A couple of years ago Adam posted a story on this site that so entranced me that when I went to South Africa a bit over a year ago the location he described was top of my bucket list. That birding Mecca was the Sani Pass, and his article is all you need to read so rather than rehash it I’ll just link to it. But I did visit it, and saw many of the incredible species he described, one of which, my major target of the day, was the Drakensberg Rockjumper.

Fierece rockjumperDrakensberg Rockjumper

The Drakensberg Rockjumper is one of two species in the rockjumper family, one of those recent splits that came about when people realised that not everything in Africa could be lumped with known European families. They are closely related to the oddball Rockfowl of Western Africa, and live in family groups, led by a breeding pair, in Southern Africa.



IMG_1860There was about five of them in the small group we encountered on the bend in the road

Drakensberg rockjumperDrakensberg Rockjumpers are also known as Orange-breasted Rockjumpers

IMG_1861 A little preen

Rockjumper habitatThey live on rocks!

IMG_1869The view of the Sani Pass from where we saw the species

IMG_1870At the same place we saw a Drakensberg Siskin, and I got the distinct impression this was a big deal and I was not sufficiently appreciative.

Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.