Magaliesberg Mountains

The Magaliesberg Mountain Range stretches from Pretoria in the east to Rustenberg in the west. Combined with the foothills in the south, known as the Witwatersberg, the Magaliesberg Range provides a wide diversity of habitats to birds.

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Habitats

The well-wooded slopes and valleys offer habitat to many bushveld species while the steep cliffs and rocky outcrops host a variety of mountain species. The are also numerous streams and smaller farm dams.

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Birding

Birding is generally good throughout the year with a peak during summer when the migrants are around. Raptors are particularly plentiful with Verreauxs' Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Wahlberg's Eagle, Booted Eagle and African Hawk-Eagle still often seen, Some of the more uncommon species include Lappet-faced Vulture and African Cuckoo Hawk. Larger bodies of water such as the Hartebeespoort and Bospoort dam attract many waterbirds. The numerous streams and smaller farm dams in the area also support numerous waterbirds. White-backed Night-Heron have for example bred on one of these small farm dams in the Witwatersberg. A few Cape Vulture Colonies are found along the mountain range and surrounding landowners offer safe protection to these magnificent birds.

1. The Rustenberg Nature Reserve is situated in the far western corner and offers relatively easy access to many of the species. (See Northwest Province)

2. In the central areas one of the best areas for birdwatching is the mountain pass from Breedtsnek to Buffelspoort dam, this road passes over the mountains in a north south direction, follow the signposts from Maanhaarrand in the south to Marikana in the north. The woodland in this area as well as throughout the range is home to species such as Black Cuckooshrike, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Bar-throated Apalis, and Brown-hooded Kingfisher in summer these areas are also good to explore for cuckoos. Access is mostly restricted to the public roads throughout the area seeing that most of the land is privately owned. Local bird clubs do however often organise outings to selected farms. Some of the mountain species that occur in the area are: Cape Rock-Thrush and Short-toed Rock-Thrush, Cape Bunting, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Familiar Chat, Mountain Wheatear, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Lazy Cisticola and Malachite Sunbird.

3. The privately owned nature reserve Mountain Sanctuary Park is located near to the Buffelspoort dam.

4. A vulture restaurant at the De Wildt Cheetah Breeding Station is the best site to view the Cape Vulture.

For further information on outings to private farms please contact either the Witwatersrand Bird Club or the Pretoria Bird Club.

Albert Froneman 2001.