North West – Chaneng sandgrouse fields

About the Birding

Chaneng sandgrouse fields:
This area describes the agricultural fields between the villages of Chaneng and Ga-Luka, south of Sun City which have proven reliable areas to find the scarce Yellow-throated Sandgrouse. In particular we’ll focus our efforts on this road: 25°26’51.0″S 27°08’19.3″E, or -25.447512, 27.138700. Note that these are nomadic birds, and move around widely in response to conditions, and it is worth checking in with various Gauteng birding groups to see where these birds are currently active.

The coordinate mentioned above is one of the core areas where the sandgrouse feed. You will find yourself in a large agricultural area, on black-clay soils (areas which the sandgrouse seem to prefer). The fields continue for some kilometres in this area, and one needs to patiently scan these fields. The best strategy is to park off the road, and patiently scan the fields, in the morning. The birds are usually fairly active, flying up and down, and calling, and with some patience and luck, you will be rewarded with views of these special birds. Note these are private fields, and you are kindly asked to stick to the roadside edge (unless you’ve made prior arrangements).

A number of various drinking sites have been found in the areas around these fields over the years, where these birds come to drink in the mid-morning (a few hours after sunrise) and in the late afternoon. These sites tend to change each year, due to changing water levels, but they have all been seen at the following localities (again, it is worth checking in with Gauteng birding groups to see where these birds are currently active):

Small stream north of Chaneng (25°22’27.2″S 27°05’53.2″E, or -25.374207, 27.098102).
Small dam south of Maile (25°24’22.1″S 27°14’53.2″E, or -25.406141, 27.248117).
Small stream near Lasung (25°31’26.5″S 27°22’30.2″E, or -25.524034, 27.375061).

Key species:

Cape Vulture, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Lesser Flamingo, Pied Avocet, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Half-collared Kingfisher, Southern Pied Babbler, Barred Wren-Warbler, Cape Penduline-tit

About the Birding Site

Situated just north of the Magaliesberg Mountain range, the large town of Rustenburg is a perfect base to cover a number of sites that lie just to its north. A wide variety of excellent birds and birding is possible in this area, with extremely productive dry acacia thornveld dominating the region, however mixed woodland, open grasslands, agricultural fields and rich dams all add further diversity and boost the birdlife.

The routes described below are all ‘driving’ routes, along public roads – as such please note that facilities are few and far between. These sites are best done as day trips, and all the routes described above can be covered in a single day, comfortably. However, as with all birding, the more time spent in an area, the more birds seen. Birding can be excellent here, and a wide range of species is possible. A summer day trip, taking in all the main habitat types can produce a list exceeding 150 species!

Key species:

Cape Vulture, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Lesser Flamingo, Pied Avocet, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Half-collared Kingfisher, Southern Pied Babbler, Barred Wren-Warbler, Cape Penduline-tit

Other Related Information

Access and facilities:
The routes described above are all off public gravel/tar roads. The roads are regularly maintained and a small sedan vehicle is sufficient to cover the area. Most of the land, away from the roads is private, and please seek permission before venturing off the road.

This is a very birdy area, and a high daily total can be expected. This area is regularly incorporated into routes for various teams in their Birding Big Day attempts.

Other related information:

GPS Coordinates:
Chaneng sandgrouse fields starting point: 25°26’51.0″S 27°08’19.3″E, or -25.447512, 27.138700. Agricultural fields between the villages of Chaneng and Ga-Luka.

Recommended accommodation nearby:
No BirdLife Recommended Accommodations are currently available in the area. However, a diverse array of accommodation options are available in and around Rustenburg, to suit all budgets and requirements.

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

Text prepared by:
Dylan Vasapolli (Birding Ecotours)
Shaun McGillewie (Birdlife Rustenburg)

Key species:

Cape Vulture, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Lesser Flamingo, Pied Avocet, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Half-collared Kingfisher, Southern Pied Babbler, Barred Wren-Warbler, Cape Penduline-tit

Contact details:

N/A

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