Who is Faansie Peacock…and is that his real name?
Faansie Peacock likes to describe himself as a professional birder. Making a living by studying birds full-time is not as lucrative as you may think. As such, he’s had to add a number of sub-disciplines to his portfolio, as you can see below. Faansie is one of southern Africa’s best known birders and most talented bird artists. He has authored or co-authored five books on birds, including Pipits of Southern Africa (2006), The Chamberlain Guide to Birding Gauteng (2008), and Chamberlain’s LBJs (2012)…and hints that there are many more to come.
- AUTHOR | Has written five books including the acclaimed Chamberlain’s LBJs
- ARTIST | His last book featured 1500 of Faansie’s incredible paintings
- SPEAKER | Popular public speaker that has presented talks and courses on more than 30 topics
- ORNITHOLOGIST | Previously Curator of Birds at South Africa’s largest museum bird collection (Ditsong/Transvaal Museum)
- WRITER | Prolific writer of popular and academic articles for magazines and journals
- NATURALIST | Fascinated by all aspects of nature, and in particular herpetology (frogs & reptiles)
- SCIENTIST | Faansie has degrees in Environmental Science, Zoology and Ecology from the University of Pretoria
More about Faansie…and a little history
However, his interest in birds is by no means limited to “twitching” and he is particularly interested in avian ecology, biogeography and vocalisations. He is viewed as a specialist on the latter—his keen hearing (and habit of cupping his hands behind his ears when listening intently) has earned him the affectionate nickname of ‘radar ears’ in the birding community. It was also partly this fascination with bird vocalisations that led him to specialise in LBJ’s.
An impulsive craving for adventure (and high winds) saw Faansie and Ronel relocate to the picturesque village of Langebaan on South Africa’s West Coast – and withing immediate striking distance of the globally renowned rarity hotspots of Geelbek and Seeberg in West Coast National Park. For the moment they are back in Pretoria, but they have browser-bookmarked a number of property websites in search of possible habitat for a range extension.
Another difficult conundrum was finding a name for their son, who arrived in 2013. Seeing that his surname is already that of a bird, they didn’t want to overburden him with avian names. Eventually they chose to sneak in Regulus – the genus of the kinglets and translatable as “Little Prince”, as a second name after Christian. The search for another bird-themed-middle-name is currently well underway…with a looming deadline in July.
When he’s not birding or herping, Faansie enjoys reading cheap paperbacks that require minimal concentration, and the occasional literary masterpiece such as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He is a DC man, although he does dabble in Marvel on the odd occasion. He used to have good taste in music, and was even a guitarist in a punk rock band as a teenager, but today his iTunes playlists are mostly limited to tracks by kestrels, kingfishers, kassinas, and Katy Perry. Faansie will be the first to admit that his athletic prowess is limited to running after raptors disappearing behind the tree-line, but he does enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling and just swimming in general. In fact, he keeps a “Birds I have identified from underwater” list, which currently stands on two species: Red-eyed Dove and Lesser Crested Tern.
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