A colourful photo of a Cape Weaver captured by Richard du Toit graces the cover of the 50th issue of the African Birdlife Magazine. This bi-monthly magazine showcases the incredible work that Birdlife South Africa is doing, as well a whole range of well written articles that will please anyone with any interest in birds.
When I started birding, I didn’t even know that there was a birding magazine in South Africa, but once I discovered the African Birdlife at my local Pick n Pay, I have religiously brought it every since. As I have grown as a birder, I have found that the magazine has kept me engaged along the journey. The January/February 2021 edition may be issue number 50, but the magazine keeps growing from strength to strength. Every issue is both filled with bird photos that are a absolute visual delight, as well as articles that both inform and provide enjoyment. Birdlife South Africa can be proud of Eve Gracie and the team for producing this world-class magazine.
So why does the January/February issue offer the reader?
My personal favourite article in the latest issue if the four-page interview with Trevor Hardaker (page 23-26). Trevor is one of the regions best known birders and its great to get to know the person behind the famous rare bird alert. Peter Ryan contributes quite a significant amount of material for this issue – of all his articles, I found the piece on how bird song is affected by noise pollution fascinating (page 13). There is an interesting article by Gabriel A. Jamie, who writes about studies done on parasitism, mimicry, and speciation in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa (page 35-41). The article may be a bit ‘heavy’ for some people, but it’s a fascinating read never the less which taught me a great deal.
For those who have the birding travel bug – there is an article of the Mwinilunga District in Zambia and the special birds that are possible (pg 45-49). For the local traveller, Rocherpan Nature Reserve in the Western Cape is featured (pg 50-52). The article gives lots of practical advice for those that wish to visit the reserve and bird. I for one didn't know about this reserve and will definitely plan a day trip when I am in the Cape again.
There is a short article on bird photography by Grant Atkinson, suggesting ways to be quieter when birding to get better photographs (pg 56-58). No fancy technical information, just some great practical advice that anyone can apply to their photography.
The Cape Rockjumper, the 2021 Bird of the Year, is featured in a short yet informative feature article (pg 66). I don’t know if I am the only one waiting to see how the ‘fluffy’ toy for this bird will look!
Birdlife South Africa News highlights amongst other things Penguin, Blue Swallow, and Cape Parrot conservation (pg 68-71). Reading these articles once again highlights why every birder should be supporting Birdlife South Africa in some way!
That’s just a quick overview of the articles in this month’s edition but there is a lot more to wet your appetite. As always, the magazine is filled with amazing photography – the highlight for me being the amazing action photo of the Tawny Eagle catching a Dove taken by Arno Ellmer.
As an added bonus, this issue contains a complimentary copy of the Checklist of Birds in South Africa 2021.
The only disappointment for me was the absence of the 'Tail End' article that is normally written by the mysterious 'Turdoides'. This is normally the first article I read when I get my hand on the magazine, so I really hope to see it's return in the next issue.
With all that's been said, I would encourage you to get your hands on the latest African Birdlife Magazine. if you struggle to get it at your local shop, consider subscribing to the magazine and becoming a member of Birdlife South Africa and supporting the important work that they do https://www.birdlife.org.za/media-and-resources/blsa-african-birdlife/