Whether you’re getting up for an early morning game drive in the Kruger National Park, or getting ready for another day’s work in the big city, you are undoubtedly in the good company of some even earlier risers – birds. Before most of us have even flicked on the kettle for that first cup of coffee, the dark, quiet hours of a new day are already breaking with the melodious magic of birdsong. It’s hard to put into words, but when we have to, we call it the Dawn Chorus.

From the sweet, ascending song of the White-browed Robin-chat, to the harsh, rude awakening of the Hadeda Ibis (and everything in between), we believe that we are privileged to live in a country that is home to such symphony, and want to celebrate it accordingly. Which is why we’ve decided to create a radio series that is inspired by it.

Presenting… The Dawn Chorus, our weekly radio feature which showcases the wonderful calls of many of South Africa’s bird species. Each Monday morning before 6am on Fine Music Radio, a new episode heralds the ‘Dawn Chorus’ for the week, educating South Africans about their beautiful birds.

The Dawn Chorus is patriotically brought to you by BirdLife South Africa, Fine Music Radio, and Guy Gibbon Bird Calls, and we are grateful to Mel Tripp (BirdLife South Africa) and Rodney Trudgeon and Vanessa Levenstein (Fine Music Radio) for spearheading this wonderful series. Our thanks to the following contributors for sharing their wonderful collections of bird photographs with us for the purposes of education: Albert Froneman; Chris van Rooyen; Mark Anderson; Andrew de Blocq; Peter Steyn; Nico Myburgh; Otto Schmidt; Derek Longrigg; and Graham Pringle.

Listen to the Dawn Chorus on Mondays on Fine Music Radio at 5:58 am. Simply download the FMR App: available, for free, in both the Apple and Android stores. Type “Fine Music Radio” in the search bar and look for the FMR Logo.

The FMR App is especially useful for listeners outside FMR’s transmitter range, who can now easily listen to FMR at home, or in the car by connecting their phone to the car’s audio system via Bluetooth. The app plays in the background, much like a traditional radio set, it plays uninterrupted, regardless of what other applications you’re using. It is also light on data, with live streaming estimated to use about 36 megabytes per hour. You can also access FMR via DStv audio channel 838. FMR can be live streamed at www.fmr.co.za.

All bird calls used on this web page have been generously supplied by Guy Gibbon Bird Calls. For more information, or to contact Guy Gibbon, please click here.

© 2022. BirdLife South Africa, Gibbon Multimedia, Fine Music Radio. All rights reserved.

Dawn Chorus 1 – Blue Crane

Dawn Chorus 2 – Red-chested Cuckoo

Dawn Chorus 3 – Black-crowned Tchagra

Dawn Chorus 4 – Chorister Robin-chat

Dawn Chorus 5 – Black-collared Barbet

Dawn Chorus 6 – Southern Black Korhaan

Dawn Chorus 7 – Cape Turtle Dove

Dawn Chorus 8 – Common Chaffinch

Dawn Chorus 9 – African Rail

Dawn Chorus 10 – White-browed Robin-chat

Dawn Chorus 11 – Lesser Swamp Warbler

Dawn Chorus 12 – Knysna Warbler

Dawn Chorus 13 – Dark-Capped (African) Yellow Warbler

Dawn Chorus 14 – African Reed Warbler

Dawn Chorus 15 – Victorin’s Warbler

Dawn Chorus 16 – Red-eyed Dove

Dawn Chorus 17 – Spotted Thick-knee

Dawn Chorus 18 – Cape Robin-chat

Dawn Chorus 19 – Olive Thrush

Dawn Chorus 20 – Cape Bulbul

Dawn Chorus 21 – Green Wood-hoopoe

Dawn Chorus 22 – Cape Canary

Dawn Chorus 23 – Gorgeous Bush-shrike

Dawn Chorus 24 – Cape Grassbird

Dawn Chorus 25 – Black-backed Puffback

Dawn Chorus 26 – Bronze-winged Courser

Dawn Chorus 27 – Black-headed Oriole

Dawn Chorus 28 – Burchell’s Coucal

Dawn Chorus 29 – Cape Wagtail

Dawn Chorus 30 – Grey Go-away-bird

Dawn Chorus 31 – Western Barn Owl

Dawn Chorus 32 – Common Quail

Dawn Chorus 33 – African Stonechat

Dawn Chorus 34 – Bokmakierie

Dawn Chorus 35 – Red-knobbed Coot

Dawn Chorus 36 – Fiery-necked Nightjar

Dawn Chorus 37 – African (Black) Oystercatcher

Dawn Chorus 38 – African Harrier-Hawk

Dawn Chorus 39 – African Hoopoe

Dawn Chorus 40 – Karoo Korhaan

Dawn Chorus 41 – Little Grebe

Dawn Chorus 42 – Trumpeter Hornbill

Dawn Chorus 43 – Monotonous Lark

Dawn Chorus 44 – Lilac-breasted Roller

Dawn Chorus 45 – Grey Crowned Crane

Dawn Chorus 46 – Greater Honeyguide

Dawn Chorus 47 – Black Crake

Dawn Chorus 48 – Crested Barbet

Dawn Chorus 49 – Red-faced Mousebird

Dawn Chorus 50 – Egyptian Goose

Dawn Chorus 51 – Southern Boubou

Dawn Chorus 52 – Blacksmith Lapwing

Dawn Chorus 53 – Sombre Greenbul

Dawn Chorus 54 – Cape Spurfowl

Dawn Chorus 55 – Helmeted Guineafowl

Dawn Chorus 56 – Arrow-marked Babbler

Dawn Chorus 57 – Namaqua Sandgrouse

Dawn Chorus 58 – African Penguin

Dawn Chorus 59 – Bearded Woodpecker

Dawn Chorus 60 – Cloud Cisticola

Dawn Chorus 61 – Red-chested Flufftail

Dawn Chorus 62 – African Goshawk

Dawn Chorus 63 – Kelp Gull

Dawn Chorus 64 – Buff-streaked Chat

Dawn Chorus 65 – Water Thick-knee

Dawn Chorus 66 – Bearded Scrub Robin

Dawn Chorus 67 – White-Browed Scrub Robin

Dawn Chorus 68 – Kalahari Scrub Robin

Dawn Chorus 69 – Brown Scrub Robin

Dawn Chorus 70 – Karoo Scrub Robin

Dawn Chorus 71 – African Wood Owl

Dawn Chorus 72 – Long-billed Crombec

Dawn Chorus 73 – Knysna Turaco