Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin


Rare Bird Alert – 21 August 2014

This giga tick provided quite an amount of head scratching when first observed at the Zeekoeivlei picnic area on the eastern banks of Zeekoeivlei in Cape Town,  on the way to the Strandfontein sewage works (a good birding area in its own right).

It was the first sighting in Southern Africa, migrating normally as far south as Kenya.  Vagrants have occasionally been located in Malawi. It was thus not recorded in any RSA reference book.  It should have been in the Mediterranean by now but was probably here as a result of “reverse migration”  (as noted by Trevor Hardaker)

Ref: T Hardaker:

“Starting in the Western Cape, the RUFOUS-TAILED SCRUB ROBIN continued to be the centre of attention for most of the Southern African birding community throughout the weekend and drew twitchers in from all parts of the sub region to enjoy it. Assuming it stays put for a little while longer, it has the possibility of becoming a really large twitch but, already, I have the names of 735 birders who have been to see it. The bulk of them are from the Western Cape with 594 twitchers while Gauteng has also provided a reasonable bunch of 113 birders to see the celebrity. Birders from other regions include 8 from the Eastern Cape, 7 from the Free State, 4 from Mpumalanga, 3 a piece from Kwazulu Natal and Botswana and one each from North-west, Limpopo and Namibia.

After the 61st day 1228 birders had gone to see it.”

Interestingly birders from all over the world had come to see it – 8 countries in all.