Birding Tour South Africa: Elusive Owls and Flufftails 2018

Duration: 3.5 days

This short Birding Tour South Africa adventure concentrates on finding four particularly tough birds: Grass Owl, Cape Eagle-Owl, Red-chested Flufftail, and Striped Flufftail. Although there is no guarantee, we have good chances of tracking these difficult avian denizens down.

The African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis) is considered a vulnerable bird in South Africa, with only between 1 000 and 5 000 remaining in this country. We quite often see this species on this ‘Birding Tour South Africa’ excursion.

The flufftails are placed in the family called “Sarothruridae”, small birds related to the rails. They are restricted to seven species in sub-Saharan Africa, and two species found in Madagascar. Their name is derived from the short tail, which has degraded fluffy feathers. All species except the White-winged Flufftail display sexual dimorphism in their plumage but not their size.

Flufftails are highly secretive and seldom observed. There are two species, the Buff-spotted Flufftail and the White-spotted Flufftail – inhabitants of dense forests – the remaining species are found in deep grasslands and marshes. One species, the Streaky-breasted Flufftail, is known to be migratory; it is uncertain whether other species are as well. The White-winged Flufftail may breed in Ethiopia and winter in South Africa, but this is not known for certain.

We attempt to spot these birds on this ‘Birding Tour South Africa’ adventure.

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