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SYLLABUS FOR THE SKS(BIRDING) QUALIFICATION

The marks allocated to each section (module) may vary from one theory examination to another.  These marks are just a rough guideline to give you an idea of the general mark allocation to the sections that make up the theory examination.


1A. DISTRIBUTION (15)

Distribution (all habitats):
  • Widely distributed species (Refer to checklists)
  • Endemics 88 others, near endemics 32 others.(5)
  • Rarities and specials, abundance of species in area.(5)
  • Territories and home ranges (explain these concepts with examples from the region).(5)
  • Migration and seasonal movements, present theories on migration.
Regional  Candidate
  • Must also familiarize themselves with additional species as selected for all of the following habitats which occur in their region as defined below:
  • Gauteng- grasslands (1)
  • Limpopo- savanna (1)
  • Mpumalanga- grasslands and savanna (2)
  • Northwest- savanna and grasslands (2)
  • Northern Cape- coastal and arid habitats (2)
  • Free State- savanna, grasslands and montane (3)
  • KZN- coastal, savanna, grasslands and montane (4)
  • Eastern Cape- coastal, forest, grassland and arid habitats (4)
  • Western Cape- coastal, fynbos, arid habitats and forest (4)
National  Candidate
  • Must learn all additional birds from all habitats described above


1B. IDENTIFICATION AND CLASSIFICATION (20)

Identify to species and race level:
  • Juveniles , distinguishing characteristics from similar looking birds (“Confusing Birds”  Newman and Solomon).  (slide test)
  • General similarities and relationships with other African and palearctic birds. (5)
Place in taxonomical context
  • Identification features of groups and species. 
  • Avian nomenclature. (“Roberts” family introductions) (5)
Signs
  • Flight patterns (narrowing bird id by jizz of flight patterns)(soaring, gliding, hovering and windhovering, undulating flight, stoop, energy saving flight, spiralling) under-wing recognition (of all raptors). (5)
  • Spoor (identification of conspicuous spoor to order or family level) (3 toes forward with back toe straight, 3 toes forward with back toe at an angle, 3 toes forward with back toe off centre, syndactyl toes, zygodactyl toes, reversible 1st toe, 3 toes forward with no back toe, lobed feet, webbed feet with 3 forward pointing toes, webbed feet with four toes, 2 toes, feathers (identification of conspicuous feathers found in the field). (5) 
Sounds made by these birds in general and ecological context
  • Communication patterns and calls. (“Robert’s multimedia”) (sound test)


1C. EVOLUTION (10)

General bird evolution theory.

1D. ANATOMY (25)

Anatomical characteristics (4)
Anatomy- diagram and anatomical terms as in Roberts introduction (4)
Classification according to feet. (4)
Bills.(4)
Adaptations for Flight.(3)
Digestive and Excretory systems.(3)
Nervous, sensory and respiratory adaptations for flight and feeding.(3)


1E. BEHAVIOUR (40)

Parental care (2)
Migration (5)
Survival strategies (3)
Feeding habits and strategies.(3)
Songs.(3)
Mating.(3)
Monogamous and polygamous pairing.(5)
Brood parasites. (relevant FGASA newsletter) (5)
Nesting behaviour and nest types. (5)
Eggs, chicks and their development.(3)
Development and care of the young.(3)


1F. ECOLOGY (10)

Interaction with other birds and animals, relationship with habitats and plants, symbiotic relationships.

1G. CONSERVATION (10)

General global conservation issues for birds; Specific issues for in SA context and against a global background, conservation status of species.  (Eskom red data book)

1H. CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL INFORMATION (10)

  • Cultural explanations of their features and behavioural patterns.
  • Cultural myths and uses, ethnic names and related information.

1I. ETHICS OF BIRDING & BIRD GUIDING, BIRDING EQUIPMENT & STRATEGIES (10)

  • Birding equipment- binoculars, telescopes, tape recorders and players, CD-Rom etc.
  • Birding ethics- awareness of environmental impact, twitching (ethics of ticking birds for life lists), calling up birds with tapes, ringing, population control strategie
  • Birding strategies- location of most likely habitats, hotspots and stake outs.

1J. BIRDING INFORMATION AND REFERENCES

Birdnet, websites, e-mails etc.
Books (“Confusing Birds”  Newman and Solomon)
“Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa”
“Ornithology for Africa” (Gordon Lindsay Maclean)
FGASA magazine articles by Grant Hine on Brood Parasites and Endemic Bird
“Roberts Multimedia”



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The new MOI for your consideration, please download the PDF here.







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