Birds in Malolotja Nature Reserve

Malolotja Nature Reserve has been recognised as one of southern Africa's Important Bird Areas. This is based on the fact that the reserve supports: a significant number of Globally Threatened or Near Threatened species; a significant number of restricted-range species; and a significant number of species in one or more biome-restricted assemblages. Nine species occurring in Malolotja have been classified as Globally Threatened or Near Threatened (BirdLife 2000) while fourteen species have been classified as Regionally Threatened or Near Threatened in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

More than 280 species of birds have been recorded from Malolotja and the reserve is particularly important for breeding groups of endangered species, such as the blue swallow, blue crane, bald ibis and Stanley's bustard. Only two breeding colonies of the bald ibis exist in Swaziland, and one of these is found inside the reserve.

Many other rare species are to be found in the reserve in a variety of specialised habitats. The bog and vlei systems are home to striped flufftails, blackrumped buttonquails and blue cranes; the streams and riverbanks to giant, malachite and halfcollared kingfishers and the African finfoot; the high protea woodland to sunbirds and Gurney's sugarbirds; the short grassland to blue swallows, anteating chats, blackwinged plovers and Stanley's bustard; and the rock outcrops to sentinel rock thrushes, buffstreaked chats and ground woodpeckers. As one descends into the valleys one finds a greater proportion of middleveld species, including some gems like green pigeons, Knysna and purplecrested louries, little bee-eaters, plumcoloured starlings, coucals and bushshrikes.

Malolotja Bird Checklist

Priority Species

Regionally Extinct   Southern African Status International Status
Anthropoides paradisea Blue crane Vulnerable Vulnerable
Critically Endangered   Southern African Status International Status
Hirundo atrocaerulea Blue swallow Critically Endangered Vulnerable
Endangered   Southern African Status International Status
Sagittarius serpentarius Secretarybird Near Threatened Not listed
Turnix hottentotta Blackrumped buttonquail Endangered Not listed
Sarothrura affinis Striped flufftail Vulnerable Not listed
Neotis denhami Stanley's bustard Vulnerable Not listed
Tyto capensis Grass owl Vulnerable Not listed
Vulnerable   Southern African Status International Status
Ciconia nigra Black stork Near Threatened Not listed
Geronticus calvus Southern Bald ibis Vulnerable Vulnerable
Aquila verreauxii Black eagle Not listed Not listed
Stephanoaetus coronatus Crowned eagle Near Threatened Not listed
Circus ranivorus African marsh harrier Vulnerable Not listed
Podica senegalensis African finfoot Vulnerable Not listed
Near Threatened   Southern African Status International Status
Lophaetus occipitalis Longcrested eagle Not listed Not listed
Circaetus gallicus Blackbreasted snake eagle Not listed Not listed
Vanellus melanopterus Blackwinged lapwing Near Threatened Not listed
Alcedo semitorquata Halfcollared kingfisher Near Threatened Not listed
Geocolaptes olivaceus Ground woodpecker Not listed Not listed

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