The Umgeni River Bird Park in Durban breeds 17 of the 24 threatened bird species in its collection.
Young chicks are fed hourly around the clock by dedicated staff, and you can watch this through a viewing window.
In conjunction with the South African Crane Working Group, we are involved in a Wattled Crane breeding and release programme, where the critically endangered cranes bred by us are released near Dullstroom.
Chicks are hand-reared with the use of a glove puppet, so that they grow up as cranes and not thinking they are people. This is called imprinting, and is extremely important.
They are then taught by a "crane mom" who wears a crane suit for up to 8 hours a day, to be afraid of people and dogs. This is all to ensure that they are able to adapt and cope with life in the wild. There are just 250 of these magnificent birds left in the South African wild...
We have a Manchurian Crane from Russia, and two more will be joining us soon from the Moscow Zoo. This is the world's 2nd rarest crane - there are only about 2000 left -and these are the first of this species to enter South Africa. They'll hopefully start breeding in 5 years from now.
Other special species successfully bred here include the Palm Cockatoo, Leadbeater's Cockatoo, Golden Conure, Caninde Macaw, Hyacinth Macaw, Caribbean Flamingo and Palawan Peacock Pheasant.
The most special feature of the park is the show - prepare to be thrilled as our birds glide past you in full unrestricted flight. In order to inspire our visitors to "think conservation" we present a free-flight show twice daily (weather permitting) with a conservation theme.
This is not a trick show, but instead aims to help people to appreciate the beautiful natural world around us. You'll see macaws, a Cape Vulture, the critically endangered Wattled Crane and more. Watch a Ground Hornbill attack and "kill" a rubber snake.The first show of its kind in Africa, this show is bound to keep you glued to your seat.
You'll see rare and endangered species up close in a natural setting. The rock faces, huge waterfalls and lush vegetation give a wonderful air of tranquility that will soothe the soul.
Some birds are out on open perches, others are in large walk-through aviaries and the cranes and flamingoes are in open paddocks, giving one the feeling of seeing them in their natural habitat. The rare species that are breeding are kept in aviaries to prevent injuries due to aggression, but we try to do without caging wherever possible.
Address: 490 Riverside Road, Durban
Phone: 031 579 4600
Where to Stay
Berea Accommodation options are numerous; with a large variety of different types.