OK, I’m really not a birder per say, but do enjoy all forms of wildlife and of course increased my life list while visiting Kruger National Park in South Africa. Plus I have many birder friends I’ve been promising photos of Kruger birds.
I’m not sure how to break these up so will give it my best shot. Little tidbits of information I’m finding on various websites about Kruger birds. All info starts top left and works clockwise.
The African Fish Eagle, in my mind, is at the top of this list. Although it feeds extensively on fish it is also known to eat carrion and is classified as a kleptoparasite (it steals prey from other birds). The Brown Snake Eagle often hunts venomous snakes by crushing their heads to discharge the venom plus the thick, scaly skin on their legs protects them from bites. The Bateleur Eagle is the most famous snake eagle. And the Wahlberg’s Eagle is probably the most common eagle in Africa.
The Dark Chanting Goshawk is named for its melodious singing voice, especially during breeding season, which is unusual for Accipiters. The Red-footed Falcon migrates to Southern Africa during European winters where it is listed as “Near Threatened” due to habitat loss. The Little Sparrow Hawk is distinguishable by the two white spots on the upper side of its central tail feathers, which contrast with the dark upper parts, and by a white bar on the rump.
The Kori Bustard is Africa’s heaviest bird weighing up to 41 lbs (19kg) and are ground dwellers, hence the name bustard meaning birds that walk, but will fly only when necessary. The Lappet-faced Vulture is classified as “Vulnerable” due to widespread accidental poisoning used by many farmers for predator control. The White-headed Vulture is one of Africa’s most colorful vultures and this one got lucky eating a tortoise run over by a vehicle which are otherwise very tough to crack.
Marabou Storks have a bald head because they are scavengers. The Saddle-billed Stork is the tallest stork in Africa. The Black Stork is about the same size as the White Stork, which is known to nest on houses, does not bring babies.
This Yellow-billed Stork spent quite a bit of time fishing.
The Goliath Heron is the largest of all living herons with a wingspan of 6 1/2 feet (2 m). The Black-bellied Korhaan, or Bustard, is another walking bird and is considered slow so that’s probably why I got a decent photo. This shows the female—light colored—and male Ostrich and although they are flightless can run 40 mph (64 km).
The Wattled Lapwing, or Plover, is a large wader with a rather interesting mustache. The Blacksmith Lapwing, or Plover, is named for its repeated metallic ‘tink, tink, tink’ alarm call – which sounds similar to a blacksmith’s hammer striking metal. The Hamerkop is well named with its large hammer-shaped head and usually live in pairs.
The Woodland Kingfisher seldom eats fish however the Giant Kingfisher does.
The Red-billed Hornbill’s first two neck vertebrae are fused to support its large bill. This one may look familiar as Zazu, a character in the animated film The Lion King, is an African red-billed hornbill. The Southern Ground Hornbill is the largest hornbill in the world and is named for its habit of walking on the ground as it feeds.
When the Scops-Owl is disturbed during the day, it can elongate its body and lean sideways, which helps resemble the branches it roosts on. In fact we’d have never seen this one if the caretaker at the picnic area hadn’t shown us.
The European Roller migrates from its European or Asian breeding grounds over 6,000 miles (10,000 km) in one of Africa’s most spectacularly visible migrations. The Lilac-breasted Roller is only partially migratory. Rollers get their name from their impressive courtship flight, a fast, shallow dive from considerable elevation with a rolling or fast rocking motion, which unfortunately I didn’t get to see.
The European Bee-eater also escapes European winters and migrates to South Africa. (Just call me a bee-eater.) As the name indicates, they eat honey bees and deal with the stingers by wiping the insects abdomen on a branch to discharge the sting. Southern Carmine Bee-eaters are known to perch on large animals and circle cars to catch insects.
African Hoopoe appears on the Logo of the University of Johannesburg and is the official mascot of the University’s sports. Lesser Masked Weavers, like other Weavers, actually weave grasses to create nests. The Long-tailed Paradise Whydah lays its eggs in the nests of the Green-winged Pytilia and the whydah chicks are larger and louder than the host chicks.
Fork-tailed Drongos are aggressive and fearless birds, given their small size, and will attack much larger species, including birds of prey if their nest or young are threatened. Green-backed Heron, or Striated Heron, sometimes use bait, dropping a feather or leaf carefully on the water surface and picking fish that come to investigate. Magpie Shrike, also known as the African Long-tailed Shrike, is a facultative cooperative breeder, meaning that the breeding pair are assisted by 1-3 helpers who are usually juveniles from the previous brood. Egyptian Geese are aggressively territorial towards their own species when breeding and frequently pursue intruders into the air, attacking them in aerial dogfights.
I guess Barn Swallows are pretty much the same world wide but I always have trouble getting a photo of even one let alone this many.
Joan and I had an ongoing joke about several birds we saw quite frequently that are relatively slow and might make a good meal. Coqui Franklin is believed to be the most widespread francolin in Africa and they were everywhere. This Emerald-spotted Wood Dove seemed very interested in what we were having for breakfast like begging pigeons do. Helmeted Guineafowl are prone to run rather than fly when alarmed. The Double-banded Sandgrouse is what it is.
So even though I’m not Really a birder I tried my best to take photos of Kruger birds. At least we didn’t drive around with a sign on the truck saying “Slow, Birders.”
Linked to Wild Bird Wednesday where you can see lots of birds from around the world.
Geogypsy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com