About St Francis Bird Club


The Greater St Francis area, the Kromme River, and surrounding farmlands sport a wide variety of habitats: riverine with mud and sand banks, salt marshes, coastal scrub, fynbos, open veld, agricultural land, as well as occasional freshwater lakes, and pans. This supports a variety of birds including some of the special and endangered ones such as the Denham’s Bustard, Blue Crane and White-bellied Korhaan.

Water birds abound on the sand banks in Kromme especially in summer when the migrants are here. The best time to observe the birds is when the tide is coming in and the water pushes the birds closer to the banks of the river. Evening, provided the tide is right, is best for waders when the setting sun shines on the sandbanks in the estuary and highlights the identification features of the birds with their different sizes, plumages, and bill lengths. The bill lengths differ according to the foods they eat, so they can feed close together in perfect harmony without undue competition.

Watch out for the diminutive White-fronted Plover, Ringed Plover with its bright orange legs and black band across the chest, Common Whimbrel, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Ruddy Turnstone and the striking African Black Oystercatcher which are all regulars on the sand banks. Bar-tailed Godwit, Greater Sand Plover and Red Knot also make an appearance at odd times. A boat trip on the river can yield African Fish-eagle and Osprey, as well as a variety of kingfishers and other species in the riverine and coastal bush alongside the river.

Terns found on the estuary, from biggest to smallest include the Caspian Tern (largest one sporting a bright red bill); Swift Tern (yellow bill); Sandwich Tern (black bill and yellow tip - think of it as a blob of butter on a sandwich); Common Tern (grey carpal bar on the shoulder) and the diminutive Little Tern. Roseate Terns with pink breasts and long tail feathers also make an appearance but are not easy to spot.

Cape St Francis and Seal Point are both rocky promontories from which you can see Cape Gannet and terns diving for fish. White-breasted and Cape Cormorant can be seen fishing off-shore or basking on the rocks while Kelp Gull are continually on the hunt for anything they can scavenge.

Because the St Francis area juts out into the sea, it serves as a resting point for seabirds, which have been blown off course. “Out of Range” water birds such as Slender-billed Prion, Red-tailed Tropic Bird, Lesser Frigate Bird, American Golden Plover and others have landed up on our shores. The possibility of finding vagrants and less common species provides constant interest and excitement. Pelagic expeditions can be organised from the harbour for birds occurring in the open ocean. Contact St Francis Tourism for details.

Travel along the gravel roads in the area and you will be pleasantly surprised by the birdlife in the fields and vleis, especially after rain. Park alongside the road and look out for Blue Crane, Denham’s Bustard, White Stork (in summer), Long-tailed Widowbird, Black-winged Lapwing, larks, pipits and cisticolas, and if you are really lucky, White-bellied Korhaan. On the odd vlei visible from the road you may find Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, and a variety of ducks.

Raptors such as Steppe Buzzard and Amur Falcon occur in summer, and Jackal Buzzard, Rock Kestrel and African Marsh-Harrier can be found throughout the year. Raptors such as Long-crested and Booted Eagle have also made appearances occasionally.

Maps of the Cape St Francis nature reserves and walks in the area are available and here you can enjoy the local fynbos and the birds (mostly small) that frequent this area.

The St Francis Bird Club operates on the first and third Fridays of the month, departing from the St Francis Bay Golf Club.

Here is a complete list of birds found in the area: 

