Swallow Predators


Southern Africa can be a dangerous place for the swallows despite the fact that one of the main enemies (the domestic cat) is not able to catch them, we have numerous raptors, other birds and animals that are able to feast on them.

Thankfully due to the habit of using reedbeds as their roost a lot of mammals are not able to get at them, there are however animals like the Water Leguaan (Monitor Lizard), as well as snakes that are able to get at them on the reeds.

Some roosts in the dryer regions are in trees and these are accessible by any number of mammals.

Despite this the main predation comes from other bird species including Herons. I know that at the Mt. Moreland Roost the Purple Herons would do us a favour by disturbing the swallows that had already roosted and they would fly out and some would be caught in our mist nets.

The main predators use the aerial attack mode and each roost will have its own special raptors that attack the swallows. Mt. Moreland Roost is a good place to witness the Sooty Falcon during the evening gathering. Whereas Umzumbe and Southport are good spots for the Eurasian Hobby. Other raptors that can be seen include Peregrine and Lanner Falcons, Bathawk, African Goshawk, Black Sparrowhawk and even owls can be seen including Spotted Eagle Owl. I even witnessed an African Marsh Harrier trying to catch swallows in the air, however he never stood a chance.

In time I will endeavor to include short articles on some of the predators.