Birds in the Natal NBG

Pied Kingfisher 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.


Thickbilled WeaverBirds 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.

    Malachite Kingfisher

    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

Reed Cormorant
Grey Heron
Blackheaded Heron
Purple Heron
Cattle Egret
Squacco Heron
Greenbacked Heron
Hadeda Ibis
Egyptian Goose
African Black Duck
Yellowbilled Kite
Blackshouldered Kite
Wahlberg's Eagle
Longcrested Eagle
Crowned Eagle
Steppe Buzzard
Jackal Buzzard
Little Sparrowhawk
Black Sparrowhawk
African Goshawk
Gabar Goshawk
Natal Francolin
Helmeted Guineafowl
Black Crake
Buffspotted Flufftail
Redknobbed Coot
Rameron Pigeon
Redeyed Dove
Laughing Dove
Tambourine Dove
Cinnamon Dove
Purplecrested Lourie
Redchested Cuckoo
Black Cuckoo
Emerald Cuckoo
Klaas's Cuckoo
Diederik Cuckoo
Burchell's Coucal
Black Swift
Whiterumped Swift
Little Swift
Alpine Swift
Palm Swift
Speckled Mousebird
Redfaced Mousebird
Narina Trogon
Pied Kingfisher
Giant Kingfisher
Halfcollared Kingfisher
Malachite Kingfisher
Brownhooded Kingfisher
Redbilled Woodhoopoe
Blackcollared Barbet
Redfronted Tinker Barbet
Crested Barbet
Lesser Honeyguide
Goldentailed Woodpecker
Cardinal Woodpecker
European Swallow
Whitethroated Swallow
Greater Striped Swallow
Lesser Striped Swallow
Brownthroated Martin
Black Sawwing Swallow
Black Cuckooshrike
Grey Cuckooshrike
Forktailed Drongo
Blackheaded Oriole
Pied Crow
Southern Black Tit
Bush Blackcap
Blackeyed Bulbul
Terrestrial Bulbul
Sombre Bulbul

Kurrichane Thrush
Olive Thrush
Groundscraper Thrush
Chorister Robin
Natal Robin
Cape Robin
Starred Robin
Whitebrowed RobinAfrican Marsh Warbler
European Marsh Warbler
Yellow Warbler
African Sedge Warbler
Barratt's Warbler
Broadtailed Warbler
Willow Warbler
Yellowthroated Warbler
Barthroated Apalis
Fantailed Cisticola
Levaillant's Cisticola
Croaking Cisticola
Lazy Cisticola
Tawnyflanked Prinia
Spotted Prinia
Dusky Flycatcher
Black Flycatcher
Cape Batis
Fairy Flycatcher
Bluemantled Flycatcher
Paradise Flycatcher
Longtailed Wagtail
Cape Wagtail
Fiscal Shrike
Southern Boubou
Southern Tchagra
Blackcrowned Tchagra
Orangebreasted Bush Shrike
Olive Bush Shrike
Greyheaded Bush Shrike
Indian Myna
Blackbellied Starling
Redwinged Starling
Malachite Sunbird
Lesser DoublecollaredSunbird
Greater Doublecollared Sunbird
Whitebellied Sunbird
Grey Sunbird
Olive Sunbird
Black Sunbird
Collared Sunbird
Cape White-eye
House Sparrow
Greyheaded Sparrow
Thickbilled Weaver
Forest Weaver
Spottedbacked Weaver
Spectacled Weaver
Cape Weaver
Lesser Masked Weaver
Redbilled Quelea
Red Bishop
Redcollared Widow
Green Twinspot
Bluebilled Firefinch
Common Waxbill
Swee Waxbill
Bronze Mannikin
Redbacked Mannikin
Pintailed Whydah
Yelloweyed Canary
Cape Canary
Forest Canary
Bully Canary
Streakyheaded Canary
Goldenbreasted Bunting

Thanks to Gordon Maclean for use of his photographs on this page.

Download Bird list as a table in .pdf format

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