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Montecasino Bird Gardens

    BY: Nick (9) for Family Travel Explore

    South Africa is a great country for birding because it has many national parks, game reserves and different habitats.

    There are 850 species of birds recorded, 725 which are resident and 50 species that can only be found in South Africa. South Africa has 10 endangered bird species such as the wattled crane, the blue swallow and the bearded vulture. Bird parks can help educate people about bird conservation and help raise money for endangered species.


    While I was in Johannesburg with my provincial chess team playing in the SAJCC under 10 years competition, I visited the Montecasino Bird Gardens with my dad, sister Leah and my uncle Derek who was visiting from Ireland. The Montecasino bird park has over 100 species of birds, and also has snakes, frogs and other small animals like iguanas, marmosets and tamarins. It also has a daily live bird show which includes birds of prey and educational talks which we were lucky enough to see.

    We saw a variety of birds from Ground Hornbills to Cape Vultures, it was amazing! We saw a Jackal Buzzard fly around the whole arena and land next to one of the bird handlers. After that, we saw a crow that could put cans into a rubbish bin and a Pelican that could ski on the water.

    Nick flying an African Rock Kestrel at the Monte Casino Bird Gardens

    Nick flying an African Rock Kestrel at the Monte Casino Bird Gardens


    Then, guess what happened to me?! The bird handler asked the arena a question, “what is a raptor?”, I quickly put my hand up, and answered: “A raptor is a bird that catches its prey with its talons”. I was

    correct and he asked me if I would like to take part in the show, so of course, I said yes. Suddenly, another bird handler walked up to me and put a safety glove on my hand with a piece of meat. All of a sudden an African Rock Kestrel flew out of nowhere and landed on my hand and started eating the meat. The bird handler guided me to a perch which
    the African Rock Kestrel walked onto. Then the second bird handler threw a piece meat into the air and the African Rock Kestrel flew and caught it with its talons. The show ended with the clever crow collecting paper money with its beak as donations for bird conservation.

    That live show was one of the best experiences of my life and if you ever get a chance to visit I would highly recommend it.

    After the show, we spent a couple of hours walking around the rest of the park looking at the enclosures with other birds and animals. Some of my favorite birds I saw was the Toco Toucan from South American, the Blue Winged Kookaburra from Australia and the Pearl Spotted Owl from South Africa, and it is always good to see the national bird of South Africa, the Blue Crane.

    To finish off an already amazing day we went to the arcade and ten pin bowling. It was definitely one of the best days of my life.

    Until next time.


    Live show bird list

    1. Jackal Buzzard
    2. Laughing Kookaburra
    3. Ground Hornbill
    4. Military Macaw
    5. Burrowing Owl
    6. African Rock Kestrel
    7. Cape Vulture
    8. Great White Pelican

    Enclosure Bird List

    1. Spotted Eagle owl
    2. Northern white-faced owl
    3. Blue-winged kookaburra
    4. Hyacinth macaw
    5. Red-fronted macaw
    6. Cape parrot
    7. Goliath palm cockatoo
    8. Moluccan Cockatoo
    9. Radjah Shelduck
    10. Ruddy shelduck
    11. White-cheeked pintail
    12. South African black duck
    13. Toco toucan
    14. Green aracari toucan
    15. Blue-headed macaw
    16. Red-shouldered macaw
    17. Manchuria crane
    18. Crested guineafowl
    19. Scarlet Ibis
    20. African Spoonbill
    21. Pearl-spotted owl
    22. Grey-crowned crane
    23. White-naped crane
    24. Black-crowned crane
    25. Coscoroba swan
    26. Demoiselle crane
    27. Brown pelican

    Montecasino Bird Gardens

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