Friday, May 8, 2009

Beauty Contest - Cat.8

Category 8 = Raptors, Vultures, Owls & Francolins

To encounter a raptor like this Greater kestrel at close range is always a pleasure - just sad when it 'represents' only its back instead of a side-on or frontal view!

At least this magnificent-looking Martial eagle wasn't 'shy' to present itself "full on" - unfortunately and is often the case (SEE repeated argument = previous blog-entry) the sun was partly shining from the 'wrong' angle when this photo was taken.

Distinguishing between a Whitebacked vulture & a Cape vulture (SEE: next entry/contestant) can be a "complicated affair" unless the white back is visible - as obviously is not the case in this photo, BUT at close range it's a matter, then, of the eyes!

A matter of the eyes? Yes, because in contrast to the dark eyes of a Whitebacked vulture, a Cape vulture has honey-coloured eyes (other than also having a more pronounced, whiter 'hood' than the previous contestant).

This particularly cute Scops owl is a "permanent resident" at the Afsaal camp in the Kruger National Park. Anybody visiting this world-famous game reserve can admire this generally small owl - the camp attendants at Afsaal even display a 'marker' if this owl is 'stationary' in one of the acacia trees there.

Although not a permanent resident, this Grass owl (OR is it a Barn owl?) was also 'snapped' at the Afsaal camp - would an expert on birds (owls) please 'settle' the matter of which of the 2 closely similar owl species this is?

This owl represents a similar (identification) problem, especially because it was photographed nowhere near its customary habitat. It appears to be a Marsh owl (rather than a Whitefaced owl)?

The quite large family of francolins is certainly well-presented by this handsome + rather uncommon Shelley's francolin.

In contrast to the vultures, where identification is a 'matter' of the eyes, amongst some francolins, identification is 'based on' the colour of the legs = a Swainson's francolin is the only red-necked francolin with black (> red) legs!

Which 'representative' deserves to win in this category?

You be the judge!

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