Free State (East) – Wolhuterskop Nature Reserve

About the Birding

Some of the elusive raptors like African Harrier-Hawk, Rufous-breasted and Black Sparrowhawk, Lanner Falcon, Jackal and Common (Steppe) Buzzard (summer), Verreaux’s, Long-crested, and African Fish Eagle can be seen here on a regular basis. The grassed, rocky slopes of the sandstone koppies (ridge) opposite the reserve’s dam offer Wailing Cisticola, Mocking Cliff, Ant-eating and Buff-streaked Chat, Cape Rock Thrush and Mountain Wheatear, three canary species(Cape, Yellow, and Black-throated) and Streaky-headed Seedeater.

Red-headed Finch are often seen foraging alongside Cape White-eye in the stands of flowering aloes on top of the koppie, while Secretarybird often patrols the grasslands alongside the endemic Southern Bald Ibis, and an icon of the Free State grasslands, the Long-tailed Widowbird. Nicholson’s and African Pipits also occur here, together with Cape Longclaw and Grey-winged Francolin. The dam in the middle of the reserve sports a spacious bird hide that offers good sightings of Goliath Heron, African Spoonbill and a few other water-dependent species. In the summer months, a heronry on a little island close to the hide provides a safe place to breed for many species. Black-headed Heron, Cattle Egret, Reed Cormorant, African Darter, African Spoonbill, and many more all try to make their voices heard over the cacophony of both parents and chicks calling at the same time! The huge stands of exotic trees have delivered a few unusual raptors sightings for the area in recent years, both Black-chested and Brown Snake Eagle has been found roosting in them. European Honey Buzzard (summer) and a Palm-nut Vulture has also been observed in the vicinity of Gerrands Dam, close to the Fouriesburg road.

Key species:

African Harrier-Hawk, Rufous-breasted and Black Sparrowhawk, Lanner Falcon, Jackal and Common (Steppe) Buzzard (summer), Verreaux’s, Long-crested, and African Fish Eagle

About the Birding Site

The Wolhuterskop Nature Reserve (-28.273517, 28.280797), just past Loch Athlone Dam on the R26 heading south to Fouriesburg, also holds many avian treasures. Although the veld in Wolhuterskop Nature Reserve has been heavily degraded due to overgrazing in some areas of the reserve, there is still some good birding to be had.

Key species:

African Harrier-Hawk, Rufous-breasted and Black Sparrowhawk, Lanner Falcon, Jackal and Common (Steppe) Buzzard (summer), Verreaux’s, Long-crested, and African Fish Eagle

Other Related Information

Recommended accommodation nearby:
No BirdLife Recommended Accommodations are currently available in the area.

Local guide information:
No BirdLife Recommended Tour Operators or local guides are currently available in the area.

Other related information:

Text prepared by:
Martin and Melanie Potgieter
Martin Benadie | Specialist Birding Guide

Key species:

African Harrier-Hawk, Rufous-breasted and Black Sparrowhawk, Lanner Falcon, Jackal and Common (Steppe) Buzzard (summer), Verreaux’s, Long-crested, and African Fish Eagle

Contact details:

N/A

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