lives and breathes birds, as his name suggests. Faansie started birding at the age of five and has been trying to quit for 35 years. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon, so now he makes a living as what he calls ‘a professional birder’. He has authored and illustrated a number of books on southern African birds, including the acclaimed Chamberlain’s Waders and Chamberlain’s LBJs – specialist books on the identification and biology of these challenging families. Inspired by his sons’ wonder at the world around them, he produced Faansie’s Bird Book – A fully fledged field guide for kids: a guide to 722 species, aimed at introducing young minds to the wonders of the avifaunal world. He served as editor for the Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. In addition, he has penned numerous magazine articles (including a long-standing column in Weg/Go! magazine) as well as scientific papers.
Peacock contributed illustrations of seabirds, nightjars and the Ground Woodpecker cover art for the latest edition of Sasol Birds of Southern Africa. He is also the illustrator for the upcoming Larks of the World (Bloomsbury) and recently tried his hand at mammal illustrations – bats and lemurs – for The Handbook of the Mammals of the World (Lynx Edicions). He was previously employed as Curator of Birds at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, serves on the South African National Rarities Commitee, was part of the first team to see 300 species in 24 hours in SA, and is a recipient of a BirdLife South Africa Owl Award.
He loves telling stories about birds and has spoken to thousands of people on more than thirty topics, amongst which are ‘The Blind Birder’, ‘The Kinky Sex Life of Birds’, live art demonstrations and even bird-related stand-up comedy.
Faansie has birded in Madagascar, Thailand, Spain, Australia, Israel, Brazil, Malawi and lots of other prime birding locations but his favourite spot is West Coast National Park. In fact, he lives within walking distance of the park in the town of Langebaan. Faansie and his wife Ronél, and their two sons (both of whom are named after birds) share their garden with rain frogs, tortoises, a fox, and, of course, plenty of awesome birds! He knows virtually nothing about sports.