Birds

Numida meleagris

Common Name: Helmeted Guineafowl
Family: Numididae
Description: Relatively large in size (53–58 cm) with dark grey bodies and white speckled feathers and a helmet-like head, which is blue and red in colour.
Behaviour: Social birds, which flock and roost in trees at night to avoid predators. During breeding season (October – April), males will spend the majority of their time defending and feeding the females while incubating the eggs. Incubation lasts between 25 to 29 days. Juveniles are precocial and called “keets”. Life span on average is about 12 years.
Diet: Seeds and insects, most importantly ticks
Distribution: Widely distributed throughout southern Africa preferring grasslands, thorn veld and agricultural land or open areas. Often seen in the Reserve, especially in the picnic areas.
Conservation Status: Least Concern.
Interesting fact: Social interaction with other species in the wild is rare. Guinea-fowl do fall prey to birds-of-prey such as eagles and owls.

Alopochen aegyptiacus

Common Name: Egyptian Goose
Family: Anatidae
Description: The Egyptian goose measures 63-73cm in length and has a wingspan of about 134-154cm. The average weight for one of these geese is 1.1-1.4kg. They are a pale buff colour on their chest; the back has brown, dark orange, black and white feathers. The beak is pink on the top and the underside is black. Around the eyes is a chocolate colour patch. The male has a distinctive brown spot in its chest.
Diet: Feed on a range of vegetation. These include grasses, stems, berries and seeds as well as a range of other plants. Algae and aquatic plants also form a portion of their diet. At times they have also been known to feed on insects and some small animals.
Distribution: Spread throughout the majority of Africa. Prefer an open, wetland area but live in every habitat with good food and water supply. A common site in the Reserve.
Behaviour: Generally live to about 15 years. The breeding season varies between spring and summer. The clutch of eggs is generally 5-12 eggs. Non-migratory.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Interesting Fact: The Egyptians believe these geese were sacred therefore regularly featured in their artworks.

Promerops cafer

Common Name: Cape Sugarbird
Family: Promeropidae
Description: This is a grey-brown bird with a spot of yellow under its tail and very long tail feathers present in males. The male is 34 – 44 cm long, while the shorter-tailed, shorter-billed and paler breasted female is 25 – 29 cm long. The Cape Sugarbird is also characterized by the sound its wings make in flight.
Distribution: Endemic to the fynbos biome of the Western Cape.
Diet: Besides eating insects and spiders, the Sugarbirds mainly eat the nectar found in the Protea flowers. Its long, sharp beak is used to reach the nectar with the brush-tipped tongue
Behaviour: The breeding season for this bird is during winter when there is ample food available. The Cape sugarbird only uses the Protea bushes for nesting sites. They can be spotted in pairs (males and females) sitting on top of the Protea bushes, the males mainly protecting its territory.
Conservation Status: Least Concern.
Interesting Fact: The feathers of the wings are arranged in such a way that they make an “frrrt-frrrt” sound, and this sound is used to attract females.