A rarity at Lebombo

Kruger National Park | July 2020

What an incredible morning! We were at the pool area, gathered for our morning meeting, when Mike heard some lions calling in the distance. He stayed after the meeting to see if he could hear them again when he heard the plaintive trilling call of a pink-throated twinspot. Ben quickly came and called me and we headed back to the pool area to see if we could find it. A few of the guides were looking for it and eventually we got a glimpse of two of them in a thick bush. We were elated. Blaine, one of our past guides, came back one morning after a walk, a few years back, and told us that he had seen a pink-throated twinspot in the northern section of the concession. We were very dubious (sorry Blaine!). A year or so later Duncan Mckenzie (an excellent ecologist, ornithologist and botanist) was moving through the concession and reported that he had seen one at the weir in front of camp. I have been here for almost five years and have not heard or seen them in the concession.

According to the book “Roberts Bird Guide – Kruger National Park and adjacent Lowveld”, by Hugh Chittenden & Ian Whyte, pink-throated twinspots are, “Generally shy and uncommon endemic [birds], regarded as Near-threatened in S.Africa. In KNP [they are] found only in the Nyandu community of the Nwambiya Sandveld”.

These birds are very elusive and difficult to see in the thick habitats that they live in. A little bit later we were sitting outside the guides’ room, where we have a bird-bath, and lo and behold… the twinspots re-appeared and one came out into the open. I managed to get this photo of her. Amazing!