The Island and surrounding salt marshes are home to a rich variety of birds. Many of the usual 'garden' birds can be seen, including the Burchell's Coucal or 'Rain Bird' - whose distinctive call often heralds a change in the weather - as well as the less common African Hoopoe, Black-headed Oriole, Knysna Touraco (Lourie), Olive Woodpecker and Spotted Thick-knee (Dikkop).

A pair of Spotted Eagle-Owls has nested in the gum trees along Links Drive for many years, latterly using a specially constructed nesting box in a tree near the tennis courts. They raise chicks each year - an event avidly followed by residents and visitors alike.

A pair of Blacksmith Lapwings (Plovers) nest regularly in the vicinity of the Small Boat Harbour where they are able to raise their young in relative safety.


In the surrounding salt marshes, the endangered African Black Oystercatcher has found a safe haven, along with other waterbirds such as Reed and Cape Cormorants, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, African Spoonbills and African Sacred Ibis. In September and October a large number of migrant waders (including Whimbrels, Greenshanks, Grey and Ringed Plovers and Curlew Sandpipers) arrive from the northern hemisphere breeding grounds to spend the summer in the rich feeding grounds of the Knysna estuary.

A Leisure Isle bird list and additional information about these birds can be found at

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