Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2

South Africa, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi

a member of the African Bird Atlas Project

About us

Tania Anderson (Project Communications, SABAP2)

Tania is a free-lance ecologist with expertise in arid area ecology and plants. During her 24 years as plant ecologist at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, Northern Cape, she was also involved in White-backed Vulture and Lesser Flamingo conservation projects. She has a Masters degree on the plant diversity of a Bushmanland inselberg. She serves on the Flamingo Research and Conservation Group of BirdLife South Africa, and helps out as a BirdLife South Africa volunteer whenever she can. She is a keen citizen scientist and photographer.

David Ehlers Smith, Dr (Steering Committee Member, BirdLife South Africa, SABAP2)

Dave works for BirdLife South Africa as the Science and Spatial Planning Project Manager, and is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Dave is a passionate conservationist and keen birder, enjoys atlassing and is a registered bird ringer.

Michael Brooks (Information Systems Specialist, SABAP2)

Michael is the Chief Technical Offier at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, where he is responsible for all the management and information systems development for SABAP2 and the African Bird Atlas Project, as well as various other monitoring projects hosted at the Fitz.

He is an avid photographer, and is a registered bird-ringer



Mark Anderson (Steering Commitee member, BirdLife South Africa, SABAP2)

Mark Anderson is the CEO of BirdLife South Africa. He worked for two decades as a nature conservation scientist in the Northern Cape and during this time was involved with SABAP1 and the planning of SABAP2. He is a committed conservationist, and regarded as an authority on the biology and conservation of raptors, vultures, and flamingos.


Ernst Retief (Steering Committee member, Birdlife South Africa, SABAP2)

Ernst works at BirdLife South Africa and is responsible for implementing data and spatial planning projects as well as the analysis of data for conservation planning. He is also a keen citizen scientist who have participated in various citizen science projects and has also presented numerous SABAP2 workshops.


Robert Thomson, Dr (Steering Committee member, FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, SABAP2)

Robert has a broad interest in bird ecology, but is especially interested in between-species interactions. He comes from Pretoria, and grew up birding and ringing in the bushveld areas. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria, studying mixed species bird flocks for his BSc Hons. These studies led to him being a field assistant in northern Finland. This stint became his MSc thesis at the University of Oulu, which tested the heterospecific attraction hypothesis that migrant songbirds attract to resident songbirds during their habitat selection decisions. He continued with his PhD in Oulu, further investigating the positive associations in Boreal bird communities, but incorporating the interplay of negative, predation and competition, interactions. He defended his thesis in 2006, and moved to southern Finland to take up a post-doc position at the University of Turku investigating various aspects of raptors and their impact on songbird community structure.


Dawie de Swardt (RAC Free State, South Africa - Vetting, SABAP2)

I grew up in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga where I also studied Gurney's Sugarbirds there already for more than 30 years. I am currently a Museum Ornithologist at the National Museum, Bloemfontein and HOD of the Department. Mt functions includes collection management of bird collections and did research on various groups of birds such as Northern Black Korhaan, Drakensberg and Karoo Prinias, Gurney's Sugarbirds and song vocalizations in African Rock Pipit. Also SAFRING bird ringer since 1987 and involved in SABAP1, Birds of Reserves Project and other ADU projects. My special place is Paardeplaats on Long Tom Pass outside Lydenburg.


Tel:+27(0)51 447 9609

Vincent Parker (RAC Northern Cape, South Africa - Vetting, SABAP2)

Statistician by profession, explorer by nature. MSc in Statistical Sciences (UCT). Compiled the Swaziland Bird atlas, the Atlas of the Birds of Sul do Save, southern Mozambique, the Atlas of the Birds of Central Mozambique and co-edited SABAP1. Currently retired from formal employment, travelling and atlassing in the Northern Cape (the parts where no-one else goes).[@]

Duncan McKenzie (RAC Mpumalanga - Vetting, SABAP2)

Based in the Lowveld city of Mbombela, Duncan works as a consulting Terrestrial Ecologist, performing biodiversity assessments all over Africa. He also lectures on birds for various training institutions and has been involved in the Mpumalanga SABAP2 RAC since 2010.


Ara Monadjem, Dr (RAC Eswatini - Vetting, SABAP2)

Ara Monadjem is an animal ecologist with particular interests in terrestrial systems. He is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) where he has been based for the past 26 years. He has worked on a wide range of research topics, including recently on the drivers of biodiversity in savanna systems. He is incredibly keen on vultures and has been studying their ecology and conservation for the past two decades.


Holger Kolberg (RAC Namibia - Vetting, SABAP2)

Holger is a born and bred Namibian. He has studied at the University of Cape Town and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology in Kent. He currently works as a conservation scientist for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia.


Jeff Curnick (RAC Eastern Cape - Vetting, SABAP2)

Born and bred in Gonubie in the Eastern Cape, my interest in birding started at the age of 9 after a family holiday to Ndumo Game Reserve (what a place to begin!). My introduction to “birding with a purpose” started with the Birds in Reserves Project (BIRP) in the early 2000’s and it was a natural progression into atlassing once SABAP2 started in 2007. Currently living in the UK but still very much involved with local birding in South Africa and the Eastern Cape specifically.


