by Bryan Butler

Preparation of these notes has drawn heavily on Faansie Peacock’s book on LBJ’s
and the expertise of our own members.
Victorin’s Warbler is a very special bird, endemic to our area. It tends to be found in moist dense fynbos along drainage lines on South-facing mountain slopes – from sea level to high peaks. Your
best chances of identifying it are probably at Harold Porter in Betty’s Bay (near the Disa Kloof Waterfall) or
our own Helderberg Nature Reserve where it is less prominent but definitely does reside.
You are most likely to identify it by its high, hasty, trilling song given in 2 to 5 second bursts and rising
noticeably in volume. Think of the word Mississipi. Then imagine “mis’sis’sip’pi chrew-chrew-chrew-chrew all sung very quickly in a garbled string of rapid whistles.
Seeing this shy singer is more difficult but it is unmistakeable once spotted. Attractive and colourful with bright orange-rufous underparts, a blue-grey face and contrasting pale yellow or orange eye. Wings short and rounded, tail long and graduated. Flies in weak, fluttering bursts close to the ground. Victorin’s Warbler is a very special endemic and many birders come to the Cape with the express purpose of identifying this bird. You may also find him at the top of Sir Lowry’s Pass (be careful – not a safe area) or even at the top of the road leading to Steenbras dam. It is difficult to get a clear shot of this musical delight of the Western Cape.
Faansie Peacock sums this bird up as follows:
 Underparts rich orange-rufous
 Blue-grey face and ear coverts
 Contrasting pale yellow eye
 Shy resident of moist, fynbos thickets
 Song a long series of rapid notes. [remember Mississippi chrew chrew chrew]Your best bet is probably August, September, October and possibly November.
Good luck in your search – listen carefully – and don’t give up.