Strandfontein Sewage Works

Greater Flamingo

Strandfontein is one of Cape Town’s top birding sites! Flamingos flying between pans provide a visual feast of pink and white. A wide variety of waterbirds are easily observed while driving around the pans. Strandfontein has attracted rare waders and wagtails over the decades. A variety of passerines may also be seen, especially swallows in summer.

The works consist of a series of settling ponds. The ponds provide open water for waterfowl, with shallow areas for flamingos. Most ponds are fringed with reeds, providing shelter for warblers, cisticolas, and other species. Large numbers of Barn Swallows roost in the larger reedbeds. Roads encircle the ponds, allowing one to use a vehicle as a hide.

Focus on Waterbirds

Over 72 waterbird species have been recorded. Strandfontein is of international and national importance for several species. Quite a few resident waders occur, which are joined in summer by migrants. Several tern species visit in summer, and gulls are resident.

Grey and Purple Herons are present in high numbers in summer, while winter sees an influx of White Pelicans. Most ducks are more numerous in summer. South African Shelduck and Southern Pochard are more numerous in winter, however.

Photo feature – Ducks have colourful and interestingly-shaped beaks!

Red-billed Teal
Red-billed Teal
Hottentot Teal
Hottentot Teal
Yellow-billed Duck
Yellow-billed Duck
Cape Shovellor
Cape Shovellor


List of most common birds at Strandfontein (listed with most common first)

RR=reporting rate, based on Birds in Reserves Project (BIRP) and own bird lists

Thanks to Peter Greaves for the BIRP lists!

Species Latin

VERY COMMON (RR=80-100%):

African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Cape Shoveler Anas smithii
Cape Teal Anas capensis
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus
Hartlaub’s Gull Larus hartlaubii
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
Red-billed Teal Anas erythrorhyncha
Cape Wagtail Motacilla capensis
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulata
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
Levaillant’s Cisticola Cisticola tinniens
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Hadeda Ibis Bostrychia hagedash
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
African Purple Swamphen Porphyrio madagascariensis
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
Little Rush-Warbler Bradypterus baboecala
Cape Bulbul Pycnonotus capensis
Reed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala
Lesser Swamp-Warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris
Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola
Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma
Cape Turtle-Dove Streptopelia capicola
Swift Tern Sterna bergii
Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea
Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis
Pied Crow Corvus albus

COMMON (RR=60-80%):

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
Cape Spurfowl Pternistis capensis
Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa
African Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus
Karoo Prinia Prinia maculosa
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
African Marsh-Harrier Circus ranivorus
African Black Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini
Cape Longclaw Macronyx capensis
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Cape Weaver Ploceus capensis
South African Shelduck Tadorna cana
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
White-throated Swallow Hirundo albigularis
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus


Cape Robin-Chat Cossypha caffra
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
African Darter Anhinga rufa
Southern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris chalybeus
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota
Southern Masked-Weaver Ploceus velatus
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

UNCOMMON (RR=20-40%):

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Cape White-eye Zosterops virens
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata
White-necked Raven Corvus albicollis
Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio
Cape Canary Serinus canicollis
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
African Black Swift Apus barbatus
Little Swift Apus affinis
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris
Kittlitz’s Plover Charadrius pecuarius
Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis
African Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
African Spoonbill Platalea alba
Brimstone Canary Crithagra sulphuratus
Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix
Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis
Yellow Bishop Euplectes capensis


For a guided bird tour to Strandfontein and elsewhere, contact Dieter.

Dieter is a qualified Bird Ringer and trainer, registered bird guide, and Weaver expert. Dieter is able to act as a bird guide for day trips in Cape Town, and is able to customise birds tours in South Africa and beyond.