Johannesburg’s urban forest is home to wonderful bird-life



Because of Johannesburg’s extraordinary number of trees it has developed its own micro-climate and this, together with the number of green lungs in the form of golf courses and parks, as well as the abundance of food and nesting opportunities in the leafy suburbs, has attracted an increasingly varied bird life to the city and its outskirts. I grew up in Johannesburg and birds like starlings, loeries, hadedas, puff-back shrikes etc. were seldom if ever found in Johannesburg.  Now they are common visitors to our gardens. The rose-ringed parakeet is another of these new inhabitants.   These beautiful green birds , with fabulous turquoise tail feathers get their names from the red neck-ring which the male has (seen on the top bird on the above).  They are noisy gregarious birds who announce their presence with loud squawks.  We have heard them often here at Liz at Lancaster both flying over and sitting on the bare branches of the neighbour’s  tree.  This last week however, two finally found the bird feeder in the garden and embarked on a major feedathon for about 20 minutes. The next morning they were back, but now,  like my sons, they had brought all their friends to partake of Liz at Lancaster’s fare! And now they fly in morning and evening like clockwork.  Although, it’s wonderful to see their glistening chartreuse green at the bird tray, they can apparently take over.  They aren’t indigenous to South Africa but, like elsewhere in the world, are escapees from aviaries and have established feral populations. There are feral populations in London  and other parts of England, in  Europe and the U.S.   See  Originally from North Africa and India, these birds are very adaptable and have few natural enemies.   

Apart from the standard doves, sparrows and pigeons, other birds which are regular feeders Liz at Lancaster’s bird tray are glossy starlings, crested barbets, red bishops, grey loeries (the go-away bird), masked weavers, bulbuls,  & olive thrushes amongst others.   And birds which come to the garden but feed on insects are Cape robins, puff-back shrikes, white-eyes and even a male paradise flycatcher seen on the right.  The black sunbird loves the aloes and we hear green pigeons, the rain bird or Burchell’s Coucal, the Boubou shrike and at night the water dikkops.

On quiet evenings we hear the Cape eagle owls which roost down at Delta Park.  Delta Park has an amazingly prolific bird life.   Nearly 240 species have been recorded there.  For more see

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  1. Geoff
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi Liz,

    Have you figured out what these green birds are? I’ve been seeing them more and more often around jhb’s northern suburbs!

  2. Posted October 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Sorry about late reply. They are rose-ringed parakeets. Escaped from aviaries initially but now breeding in the wild.

  3. Maggie
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Liz

    Just for interest sake, I spotted a pair of stunning light green long tailed birds (probably the rose-ringed parakeets) at Willson/Kings Park in Berario, Northcliff last weekend. They were a very light green? they flew about in the area where the Fairlands Spruit runs through Berario – Fairlands. Beautiful sighting – made my day!

    Have a lovely Easter! Will look out for them this weekend again…

  4. Posted June 14, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Hi Maggie, Sorry about the late reply. Yes – green long tailed birds can only be ther rose ringed parakeets. Thanks for feedback.

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