Things with wings. From a recent road trip to Greater Kruger Park.

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Aside from domestic chickens, this species of bird in the most numerous on the planet with approximately 33-million of them in the Kruger National Park and about 1.5 billion world-wide!

 

These images are from a recent bush trip that included the three properties mentioned at the end of this posting. Unlike animals that seem to stay within the confines of a reserve, especially if it is fenced, birds have no such hindrances in the range that they cover. This juvenile African Fish Eagle looks very different from the iconic bird that it will grow into. Its call is often referred to as the ‘Sound-of-Africa’ and even though it might not be spotted immediately, the call is distinctive and easily recognizable. (Seen at Klaserie Sands River Camp)

Listen to the iconic call…Welcome to Africa, it seems to be saying.

 

If you thought that all owls were nocturnal, then think again. To be fair, we did see this tiny Pearl-spotted Owlet on an early morning drive, so it might have ended its nocturnal perambulations here, just in time for us to view it as we drove past. (Seen at Klaserie Sands River Camp)

 

If you think that the noise that Cicadas make can be intrusive, then let me introduce you to the incessantly calling Barred Owl that took up residence in a tree near to our accommodation at a camp. But, it was better than an alarm clock, so I did not complain too much. (Seen at Klaserie Sands River Camp)

Take a listen to the call and judge for yourself.

 

 

These Water thick-knee(Dikkops) always seem to have a surprised look on their faces. I suppose that you would be too if your name was changed from “Thick head” to “Thick Knee”. (Seen at Klaserie Sands River Camp)

 

The Bateleur (Short-tailed eagle) is one of my all-time favourite raptors. The name is French for Juggler/tumbler and refers to their flight patterns which include those sort of motions. (Seen at Klaserie Sands River Camp)

 

It might look small when perched on one of the larger mammals, this medium-sized Red-billed Oxpecker provides an invaluable service to many species. Helping to rid them of ticks and parasites and in exchange for the meal, the birds will warn the animals they are on of potential danger. Their call is also a warning to those walking in the bush that there might be dangerous game close by. (Seen at Klaserie Sands River Camp)

A legendary Field guide, Bruce Lawson, told me that if I learn only one bird call, it should be this one as it might just save my life.

 

Strutting proudly through the barren pre-rain bushveld, this Saddle-billed stork cuts a rather imposing figure. (Seen at Mjejane River Lodge)

 

A Grey Hornbill takes off as our vehicle approaches. Although not as colourful as the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, it too provides an invaluable service to other inhabitants of the areas that they are found in. (Seen at Mjejane River Lodge)

 

This is a European Bee-eater. Just one of the many species that call South Africa home for part of their year. (Seen at Mjejane River Lodge)

 

The very distinctive and readily identifiable Black-headed Oriole. As if the black head colouring did not give it away, the red bill does. (Seen at Mjejane River Lodge)

 

This Black-capped Bulbul is a comedian in both the urban and bushveld settings. They will attack their own reflections in a mirror or glass as they see themselves as intruders. (Seen at Unjati Safari Lodge)

 

Searching for food along the banks of the Crocodile River, this Goliath Heron shows off how effective its plumage is in almost allowing it to blend in with its surroundings.(Seen at Mjejane River Lodge)

 

A bird that can generally be found near water is the Hamerkop. They prey mainly on aquatic life and build huge, somewhat huge, somewhat ungainly nests close dams or rivers. (Seen at Klaserie Sands River Camp)

 

Almost as iconic as the South African Fish Eagle, this White-backed Vulture is a member of the bushveld clean up crew and it plays an invaluable role after the predators have completed their meals. Our parks would be littered with carcasses were it not for the sterling job that they do of picking the bones clean, leaving nature to see to the disintegration of those in due course. (Seen at Mjejane River Lodge)

 

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