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Wildlife in and around the garden in Cape Town

Aechmea fasciata
Aechmea fasciata. Bromeliad.

large brown spide caught in a red plastic jug, probably male but I didn't investigate!
The Common Rain Spider (Palystes superciliosus). Leg span is about 90mm. Rain spiders bite if disturbed!!

egg sac suspended in the air and held by silk threads attached to leaves and twigs of surrounding plants
Egg sac of the Common Rain Spider. The female usually guards the sac for a few weeks until young eat their way out.

garden view with hard to spot egg sac hanging in the bushes
Spot the egg sac?

Common Rain Spider (Palystes superciliosus)
The Common Rain Spider (close up!)

Common Rain Spider (Palystes superciliosus)
Size matters!

Rain Spider with egg sac in the Clivias
Spot the Rain Spider with egg sac in the Clivias? See below,

tiny garden bird with white eye patch,yellow chest,grey body and olive green head peeping out of a bush with orange berry in its beak. Aw, so cute.
Spot the bird in the bush? (it's a tiny Cape White Eye with an orange berry in its beak)

Rain Spider with egg sac in the Clivias
Surprise! Look out. She's got her eyes on you!

Two white spotted chafer beetle's having sex inside a white St Joseph's Lily flower head.
Gilding the Lily? Two White Spotted Fruit Chafer beetles, enjoying each others company, inside a St Joseph's Lily flower.

Close up colour photograph of two white spotted fruit chafer beetles having sex missionary style in a white  St Joseph's Lily flower head. Cape Town.

american cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
An American cockroach (Periplaneta americana).
Cockroaches are very common in Cape Town, it being a port.
This is the largest but there are German and Oriental cockroaches too.

A Thomisus (flower crab spider)
A Thomisus (flower crab spider) gets its name because they move sideways like a crab,
They also hold up their front legs in defence, just like a crab.

A Thomisus (flower crab spider)
They prey on flower pollinating insects like this honey bee.

Red Breasted Sparrowhawk
A Red Breasted Sparrowhawk with prey in our back garden.
It is very rare to see these birds feeding on the ground.
There is a video here.

Red Breasted Sparrowhawk

The Gymnogene (also known as the African Harrier-Hawk) is a fairly common resident and a cunning and acrobatic predator, especially of other birds and their nests.

When the Gymnogene gets excited it raises it's neck feathers into a hood and the yellow face flushes to orange.

The following pictures show a dramatic raid by the Gymnogene on the nest of a Red Wing Starling hidden inside the head of a Yucca tree but the sharp spiked leaves of the Yucca do not deter the oncoming attack.

Large grey feathered bird gymnogene perched on neighbours roof with back to viewer. Its head crest feathers are flat

gymnogene still perched on neighbours roof with back to viewer but head crest feathers are now raised - its getting ready to do something

The gymnogene, still on roof, head feathers are raised higher - its getting ready to strike

The gymnogene has taken off and landed in the top of a Yukka tree amidst sharp spiny leaves. The bird has its creast raised and is staring shraight at the camera

The gymnogene is still in the tree top but is now looking down into the tree foliage. There must be something  hidden in the tree top. Its head crest is raised and its yellow face is changing to red

The gymnogene is getting rady to take flight

The gymnogene has leapt into the air with its wide wings outstretched in flight

The bird is hovering just above the tree top with its long yellow legs dangling down ready to pounce on something in the top of the tree

The bird has landed in the top of the  Yukka tree and with wings held up about the long sharp pointed leaves of the tree

The bird has now burried itself in the treetop

The bird has almost vanished inside to top of the tree

The bird is emerging backwards out of the top of the tree

The bird is almost out of the top of the tree but still has its back to the camera so its difficult to see what its got, if anything, in its beak

The bird has almost backed out of the tree top and it does appear to have something in its beak and then a red wing starling bird swoops past close to the Gynogene. It must be a parent bird of the nest in the top of the tree

The gymnogene is out of the tree and has taken to flight with a bby redwing starling bird in itds beak

The gymnogene is in full flight flying away from the top of the tree with its prey in its beak.


Two Hadedahs, probably a mating pair, sitting together on top of my neighbours house roof. Their wing plumage is brown and body plumage is off white
The Hadeda Ibis are frequent visitors to the garden.

The Hadedah is of the Ibis family and have an enormous thin curved beak and a shreiking call , especially in the early morning!

hadedah in back garden

Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)

The Acanthcris ruficornis (a.k.a. African Grasshopper or Garden Locust) is about 50cm long
Acanthcris ruficornis (a.k.a. African Grasshopper or Garden Locust)

The Acanthcris ruficornis (a.k.a. African Grasshopper or Garden Locust) has white spikes with red tips on the back of its legs

Acanthcris ruficornis (a.k.a. African Grasshopper or Garden Locust) is beige and dark brown in colouring.

Acanthcris ruficornis (a.k.a. African Grasshopper or Garden Locust)

Adult Green Dragonfly
Adult Green Dragonfly.

Adult African Praying Mantis
Adult African Praying Mantis.

