Monthly Archives: September 2014

Blowing in the wind....

Blowing in the wind….

Green-backed Heron    Butorides striata

The striated heron also known as mangrove heronlittle heron or green-backed heron, is a small heron. Striated Herons are mostly non-migratory and noted for some interesting behavioral traits. Their breeding habitat is small wetlands in the Old World tropics from west Africa to Japan and Australia, and in South America. Vagrants have been recorded on oceanic islands, such as Chuuk and Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marianas and Palau.

This bird was long considered to be conspecific with the closely related North American species, the green heron, which is now usually separated as B. virescens, as well as the lava heron of the Galápagos Islands (now B. sundevalli, but often included in B. striata, e.g. by BirdLife International); collectively they were called “green-backed herons”.

This image was captured at Lake Panic, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Pair of Pieds

Pair of Pieds

Pied Kingfishers    Ceryle rudis

These beautiful little guys are very common in the Southern African region. Nevertheless, they are extremely photogenic and are deserving of a place in any record  of the region’s fauna.

Their black and white plumage, crest and the habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish makes it distinctive. Males, as seen on the right, have a double band across the breast while females have a single gorget that is often broken in the middle. They are usually found in pairs or small family parties. When perched, they often bob their head and flick up their tail.

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

Low-level Hunter

Low-level Hunter

Martial Eagle (Immature)       Polemaetus bellicosus

The martial eagle is a large eagle found in open and semi-open habitats of sub-Saharan Africa. It is the only member of the genus Polemaetus. It can be found in most of sub-Saharan Africa, wherever food is abundant and the environment favourable. It is never common, but greater population densities do exist in southern Africa, especially in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Generally, these birds are more abundant in protected areas such as Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa, or Etosha National Park in Namibia.

The adult’s plumage consists of dark grey-brown coloration on the upperparts, head and upper chest, with slightly lighter edging to these feathers. The body underparts are white with blackish-brown spotting. The underwing coverts are brown, with pale flight feathers being streaked with black. The female is usually larger and more spotted than the male. The immature is paler above, often whitish on the head and chest, and has less spotted underparts. It reaches adult plumage in its seventh year.

This wonderful specimen was photographed on the Chobe River, near Kasane, northern Botswana, Southern Africa while hunting rodents on the river bank.