The Hadeda Hotline

News and updates from the Hadeda Ringing Project

10 October 2008
Issue # 3

Dear hadeda enthusiasts

Here is a brief update on our project. The hadeda breeding season is in full swing and we have climbed many more trees since the last newsletter. Our total of ringed hadeda nestlings is now at 128. If you look at a big flock of hadedas, you stand a chance of seeing more than one ringed bird at time now.

Jessie Blackshaw, Felicity Ellmore and Doug have all seen groups with two ringed hadedas on different occasions. We wonder whether those groups of hadedas constitute young birds that do not breed yet, since breeding birds surely spend most of the time near their nests at this time of the year. But this is pure speculation, of course. We need to make more resightings of ringed birds before we will know.

Photo: Res Altwegg
Gregory Duckworth (left) and Doug at a ringing station near a nest located in the Doordrift Greenbelt, Constantia. Gregory is a Zoology Honours student at the University of Cape Town who will be working on the Cape Town hadedas for his Masters thesis next year.
View from a hadeda nest. Chicks "JH" and "JI" soon after they were ringed and returned to the nest. This nest is located in Tanja Road, Constantia with the branch supporting the nest protruding right over the road.
Photo: Res Altwegg

Jessie Blackshaw has seen more ringed hadedas than anyone else. She has reported more than 50 resightings so far, of at least 12 different individuals. Thanks a lot, Jessie. We know how much work it is to get close enough to read these rings. Hopefully others will rise to the challenge...

Photo: Res Altwegg
Jessie Blackshaw holding chick "JF". This chick was one of three ringed from the Doordrift Greenbelt nest. Jessie monitored the chicks until they successfully fledged about two weeks after being ringed.

Doug and I reported on the hadeda project at an international scientific meeting recently: we gave a talk at the Pan-African Ornithological Congress in early September. At that meeting, we also met with Professor Colleen Downs from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Dr Craig Symes from the University of Witwatersrand, who will start ringing hadedas in Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg respectively.

It will be very exciting for us to compare survival and reproduction in our relatively recently established hadeda population to areas where hadedas have been traditionally well established. We are very delighted about this new collaboration and broadened aspect of our study.

Craig Symes who is planning on carrying out similar work on hadedas in greater Johannesburg.

We are also planning a third hadeda census for the Cape Town metropole from 12-19 November. For those who recall we carried out our second count in April this year. The third census should help us get better estimates of the number of hadedas within greater Cape Town. Although we do have a group of regular counters, if you would like to get involved please contact Res or Doug and we will see where we can fit you in.

Finally, for those of you who know about hadeda nests, please make a special effort to check whether it is active at the moment. We would like to ring as many nestlings as possible before things quieten down as we head into the middle of summer.

Thank you all for your help and interest so far. Please keep reporting active hadeda nests, resightings of ringed individuals, or if you make any other interesting observations on hadedas.


Res Altwegg (Tel. 021 799 8809) and Doug Harebottle (Tel. 021 650 2330)

Project Coordinators


Hadeda Web Page