Red-billed Buffalo-weaver in Mokala

The Red-billed Buffalo-weaver Bubalornis niger occurs in savanna regions in southern and East Africa.

On 9 October 2019 Beryl Wilson found a small group of Red-billed Buffalo-weaver at Mokala National Park, Northern Cape, South Africa. This is well south of where this species usually occurs (source: rarebirdnews).

Red-billed Buffalo-weaver map


Key for the map above: red circle – Mokala National Park, larger green grids – SABAP1, smaller blue grids – SABAP2 records, B – Bloemhof, K – Kathu

The closest sites where this weaver has been recorded previously are Boemhof and Kathu. Mokala is about 200 kms SW of Bloemhof, where the Red-billed Buffalo-weaver was recorded sporadically between 1980-2000. Also, Mokala is about 200 kms SE of Kathu, where this species has been recorded in both SABAP1 and SABAP2. Incidentally, note the slight range expansion westwards from Kathu (SABAP2 records without SABAP1 records).

The Mokala record is the furthest south that this species has ever been recorded. It occurs or occurred at three localities – Kathu, Bloemhof, and Zululand, all of which are very roughly 27° 45′ S. Mokala is approximately at 29° S, so the new record is more than 1 degree latitude south.

Red-billed Buffalo-weaver
© Beryl Wilson
Photo hosted at rarebirdnews
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.