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The Belated 12 Birds of Christmas List

Narina Trogan

This was a post that went out on in our newsletter during December (I guess it doesn't too much to figure that out). We got quite a few responses from the article so we thought we would share the belated 12 Birds of Christmas list. Also check out the cool video that our friends the Bush Boys made after reading the article (please show some love and follow their YouTube account)

One of the most popular Christmas songs must be “the 12 days of Christmas”. In the song, there are 6 different birds mentioned – and I thought that there should be more! So, I have decided to compile a list of 12 different birds that remind me of Christmas.

12. Red-Chested Cuckoo

To start off I have chosen the Red-Chested Cuckoo, or more commonly known in South Africa as the “piet-my-vrou” – the reason this bird reminds me of Christmas is because when I hear that first Cuckoo calling, I know that Summer is upon us! It is an iconic bird with a really special call.

11. Gorgeous Bushshrike

I picked this bird because of how special it is to see one, no matter how many times you’ve seen it – in the same way, it doesn’t matter how often you’ve experienced a person you love receiving a gift, whether this year is your 20th or 80th time, the experience always leaves you breathless.

10. Black Collared Barbet

One of the many things I love about Black Collared Barbets is that the male and female call together – and that, for me, is how I see family gathering on Christmas Day. No matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen them last, it just takes you seeing them again to get back in sync.

9. Diederik Cuckoo

Not only is this bird strikingly beautiful, but it is also one of the birds you hear often during Summer! I love that they appear to be almost emerald green. This bird simply makes it onto my list for the beauty that it possesses!

8. Laughing Dove

I heard someone once describe the call of the laughing dove as Santa Claus going “ho-ho-ho” – and that has always stuck in my head. The other reason this bird is on the list is because I had to include a dove somewhere on the list!

7. African Paradise Flycatcher

I love looking at these birds – and they are always on the move! They remind me of the rush that can be found during Christmas time. But the beauty of these birds is that most of their rushing is to help their family. Don’t forget your family during the busyness!

6. Fiery-Necked Nightjar

I don’t know about the rest of South Africa, but in KZN one of the calls that you are likely to hear near dusk is the call of the Fiery-Necked Nightjar. Many say that the call is “good lord deliver us” – but whatever you think it sounds like, I’m sure that you can agree that it is a call that is peaceful.

5. Greater Honeyguide

“Victor, Victor” – yet another bird that has a call more iconic than its name! I chose this bird because it reminds me of birding on Birding Big Day – usually it is one of the sounds I am most eager to hear – because it’s one I can actually identify!

4. Southern Double-collared Sunbird

This bird clearly loves Christmas, because it always has it’s best Christmas coloured feathers on!

3. Barn Swallow

Nothing says summer quite like seeing hundreds of barn swallows flying over your head near evening! This is easily one of my top 3 birds of Summer.

2. Green Twinspot

A bird that I have seen once, and want to see over and over again, the Green Twinspot has such a beautiful plumage that it is almost a gift for a person to see it.

1. Narina Trogon

A bird that is rarely seen out in the open, but it is a bird that instantly makes me think of Christmas. Why, you ask? Because most of us don’t see it that often, it’s like we are seeing it for the first time. May we approach this Christmas season, and the promise of time spent with family – whether it be in person or online – with the same wonder that we have when seeing this beautiful bird!

So, that is my list! I want to hear what you think should be on this list – send me an email to

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