  Albatross, Black-browed   Swartrugalbatros (-malmok)  
  Albatross,  Wandering   Grootalbatros/Grootmalmok  
  Apalis,       Bar-throated   Bandkeelkleinjantjie  
  Apalis,       Yellow-breasted   Geelborskleinjantjie  
  Avocet Pied   Bontelsie  
  Barbet Black-collared   Rooikophoutkapper  
  Batis Cape   Kaapse Bosbontrokkie  
  Bishop Southern Red   Rooivink  
  Bishop Yellow   Kaapse Flap  
  Bittern Little   Kleinrietreier  
  Bokmakierie     Bokmakierie  
  Boubou Southern   Suidelike Waterfiskaal  
  Brownbul Terrestrial   Boskrapper  
  Bulbul Cape   Kaapse Tiptol  
  Bunting Cape   Rooivlerkstreepkoppie  
  Bunting Golden-breasted   Rooirugstreepkoppie  
  Bush-Shrike Olive    Olyfboslaksman  
  Bustard Denham's   Veldpou  
  Buzzard Jackal   Rooiborsjakkalsvoel  
  Buzzard Steppe   Bruinjakkalsvoel  
  Cameroptera Green-backed   Kwe-kwevoel  
  Canary Brimstone   Dikbekkanarie  
  Canary Cape   Kaapse Kanarie  
  Canary Forest   Gestreepte Kanarie  
  Canary Yellow   Geelkanarie  
  Chat Ant-eating   Swartpiek  
  Chat Familiar   Gewone Spekvreter  
  Cisticola Cloud   Gevlekte Klopkloppie  
  Cisticola Zitting   Landeryklopkloppie  
  Cisticola Grey-backed   Grysrugtintinkie  
? Cisticola Lazy   Luitinktinkie  
  Cisticola Levaillant's   Vleitinktinkie  
  Coot Red-knobbed   Bleshoender  
  Cormorant Cape   Trekduiker  
  Cormorant Reed   Rietduiker  
  Cormorant White-breasted   Witborsduiker  
  Coucal Burchell's   Gewone Vleiloerie  
  Crake Black   Swartriethaan  
  Crane Blue   Bloukraanvoel  
  Crested-Flycatcher Blue-mantled   Bloukuifvlieevanger  
  Crow Cape   Swartkraai  
  Crow Pied   Witborskraai  
  Cuckoo Black   Swartkoekoek  
  Cuckoo Diderick   Diederikkie  
  Cuckoo Jacobin   Bontnuwejaarsvoel  
  Cuckoo Klaas's   Meitjie  
  Cuckoo Red-chested   Piet-my-vrou  
  Curlew Eurasian   Grootwulp  
  Darter African    Slanghalsvoel  
  Dove Lemon   Kaneelduifie  
  Dove Laughing   Rooiborsduifie  
  Dove Namaqua   Namakwaduifie  
  Dove Tambourine   Witborsduifie  
  Dove  Red-eyed   Grootringduif  
  Drongo Fork-tailed   Mikstertbyvanger  
  Duck African, Black   Swarteend  
  Duck Maccoa   Bloubekeend  
  Duck White-faced   Nonnetjie-eend  
  Duck Yellow-billed   Geelbekeend  
  Eagle Booted   Dwergarend  
  Eagle Long-crested   Langkuifarend  
  Eagle Martial   Breekoparend  
  Eagle-Owl Spotted   Gevlekte Ooruil  
  Egret Cattle   Veereier / Bosluisvoel  
  Egret Great   Grootwitreier  
  Egret Little   Kleinwitreier  
  Egret, Yellow-billed   Geelbekwitreier  
  Falcon Lanner   Edelvalk  
  Falcon Peregrine   Swerfvalk  
  Falcon Amur   Oostelike Rooipootvalk  
  Finfoot African   Watertrapper  
  Firefinch African   Kaapse Vuurvinkie  
  Fiscal Common   Fiskaallaksman  
  Fish-Eagle African   Visarend  
  Flamingo Greater   Grootflamink  
  Flamingo Lesser   Klienflamink  
  Flufftail Buff-spotted   Gevlekte Vleikuiken  
  Flycatcher African Dusky   Donkervlieevanger  
  Flycatcher Fiscal   Fiskaalvlieevanger  
  Gannet Cape   Witmalgas  
  Godwit Bar-tailed   Bandstertgriet  
  Goose Egyptian   Kolgans  
  Goose Spur-winged   Wildemakou  
  Goshawk African   Afrikaanse Sperwer  
  Grassbird Cape   Grasvoel  
  Grebe Little   Kleindobbertjie  
  Greenbul Sombre   Gewone Willie  
  Greenshank Common   Groenpootruiter  
  Guineafowl Helmeted   Gewone Tarentaal  
  Gull Grey-headed   Gryskopmeeu  
  Gull Kelp   Kelpmeeu / Swartrugmeeu  
  Hamerkop     Hamerkop  
  Harrier Black   Witkruisvleivalk  
  Harrier-Hawk African   Kaalwangvalk  
  Heron Black-headed   Swartkopreier  
  Heron Grey   Bloureier  
  Heron Goliath   Reusereier  
