There are 30 species of birds in the Drakensberg that are currently on the endangered species list. Some of the endangers bird spicies are below

bearded vulture - endagered bird spicies in the Drakensberg

bearded vulture – endangered bird species in the Drakensberg

The  Bearded Vulture (lammergeier) The Drakensberg is the second most important African breeding site for these magnificent birds. There are approximately 200 breeding pairs of Bearded Vultures remaining in the Maloti Drakensberg Mountains and currently none of the breeding sites are in protected areas. The Bearded Vulture is primarily a scavenger, but prefers bone marrow over flesh and will drop bones from great heights onto flat rocks (known as ossuaries) to shatter them, then extract the marrow or swallow and digest the pieces. They are easily recognizable in flight by the long, narrow wings and wedge-shaped tail. The bird’s striking colours – black wings, ferric chest, white-feathered head and black mask and beard decoration – make it exceptionally handsome. Legend has it that the rust-coloured feathers on the chest were caused by the bird rubbing white feathers against oxidized rocks to smooth and condition them.

 The Wattled Crane is a very large, conspicuous bird with a white neck, grey back and black belly. It has two whitish wattles beneath its chin. Its habitat ranges from midland to highland wetlands and moist grasslands. These cranes, of which there are only about 70 nesting pairs in South Africa, are severely endangered due to the loss of their spongy wetland habitats, and deaths caused by power line collisions and consumption of poisoned grain left for other problem animals. They have the slowest reproductive rate of the three South African crane species.

In terms of global conservation, the Cape Griffon (formerly known as the Cape Vulture), a southern African endemic, is also extremely important. Once common in the region, the Cape Griffon has fallen prey to poisoned bait and is regarded as vermin by many farmers, despite the fact that it rarely kills. Its decline is also attributed to electrocution on power lines, and to reduced breeding success resulting from juvenile mortality. Estimates put the numbers of the Cape Griffon at between 8 000 and 10 000. About 10-15% of these nest within the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, foraging beyond the borders of the park during the daytime. Groups roost and nest on precipitous cliffs which are white with their droppings. They prefer mountainous country or open country with inselbergs and escarpments. They are late risers, soaring out between two and three hours after sunrise. Their tongues are serrated, enabling them to feed rapidly on the soft tissue of carcasses.

The Cape Parrot lives in and near evergreen mist belt forests along the eastern escarpments of the region. They can be seen actively clambering around in search of fruits and berries, or flying high overhead in pairs or larger groups with their loud screeches resounding between clumps of remaining forest. This is a critically endangered species, primarily due to loss of habitat. Good places to see them include the Marutswa Forest Boardwalk near Bulwer, and the Xumeni Forest near Creighton.

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