Through their work, the Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programme has produced a number of resources which have been made available to the public. Please see the below:
The number of bird species that has been recorded in South Africa is 855, and this is an increase from 848 in 2017. Changes include the addition of seven new species to the South African list including Whinchat, African Spotted Creeper, Masked Booby, Rosy Starling, White-throated Robin, European Pied Flycatcher and Subantarctic Shearwater. The common name of Black-shouldered Kite has been changed to Black-winged Kite. Further adjustments include changes in scientific names of genera and species, global red list status changes (see list below) with emphasis on the uplisting of the status of several species to globally Endangered, including Cape Gannet and two of our endemics, Black Harrier and Rudd’s Lark. Bush Blackcap was uplisted to Vulnerable and the status of Cape Parrot changed from Not Recognised to Vulnerable. The good news is that BirdLife South Africa’s Bird of the Year, African Black Oystercatcher, was downlisted from globally Near Threatened to Least Concern.
As per the 2017 list, vagrants are indicated with a note that sightings of these should be reported, via firstname.lastname@example.org, to the BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee.
The BirdLife South Africa List Committee for 2017 comprised the following members: Chris Lotz (Chairman), David Allan, Rauri Bowie, Hugh Chittenden, Callan Cohen, Bob Dowsett, Guy Gibbon, Trevor Hardaker, Etienne Marais, Faansie Peacock, Ernst Retief, Peter Ryan, Martin Taylor and Hanneline Smit-Robinson.
Copies of the Checklist of Birds in South Africa 2018 is available for download below.
Lists of global status changes (BirdLife International and IUCN Red List 2018) (EN = Endangered; VU= Vulnerable; NT = Near Threatened; LC = Least Concern and NR = Not Recognised)
|African Black Oystercatcher||NT||LC|
|Sentinel Rock Thrush||LC||NT|
|Protea Seedeater (canary)||LC||NT|
The BirdLife South Africa National Rarities Committee (BLSANRC) is tasked with the evaluation of records of birds which would constitute national rarities anywhere in South Africa. The BLSANRC is administered by BirdLife South Africa and made up of volunteer members who are considered experts in the identification of bird species.
If you wish to have a record declared a national rarity, in your private capacity or through SABAP2, a formal submission must be made to the BLSANRC. For more information on how to submit your sighting to the BLSANRC please visit the official website by clicking the button below.
For more information on the previous BLSANRC records please follow the link to the website below.
All rarities correspondence should be referred to Dr Melissa Whitecross via email@example.com
The BirdLife South Africa Animal Ethics Committee (BLSA AEC) was brought into being as a platform to gain ethical clearance for research projects focusing on avian research, including applications from individuals who are not affiliated with a university or other institutions. This includes scientific projects with a bird ringing component, as well as ALL projects requiring the fitting of tracking devices.
All applicants are advised to fully acquaint themselves with the requirements of SANS 10386: 2008 “The care and use of animals for scientific purposes” which is available at www.sabs.co.za. The BLSA AEC will only consider a protocol if the use of animals is deemed essential and conforms to the requirements of this standard.
- If you (or your organisation) wish to submit a protocol to the BLSA AEC for ethical clearance, please acquaint yourself with our terms of reference before submitting an application.
To submit a research protocol for ethical clearance, please complete the application form and return to Linda van den Heever, who will submit the application to the BLSA AEC for consideration.
Should your protocol be granted ethical clearance by the BLSA AEC, you will be required to adhere to certain reporting requirements, as set out in the Terms of Reference.
All relevant reports are available for download below.
All correspondence should be referred to Linda van den Heever at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whitecross, MA, Colyn, RB & Smit-Robinson, HA. 2019. Best Practice Guidelines for the Management of Suitable Habitat for the Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail in South Africa. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg. In prep.
- Harebottle, DM, Smit-Robinson, HA & Froneman, A. 2019. National guidelines for interventions that relate to colonial breeding waterbirds causing human-wildlife conflict.
Our Bird-friendly burning and grazing best-practice guidelines are intended to promote awareness and conservation of threatened grassland bird species, primarily in the agricultural (red meat production) sector. They are aimed at anyone working towards the parallel objectives of economically-viable livestock production, improved veld condition and biodiversity conservation in grasslands.
BirdLife South Africa helps renewable energy develop in an environmentally responsible manner. Visit our Birds and Renewable Energy Project page for the most up-to-date guidelines and other resources
The Terrestrial Bird Conservation programme has produced several scientific publications and popular articles. Read more by clicking the relevant links below:
- Van den Heever, L, Smit-Robinson, HA, Naidoo, V, McKechnie, AE. 2019. Blood and bone lead levels in South Africa’s Gyps vultures: Risk to nest-bound chicks and comparison with other avian taxa. Science of the Total Environment 669: 471-480. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.123
- Colyn R, Campbell A, Smit-Robinson HA. 2019. The site occupancy, activity patterns and behaviour of Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi and other rallid species in palustrine wetlands, South Africa. Bird Conservation International 1: 1-16.
