May 312016

Sub-Zambezi Birds

This is a Bateleur eagle. See below for further details*.


Subtropical birds of the Bushveld

On our trip, we were very blessed to get these and other bird images to bring you. Some are quite rare, while others slightly more common in certain areas. I’m sure they’ll go down a treat, because of their general scarcity on the web.

The whole story started with an ostrich, early one morning. I was going to write about game capture until I heard this loud knocking at the window where I was sitting. Quite insistent, it was! I opened the curtain to find a fully-grown male ostrich. Well, that made up my mind to write about birds after taking his picture. Obviously the birds from our recent trip, that is.

Ostrich male knocking at the window. He’s now wondering who got who?

At least he had the manners not to roar outside the window. You say they roar? Yes like a lion. If you check it out, it’s three images down.

Pair of Little Bee Eaters. “Wasn’t me.” “Was you!”

The little bee-eater is an abundant and tame bird; a resident to much of sub-Saharan Africa and is insect eating, especially bees, wasps and hornets. This richly-colored, slender bird is the smallest of the African bee-eaters.

Black Sparrow Hawk and baby in the nest.

The black sparrow hawk is the largest African member of the genus Accipiter, occurring south of the Sahara mostly in forests and non-desert regions where there are large tall trees suitable for nesting.

Spotted Eagle Owl caught in the headlights eating a rabbit.

The spotted eagle-owl is a medium-sized species of owl and is one of the smallest of the eagle owls. With its pale face – off white to pale ocher – and the yellow eyes and prominent ear tufts, it looks pretty intimidating. Certain of the eagle-owl species have been recorded attacking people for varying reasons not fully understood.

Lilac-Breasted-Roller resting on a river palms fruiting frond.

Lilac-breasted-Rollers are insectivores and here this one is cleverly posting itself where fruit flies hang out.

White backed Vulture.

Can’t see the back but that’s what he/she looks like from the danger end.

All African vultures are Old World vultures. These are the birds that are seen scavenging on the remains of dead animals on the African plains or circling around in the sky in search of one. A group of vultures resting in trees are referred to as a wake, a committee or a venue. When they take to the sky, the collective noun is a kettle of vultures.

Saddlebill. “Where’s mah saddel.”

The saddle-billed stork is a large wading bird; a widespread species which is a resident breeder in sub-Saharan Africa from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya south to South Africa, and in The Gambia, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Chad in west Africa. Its closest relative is the Asian black-necked stork, the only other member of the genus Ephippiorhynchus.

Hooded Vulture. “Zay dont call me meat head for nossing.”

The vulture’s characteristic bald head, bereft of normal feathers, was once believed to help keep the head clean when feeding but this bare skin may play an important role in thermo-regulation. Vultures will hunch their bodies and tuck in their heads when cold, but on hot days, they open their wings and stretch out their necks.


Meyer’s-Parrot eating green pods.

The tree it’s eating was an Acacia tortilis until the Australians got hold of things! Now it’s eating a Vachellia tortilis and I’m sure it can’t even taste the difference. These indigenous birds are not common in the wild, although when they get to like your domain they become very sociable and friendly. A warm weather species.

The Meyer’s parrot enjoys a diet that includes fruit, seeds, nuts, berries and cultivated crops and nests in tree hollows where it lays three or four white eggs. The chicks usually leave the nest about 60 days after hatching.

Wood Sandpiper. Migratory bird.

The western migratory Wood-Sandpiper is quite a rare bird to find in the Southern African region. Although when they like an area they will come back every year. In their non-breeding season, these birds migrate to many parts of Africa back and forth from Sweden, Scotland and Northern Europe every year.

Secretary Bird

They give the impression of ‘I’m watching you’. These birds have been known to attack people if they get too close to their nests and with those feet you need to take care. These birds kill their prey by stomping on it repeatedly until dead or immobilized, then tearing at it with their beak.

The secretary bird has traditionally been venerated in Africa for its striking appearance and for for its ability to deal with venomous pests and snakes.

Cape Vulture

Cape Vulture, because that’s where they saw them first – in the Cape. This vulture gets around many parts of Africa. Photographers will tell you, good clean images of vultures are hard to get.

White Faced Whistling Duck

The whistling sound these ducks make is perfectly in rhythm with their wing flats in flight, so that it sounds like their wings need oiling. Sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet… and so on. Call it a sweet sound if you like.

White Faced Whistling Duck and baby.

As you can see, the youngster is starting to sport its parent’s colors.

* One interpretation is, this eagle gets its name “Bateleur” from the French word for “street performer.” The bird’s typical motion of rocking its wings from side-to-side when gliding, mimics the action of a tight-rope walker catching his balance on the high wire, which was a common form of entertainment in the streets of France between buildings. The other interpretation for their name, is from the amazing areal performances these eagles are capable of producing and the gliding motion is only one of these actions. I prefer the first interpretation, being that of the “street performer.”

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Meet Our Authors: The Wildmoz team, Cari and Moz, have a lifelong passion for the Bushveld and share adventures and stories about Africa's good things. Wildmoz is Africa - the cradle of life! Travel writing about wildlife, African folklore, wildlife art, Kruger Park and wildlife safari info! Taste life as it is in Africa.
 Posted by on May 31, 2016