South African Introduced Birds

Interested in South African introduced birds? Learn more about the birds introduced in South Africa...

There are many species of endemic flora and fauna found throughout South Africa. However, with the influx of the Dutch, French and British colonists many species of animal and plantations along with bird populations have been introduced into the country. This trend continues up to today and some of the existing bird population has been introduced into the country successfully over the years.

Introduced Species in South Africa

There are many bird species that have been introduced into South Africa. Some of them have adapted well, while others have not been successfully introduced. South Africa is blessed with a tropical rainforest ecosystem and therefore bird species that appreciate the weather and rain thrive better in this area. One might wonder why such a practice is undertaken when the bird species may not survive; the main reason is to introduce populations of birds, which may be under threat of extinction in their native land due to the destruction of their natural habitat.

Mute Swan

One of the most interesting species introduced into South Africa is the Mute Swan known biologically as Cygnus olor. It is a member of the duck, goose and swan family known as Anatidae. It is found throughout most of Europe as well as the far North in Africa. It is found very rarely in Asia mainly during the winter. It has been introduced in South Africa, North America and Australasia. The reason it is called mute is because it is not as vocal as the other swans. The height of this species reaches up to 170 centimeters and it has a beautiful pure white plumage and a striking orange bill with black borders. It is easily recognizable due to the prominent knob located on top of its bill.

Pheasant and the Partridge

Other birds introduced into South Africa belong to the phasianidae family of birds. These are the pheasant and the partridge—as well as jungle fowl and chickens among many others. These were introduced into South Africa as part of the old world family. The greatest variety of the species is now found in Africa and Southeast Asia. Many species of pheasant have been introduced around the world. Some captive populations that had escaped have resulted in many crossbred varieties. These birds are known to live on the ground and are therefore called terrestrial. The Asian blue quail weighs a mere 43 g while the Indian Peafowl weighs up to 6 kg. The males are usually larger and have heavy plumage with short and broad wings.

Chukar

Another interesting species that has faired well in South Africa is the Chukar or the Alectoris chukar. Originally a Eurasian game bird, it is a member of the pheasant family also. It is also known as Chukker, the Indian Chukar, or the Red-legged Partridge, Kabk, and Keklik in different regions. The bird has been introduced as part of the partridge family into South Africa. The bird has successfully taken to the environment of the country because it was introduced from Asia, which has a fairly temperate climate.

 

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