Jan 252014

Bushveld Birds in the Family Way


Misty African Sunrise

Something’s Always Happening

Updates from the Treehouse could happen every day… There’s so much going on in and around these lovely trees! At this point in the season, appearing on every branch is a carnival of bushveld birds. Apart from eye-level giraffe checking out breakfast and downstairs zebra standing under the deck for shade, birds are the big story.

Everything went stealthy for a while. Sightings of the bushveld birds diminished and the trees were strangely devoid of feathered friends. But they were there… Each morning the dawn chorus would sing their hearts out and old favourites chimed in from time to time.

The Bulbul Family



Daddy Bulbul Keeping Watch

Among the bushveld birds, the bulbuls may well make up the largest group of camp residents. Their beautiful songs can be heard all day as they bob and flit from tree to tree. First the fruity Nyum Nyum tree and now the giant fig. They perch their babies out on a secluded branch and fetch them breakfast – lunch – supper – snacks – you get the picture.


Mommy Bulbul Fetching Food

Huddled together on the branch, the two babies bobbed and swayed in the breeze. These avian equivalents of toddlers sat very still and oh, so quiet, waiting for the folks to return.


Black eyed bulbul babies

They dozed a little and were shaken awake by a sudden gust of wind. Much repositioning went on and for a few heart-stopping moments, balance seemed to elude them before they settled themselves.


Mother Preparing Food

The whole time they sat, not a peep or a cheep or a squawk escaped them. But when Mom arrived with something juicy that needed preparation, they didn’t stop wailing ‘til every last scrap was finished.

The Emerald Spotted Wood Doves



Mother With Baby Bathing in the Water of the Hollow Leaf

This is the source of the most beautiful iconic song sung by bushveld birds – watch the video below to hear. You’d never know that the vocalist was this plain little dove. Like many divas, they’ve dressed up their outfits with brilliant jewels. But being shy and given to woodlands, these ornaments are not often seen.


Baby Soaking Away

One way to spot them is when you can see them flying from underneath. Then the brilliant russet tones of their wings are clearly visible.


Mother Air Drying

The fledgling was happy to drink and bath away in the rainwater that had collected in the aloe while tasty morsels were brought back for him/her to enjoy. It might be nice to know, the inside of these Aloes are not armed (no thorns).

The Red Chested Cuckoo



Adult Red Chested Cuckoo or (piet-my-vrou)

The song of summer around South Africa is the call of the Piet-my- vrou aka Africa’s red chested cuckoo, a migrant Southern African bird. In English its call is known as tic-tac-toe. From November to January, they can be heard calling in any deeply shaded or forested patch, in towns or the countryside.


Baby Red Chested Cuckoo

This is one mother that takes absentee parenting to a whole new level. They’re only yearly visitors, holidaying in sunny Southern Africa every year around Christmas time.

Dumping the (egg) kid to-be, with a foster parent, they swan off home again. Meanwhile, junior hatches, kicks the real kids out of the nest and gets set to make the trip North him/herself, leaving his/her foster parents completely childless.

Sheesh, these bushveld birds! There’s plenty of drama going on behind the scenes if you know where to look.

My favourite bird and sound in the bush is right below. If you haven’t grown up with this sound in the bush, it is likely you will let your slip show, by saying “I hate that sound.” Sorry, but it’s a bush thing. It has to do with were you belong.

Video Run Time: 0:30 min

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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 January 25, 2014