- Maphisa DH, Smit-Robinson HA, Altwegg R. 2019. Dynamic multi-species occupancy models reveal individualistic habitat preferences in a high-altitude grassland bird community. PeerJ 7:e6276 http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6276
- Jenkins, A, Van Zyl A, Magunja, I, Matsvimbo, F, Rodriques, L, Robinson, L, Sebele, L, Tiran, D, Smit-Robinson H. 2019. Status of the Taita Falcon (Falco Fasciinucha) and other cliff-nesting raptors in Batoka Gorge, Zimbabwe. Journal of Raptor Research 53: 46–55.
- Whitecross MW, Retief EF, Smit-Robinson HA. 2019. Dispersal dynamics of juvenile Secretarybirds Sagittarius serpentarius in southern Africa. Ostrich. Accepted.
- Dalton DL, de Bruyn M, Mwale M, Labuschagne K, Hofmann M, Froneman A, Smit-Robinson HA, Kotze A. 2019. Using multiple mtDNA markers to identify first White Stork birdstrike record in South Africa. Accepted.
- Visser E, Perold V, Ralston-Paton S, Cardenal AC, Ryan PG. 2018. Assessing the impacts of a utility-scale photovoltaic solar energy facility on birds in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Renewable Energy 133: 1285-1294.
- Colyn RB, Whitecross MA, Howes C, Smit-Robinson HA. 2019. The conservation implications of the selection, density and availability of nesting habitat for a Critically Endangered rallid in Ethiopia. Ostrich. In review.
- Whitecross MA, Howes, C, Colyn RB, Smit-Robinson HA. 2019. Behavioural observations of breeding White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi in Ethiopia, and their potential impacts and conservation implications. Ostrich. In review.
- Whitecross MA, van den Heever L, Colyn RB, Smit-Robinson HA, Allan D, Jenkins A, Tarboton W. 2019. Estimating the breeding and foraging distributions of Black StorkCiconia nigra in South Africa. Ostrich. In prep.
- Dalton DL, Smit-Robinson HA, Vermaak E, Jarvis E, Kotzé A. 2018. Is there genetic connectivity among the Critically Endangered Whited-winged Flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi) populations from South Africa and Ethiopia? African Journal of Ecology 56: 28-37.
- Watson RT, Kolar PS, Ferrer M, Nygard T, Johnston N, Hunt WG, Smit-Robinson HA, Farmer C, Huso M, Katzner T. 2018. Raptor interactions with wind energy: case studies from around the world. Journal of Raptor Research 52:1-18.
- Colyn R, Campbell A, Smit-Robinson HA. 2017. The application of camera trapping to assess rallidae species richness within wetland habitat types, eastern Free State, South Africa. Ostrich. 2017: 1–11 (ISSN 0030–6525)
- Dalton DL, Smit-Robinson HA, Vermaak E, Jarvis E, Kotzé A. 2017. Is there genetic connectivity among the Critically Endangered Whited-winged Flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi) populations from South Africa and Ethiopia? African Journal of Ecology. doi:10.1111/aje.12414.
- Du Plessis M, Dalton DL, Smit-Robinson HA, Kotzé A. 2017. Next generation sequencing yields the mitochondrial genome of the critically endangered Sarothrura ayresi (White-winged Flufftail). Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources 2: 236–237.
- Maphisa DH, Smit-Robinson HA, Underhill LG, Altwegg R. 2017. Management factors affecting densities of common grassland birds of high elevation grasslands of eastern South Africa: Ingula as a case study. Avian Research 8: 518.
- Watson RT, Kolar PS, Ferrer M, Nygard T, Johnston N, Hunt WG, Smit-Robinson HA, Farmer C, Huso M, Katzner T. 2017. Raptor interactions with wind energy: case studies from around the world. Journal of Raptor Research. Accepted.
- Dalton DL, Vermaak E, Smit-Robinson HA, Kotzé, A. 2016. Lack of diversity at innate immunity Toll-like receptors genes in the critically endangered White-winged Flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi). Scientific Reports. 6: 36757–63665. DOI: 10.1038/srep36757
- Maphisa DH, Smit-Robinson HA, Underhill LG, Altwegg R. 2016. Drivers of bird species richness within moist high-altitude grasslands in eastern South Africa. Plos One. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0162609
- Davies GBP, Smit-Robinson, HA, Drummond, IM, Gardner B, Rautenbach S, van Stuyvenberg, D, Nattrass C, Pretorius M, Pietersen DW, Symes CT. 2015. Review of recent records of the White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi (Aves, Sarothruridae) in South Africa, including details of a survey of high-altitude wetlands in 2013-2014. Durban Natural Science Museum Novitates 37: 62-75.
BirdLife South Africa Occasional Report Series
- Wind energy’s impacts on birds in South Africa: A preliminary review of the results of operational monitoring
at the first wind farms of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme in South Africa.
