Both Maputaland and Kruger fall within areas that are regarded as birding meccas within South Africa. Both areas host a number of species that reach the southern most extremities of their afro-tropical ranges here and in addition feature significant diversity and a good dose of southern African endemics.
Punda Maria Sandveld – sandy soil with broad leafed woodland, a number of cliffs and kopjes provide additional habitat
Baobab Mopane Rugged Veld – mopane and baobab covered ridges that run along the central part of the concession, with stands of mature mopane and white syringe creating additional sub-habitat
Mopane Shrubveld – broad stands dominated by shrub mopane
Combretum / Mopane Woodland – broad-leafed woodland
Limpopo & Luvuvhu Floodplains – dense riverine woodland, fever tree forests, acacia dotted floodplains, vlei and pan systems, sandbanks
Maputaland Marine Reserve
Dune Forest – dense evergreen forest most developed on the leeward side of the dunes
Coastal grassland and pan systems – open grassland on fossil dunes with pan systems in the interdunal valleys
Waterberry savannah – rolling grassed dunes covered in a mosaic of waterberry trees and pockets of woodland
Beach and tidal zone – from rocky to sandy shoreline and the Scaevola covered edges of the dunes
Some sought after bird species that can be encountered around the two areas are listed below:
- 400 species recorded (~90% of Kruger’s total)
- 33 Red Data Book species (1 Endangered, 14 Vulnerable)
- 20 southern African endemic or near-endemic species
- Excellent regional specials like: three-banded courser, racket-tailed roller, grey-headed parrot, mottled & Böhm’s spinetails, white-crowned lapwing, Dickinson’s kestrel, white-breasted cuckooshrike, Arnot’s chat, Meves’s starling and tropical boubou
- Excellent SA specials like: Pel’s fishing owl, crested guineafowl, bat hawk, Ayres’ hawk-eagle, African yellow white-eye, black-throated wattle-eye and lemon-breasted canary.
- Excellent diversity: For example 5 rollers, 6 hornbills, 5 bee-eaters, 10 cuckoos, 7 storks, 15 shrikes and no less than 41 raptor species.
- 300+ species recorded
- 28 Red Data Book species (2 Endangered, 10 Vulnerable)
- 12 southern African endemic or near-endemic species
- Excellent regional specials like: Southern banded snake-eagle, sooty falcon, black-rumped buttonquail, Denham’s bustard, black-winged plover, black coucal, green malkoha, swamp nightjar, Rudd’s apalis, pale-crowned cisticola, Woodward’s batis, short-tailed pipit, rosy-throated longclaw (both cape and yellow-throated can be seen in close proximity), pied manikin, green twinspot, lemon-breasted canary.
- Excellent SA specials like: African cuckoo hawk, palmnut vulture, buff-spotted flufftail, lesser jacana, Livingstone’s turaco, African emerald cuckoo, white-eared barbet, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, red-fronted tinkerbird, grey-rumped swallow, square-tailed drongo, brown robin, white-starred robin, yellow white-eye, black-throated wattle-eye, black-bellied starling, dark-backed weaver, southern brown-throated weaver, yellow weaver, red-backed manikin, grey waxbill.