Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus
The village weaver, also known as the spotted-backed weaver or black-headed weaver (the latter leading to easy confusion with P. melanocephalus), is a species of bird found in much of sub-Saharan Africa.
This often abundant species occurs in a wide range of open or semi-open habitats. The nests are the round suspended objects. This weaver builds a large coarsely woven nest made of grass and leaf strips with a downward facing entrance which is suspended from a branch in a tree. 2-3 eggs are laid. This is a colonial breeder, so many nests may hang from one tree.
The village weaver is a stocky 15–17 cm bird with a strong conical bill and dark reddish eyes. In the northern part of its range, the breeding male has a black head edged by chestnut (typically most distinct on the nape and chest). Towards the southern part of its range, the amount of black and chestnut diminish, and the breeding males of the southernmost subspecies only have a black face and throat, while the nape and crown are yellow. In all subspecies the breeding male has a black bill, black and yellow upperparts and wings, and yellow underparts.
The non-breeding male has a yellow head with an olive crown, grey upperparts and whitish underparts. The wings remain yellow and black.
The village weaver feeds principally on seeds and grain, and can be a crop pest, but it will readily take insects, especially when feeding young, which partially redresses the damage to agriculture.
This image was captured at Lake Panic, close to the Skukuza Rest Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa.
African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
These beautiful birds inspect and patrol the Chobe River all year round. They are truly icons of the African bush.
This is a large species of eagle that is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa wherever large bodies of open water occur that have an abundant food supply. It is the national bird of Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Sudan.
This species is listed as Least Concern by IUCN. The estimated population size is about 300,000 individuals with a distribution area of 18,300,000 sq km.
This image was captured on the Chobe River, near Kasane, northern Botswana, Southern Africa.
UP, up and away!
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
The grey heron, is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in the milder south and west, but many birds retreat in winter from the ice in colder regions. It has become common in summer even inside the Arctic circle along the Norwegian coast.
Its plumage is largely grey above, and off-white below. Adults have a white head with a broad black supercilium and slender crest, while immatures have a dull grey head. It has a powerful, pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, which extend their necks.
This image was captured at Lake Panic, Kruger National Park, South Africa
African Elephant Loxodonta africana
Water is a pre-requisite for life — and no more so than in the heart of Southern Africa! This small group of elephant have come down to the river for a refreshing and life-sustaining drink.
This image was captured on the Chobe River, near the town of Kasane, northern Botswana, Southern Africa.