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...............


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Coral .. love all the shots - and these are now special - it's great being able to see the birds and have a brief description .. brings them to life.

I loved the lilac-breasted rollers, but who wouldn't .. then the guinea fowl, the lily trotter, the fish eagle - I love their call, the bataleur, francolins, and the hornbills .. et al ...

Just lovely to see your photos ..

Sorry about the drought - very difficult losing food sources ... hope the rains might come at some stage - Hilary

Coral Wild said...

Thanks for visiting & commenting Hilary.

Yes there are so many birds to talk about - more species of them than mammals!

As with many countries our weather is rather strange & haphazard - flash floods only a few kilometres from farms that have had no rain for weeks!

Gaelyn said...

What's the matter with these people not wanting to see all the lovely birds. Some days' game drives seemed all about the birds.

Sorry we missed each other.

Coral Wild said...

Yes Gaelyn, it is sad that not everyone "see's" our beautiful birds - but to be quite honest, on our shorter 3-4 day safaris there is not much time to stop for the birds anyway, if we are trying to find the big mammals!
Sorry to have missed you too...