- Occasional Report Series
- Campbell A, Colyn RB. 2017. Insight into the opportunistic feeding habits of Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa. Biodiversity Observations 8: 1-4.
- Colyn R, Smit-Robinson HA. 2016. Fennoscandian-ringed Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) recovery, Ingula, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Biodiversity Observations 7: 1-5.
- Retief EF, Smit-Robinson HA, de Swardt DH. 2015. Egyptian Geese nesting in Secretarybird nests. Ornithological Observations 6: 215-216.
- Davies GBP, Retief EF, Smit-Robinson HA. 2014. Snakes in the diet of Secretarybirds Sagittarius serpentarius: an example from Balfour, Mpumalanga: Ornithological Observations 5: 361-364.
Below is a list of links to media releases issued by the Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programme:
- 15 February 2019: It was not just a fluke! White-winged Flufftails are breeding in South Africa again!
- 11 February 2019: 2019 Flufftail Festival: water, wetlands and waterbirds
- 8 December 2018: Breaking News: One of the greatest mysteries about the Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail solved
- 17 February 2018: Breaking news: second global breeding locality discovered for Critically Endangered flufftail
- 25 January 2017: Back to basics – The Flufftail Festival
- 10 December 2016: Updated IUCN Red List of Threatened Bird Species released
- 20 February 2016: Protect our wetlands. Save the Flufftail!
- 6 February 2016: Increasing threats to the survival of South Africa’s waterbirds
- 27 January 2016: Wetland Wonderlands
- 11 December 2015: Secretarybird tracked from nestling to breeding: a first for science!
- 9 June 2015: Investec and BirdLife South Africa renew their partnership and commitment to responsible renewable energy development
- 18 May 2015: Norms and standards for raptor ringing, marking and tracking
- 28 April 2015: Cape to Vic Falls enduro-ride for Orange-breasted Waxbills
- 16 April 2015: Movements of Secretarybird tracked for more than two years!
- 28 January 2015: White-winged Flufftails soon to be homeless
- 19 January 2015: Running in aid of the rarest flufftail
- 6 September 2014: Vulture in Africa and Europe could face extinction within our lifetime warn conservationists
- 28 November 2013: South African flufftail on brink of extinction
The Terrestrial Bird Conservation programme has received media coverage about their work across a range of media platforms and popular articles. Read more below:
ACSA Collaboration on bird strike prevention
- Saturday Star, published 28 October 2017: Thrill of the chase to stop bird strikes
- News 24, published 11 September 2017: A meeting with ‘Jonathan Boeing Seagull’
- Saturday Star, published 9 September 2017: Keeping Track of feathered flyers
- GreenTimes.co.za, published 20 February 2019: Annual fest seeks to educate on wetlands & waterbirds
- South African Landscape Institute, published 28 January 2019: Flufftail celebrated on World Wetlands Day
- Krugersdorp News, published 20 April 2018: Annual Flufftail Festival to take place at Johannesburg Zoo this weekend
- Saturday Star, published 31 January 2017: Learn about wetland wonderlands
- EngineeringNews.co.za, published 4 March 2016: Wetlands, water conservation key to environment
- JHBLive.com, published 28 January 2016: Flufftail festival
- Ralston-Paton, S. and Smit-Robinson, H. 2017. How wind farms are affecting birds. Diamond Route Newsletter, February 2018.
- Ralston-Paton S. 2017. Not a fan of wind farms? African Birdlife. 5(6): 60-61.
- Ralston Paton, 2015, Renewable energy and birds: Myths, misconceptions and many questions, Energize RE: Renewable Energy Supplement, June.
- Saturday Star, 27 February 2018, Sheree Bega. New threat to vultures.
Country Life Magazine. Silver Linings for Cookhouse. April 2016.
Urban Eco-life E-Magazine July 2015 Wings in the Wind.
- Independent Education published by ISASA, published Autumn 2019: Get your school involved in the Bird of the Year project
- Safari News, published 6 December 2018, The Secretarybird – Bird of the Year 2019
- Getaway Magazine, published 23 November 2018: BirdLife SA announces Bird of the Year 2019
- Africa Geographic, published 14 October 2014: Secretarybird dies, leaving behind valuable conservation information
Southern Banded Snake Eagle
BirdLife South Africa has developed a number of position statements to assist staff, bird clubs, council members and indeed all members, to align themselves with the organisation’s viewpoints on a range of important matters. These statements are intended to summarise and demonstrate a clear stance on specific viewpoints.
One of Africa’s smallest finch species, weighing only ~7.5g. They are usually found in small family groups of up to 20 individuals. Their diet consists mainly of grass seeds. They feed in small foraging groups, and when disturbed will fly away synchronously producing a high pitched chirping call.
The need for cleaner energy has resulted in a burgeoning renewable energy industry in South Africa. At BirdLife South Africa we acknowledge the predicted shortfall of energy supply versus demand, as well as the inherent advantages to be found in wind farms as a source of renewable energy. There is however ample scientific evidence to show that poorly located wind turbines can be hazardous to birds and their habitats.