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Intaka helps rescue rare water bird

31 August 2015



An Allen’s Gallinue, a small waterbird spotted only once before in Cape Town, was found on the side of the road in Stikland this week and brought to Intaka Island, Century City’s bird rich wetlands reserve.

Adél van Wyk, Intaka Island’s Eco-Centre Manager, says the couple  who found the bird

saw that it was a water bird and clearly did not belong in that area as there was no water.

 “They easily managed to catch the bird and assumed that this was because it was someone’s pet and so they brought it to us.

“We identified the bird and Trevor Hardaker – a big SA birder and wild life expert, confirmed it was indeed an Allen’s Gallinule which probably landed up at the wrong spot after migrating.

“It turns out he was not tame, just exhausted after a long journey! We took him to Margo Wilkie, who rehabilitates birds and reptiles, and she kept him for three days until he was strong enough to be released.”

Adél  said they had planned to release the bird at Rietvlei. as it is a much larger area than Intaka.

“However, Clifford Dorse from Rietlvlei informed us that the previous Allen’s Gallinule that was found in Cape Town was released at Strandfontein Sewer works and stayed there for six weeks before taking off,  a good indicator that he loved the habitat.

“So yesterday morning we released the little fellow in the same area and he disappeared in the marshy area within seconds.”

The Allen's Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni), formerly known as the lesser gallinule of the family Rallidae. Its breeding habitat are marshes and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa. They are seldom spotted south of Mozambique.