Richards Bay is one of South Africa's top waterbird areas. The habitats are as diverse as from thornveld, Papyrus swamps, open freshwater lakes, Mangroves, Dune forest to mudflats, open sea and sandbanks. Richards Bay is the area for rarity sightings in Zululand with birds such as among others Crab Plover and Broadbilled Sandpiper being fairly regular every summer.
Many forest birds such as Woodwards Batis and Eastern Nicator (Yellowspotted Nicator) reach their southernmost limit around here. Open lakes are home to scores of waterfowl as well as hippos and crocodiles. The entire area has been earmarked by Birdlife South Africa and Birdlife Zululand for major conservation and avi-tourism development
Richards Bay also has the advantage of being Zululand's biggest and wealthiest city and can offer visitors to the area a range of first world accommodation, restaurants and other facilities all within very close proximity to excellent birding.
NOTE: As of 2013, the Zululand Birding Route has NOT been able to secure access permits from the National Ports Authority to access the Southern Sanctuary Area. You are welcome to try get access directly through the Ports Authority or BirdLife Zululand could also perhaps help by joining one of their outings. Please also be extra cautious with regards to security when birding in remote areas of the city
The forest along the lake edges gives good birding opportunities with Green Coucal, Wattle-eyed Flycatcher, Narina Trogon, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Forest Weaver, Blue-mantled, Paradise and Fan-tailed Flycatcher being regularly seen. During the drought in the early 1990’s a Pels Fishing Owl took up residence at Ferelli Alley and has recently been recorded again near this area. This area does produce African Finfoot, Half-collared, Giant and Pygmy Kingfishers regularly and at the Sharks Board, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle is sometimes observed. All the Bulbuls (Black-eyed, Sombre, Yellow-bellied and Terrestrial) and the rarer Eastern (Yellow-spotted) Nicator are also evident at the Sharks Board...
Grass For Africa and Deckers Dam
The dam can also be viewed from the western side. The thornveld surrounding the dam also offers some good birding..