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; Warwick Tarboton; Kai Pflug; 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

Dawn Chorus 74 – Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Dawn Chorus 75- Secretarybird 

Dawn Chorus 76- Goliath Heron

Dawn Chorus 77- African Scops Owl

Dawn Chorus 78- Grey Tit

Dawn Chorus 79- White-Crested Helmet-Shrike 

Dawn Chorus 80- Cape Gannet

Dawn Chorus 81- Grey Plover

Dawn Chorus 82- Woodland Kingfisher

Dawn Chorus 83- Black Cuckoo

Dawn Chorus 84- European Bee-eater

Dawn Chorus 85- Great Reed Warbler

Dawn Chorus 86- Wahlberg’s Eagle 

Dawn Chorus 87- Diederik Cuckoo

Dawn Chorus 88- Common Greenshank

Dawn Chorus 89- Yellow-billed Kite

Dawn Chorus 90- European Roller

Dawn Chorus 91- Red-chested Cuckoo

Dawn Chorus 92- African Paradise Flycatcher

Dawn Chorus 93- Eurasian Whimbrel

Dawn Chorus 94- Willow Warbler

Dawn Chorus 95- Amur Falcon

Dawn Chorus 108- White-faced Whistling Duck

Dawn Chorus 109- Pied Avocet

Dawn Chorus 110- Cape Weaver

Dawn Chorus 111- Tambourine Dove

Dawn Chorus 112- Cape Parrot

Dawn Chorus 113- Greater Crested Tern

Dawn Chorus 114- African Green Pigeon

Dawn Chorus 115- Black-headed Canary

Dawn Chorus 116- Swainson’s Spurfowl

Dawn Chorus 117- Brown-backed Honeybird

Dawn Chorus 118- Rock Krestel 

Dawn Chorus 119- Cape Long-billed Lark

Dawn Chorus 120- African Cuckoo Hawk

Dawn Chorus 121- Black-winged Stilt

Dawn Chorus 122- Bar-throated Apalis

Dawn Chorus 123- Southern Pied Babbler

Dawn Chorus 124- Green-backed Camaroptera

Dawn Chorus 125- Pearl-spotted Owlet

Dawn Chorus 126- Crowned Lapwing

Dawn Chorus 127- Rufous-eared Warbler

Dawn Chorus 128- Hartlaub’s Gull

Dawn Chorus 129- Large-billed Lark

Dawn Chorus 130- Fork-tailed Drongo 

Dawn Chorus 131- Peregrine Falcon

Dawn Chorus 132- Red-crested Korhaan

Dawn Chorus 133- The Giant Kingfisher

Dawn Chorus 134- The African Kingfisher

Dawn Chorus 135- The White-browed Sparrow-weaver

Dawn Chorus 136- Red-capped Robin-chat

Dawn Chorus 137- Abdims Stork

Dawn Chorus 138- Jacobin Cuckoo

Dawn Chorus 139- African Crake

Dawn Chorus 140- Greater Striped Swallow

Dawn Chorus 141- Common Ringed Plover

Dawn Chorus 142- Ruddy Turnstone

Dawn Chorus 143- Osprey

Dawn Chorus 144- Sandwich Tern

Dawn Chorus 145- Southern Carmine Bee-eater

Dawn Chorus 146- Red-backed Shrike

Dawn Chorus 147- Dwarf Bittern

Dawn Chorus 148- Eurasian Curlew

Dawn Chorus 149- African Jacana

Dawn Chorus 150- Pied Kingfisher