We have been blessed with more rain this month, which has not only greened up the garden but seems to have speeded up the blossoming of flowers and the development of grass seeds. Plenty of natural food is available and there has been a fair amount of surface water, so the birds have not been as dependent on the nectar, seeds, fruit and water that I regularly provide for them.

They have probably been about all summer, but I have only recently begun noticing the Barn Swallows as they start gathering on overhead cables in the late afternoons, doubtless readying themselves for the journey north once autumn sets in. The morning and evening skies are filled with swifts and swallows dipping, fluttering, swooping and almost bumping into each other – joined in the early evenings by tiny insectivorous bats. The mud nest of the Lesser-striped Swallows has been a hive of activity – they have definitely been successful at breeding at last. Here is one of the adults peeping out of the opening:

The adults move in and out of the nest so swiftly that I have had to sit on the back steps very patiently to capture them in motion. This one is just leaving the nest:

I was fortunate to have my camera in hand when this Cape Batis came into view next to our driveway:

The Greater Double-collared Sunbirds have been particularly vociferous this month, twittering loudly from high branches or cables. The Amethyst Sunbirds have also been flying to and fro across the garden – neither have made much use of the nectar feeder, that having mainly been visited by the Cape White-eyes and Black-eyed Bulbuls. I am delighted to report that the pair of Red-necked Spurfowl is becoming more daring and have been seen walking right across our front lawn. I have been enticing them to the garden by sprinkling maize seed in the bottom garden.

Southern Masked Weavers have continued to be the dominant weaver in the garden this month:

My February bird list:
African Darter
African Green Pigeon
African Harrier-hawk
Amethyst Sunbird
Barn Swallow
Bar-throated Apalis
Black-collared Barbet
Black-eyed Bulbul
Black-headed Oriole
Bronze Mannikin
Cape Batis
Cape Crow
Cape Robin
Cape Turtle Dove
Cape Weaver
Cape White-eye
Cattle Egret
Common Fiscal
Common Starling
Common Waxbill
Diederik Cuckoo
Greater Double-collared Sunbird
Green Woodhoopoe
Grey-headed Sparrow
Hadeda Ibis
Klaas’s Cuckoo
Knysna Turaco
Laughing Dove
Lesser-striped Swallow
Olive Thrush
Paradise Flycatcher
Red-eyed Dove
Red-fronted Tinkerbird
Red-necked Spurfowl
Red-throated Wryneck
Red-winged Starling
Sacred Ibis
Sombre Bulbul
Southern Black Tit
Southern Masked Weaver
Speckled Mousebird
Speckled Pigeon
Spectacled Weaver
Streaky-headed Seedeater
Thick-billed Weaver
Village Weaver
White-rumped Swift
Yellow-fronted Canary


16 thoughts on “FEBRUARY 2020 GARDEN BIRDS

    • Thank you, Peter. This closed mud nest is actually that of a Lesser-striped Swallow. While I have not seen one, I understand that Barn Swallows tend to build a cup-shaped nest – also from mud and lined with feathers.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The annual saga of the swallows has more drama than any soap opera could think of, so it always a relief to know that a nest has survived and along with it the opportunity to raise at least one brood.


  2. I always look for your monthly birdlist with great anticipation, Anne! It’s like hearing from someone who’s just been to a game reserve telling wonderful tales about everything they’ve seen – get’s me all excited to get out there soon!


    • What a lovely thing to say! I am glad you enjoy my bird list – it is a way of documenting what comes and goes and is beneficial to look back on over the years. As the garden has developed, some birds seem to have decided to hang around more while others have moved on. The seasonal changes are interesting to note too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your patience and perseverance!! These photos are just fantastic. The striped swallow at its nest really is a “catch,” but so are the other beautiful images of charming birds. ❤


    • Thank you very much: swallows move so quickly that unless they happen to be perched on a cable I find them difficult to photograph. These pictures are a bonus for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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