Last year, BirdLife South Africa’s work on the Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail uncovered two major scientific breakthroughs for the species, which have been integral milestones in furthering the conservation of this very rare bird. The first ever breeding record, outside of the known sites in Ethiopia, was discovered at Middelpunt Wetland, Mpumalanga, in early 2018 and, later that year, the first recordings of the call of the White-winged Flufftail were made in both South Africa and Ethiopia. Prior to these two discoveries, the species was thought to be a non-breeding, silent, summer migrant to South Africa. Through the development and implementation of novel and innovative research and monitoring methods, BirdLife South Africa has once again been able to confirm that breeding White-winged Flufftails have been recorded at Middelpunt Wetland, thus confirming the species as a regular breeding bird in South Africa. BirdLife South Africa’s work has resulted in the need to rewrite the field guides and history books for this elusive wetland bird and has reshaped our understanding of, and ability to, conserve the White-winged Flufftail. Download
On 8 and 9 February 2019 BirdLife South Africa, in partnership with Rand Water (Water Wise), Toyota, the Rare Finch Conservation Group and Joburg City Parks and Zoo, hosted the annual Flufftail Festival at Joburg Zoo in Johannesburg. The main purpose of the Flufftail Festival is to teach people of all ages about the importance of conserving water, wetlands and waterbirds. With water scarcity becoming an ever-present reality in drought-stricken South Africa, the Flufftail Festival aims to raise awareness about our most important resource. It also focuses on the related issue of wetland conservation and the home it provides to a plethora of biodiversity, including threatened waterbirds such as the Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail. pdf Download (848 KB) Kamfers Dam's flamingos – comments from Mark Anderson, CEO of BirdLife South Africa
The situation unfolding at the Lesser Flamingo breeding colony at Kamfers Dam near Kimberley is now in its 14th day. It has seen an ardent community of passionate and well-meaning animal welfare workers, rehabilitators and caring members of the public galvanise into action, working together to recover, resuscitate and hopefully release back into the wild nearly 2000 flamingo chicks. These endearing little birds were apparently left stranded and dying by their parents as the waters of the dam dried up, leaving their nests exposed to the unbearable heat-wave conditions affecting the dam at the time. Download
BirdLife South Africa and CapeNature have taken the first concrete step in an ambitious project to help conserve the African Penguin. The idea of creating new African Penguin colonies has been discussed and planned for a number of years, but now is closer to becoming a reality with work starting on the ground at the De Hoop Nature Reserve. pdf Download (87 KB)
One of the greatest ornithological mysteries, representing more than a decade’s work, has been solved! The White-winged Flufftail is one of Africa’s rarest and most threatened wetland birds. It is largely restricted to high-altitude wetland habitats in South Africa and Ethiopia. The current population is estimated to number only 200 and 250 birds and, in light of habitat loss and degradation over the past 10 years, this species faces a significant risk of extinction. pdf Download (704 KB)
BirdLife South Africa is excited to announce that Candice Stevens, BirdLife South Africa’s Policy & Advocacy Programme Manager, and the South African Government (represented by the Department of Environmental Affairs) have been awarded the Pathfinder Award Special Commendation for their innovative work on biodiversity tax incentives. The award was presented at the Pathfinder Award Ceremony at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 14) in Egypt on 18 November 2018. pdf Download (795 KB)
The North Gauteng High Court set aside the 2016 decisions of former Mineral Resources Minister Zwane and the late Environmental Affairs Minister Molewa to permit a new coal mine to be developed in the Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga.
The Moutonshoek Protected Environment (MPE) is South Africa’s newest privately protected area, nestled in the mountains of the Moutonshoek valley, near Piketberg on South Africa’s west coast. The MPE was established through the work of BirdLife South Africa’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme, with support from CapeNature. This declaration of 9 000 hectares has helped achieve a major milestone for BirdLife South Africa, bringing the total hectares that the IBA Programme has helped declare as protected areas to 100 000 hectares. Download
Conservation Outcomes and BirdLife South Africa have initiated a partnership to promote and support the conservation of KwaZulu-Natal’s natural heritage. The partnership will support private and communal land holders to conserve and manage areas essential for bird conservation. Download.
