Limpopo Birding Routes

Conservation & Research

Black-throated Wattle-eyes - Derek Engelbrecht

Limpopo Birding Routes is committed to supporting the conservation of birds and their habitats throughout the province. Effective conservation requires research in order to understand the biology and ecology of birds. There are a number of rare and threatened species found in the region, and information is needed to monitor the status of these species. Limpopo Birding Routes is involved in monitoring threatened species, conducting bird censuses and managing a bird database for the province.

Several ornithological research projects are being undertaken in the region, many under the leadership of Prof Derek Engelbrecht of the University of Limpopo. Some of these research projects include studies on the biology, ecology and conservation of savanna Larks; African Broadbill; African Finfoot; inter-specific competition of cavity-nesting species; the effect of excessive fuel wood removal on cavity-nesting species; the identification of nest predators in different habitats; and the monitoring of raptor breeding activity. The Mogalakwena Research Centre is one of the research partners.

Limpopo Birding Routes, with the support of the Ben de Boer Trust, is also involved in training and mentoring Local Bird Guides. These guides are introduced to scientific research and data collection techniques and they are actively involved in various research programmes co-ordinated by Prof Derek Engelbrecht. In this way they make a significant contribution to our knowledge of birds in the region, whilst developing their own experience and understanding of birds and their ecology. Highlighting the needs of bird conservation offers opportunities for environmental education in communities situated in ecologically sensitive areas. Local Bird Guides play a crucial role in effective engagement with these communities.

The Polokwane Nature Reserve, Roodewal State Forest, De Loskop Farm and Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge serve as regular bird ringing stations. The data obtained from these ringing stations provides invaluable information on the movements and longevity of birds in these areas. Several bird species in the Polokwane Nature Reserve, notably the Short-clawed Lark and Kalahari Scrub-Robin, are fitted with colour rings to aid individual identification. Birders are encouraged to report sightings of colour-ringed individuals to Limpopo Birding Routes.

We also appeal to all birders to report their sightings, trip lists and rare sightings to Limpopo Birding Routes as well as SABAP 2 (The Second Southern African Bird Atlassing Project) co-ordinated by the Animal Demography Unit of the University of Cape Town. The free BirdLasser app makes this easy to do from your smartphone or tablet, make sure you sign up to support their special causes so that your information is shared directly with the relevant research projects.

From left to Right: Field Research - Derek Engelbrecht | Bird Ringing - Derek Engelbrecht