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The Umgeni River Mouth is probably the most easily accessible and popular birding spot in Durban. Access to the birds is best from the north bank. There are a number of parking areas along Riverside Road, a picnic site, and most importantly, a trail along the river bank. Birding in groups is recommended.

1. The water edges are frequented by a great diversity of birdlife, such as Water Thick-knee, Woolly-necked Stork, Osprey, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Goliath Heron, Common Whimbrel, Common Ringed Plover and Grey Plover.

2. Large rafts of terns roost on the central sandbanks when the tide is out and these should be scanned for some of the uncommon species like the Lesser Crested Tern, Sandwich Tern and Little Tern. A telescope is recommended although not essential. At low tide a closer approach can be made by wading out to the sandbanks.

3. Amongst the specials that have occurred here are African Black Oystercatcher, Crab Plover, Sooty Tern and Bridled Tern, though these events are rare.

4. Inland from the mouth on the north bank is the Umgeni Bird Park that houses a large collection of exotic and local species and is well worth a visit.

The Beachwood Mangroves Reserve is fenced and gated and access is limited and by arrangement only (phone Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife +27-3-2051271 during working hours). Within the mangrove reserve there are three main habitats. The dune scrub supports a limited number of species such as Square-tailed Nightjar, White-fronted Plover, Little Bee-eater and Southern Tchagra. Birding in the mangroves themselves is also poor, but patience will be rewarded with views of Black-throated Wattle-eye, Purple-banded Sunbird and if you are very lucky in winter, Mangrove Kingfisher. The fringing grasslands and reed beds are populated by Red-faced Cisticola, Rattling Cisticola and Rufous-winged Cisticola, plus numbers of widows and weavers.


Security note:

The Umgeni River Mouth is an open access area and birding in groups is recommended. Park along Riverside Road or in the parking area just off Riverside Road.

Guy Gibbon 2006
Dave Bishop/Richard Boon 1997.

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