Common green mantis, African mantis, praying mantis
Common green mantis, African mantis, praying mantis

African Praying Mantis Nymph.
African Praying Mantis Nymph.

Nephila fenestrata, the Black-legged Nephila spider or Golden Orb spider. This is the female.
Nephila fenestrata, the Black-legged Nephila spider or Golden Orb spider. This is the female.

Nephila fenestrata, the Black-legged Nephila spider or Golden Orb spider
Nephila fenestrata, the Black-legged Nephila spider or Golden Orb spider. Female with much smaller (grey) male (directly below her) on the web.
The female spider is big enough to prey on small birds that tangle in the web.


The Cape Robber Fly is a very aggressive predator of other insects.
The Cape Robber Fly is a very aggressive predator of other insects.

Carausius morosus. This stick-insect has six legs but is shown here with its front two legs held together.
Carausius morosus. This stick-insect has six legs but is shown here with its front two legs held together.

Carausius morosus. This stick-insect has six legs but is shown here with its front two legs held together.

Close up of Carausius morosus
Close up of Carausius morosus
Appreciation to Mr Paul Brock of the Natural History Museum, London
for helping me to correctly identify this species of stick insect.

Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink hiding up in hedge to ambush prey, or....
Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink hiding up in hedge to ambush prey, or....

Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink
.. just a nice place to sunbathe!

Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink
Note the smooth shiny skin.

Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink

Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink

Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink

Trachylepis Capensis, Cape Skink or Cape Three Lined Skink
The skink has changed skin. These delightful wild skinks are harmless and quite tame.

Hemidactylus frenatus, Common House Gecko. The master of camouflage.
Hemidactylus frenatus, Common House Gecko. The master of camouflage.

Hemidactylus frenatus, Common House Gecko. The master of camouflage.
The ultimate "blendo" artist shedding a skin.

White-Spotted Fruit Chafer (Mausoleopsis amabilis) feeding on one of my White Gazanias!
White-Spotted Fruit Chafer (Mausoleopsis amabilis) feeding on one of my White Gazanias!

Gardenia flower.
Gardenia flower.

Pink Jasmine.
Pink Jasmine.

Orange African Daisies.
Orange African Daisies.

Multicoloured Bokbaai Vygies.
Multicoloured Bokbaai Vygies.

Multicoloured Bokbaai Vygies.
Multicoloured Bokbaai Vygies.

red yellow and black Gazanias.
Gazanias.

Gazania flower red yellow and black petals

Amaryllis (named after a friend called Mavis).
Amaryllis (Mavis).

Amaryllis (Chadwick). Named after a friend called Chadwick
Amaryllis (Chadwick).

Plectranthus neochilus - purple- (a.k.a. Smelly Spur Flower) is a "water wise" ground cover plant.
Plectranthus neochilus - purple- (a.k.a. Smelly Spur Flower) is a "water wise" ground cover plant.

Encore Azalia.
Encore Azalia.

two bright yellow Pincushion Proteas are part of the Cape Fynbos floral kingdom
Pincushion Proteas are part of the Cape Fynbos floral kingdom.

a bunch of yellow Pincushion Proteas
Spot the big hairy caterpiller?

closer picture of Pincushion bush and a hairy caterpiller on a bush twig and a skink on the ground.
Spot the big hairy caterpiller and a cape three lined skink?

close up picture of yellow black and organge hairy caterpiller
The hairy caterpiller is Eutricha capensis - the Cape lappet moth.
The three lined skink is on the ground just above the word three above.

African Geranium (Perlargonium) is indigenous to South Africa.
African Geranium (Perlargonium) is indigenous to South Africa.

Dietes Grandiflora African Iris.
Dietes Grandiflora African Iris.

Brunfelsia pauciflora - Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow.
Brunfelsia pauciflora - Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow.

Orange flower Clivia.
Orange flower Clivia.

Clivia with Garden Locust ...so this is what nibbles the Clivia's!!!
Clivia with Garden Locust ...so this is what nibbles the Clivia's!!!

Pink flower lemon scented Geranium.
Pink flower lemon scented Geranium.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis - China Rose or Rosemallow with orange no-spots Ladybug.
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis - China Rose or Rosemallow with orange no-spots Ladybug.

Orange Nasturtiums.
Nasturtiums.

Plumeria Frangipani flowers.
Plumeria Frangipani flowers.

Pyracantha saphyr orange, a highly scented shrub that produces little orange berries.
Pyracantha saphyr orange, a highly scented shrub that produces little pale yellow berries.

Sparaxis, Harlequin Flower.
Sparaxis, Harlequin Flower.

Strelitzia reginae - Bird of Paradise or Crane Lily.
Strelitzia reginae - Bird of Paradise or Crane Lily.

The Southern Boubou
The Southern Boubou (predator bird) in Purple Leaf Plum tree (look in the center of the picture
in front of terracotta roof tiles where you will see the Boubou with its white upper and orange colour under belly)
as a Cape Robin swoops past, in the top right of the picture, trying to scare the Boubou away.
The Boubou can vary its call from shrill whistles to twanging like sounds that resemble the telephone connections of a fax machine!

Southern Boubou
The Southern Boubou.

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