ENDEMIC BIRD SPECIES OF THE CAPE WHALE COAST REGION
THE ENDEMIC AND OTHER SPECIAL BIRD SPECIES OF THE CAPE WHALE COAST REGION
Many visitors to the Overstrand local municipal area (named the Cape Whale Coast for marketing purposes) are attracted by the diversity of endemic species to be found in the region. Endemism refers to species that are restricted to a certain region and that can be found nowhere else in the world. Southern Africa is fortunate to have a high level of endemism in all forms of life and South Africa, as a country, is considered by some to be the third most biologically diverse country in the world. A whopping 49 of the Southern Africa’s endemic bird species and 16 of the near- endemic species are found within the Cape Whale Coast region – see the lists below. With these 65 species alone the region boasts more endemic birds than most countries have to offer. A further advantage is that most of these species are fairly easily accessible and several guides, eager to part with appropriate local knowledge, are readily available. The development of these web pages is a further attempt to assist visiting birders to gain easier access to many of the region’s special species.
Stereotypically most people believe that the “Cape endemics” mostly consist of birds associated with the Cape Floral Kingdom. This “kingdom” with 9 000 plant species (almost 70% of which are endemic), ranks among the wonders of the natural world. Several exciting and often endemic bird species are attracted to this habitat type and can be tracked down relatively easily in several different localities spread throughout the Cape Whale Coast. Most of these birding destinations are readily accessible and often feature dramatic sea and mountain landscapes. Top destinations for these “Fynbos specials” include the world-renowned Rooiels site, the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve at Kleinmond, the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus and several privately owned properties throughout the region, to mention a few. Entrance to these reserves is often free or available at a minimal cost. The endemic birds associated with these Fynbos habitats are the difficult to find HOTTENTOT BUTTONQUAIL, SOUTHERN BLACK KORHAAN, CAPE ROCKJUMPER, PROTEA SEEDEATER, CAPE SISKIN, CAPE SUGARBIRD, ORANGE-BREASTED SUNBIRD and VICTORIN’S WARBLER.
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