Friday, October 12, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Waking up in Joburg & looking out of the window at the Palazzo hotel - there was this Rameron pigeon appearing to admire the early morning atmosphere just as I did :)

 Most wild animals in the various game reserves in South Africa have some very "useful" birds as companions - oxpeckers. These birds use their bills to comb animals for ticks & also bloodsucking flies, whereas the more common species is the Redbilled oxpecker . . .

. . . although the Yellowbilled oxpecker was "re-introduced" recently in e.g. the Kruger National Park, where I photograhed this uncommon, localised bird but only realised back home, after downloading my photos on my computer, that it was this rather rare species.

Generally woodpeckers are quite similar-looking & therefore difficult to identify right away - although I've come across & photographed the Goldentailed woodpecker more often than any of the other family members when in the Lowveld (e.g. Mpumalanga Province).

Also less common than other members of a specific family of birds is this Crowned hornbill, found only along the eastern borders of our country - I detected this specimen in the Hilltop Camp in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve (KwaZulu-Natal).

Amongst many colourful birds in this country the Chorister robin is nonetheless outstanding with its orange-yellow underparts & blackish-blue hood. However it isn't a very common "resident" either & the only times I've found one was at God's Window on the (northern-most) Drakensberg Mountain Range along the aptly named "Panorama Route".

Another pretty colourful & certainly interesting - if also uncommon - resident is this Saddlebilled stork, found mostly in the northern & eastern parts of our country in e.g. protected areas like the Kruger National Park.

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