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The Overberg Region lies immediately north of the Southern tip of Africa and south of the Riviersonderend and Langeberg mountains. The region consists predominantly of rolling hills and stony plains, which today, fall largely under commercial crop agriculture. Apart from holding the world’s largest population of Blue Crane, the Overberg is also home to a number of recent and possible future taxonomic "splits" including the Agulhas Long-billed Lark. The area holds a number of ground-dwelling species, as well as species normally associated with fynbos and karroid habitats.

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Habitat

Undulating plains and agricultural lands with patches of renosterveld and fynbos.

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Specials

Black Harrier, Denham's Bustard, Blue Crane, Grey-winged Francolin, Northern Black Korhaan, Karoo Korhaan, Long-billed Pipit, Agulhas Long-billed Lark, Large-billed Lark, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Karoo Prinia, Cape Bulbul, Pied Starling.

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Facilities

A network of tarred and gravel roads cover the area.

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Birding

1. Check the open fields and short grasslands for ground dwelling species such as Denham's Bustard, Secretarybird, Southern Black Korhaan, Karoo Korhaan and Blue Crane. The recently described Agulhas Long-billed Lark and a number of other larks including Red-capped Lark and the Large-billed Lark can also be found on the undulating plains. Knowledge of the different species’ calls will help in separating them. The open agricultural areas are also home to Capped Wheatear, African Stonechat, Pied Starling, Cape Crow and Cape Longclaw. Both African Pipit and Long-billed Pipit are present, with the latter preferring the stonier areas.

2. Drainage lines and areas of scrub between farmlands hold a number of interesting species including Grey-winged Francolin, Karoo Scrub-Robin, Yellow Bishop, Bokmakierie, Cape Bulbul, Grey-backed Cisticola, Karoo Prinia, Long-billed Crombec and Southern Double-collared Sunbird. Areas with permanent water and reedbeds play host to Cape Weaver, Lesser Swamp-Warbler and Common Waxbill.

3. Birds of prey found on the agulhas plain include the near-endangered Black Harrier as well as the Jackal Buzzard and Lanner Falcon

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General

The Overberg lies to the south of the Riviersonderend and Langeberg mountains and includes the towns of Caledon, Swellendam, Riviersonderend, Heidelberg and Riversdale. The area can be reached from Cape Town by driving east along the N2 and turning south between the towns of Caledon and Riversdale. Stopping and scanning recently ploughed or barren agricultural lands on the quieter roads can be very productive. In order to explore the area completely, birders should spend the better part of a day in the area.

Overberg Website

Andrew Hester 2001.




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