  Heron Purple   Rooireier  
  Honeyguide Greater   Grootheuningwyser  
  Honeyguide Lesser   Kleinheuningwyser  
  Hoopoe African   Hoephoep  
  Hornbill Crowned   Gekroonde Neushoringvoel  
  Ibis Hadeda   Hadeda  
  Ibis African Sacred   Skoorsteenveer  
  Jacana African   Grootlangtoon  
  Kestrel Rock   Kransvalk  
  Kingfisher Brown-hooded   Bruinkopvisvanger  
  Kingfisher Giant   Reusevisvanger  
  Kingfisher Half-collared   Blouvisvanger  
  Kingfisher Malachite   Kuifkopvisvanger  
  Kingfisher Pied   Bontvisvanger  
  Kite Yellow-billed   Geelbekwou  
  Kite Black-shouldered   Blouvalk  
  Knot Red   Knoet  
  Lapwing Blacksmith   Bontkiewiet  
  Lapwing Black-winged   Grootswartvlerkkiewiet  
  Lapwing Crowned   Kroonkiewiet  
  Lark Cape Clapper   Kaapse Klappertjie  
  Lark Red-capped   Rooikoplewerik  
  Lark Rufous-naped   Rooineklewerik  
  Longclaw Cape   Oranjekeelkalkoentjie  
  Marsh-Harrier African   Afrikaanse Veivalk  
  Martin Banded   Gebande Oewerswael  
  Martin Brown-throated   Afrikaanse Oewerswael  
  Martin Rock   Kransswael  
  Martin Sand   Europese Oewerswael  
  Moorhen Common   Grootwaterhoender  
  Mousebird Red-faced   Rooiwangmuisvoel  
  Mousebird Speckled   Gevelkte Muisvoel  
  Neddicky     Neddikkie  
  Night-Heron Black-crowned   Gewone nagreier  
  Nightjar Fiery-necked   Afrikaanse Naguil  
  Olive-Pigeon African   Geelbekbosduif  
  Oriole Black-headed   Swartkopwielewaal  
  Osprey     Visvalk  
  Ostrich Common   Volstruis  
  Owl Barn   Nonnetjie-uil  
  Oystercatcher African Black   Swarttobie  
  Palm-Swift African   Palmwindswael  
  Paradise-Flycatcher African   Paradysvlieevanger  
  Penguin African   Brilpikkewyn  
  Pigeon Rock   Tuinduif  
  Pigeon Speckled   Kransduif  
  Pipit African   Gewone Koester   
  Plover Chestnut-banded   Rooibandstrandkiewiet  
  Plover Grey   Grysstrandkiewiet  
  Plover Kittlitz's   Geelborsstrandkiewiet  
  Plover Lesser Sand   Mongoolse strandkiewiet  
  Plover Common Ringed   Ringnekstrandkiewiet  
  Plover Greater Sand   Grootstrandkiewiet  
  Plover Three-banded   Driebandstrandkiewiet  
  Plover  White-fronted   Vaalstrandkiewiet  
  Pochard Southern   Bruineend  
  Prinia Karoo   Karoolangstertjie  
  Puffback Black-backed   Sneeubal  
  Quail Common   Afrikaanse Kwartel  
  Quailfinch African   Gewone Kwartelvinkie  
  Quelea Red-billed   Rooibekkwelea  
  Raven White-necked   Withalskraai  
  Reed-Warbler African   Kleinrietsanger  
  Robin-Chat Cape   Gewone Janfrederik  
  Rock-Thrush Cape   Kaapse Kliplyster  
  Ruff     Kemphaan  
  Rush-Warbler Little   Kaapse Vleisanger  
  Sanderling     Drietoonstrandloper  
  Sandpiper Common   Gewone Ruiter  
  Sandpiper Curlew   Krombekstrandloper  
  Sandpiper Marsh   Moerasruiter  
  Sandpiper Pectoral   Geelpootstrandloper  
  Sandpiper Terek   Terekruiter  
  Sandpiper Wood   Bosruiter  
  Saw-wing Black   Swartsaagvlerkswael  
  Scrub-Robin Karoo   Slangverklikker  
  Scrub-Robin White-browed   Gestreepte Wipstert  
  Secretarybird     Sekretarisvoel  
  Seedeater Streaky-headed   Streepkopkanarie  
  Shelduck South African   Kopereend  
  Shoveler Cape   Kaapse Slopeend  
  Skua Arctic   Arktiese roofmeeu  
  Skua Subantarctic   Bruinroofmeeu  
  Snipe African   Afrikaanse Snip  
  Sparrow Cape   Gewone Mossie  
  Sparrow S Grey-headed   Gryskopmossie  
  Sparrow House   Huismossie  
  Sparrowhawk Little   Kleinsperwer  
  Sparrowhawk Rufous-chested   Rooiborssperwer  
  Spoonbill African   Lepelaar  
  Spur-fowl Red-necked   Rooikeelfisant  
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