Fauna and Flora
Wits Rural Facility is a bird lovers paradise with a verified birdlist of 198 species.
The WRF is situated on a 350 hectare bushveld estate. The vegetation type is classified as Granite Lowveld savanna, which is moderately open savanna dominated by tree species such as marula (Scelrocarya birrea), bushwillows (various Combretum species), silver clusterleaf (Terminalia sericea), and sicklebush (Dichrostyachys cinerea). A tree list is available upon request. Common grasses in this infertile savanna include yellow thatching grass (Hyperthelia dissoluta), Guinea grass (Panicum maximum), and spear grass (Heteropogon contortus).
The vegetation provides habitat for a range wildlife, including: giraffe, blue wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, kudu, waterbuck, impala, reedbuck, bushbuck, grey duiker, warthog, chacma baboon, vervet monkey and a range of mongoose species. If you are lucky, you might spot nocturnal species such as bushpig, aardvark, pangolin, porcupine, civet, small spotted genet, thick-tailed bushbaby, and lesser bushbaby. Small predators include caracal and serval. None of the big five occur on the property, with the exception of the elusive leopard. We recommend that you not go walking or jogging on the property between dusk and dawn.
WRF is a birder’s paradise, with over 180 species having being recorded on the property. Common species include yellow-billed hornbill, go-away bird, crested francolin, fork-tailed drongo, and brown-hooded kingfisher. Keep a look out for a pair of Wahlberg’s eagle that nest on the property every year, and be sure to visit the bird hide at the small dam to look for wetland species. A bird list is available upon request. WRF is also home to a myriad of interesting insects, such as dung beetles, clicking beetles, parasitic wasps, and emperor moths, to name a few.
The yellow-billed hornbill is mainly an omnivorous ground feeder, eating small insects, spiders, seeds and occasionally fruit. It is distinguished by its very large, downwardly curved yellow beak, giving it the nickname of the “flying banana”.
The Grey Loerie or Go-away bird is named after its loud alarm call, "Kuh-wê!", which sounds like 'Go Away!' Its diet is mainly fruit (such as wild figs and berries), flowers, buds, leaves, termites, and snails.
The Drongo is a fearless bird and has a reputation for being bullies, and sneakily steal food from other animals. The drongo has the ability to mimic calls of animals and it uses this skill to distract its hosts.
The Wahlberg's Eagle is animble and cunning hunter with various tastes. It hunts from the perch and the wing, often soaring to great heights and making spectacular swoops upon its prey. A split second before impact it opens its wings, which act as a brake as it strikes its victim.