Conservationists are concerned that a proposed wind farm development at a site near Letšeng-La-Terae in Lesotho, just to the west of Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Park, may help drive the Maloti-Drakensberg population of Bearded and Cape Vultures to extinction. Vultures are particularly prone to colliding with wind turbine blades, and this area sits in the heart of important breeding and foraging grounds for Cape Vulture and Bearded Vulture, both of which are at risk of extinction. Download
The White-winged Flufftail is one of the world’s rarest birds. Destruction and degradation of the species’ high altitude grassland habitat have resulted in a situation where its survival in the wild is uncertain. There is a race against time to ensure that it does not become the first African bird to go extinct, following the same fate as North America’s Passenger Pigeon and Mauritius’ Dodo. Through the use of a novel survey method, BirdLife South Africa’s research team has this month discovered the first breeding of the threatened White-winged Flufftail in South Africa, contradicting prior thought that this flufftail is a non-breeding visitor to South African wetlands. Download
BirdLife International, with the support of global partners, has reassessed the conservation statuses of several bird species. Unfortunately for southern Africa, Cape Gannets are now listed as Endangered due to ongoing population decreases. Download.
Researchers from across the world have collaborated to produce the first global review of penguin bycatch, published in the scientific journal Endangered Species Research. Download.
Bird strikes with aircraft cost the international aviation industry millions of dollars per annum as a result of direct damage to aircraft and indirectly due to delays caused by aircraft down time. Download.
BirdLife South Africa’s Fiscal Benefits Project was launched in 2015 with the aim of testing biodiversity tax incentives as a benefit for landowners declaring Protected Areas, through the Biodiversity Stewardship model. The Fiscal Benefits Project began with the achievement of introducing a new tax incentive, section 37D, into the Income Tax Act. Section 37D gives landowners a tax deduction for their conservation commitment. Download.
World Oceans Day, observed annually on 8 June, is a chance to remember and celebrate the vitally important role of oceans and the diverse life they support. Download.
World Penguin Day celebrates penguins wherever they are found; from the snow and ice of Antarctica to the sunshine of Africa. Download
A major milestone for the conservation of South Africa’s water resources and threatened Highveld grass- and wetlands was reached on 7 April 2017, when the MEC for Mpumalanga’s Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA), Vusi Shongwe, declared the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment near Dullstroom. Download
African’s vultures are in trouble. Most old-world vultures (vultures found in Africa, Europe, and Asia) have faced severe population declines and are on the edge of extinction. Download
Conservation organisations, including the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and BirdLife South Africa, welcome the rejection of the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed construction of a raw water supply dam in the uMkhomazi catchment, KwaZulu-Natal, by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). Download
Cape Town, 17 February 2017: Sardine biomass in the Benguela ecosystem has fallen below the “Exceptional Circumstances” threshold, triggering an immediate 50% reduction in the 2017 allowable catch for sardine. The alarming state of the west and south coast ecosystems has huge implications for both commercial fishing and species such as seals and seabirds. Download
The Responsible Fisheries Alliance cautions that government’s disregard for the West Coast Rock Lobster recovery plan could affect global trade. Download.
Wetlands are essential ecosystems that have multiple functions. From cleaning water and providing a medium for recreational activities, to providing homes for Whitewinged
Flufftails and other animals. Wetlands are truly wonderlands. To learn more about wetlands,
water and waterbirds, join us at the Flufftail Festival. Download
Wetlands are often undervalued and overlooked in society, yet they are so important. To experience some of the beautiful basics of wetlands, join us at this years’ Flufftail Festival. Download.
Victory for biodiversity in uMkhomazi River Valley
Court victory for South Africa’s protected areas in Mabola case