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Lichtenberg Nature Reserve

Modified: 2008/10/06 11:58 by mattgibbon - Categorized as: North-West Province
This reserve is just north of the town of Lichtenberg in the south-east of the Northwest Province. If you enter Lichtenburg from Coligny (R47), turn right Hendrik Potgieter Street where the signs to the reserve are. Just follow this road until you get to the reserve. The reserve is used as a breeding reserve by the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, and thus contains a weird variety of animals, from the small Pygmy Hippopotamus to the gigantic D'Arby's Eland and White Rhino.



Cape Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Hooded Vulture and Egyptian Vulture (rarity).



The habitat in the reserve consists mainly of wide open grassveld interspersed with mixed acacia. There are several manmade pans at the entrance of the reserve, and these warrant the birdwatcher's attention.



Several wader species, as well as ducks, herons, raillids and other water birds can be observed from one of the longest hides in the business. Walking is allowed in this enclosed part of the reserve. The birds are quite tame and can thus be easily observed. The rest of the reserve is on dolomitic soils with chert and dolomites on surface.

The grassveld is short and open and larks and pipits can be seen and studied. The mixed clumps of bush are a haven for shrikes, tits, woodpeckers, prinias and other bush species. Banded Martin are often seen at the picnic spot where they flit about above their nests in the holes in the deep red soils.

However, the main attraction for birders lies in the Vulture Restaurant and its excellent hide. Carcasses are put out frequently and all the vultures occurring in the region can be seen there. There are hundreds of White-backed Vulture and Cape Vulture. Lappet-faced Vulture are occurring in greater numbers by the day and the occasional Hooded Vulture can be seen. The arrival of a juvenile Egyptian Vulture caused a stir and it is expected that these birds will be seen more and more in the reserve. The wooden poles on the electrical pylons form the ideal roosting place for the vultures and allow birders to study the birds at leisure. Tawny Eagle and Yellowbilled kite are also in attendance at the restaurant and the hundreds of Pied Crow strut around like waiters in their black and white suits.

Sam de Beer 1997.

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