The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the great gardens in the world, with incredible scenery, variety of plants and easy-to-see birding. Over 100 bird species have been recorded, making it one of the top spots on the Cape Peninsula for birders to visit for a few hours.
The map below shows some of the important areas to visit for birding in Kirstenbosch.
Lower lawns and pond (L)
Helmeted Guineafowl and Cape Spurfowl cross the lawns throughout the Gardens. The reeds near the pond may have warblers and Common Waxbills. The Bronze Mannikin is a new arrival and may be seen drinking, and feeding on algae, near the Botanical Society shop. Flocks of Swee Waxbills forage on the lawns. African Goshawk can often be heard calling in the early morning as it circles high above the gardens.
Boomslang Canopy Trail (B)
This walkway provides spectacular views over the gardens, and also some good birding. Spotted Eagle Owls may roost in the trees next to the walkway. At times Olive Pigeons may be seen in the tree-tops. Cape Batis, Cape White-eyes and other birds also pass by.
Protea and Erica section (P)
The proteas and ericas attract four nectarivores, namely Malachite Sunbird, Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird, and Cape Sugarbird. Some of these birds move higher up the slopes at certain times of the year. Other species often seen in these parts are Forest Canary, Karoo Prinia, and Southern Boubou.
Indigenous forest (F)
Walks along paths in the forested areas produce a variety of birds: Lemon Dove, Dusky Flycatcher, African Olive Pigeon, and others. Sombre Bulbuls can be heard calling daily. A good place to sample the forest is along the Braille Trail, which starts opposite the Fragrance Garden.
List of most common birds at Kirstenbosch, with most commonly seen listed first
|Sombre Greenbul||Andropadus importunus|
|Southern Boubou||Laniarius ferrugineus|
|Southern Double-collared Sunbird||Cinnyris chalybeus|
|Cape Robin-Chat||Cossypha caffra|
|Helmeted Guineafowl||Numida meleagris|
|Red-winged Starling||Onychognathus morio|
|Cape Sugarbird||Promerops cafer|
|African Olive-Pigeon||Columba arquatrix|
|Red-eyed Dove||Streptopelia semitorquata|
|Cape Spurfowl||Pternistis capensis|
|African Dusky Flycatcher||Muscicapa adusta|
|Cape Turtle-Dove||Streptopelia capicola|
|Cape Bulbul||Pycnonotus capensis|
|Cape Canary||Serinus canicollis|
|Speckled Mousebird||Colius striatus|
|Egyptian Goose||Alopochen aegyptiacus|
|Orange-breasted Sunbird||Anthobaphes violacea|
|Hadeda Ibis||Bostrychia hagedash|
|Cape Batis||Batis capensis|
|Forest Canary||Crithagra scotops|
|Levaillant’s Cisticola||Cisticola tinniens|
|Common Waxbill||Estrilda astrild|
|Cape Grassbird||Sphenoeacus afer|
|Common Fiscal||Lanius collaris|
|African Goshawk||Accipiter tachiro|
|African Paradise-Flycatcher||Terpsiphone viridis|
|Brimstone Canary||Crithagra sulphuratus|
|White-necked Raven||Corvus albicollis|
|Laughing Dove||Streptopelia senegalensis|
|Spotted Eagle-Owl||Bubo africanus|
|Common Chaffinch||Fringilla coelebs|
|Black Saw-wing||Psalidoprocne holomelaena|
|Pied Crow||Corvus albus|
|Steppe Buzzard||Buteo vulpinus|
|Little Rush-Warbler||Bradypterus baboecala|
|Red-chested Cuckoo||Cuculus solitarius|
|African Black Swift||Apus barbatus|
|Swee Waxbill||Coccopygia melanotis|
|Common Starling||Sturnus vulgaris|
|Alpine Swift||Tachymarptis melba|
|Malachite Sunbird||Nectarinia famosa|
|Cattle Egret||Bubulcus ibis|
|Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk||Accipiter rufiventris|
|Lemon Dove||Aplopelia larvata|
|Karoo Prinia||Prinia maculosa|
|Olive Thrush||Turdus olivaceus|
|Cape White-eye||Zosterops virens|
|Bar-throated Apalis||Apalis thoracica|
|Olive Woodpecker||Dendropicos griseocephalus|
|Black Sparrowhawk||Accipiter melanoleucus|
|Brown-backed Honeyguide||Prodotiscus regulus|
General information about the gardens, shops and restaurants at Kirstenbosch is available on the SANBI web.
For a guided bird tour in Kirstenbosch and elsewhere, contact Dieter.