We had some great sightings during the month and here are some we would like to share with you.
Sometimes we all concentrate on the big things so much that we forget about a whole another kingdom that is out there … The bird kingdom.
Orange-breasted bushshrike (Telophorus sulfureopectus)
- A very striking colorful bird that is often heard more than seen
- Eats insects and other invertebrates
- Derives its name from its bright orange breast
African Darter (Anhinga rufa)
- Also known as snakebird due to the fact that it often swims with only the neck above water making it resemble a snake.
- African darters do not contain any oil for their feathers and therefore the feathers are not waterproof. That is why one will often see them standing with their wings open in the sun drying off after a dive.
Crested francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena)
- Crested francolins can fly just not over far distances
- Can be distinguished from other francolins by the broad whitestripe above its eye.
- It gets its name from the shape of its head.
- They build very large nests usually in the fork of a tree.
- They walk in shallow water looking for prey which consists of amphibians, fish, shrimp, insects and rodents.
- They nest in small colonies, digging holes in mud banks
- Their diet is made up primarily of bees but they also eat other insects
- They will catch a bee and then rub it against a branch in order to remove the sting
- The males have a long tail and striking black and white colouration in order to attract females.
- They don’t build their own nests as they are brood parasites laying their eggs in the nests of other birds such as waxbills.
- Even though they are small they can be quite cheeky and will chase other birds away from a food source.
Pilanesberg Bird Watching – 1
Lilac-Breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)
*Rollers get their name from their impressive courtship flight
*Their call is a loud harsh squawk, not what you would expect from such an attractive looking bird.
*The diet of the lilac-breasted roller is primarily insectivorous such as: ground-dwelling insects, arthropods, amphibians, and other small vertebrates.
*Their amazing colouration gives them the title of one of the most photographed birds in South Africa.
African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)
* African fish eagles are believed to mate for life (monogamous)
*The African fish eagle feeds mainly on fish but will also eat rodents, small birds and other prey items.
*We often see them around the dams in the Pilanesberg.
Southern red bishop (Euplectes orix)
*An iconic bird to see around the bird hides during summer.
*The males have this vibrant red and black plumage during the breeding season to attract females. The rest of the year they will be dull brown like the females.
*The nest is most commonly built among reeds and is woven out of grasses and other plant materials.