’re lucky to call it home to our two lodges, Ekuthuleni Lodge and Tshwene Lodge. With approximately 300 bird species to spot in this magnificent stretch of bushveld, Welgevonden is a bird lovers paradise. These are our ‘must-see’ birds to add to your bucket list.
Spotting a Long-tailed Widowbird in full plumage is always a treat. Their name is derived from their generally black plumage, resembling a widow in mourning, and they sport tails that are more than double their body length.
Grey-headed Bush Shrike
This common resident is the largest bush-shrike in our region. Its grey head and yellow eyes make it easily distinguishable, however, they are not always easy to spot! They like to sit deep in the tree canopy and their location can only really be identified by their call.
A flash of bright orange and metallic blue is often the first sign that you’ve spotted a Malachite Kingfisher. These birds are tiny yet spectacular and are often spotted waterside, waiting patiently on a reed to swoop down on an unsuspecting fish.
A brightly coloured, eye-catching bird, the Little Bee Eater is one of the most photogenic birds in the bush. Not only because of their striking plumage but also because they fly in flocks of four or five and can often be spotted posing together in a row on a branch.
The majestic Blue Crane is South Africa’s national bird and we are lucky that Welgevonden supports a small population of these birds. They arrive towards the end of September each year, and begin pairing off with their mates and looking for breeding sites.
The Denham’s Bustard is the largest flying bird found in Welgevonden (they can measure up to 1 meter tall) and are often likened to ‘a giant chicken’. They are one of the first migratory birds to arrive during the summer months.
White-fronted Bee Eater
These beautifully colourful birds can be seen throughout the year and can be found in colonies of up to a hundred birds. They feed exclusively on insects, doing most of their hunting from a high perch. Once prey is located, they descend to grab the insect before returning to their perch to swallow.
African Pygmy Kingfisher
The African Pygmy Kingfisher is one of the smallest and most vividly coloured birds – the violet feathers covering their ears distinguish them from the Malachite Kingfisher.