South Africa Table Mountain

West Coast National Park birding,
almost too good to be true

West Coast National Park birding is almost too good to be true. With up to 100 species to be spotted at any one time, including Jackass (African) Penguins, Flamingos, Cape Gannets, Waders, Sandpipers, Larks, Godwits and Black Harriers, the Park is a birdwatcher's paradise



In total there are approximately 250 bird varieties to be found, both migratory and resident.

As a wetland of international importance, the lagoon is a great attraction for large numbers of migrant wading birds and each summer there are up to 70 000 birds converging to the waters to feed and breed.

Face to face with a Cape Weaver - West Coast National Park Birding, South Africa National Parks
Face to face with a Cape Weaver
West Coast National Park Birding, South Africa National Parks
Photograph by Mike Scott

The fascinating thing about the Lagoon is that it,s entirely fed by the sea. There is no river flowing into it, as is normally the case. This enriches the water with plenty of nourishment next to giving rise to numerous salt marshes and the wetland habitat in the south, which is frequented by thousands of Crowned Cormorants, Kelp Gulls, Pink Flamingos, Swift Terns and Black Oystercatchers . Some species come from as far afield as Greenland and Siberia. The plankton rich wetlands have the capacity to sustain massive bird populations.

Hartlaubs Gull also called King Gull - West Coast National Park Birding, South Africa National Parks
Hartlaubs Gull also called King Gull
West Coast National Park, South Africa National Parks
Photograph by Mike Scott

The lagoon is surrounded by "Fynbos" type of vegetation that is part of the unique and world renown Cape Floral Kingdom, which occurs only in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It forms the habitat for species of birds such as Southern Grey and Cape Penduline Tit, White-throated and Yellow Canary, Cape Spurfowl and Grey-winged Francolin, Ant-eating Chat, Southern Black Korhaan, Bokmakierie and Cape Bunting and Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler, all of which are easily seen. The Black Harrier and African Marsh can often be seen making their home on the ground.

Colony of Cape Gannets - West Coast National Park Birding, South Africa National Parks
Colony of Cape Gannets
West Coast National Park, South Africa National Parks
copyright © South African tourism

At the entrance of the lagoon there are coastal islands at are breeding sanctuaries for a number of species such as the African Penguin, Cape Gannet, Hartlaub's Gull and kelp. Terns and Cormorants are there too. There are three bird hides in the Park at Geelbek, Seeberg and Abrahamskraal, making it possible to observe and study the birdlife undisturbed and at close quarters.

Jackass Penguin also known as the Black-footed Penguin - West Coast National Park Birding, South Africa National Parks
Jackass Penguin also known as the Black-footed Penguin
West Coast National Park Birding, South Africa National Parks
Photograph by Sally London







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