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Ken Borland

Mt Moreland, La Lucia

Posted on January 22, 2013 by Ken

There are many, many Phragmites reedbeds scattered through South Africa and they do sustain an array of life and are an important habitat for birdlife.

But one reedbed in particular has become pretty famous – the Lake Victoria wetland in Mount Moreland, La Lucia, about 25km north of Durban. That’s because since the 1970s it has been a roost for what is reputed to be millions of European Swallows and has become quite the tourist attraction and sundowner event for people on the North Coast.

I was drawn as much by the potentially amazing sight of all those swallows as by an old record of Black Coucal in the area but, as typically happens when one goes birding for something in particular, it fails to turn up!

There were about 50 swallows around as the shortest night of the year fell (December 21), but barely enough to be considered a flock!

It was still a wonderful way to enjoy sunset, sitting on the terraced banks above the reedbed, enjoying some snacks & beverages.

The Mt Moreland swallow viewsite. Courtesy

A Purple Heron flew over as a reminder that the reedbeds are valuable for other birds too, while I went walking in search of a Burchell’s Coucal that was calling away, only to return and find it posing on a dead treestump!

There was no sign of its Black cousin, but a half-dozen Hamerkop did fly over as well, shortly before the swallows made their underwhelming arrival.


Sightings list

Spottedbacked Weaver

Speckled Mousebird

Blackeyed Bulbul

Yellowbilled Kite

Hadeda Ibis

Burchell’s Coucal

Purple Heron


European Swallow


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