There’ve been a fair amount of changes around Uitsig, but one thing that hasn’t changed, is the farm’s affinity with birds. Having featured on Uitsig’s old logo, Constantia Uitsig’s new logo and wine labels again pay homage to the farm and surrounding area’s feathered inhabitants.

Fine Artist, Andrew Barlow, illustrated the pictures, and chatting with him, I discovered more about why he was the perfect choice to collaborate with. Having illustrated birds for the ‘Roberts Birds of Southern Africa’ collection, he explains,

“From an early age, I’ve been a birder, so working on these illustrations was rewarding for me. I strove to find a simplistic image of something that would express an attitude of ‘joie de vivre’ as well as something that embodies the Cape’s splendid natural richness. Conservation is going to be a major aspect of Constantia Uitsig’s future and it is approached in a very humble and genuine way that is truly committed to restoring the farms natural diversity. It is because of this modesty, care and attention to detail that I thought a collection of little birds would be appropriate.”

Having fixed and redirected the sewerage pipes that had previously been leaking into the Constantia watercourse, the small valley at the back of the farm is being rehabilitated to become a sanctuary for indigenous birds and plants alike.

Andrew continues, “Knowing that Uitsig is in the process of building a healthier environment for indigenous plants and birds, we tried to match each bird with indigenous plants of similar colouring. Instead of focusing on exotic birdlife, we chose to focus on the common birdlife around the farm – and I think that’s rather special to note. There’s immense beauty to be found in the ordinary… we just have to look for it… to choose to find the thrill in the everyday. To look through the window and see a little prinia and say, ‘Wow!’”

Swee waxbill

A common species of finch, the swee waxbill has a grey head and breast, pale yellow belly, olive back and wings, red lower back and rump, and a black tail. Its typical call is a soft swee, swee.

Karoo prinia

This prinia is endemic to Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. The calls of this species include a sharp chleet-chleet-chleet-chleet, and a fast buzzy tit-tit-tit-tit-tit.

Cape robin-chat

A resident in southern and eastern Africa – the Cape robin-chat measures 16–17 cm long. The sexes are similar, but the juvenile is dark brown above and buff below.

Lesser double-collared sunbird

This sunbird is common in gardens, fynbos, forests and coastal scrub. It can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perches to feed most of the time. The call is a hard chee-chee, and the song is high pitched jumble of tinkling notes.

Greater striped swallow

The greater striped swallow is 18–20 cm long. Their call is a twittering chissick. Unafraid of humans, it feeds mainly on flying insects.

Orange-breasted sunbird

This sunbird is endemic to fynbos habitat. As with other sunbirds, the bill is long and decurved, that of the male being longer than that of the female. Their call is a twangy, weak ssharaynk or sskrang, often repeated several times.

Cape Canary

A small bird in the finch family, this bird’s habitat is fynbos, grassland and gardens, preferably in highland areas. A gregarious seedeater, its call is a tsit-it-it.

Have you spotted these birds in our Constantia Valley?

We’ll be awarding a bottle of Uitsig wine to the person who sends us the best photo they’ve taken of any of the above birds. Send your pictures to Terms & Conditions apply.

Visit Andrew Barlow’s website for more information on our acclaimed artist.