Introduction to Drakensberg endangered birds
The Drakensberg has some 18 birds on Birdlife South Africa’s Red Data List’. Of these three are critically endangered and six endangered. The critically endangered Drakensberg birds are the Wattle Crane and Bearded Vulture.
The Drakensberg endangered birds include the Grey Crowned Crane, Martial Eagle, Southern Ground Hornbill, Black Harriet, Secretary Bird and Cape Vulture.
Other Drakensberg birds on the ‘Red Data List’ comprise:
– Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle;
– Striped Flufftail;
– Half-collared Kingfisher;
– White-bellied Korhaan (Bustard);
– Short-tailed Pipit;
– Yellow-breasted Pipit;
– Drakensberg Rockjumper;
– Gurney’s Sugarbird;
– Black Stork; and
– Ground Woodpecker
Initiatives to protect Drakensberg endangered birds
Several initiatives exist in the Central and Drakensberg to protect the ‘Red List’ birds. The most notable being, firstly, ‘Vulture Restaurants’. Vulture Restaurants are bird hides where poison-free animal carcasses are placed. These facilities contribute to the survival of these birds. The most significant of these hides is the hide at Bergview estate driven by Roy Strydom, the Chairman of the Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Honorary Officer team for Monks Cowl. On the first Saturday closest to the 5 September, a Vulture Count occurs, ‘World Vulture Awareness Day’. Some nine Bearded Vultures and 500 Cape Vultures were counted at the ‘Bergview restaurant’ in 2020. This tally was the most significant count in the Drakensberg and represented a substantial increase on previous counts. A significant achievement.
Secondly, Monks Cowl and Surrounds Southern Ground Hornbill Monks Cowl WhatsApp Forum. They monitor a well-known Southern Ground Hornbill family and other groups in Cathkin Park or Champagne Valley. Additionally, members provide ‘dropped pins’ of their sightings and photos of this rare bird. This initiative is an important case study of the movement and behavioural patterns of this hornbill.