Thursday, November 3, 2011

Birds in Abundance

When touring through 5 southern African countries (Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe & Zambia) it's "part of the deal" to come across a great diversity of birdlife - like this Secretary bird. Although this large & long-legged bird is listed as occuring commonly all over this region, one usually only sights it in drier, semi-desert areas.

A Kori bustard frequents a similar habitat like the previous bird, although mostly in the drier, western regions of southern Africa. Because this is the heaviest of the "flying birds" (in contrast to e.g. the non-flying ostrich), it's "logical" that it's reluctant to fly and instead tends to walk slowly & habitually, with measured strides.

Although similarly large as the 2 previous birds, the (Southern) Ground hornbill is listed as a vulnerable bird & only occurs in the eastern regions of southern Africa. However, this appears to be "my" bird, because 9 out of 10 times when visiting the Kruger National Park, I'm priviledged to come across at least one of these birds (as some of my previous blog-entries "testify").

Smaller in size but also belonging to the same family as the previous bird, is a Trumpeter hornbill. Its habitat is also much "smaller" - occuring mostly in the (wetter) eastern regions. Although usually gregarious (= in flocks of up to 50 birds, which can be very noisy), this "specimen" was all alone when I snapped it at the Chobe River (Botswana).

This Redbilled hornbill certainly is a much more abundantly "found" bird, even if it only occurs in the northern & eastern parts of South Africa. I'm including it today mainly because it "posed" so prettily but also . . .

. . . by way of a comparison with this family-member: a Monteiro's hornbill, because this bird is only found in the arid, rocky & hilly areas (with savanna woodland) of north-west Namibia. It also was a "FIRST" for me - I've never seen nor snapped this bird in nature before!

Moving on to another bird species, a Brownhooded kingfisher usually occurs only in the eastern regions but including the Caprivi-strip area of Namibia - where this bird was in abundance during the last tour, especially around the Victoria Falls area.

The habitat of a Darter includes almost any inland water areas, & this one was snapped (whilst prettily but habitually spreading its wings) at the edge of the Chobe River. When in water, this bird swims "low", with usually only its head & neck showing - hence its other name = snakebird.

Like most of the previous couple of birds, a Spottedbacked weaver occurs in the (wetter) eastern & northern regions = usually near water. Since this is the mating season, many of these males were building nests & "performing" noisily to attract females to their newly constructed nests.

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