Monthly Archives: August 2014

Whoa!

Whoa!

African Elephant   Loxodonta africana

We ventured a little too close to this “gentle giant” while he was enjoying a late afternoon swim! He was not at all comfortable with us being so close!

This image was captured on the Chobe River, near Kasane, northern Botswana, Southern Africa.

Perfect Formation

Perfect Formation

Shy Albatross  Thalassarche cauta   

Cape Gannet    Morus capensis

These guys are marvellously efficient flying machines. They can glide for seemingly never-ending periods of time without so much as a single flap of the wings. Energy conservation is the priority! Much of this gliding is done mere centimetres above the water surface so as to capitalise on the “drafting” effect of the wind flowing over the moving waves.

This mid-morning image was captured 25 nautical miles south of Cape Point, South Africa in the sub-Atlantic Ocean.

Speedy!

Speedy!

African Jacana    Actophilornis africanus

 African jacanas are waders in the family Jacanidae, identifiable by long toes and long claws that enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. Jacanas are found worldwide within the tropical zone, and this species is found in sub-saharan Africa.

The jacana has evolved a highly unusually polyandrous mating system, meaning that one female mates with multiple males and the male alone cares for the chicks. Such a system has evolved due to a combination of two factors: firstly, the lakes that the jacana lives on are so resource-rich that the relative energy expended by the female in producing each egg is effectively negligible. Secondly the jacana, as a bird, lays egg and eggs can be equally well incubated and cared for by a parent bird of either gender. This means that the rate-limiting factor of the jacana’s breeding is the rate at which the males can raise and care for the chicks. Such a system of females forming harems of males is in direct contrast to the more usual system of leks seen in animals such as stags and grouse, where the males compete and display in order to gain harems of females.

The parent that forms part of the harem is almost always the one that ends up caring for the offspring; in this case, each male jacana incubates and rears a nest of chicks. The male African jacana has therefore evolved some remarkable adaptations for parental care, such as the ability to pick up and carry chicks underneath its wings.

[Ref: Wikipedia]

This image was captured on the Chobe River, near Kasane, northern Botswana, Southern Africa.

 

On the road again....

On the road again….

Lioness Panthera leo

Lionesses do most of the hunting for their pride. They are more effective hunters as they are smaller, swifter and more agile than the males, and unencumbered by the heavy and conspicuous mane, which causes overheating during exertion. They act as a coordinated group with members who perform the same role consistently in order to stalk and bring down the prey successfully.

This beautiful specimen exhibits not only determination to go where she wants to be, but also exudes the incredible power and agility of this typically African predator.

This image was captured in the Masai Mara conservancy, south west Kenya, East Africa.

 

Tango in Etosha

Tango in Etosha

Burchell’s Zebra  Equus quagga burchellii

Burchell’s zebra is a southern subspecies of the plains zebra. It is named after the British explorer and naturalist William John Burchell.

These magnificent animals are plentiful in the Etosha National Park which surrounds the Etosha Pan in northern Namibia. Herds numbering in the hundreds are commonplace in this part of Namibia.

These fine specimens were photographed on the Andoni Flats in the north eastern part of ENP.

African Splendour

African Splendour

Cape Rock Thrush      Montecola rupestris

This rock thrush breeds in eastern and southern South Africa. It is a common endemic resident, non-migratory apart from seasonal altitudinal movements in some areas.

This species breeds in mountainous rocky areas with scattered vegetation. It lays 2-3 eggs in a cup nest in a rock cavity or on a ledge. It eats a wide range of insects and other small animals, and some berries.

This is a large stocky rock thrush 19–21 cm in length. The summer male has a blue-grey head, orange underparts and outer tail feathers, and brown wings and back. Females have a brown head, but their underparts are a much richer orange than those of other female rock thrushes. The outer tail feathers are reddish, like the male’s. Immatures are like the female, but the upperparts have buff spots and the underparts show black scaling.

 [Ref: Wikipedia]

 This image was captured at the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay, on the False Bay coast, South Africa.

King of the Mara

King of the Mara

Lion Panthera leo

During the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle between Kenya and Tanzania, the availability of prey far exceeds the requirements of the predators. The Mara plains abound with the big cat predators. It is not merely by accident that this area is the location of the BBC’s “Big Cat Diaries”.

This image was captured in the Masai Mara Conservancy, south west Kenya, East Africa.