Friday, 3 May 2013

Birds of Prey in South Africa

Dis you know there are 6 groups of Birds of Prey in Southern Africa?

1) Group 1- Secretary bird.

This bird of prey kills snakes and rodents by stamping on their heads with its long, very strong legs. They can be identified by their hooked bills, very tall appearances, bear faces and drooping appearance.

Secretary Bird
Image courtesy from North RUP

2) Group 2- Osprey

This is a medium sized Eagle. It is found all over the world.

Image courtesy of National Geographic

3) Group 3- Accipitridae

Eagles: There are 13 species of Eagles in South Africa They are medium to large birds of prey and can be categorized by their broad wings and feathered legs.

Buzzards- We have six species of buzzards in South Africa. They are very similar to eagles but do not have feathered legs.

Goshawks and Sparrowhawks: These birds have rounded wings and long tails with yellow or red eyes. They are small to medium sized with specially adapted toes designed to help with gripping their prey.

Harriers: These birds are distinguished by their low-glide flying when they look for prey. They are medium sized birds with long narrow wings and tails.


Group 4: Vultures

These birds are categorized by their bald heads with very long broad wings. They are scavengers which means that they eat carcasses. We have 8 species in South Africa.  
Image courtesy of National Geographic

Group 5: Falcons and Kestrels

These birds are small to medium sized birds with long narrow pointed wings with large heads. Kestrels hover or forage when hunting and roost in large groups called flights. Falcons are areal hunters that swoop at great speeds from enormous heights when hunting. Neither of these birds make nests but lay their eggs on cliff sides. They hunt at dawn and dusk.

Group 6 Owls

Tytonidae Family: This group includes grass and barn owls which have distinctive heart shaped facial disks which equips them to channel sounds exceptionally well and assists them with binocular vision. 
Strigidae Family: These are all other owls.  They are distinguished by their ear tufts and large eyes. Calls like hoots, whistles and shrieks can be clearly distinguished from other birds. Mostly nocturnal, these birds are also active at dawn and dusk. These silent flyers hunt insects, small mammals, birds and fish. 

Most of South Africa's birds of prey are under threat of extinction. Read here for more information on the state of South Africa's birds under threat. Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve aims to educate and promote the conservation of these birds. 

Contact Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve for a chance to see one of these birds in their natural habitat. We offer daily game drives by expert game rangers who are very knowledgeable about these birds and can assist you. Click here to contact us now for more information and enquiries by clicking here

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