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  • Lisa Martus


Spring is a great time for birding in Magoebaskloof… the migrant species are flooding back in colourful flocks so that the males can fluff up their tail feathers and perfect their serenading song to attract a mate. Now is the perfect time to experience the Woodbush Forest which runs parallel to the Magoebaskloof Pass down to Debengeni Waterfalls. Book an early-morning outing with top local Bird Guides, David Letsoalo or Paul Nkhumane….. walk quietly amidst the ancient trees of this beautiful afromontane forest and listen out for the unique calls of the forest songbirds high in the canopy. As your ears tune in to the subtle sounds of the dawn chorus, you will find those elusive specials like the Black-fronted Bushshrike, Narina Trogon, Green Twinspot and the gregarious Cape Parrot. Here are a few of David and Paul's favourite feathered friends...

🌳Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler (Geelkeelsanger) I just love the soft

yellow, green and grey colours of this delicate little bird and the Tswik tswik tswik call from the canopy, says David.

🌳Narina Trogon (Bosloerie) A Narina Trogon’s deep contact call sounds like the forest moving.... whhoob whhoob. Its beautiful red chest is not often seen because it turns its green back to on-comers and blends perfectly into the forest canopy.

🌳The hard-to-spot Yellow-streaked Greenbul (Geelstreep Boskruiper) has the peculiar habit of flicking one wing as it feeds on insects hidden in tree trunks and has a very distinctive call - Chip-chip-chip Twereere tsik tsik.

🌳Having monitored the Cape Parrot (Grootpapagaai) for years, David, like many Magoebaskloof residents, can identify their raucous call from a mile away. The loud, high pitched Tzu-weee, zu-wee, zue-wee, zz-keek and the continuous, nasal zeek while flying, helps you to find them in the forest canopy or flying by.

🌳Olive Bush-shrike (Olyf Boslaksman). Paul loves the many different calls this gregarious bird makes in the forest - the melodious combination of multiple calls of the Olive Bush-Shrike lasts for more than a minute and brings the forest to life.

🌳Grey Cuckooshrike (Blou Katakoeroe). It has a lovely, soft soothing call.. a sort of whistling whisper that filters through the forest.

🌳Green Twinspot (Groenkol Pensie). The male Green Twinspot has a red face, while the female has a yellow face. The green colour and the twin-spots on each and every feather create an incredible camouflage like a work of art. According to David, the high-pitched call of the Green Twinspot sounds like a hyperactive insect.

🌳The Chorister Robin-chat (Lawaaimakerjanfrederik) is a great imitator. Paul loves its ability to mimic other birds from Cape Batis, Sombre Greenbul to African Crowned Eagle... not to mention frogs and chainsaws.

🌳The call of the Forest Canary (Gestreepte Kanarie) pierces deep into one’s ear but ends with a beautiful melodious note.

Connect with David Letsoalo on 083 568 4678 / Paul Nkhumane on 084 354 9710 / find out more about the birding hotspots in the area on

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