Thursday, February 13

Flying above the Big Five

Yellow-billed Stork, Mycteria ibis
Not that many of my guests are really into birds. They are, afterall, here to see Africa's big mammals.

Most visitors will notice our more colourful species, specially the iridescent Glossy starlings, the aquamarine blue of a Lilac- breasted Roller's wings or the great "banana" beak of the Yellow-billed Hornbill.

But generally, I have to look for some other excuse to stop if I see a good photo opportunity with a bird.

Fortunately, many of our common birds associate with other "more interesting" animals, or are active in lovely landscapes, so I can grab a few quick snapshots whilst attention is diverted elsewhere.

We've had great "big 5" sightings in the last 3 weeks but in-between I've also been able to get some reasonable photos of the more common bird species in Kruger.

I hope you enjoy them.........

Whilst crossing causeways and low level bridges, we stop to look for crocodiles, hippo and just to enjoy the sound of rushing water, and if I'm lucky some kingfishers, lapwings, herons and other water birds.

Giant Kingfisher, Megaceryle maximus

Blacksmith Lapwing, Vanellus armatus

Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis

Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta

Marabou Stork, Leptoptilos crumeniferus

When encountering herds of herbivores whether they be impala, rhino or buffalo there are almost always a few of these birds "hanging" around.

Fork-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus adsimilis

Red-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus erythrorhynchus

and perched high near the roadsides, searching for grasshoppers, beetles and other juicy tidbits are these agile masters of the hunt.

Red-backed Shrike (female), Lanius collurio

 Both the Red backed shrike (above) and the European roller (below) are very promininent during late summer. They are feeding intensively to build up their fat reserves before the long migration back to their northern hemisphere summer homes.

European Roller, Coracias garrulus

Lilac-breasted Roller, Coracias caudatus
and last but not least, the gorgeous Lilac-breasted roller...............