Bird life around the lodge alone is spectacular, tiny blue waxbills flit around the garden like little gems, Paradise Whydah grace the lower branches of the Acacia Tortilis, bright orange, black and white Hoopoe inspect the newly mown grass, and in the distance the cackle of francolin scuttling in the undergrowth. There are more than 400 species of birds in the area, Fish Eagle, Giant Kingfisher, Narina Trogon and the spectacular Purplecrested Lourie , with the “feather in the cap” being… the presence of the rare Bat Hawk.
Zululand is one of the the most diverse birding regions in southern Africa. The area offers and incredible array of more than 600 recorded species that inhabit coastal, riverine, grassland, wetland, forest, woodland, cliff, gorge and valley habitats.
Mkuze ranch is teeming with birds and hosts a broad range of species normally found in acacia savannah and bushveld. From the comfort of the lodge, in winter visitors can enjoy a rich array of species such as Cape and Black-bellied Glossy Starlings, Kurrichane and Groundscraper thrushes, Blue Waxbill, African Firefinch, Scimitarbill, Golden-breasted bunting, Grey Tit Flycatcher, Pale Flycatcher, Long-billed Crombec, Burn-necked Eremomela, Several species of Weaver, Black Headed Oriole, and Red-billed Oxpecker fly in quite regularly to drink at the smalllodge water holes. The large number of flowering aloes present an opportunity to see a number of the spectacular sunbird species including Marico, Purple-banded, Amethyst, and Scarlet-chested.
Late spring and summer you can enjoy the Pin tailed Wydah dancing across the sky as it becomes more visible in their summer plumage. The warmer weather also brings the White Winged Widow and migrants such as European bee-eater, Diederick Cuckoo, Jacobin Cuckoo, European Roller, steppe Buzzard, arrive adding to an already large number of resident bird species.
Birders should check fruiting fig trees for fruit eaters such as Green Pigeon, Purple –crested Turaco, and Barbets. Bare open stony ground will produce Crowned Plover and Sabota Lark.
Around the campfire the night is filled with the “good lord deliver us” call of Fiery-necked and the churring pitch changing call of Square-tailed Nightjars. And in the distance the hoo-huuu call of a spotted Eagle owl announcing his presence to any females in the area.