List 1: Birds not often seen outside of Kruger but commonly seen in Kruger
|Common Name||SA Count||KNP Count||KNP %|
|Greater Blue-eared Starling||10,150||9,706||96%|
|Southern Ground Hornbill||4,300||3,795||88%|
|Mourning Collared Dove||3,324||2,927||88%|
|Northern Carmine Bee-eater||3,314||2,670||81%|
|African Barred Owlet||1,184||922||78%|
|Lesser spotted eagle||1,460||1,089||75%|
|Dark Chanting Goshawk||2,033||1,441||71%|
|African Scops Owl||4,181||2,950||71%|
List 2: Birds rarely seen in South Africa but mostly seen in Kruger National Park
|Common Name||SA Count||KNP Count||KNP %|
|Miombo Blue-eared Starling||3||3||100%|
|African Golden Oriole||81||67||83%|
|Collared Palm Thrush||13||10||77%|
Where are these rare birds (List 2) normally seen within Kruger National Park?
Visiting the Makuleke Contract Park and Pafuri section of Kruger
You can drive through from Punda Maria Rest Camp, however, private vehicles are not permitted on the dirt roads to the North of the main road to Pafuri Gate. The only vehicles allowed on these roads (with the best birding in my opinion) are the Pafuri Camp and The Outpost safari vehicles. My wife and I stayed at The Outpost as part of our honeymoon and were lucky enough to get a sighting of the Bohm’s Spinetail and the Dickinson’s Kestrel – definitely worth the money!
What is SABAP2 (aka Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2)?
“SABAP2 is a citizen science project that is driven by the energy of several hundred volunteers who are mapping the distribution of birds across several southern African countries. SABAP2 is the follow-up project to the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), which took place from 1987-1991. The second bird atlas project started on 1 July 2007 and is still growing. The project aims to map the distribution and relative abundance of birds in southern Africa and includes: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, eSwatini, Zimbabwe, Zambia. To gather data, volunteers select a geographical ‘pentad’ on a map and record all the bird species seen within a set time frame, in order of species seen. This information is uploaded to the SABAP2 database and is used for research and analysis by several different agencies, including the South African National Biodiversity Institute, BirdLife South Africa, as well as academics and students at various universities.” ADU
How did I generate these lists from the SABAP2 data?
The purpose of the analysis was to see which South African bird species are almost exclusively seen within Kruger National Park. To do this I downloaded the latest SABAP2 data from GBIF.org (7 October 2019) GBIF Occurrence Download https://doi.org/10.15468/dl.9k98vu, all 13 million records of it! Working with this much data is not a simple task so I had to import the 6.7GB csv file into a database and manipulate the data from there.
The first step in compiling the lists was to count the number of SABAP2 observations of each species in South Africa. The second step was to count the number of SABAP2 observations for each species in Kruger National Park. The third step was to simply divide the number of Kruger observations by the number of South African observations to find the proportion of observations originating from Kruger. For example, SABAP2 has 129 records for Dickinson’s Kestrel and 128 of these records are from the Northern sections of Kruger National Park.
See also: Birds Of Kruger National Park checklist
What about the rest of the countries in the Southern African Region?
The SABAP2 dataset that I used only includes observations from South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. No observations were included from Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe or Mozambique. So, if you are prepared to travel out of South Africa, then some of the species in these lists (especially the second list) may be easier to see elsewhere in Southern Africa. If, however, you are working on maximising your South African life list, then the ‘Birds rarely seen in South Africa but mostly seen in Kruger National Park’ list will be a good place to focus your attention.
Heatmaps of rare bird sightings (List 2) within Kruger National Park
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