‘Mega’-rarity at Strandfontein


A Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Rooistert-wipstert or Cercotrichas galactotes), a bird never before recorded in Southern Africa, has been located near the Strandfontein water purification works near Cape Town yesterday (Sunday 17 July).

Scrub robin

The Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, photographed by Trevor Hardaker.

The bird, which is described by Trevor Hardaker as “an absolute mega of the highest quality”, has already attracted more than 150 twitchers from all over the country today, and more are expected tomorrow.

Hardaker announced the discovery on his SA Rare Birds News service. Peter Steyn and André Demblon made this “rather astonishing find” on Sunday morning, he wrote.

“It is a species that migrates into Africa, normally as far south as Kenya. It is superficially similar to the Kalahari Scrub Robin, but the facial patterning is subtly different, the wing pattern is different, the tail pattern differs in that it has a darkish T-bar extension up the middle of the tail and, most obviously, the bird has pinkish legs and a mostly pinkish bill whereas these are black in the Kalahari bird.

“For those wanting to twitch this bird, it was present around the picnic area on the eastern side of Zeekoeivlei along the entrance road to Strandfontein purification works and, although it was moving around a little bit, you can use co-ordinates of 34°03’54.6″S 18°31’13.3″E as a starting point for your search.”

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