Home » Barn Swallows of Umkobi Lagoon

An enormous flock of Barn Swallows have chosen to roost in the reed beds of Umkobi Lagoon at Southbroom, on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast, and in the summer months between October and April, visitors to the are can observe millions of swallows retiring for the evening, a short while before sunset. This natural phenomenon provides both regular and non regular bird watchers with a truly spectacular sight.

Various theories exist regarding the continuous 24hour daily migration of the barn swallow. Whilst some believe that the small birds sleep in mid-flight, others have been said to think that while one half of the brain sleeps, the other half attends to the business of uninterrupted flight and feeding.

In 2008, a bird expert on the Hibiscus Coast named Andy Pickles managed to ring 300 barn swallow in an attempt to establish where the birds spend their winter months. To date none of the birds have been found, but one Barn Swallow from Umhlanga Rocks holds the record for the fastest known migration, taking only twenty seven days from being documented, to recapture in Whitley Bay, on the eastern shores of England.

Barn Swallows do not breed in South Africa, and they don't build nests either. They prefer to roost in large numbers, as many as eight to a single stalk, depending on the strength of the chosen reed. All of this is easily accomplished when one considers that a single swallow weighs less than twenty grams. Decent swallow viewing points in Southbroom are at Umkobi Beach, the patio of the Trattoria restaurant, the lagoon shores of Marina Beach, as well as a number of residences in Lower Milkwood, and Umkobi Lodge.

Lodging Near Barn Swallows of Umkobi Lagoon