Chris Brewster (RAC Botswana - Vetting, SABAP2)

Chris is originally from the UK but has lived in Botswana for many years. His interest in birding started on a visit to Bharatpur Bird sanctuary in India in 1976. He was involved in atlassing for the Bird Atlas of Botswana, then for SABAP1 and now for SABAP2. He has a keen interest in bird distribution in Botswana. He is now retired, based in Gaborone and is a board member of BirdLife Botswana.


Ian Riddell (RAC Zimbabwe - Vetting, SABAP2)

Ian has an all-round interest in conservation, having spent a life in the bush. From being a Senior Ranger in Zimbabwe’s Dept. of National Parks he moved into tourism as a Professional Safari Guide, and operates mainly as a bird guide. He is involved in BirdLife Zimbabwe on various projects and at many levels, including the production of Honeyguide (BLZ journal) and The Babbler newsletter.


Andrew Hester (RAC western Zambia - Vetting, SABAP2)

Andrew has always been a keen birder. When family and work commitments permit, Andrew still spends as much time as possible birding. Through his work and some extended holiday trips, Andrew has been fortunate to cover a few corners of the African continent. Some of his more memorable birding moments on the continent include landing armpit deep in raw sewage while trying to get a better view, narrowly avoiding arrest while looking at wheatears near a military base in Senegal and more recently being corrected on the identification of a hornbill by his 7-year-old son. Andrew’s contribution to the SABAP2 is to verify records from the western half of Zambia.


Bod Medland (RAC Malawi - Vetting, SABAP2)

Bob is from the UK and has been birding since knee-high. Whilst living and working in Malawi 1984-1994 he carried out much of the fieldwork for the Malawi Bird Atlas project (published 2006). He started ringing in 1989 and published papers in Safring News. He has also supported the Ngulia migration ringing project in Kenya for several years and projects in Spain and Portugal. Returning to the UK he qualified under the BTO scheme and is now a ringing trainer, active in a seabird ringing group on remote North Atlantic islands and leads training courses nearer to home in Somerset. But he still misses the joy and interest of ringing Afro-tropical birds.[@]

Peter Lawson (RAC Mpumalanga - Vetting, SABAP2)

Now retired but previously a professional bird and wildlife tourguide and tour operator with my own tour company. Editor of the BirdLife Lowveld newsletter, The Hornbill. In retirement conduct bird surveys and write bird and wildlife articles for various magazines.


Garret Skead (Chairperson National Atlas Committee &RAC Western Cape, vetting SABAP2)

I have loved nature from a young age, but since 2005 I have been crazy about birds and all things birding. I am a pathologist by trade, and spend most of my spare time outdoors. I have no formal qualifications in ornithology, but I am a fanatical hobbyist, and I travel as often as possible for birding. I hope to see at least half of the bird species that occur in the world in my lifetime, and I have a particular love for searching for rare, localised and endemic species. My travels have taken me to Peru, Ecuador, Thailand and Ethiopia, and I have explored extensively within South Africa, and the subregion. I have occasionally assisted with the running of the Southern African Rare Bird News. I am passionate about atlassing, and contributing to the growing SABAP2 database. I believe that some of the most fascinating discoveries are to be found right on our doorsteps, in our home pentads. I am looking forward to playing my part in the SABAP2 programme through the Western Cape Regional Atlassing Committee.


Dylan Vasapolli (RAC Mozambique - Vetting, SABAP2)

Dylan is a birder through and through, with a deep-filled filled passion for birds and birding built through his younger years. Dylan works as a professional tour leader for Birding Ecotours, not only showing clients sought-after birds throughout southern Africa and the rest of Africa and the world, but also gaining a deeper understanding of them. Mozambique is a regular destination for Dylan, where he has spent a significant amount of time birding and travelling around, both on tour and in his personal time, and is intimately familiar with the birds occurring in the country. When not on tour, Dylan volunteers his time on the South Africa Rarities Committee, and contributes to various books and similar birding projects.


Colin Summersgill (RAC KZN - Vetting, SABAP2)

I started life in Creighton, southern KZN, then halfway through school moved to north of Greytown, KZN. Completed a degree in Pietermaritzburg and have not moved since. My interest in birds (and maps) came from my father, though he did tend to only regard vultures, corvids and really striking birds as birds. I got hooked on atlasing while still at school, contributing to SABAP1. This really developed my birding and what better activity for someone interested in birds and maps? I then went through a bit of a post-atlas slump, but used the time to get married and start a family. As a family we tend to end up at birding destinations and (more than) a fair time is spent atlasing. A favourite holiday spot is certainly Mkhuze.



Cassie Carstens (RAC KZN - Coordination & marketing, SABAP2)

Cassie is the Secretarybird Conservation Officer at BirdLife South Africa, and has spent the past decade working within the endangered bird conservation arena. First as field researcher for the FitzPatrick Institute's Southern Ground Hornbill Project in the Lowveld and then as the Research Manager for the Cape Parrot Project in Hogsback, where he studied South Africa's only endemic parrot. A keen atlasser with a number of bashes under his belt, he is also a qualified bird guide with specialisation in forest, savanna, and fynbos birding as well as the study of bird vocalisations. He lives in Hillcrest outside of Durban and is a member of the KZN RAC Committee.


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