The Birds of Helderberg Manor

Mar 6, 2020 | 0 comments

Residents of Helderberg Manor have endured many years of living on a building site! That is coming to an end at last. As each of us has moved into our homes with a very new garden, we have probably looked with a touch of envy at the established gardens elsewhere on the Estate which had an abundant birdlife. And, as our gardens have matured, we have welcomed the arrival of the birds. It is time to compile a birdlist for our Village and Pat van Zyl has initiated the project with her illustrated birdlist in the latest Newspetter; keep the names rolling in please.

At night one is likely to hear the distinctive sound of the Water Thick-knee and, occasionally, the call of the Spotted Eagle-Owl. Then, as the skies begin to lighten, the ‘dawn chorus’ begins. Usually the sounds of sparrows and sometimes, the twittering of Cape White-eyes. Every now and then the lovely morning sounds are replaced by the racous call of a Helmeted Guineafowl, strategically positioned on the top of a roof to ensure maximum transmission range! Or the honking of the Egyptian Geese which are plentiful on the Estate.

Our resident Common Fiscal has a wide range of calls, he can be quite melodious but when he is in territorial mode, he is rather coarse. The Mousebirds (also plentiful) have a lovely call which announces their presence, but they are very difficult to photograph as they are quite skittish. Later in the day, the clicking of the busy little Karoo Prinia can be heard as he scours the bushes for food. 

As evening approache,  the sound of the Hadedah Ibis is often heard, not particularly popular with some, but which reminds me of happy holidays on a family farm in Haenertsburg.


Some residents have bird-feeders which attract a wide variey of birds. This Red Bishop was photographed by Bob Minter in his garden. Other residents have been fortunate to have the lovely Cape Sugarbird take sugar-water from their sunbird feeders.

Feeding of the larger birds, especially the Helmeted Guineafowl, is discouraged as they can become a nuisance in the gardens.  

Our garden has a birdbath that, in the hot weather we having been having the past few weeks, has become a firm bird favourite. The sparrows leap in and thrash about like children in a splash pool. Water everywhere and soon a refill is required! There are spoilsports too, the Cape Weavers and Common Sparrows often kick all the other birds out and hog the bath to themselves. Real pleasure to watch!

The image above is the morning call Guineafowl by Bob Minter.