There are over 150 bird species recorded in the Garden. This high diversity occurs because of the great variety of habitats provided, from formal cultivated garden and lawn to wild indigenous forest.
Included among them is the Pied Kingfisher (left). Often seen over Kingfisher lake, these birds hover above their prey (usually a fish), then dive straight into the water to catch it.
Birds that visitors are likely to see often on a visit to the Garden are the Fork-tailed Drongo, Moorhen, Hadeda, Egyptian Goose, Blackeyed Bulbul, Black Flycatcher, Fiscal Shrike, Cape Robin, Blackheaded Oriole, Thickbilled Weaver (right) and Masked Weaver.
Birds that are not often seen in the Garden, but they do occur here and can be found with careful searching, are the Buff-Spotted Flufftail, Tambourine Dove, Bluemantled Flycatcher, Halfcollared Kingfisher, Grey Cuckooshrike, Green Twinspot, Starred Robin, Orangebreasted Bush Shrike and Malachite Sunbird.
Best bird-watching locations in the Garden:
The Turraea trail With its indigenous forest, thicket and lake habitats, this trail provides opportunities for seeing the greatest diversity of birds in the Garden.
Look for waterbirds on the lake, and take time to sit on a bench and wait for forest birds to appear. Visit the bird plant section of the trail and see a range of indigenous bird-attracting plants doing their jobs. The thicket and tangled scrub on the trail provide an excellent habitat for birds such as Cape Robin, Barratts Warbler, Blue-billed Firefinch and Terrestrial Bulbul. You're likely to see Dabchick (left), Reed Cormorant, Moorhen and Giant Kingfisher on the lake.
The Forest footpath This trail goes through the Gardens's indigenous forest, and provides opportunities to look out over the garden from the trail. A wide range of forest birds can be seen, and often birds of prey such as Crowned Eagle, African Goshawk and Black Sparrowhawk are spotted in the forest. Other special forest birds are the Forest weaver and Chorister Robin.
The Old collections The formal old garden, with its large trees, many flowers and expansive lawns, is home to a wide variety of birds. Sit on a patch of lawn in a quiet spot, and you're sure to see plenty of birds. Species to look out for are Olive Thrush, Black Sunbird, Little Sparrowhawk, Hadeda and Paradise Flycatcher.
The beautiful Malachite Kingfisher (left), which catches fish and tadpoles, is often seen at the pond near the entrance to the Garden.
Complete list of birds in the Natal NBG