Category Archives: Birds

Outdoor breakfast....

Outdoor breakfast….

Goliath Heron Ardea goliath

The Goliath heron, also known as the giant heron, is a very large wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae. It is found in sub-Saharan Africa, with smaller numbers in Southwest and South Asia. This is the world’s largest heron.

The Goliath heron is very aquatic, even by heron standards, rarely venturing far from a water source and preferring to fly along waterways rather than move over land. Important habitats can include lakes, swamps, mangrove wetlands, reefs with few cool water, sometimes river deltas. It typically is found in shallows, though can be observed near deep water over dense water vegetation. Goliath herons can even be found in small watering holes.

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

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

©2015 Duncan Blackburn

Imperious!

Imperious!

Martial Eagle (Immature) Polemaetus bellicosus

I have converted my post-processing workflow to Adobe Lightroom and currently am re-editing some old images. In this process I have unearthed some “worthy” images. This shot of an immature Martial Eagle is just such an image.

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

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

©2014 Duncan Blackburn

Beautifully ugly....

Beautifully ugly….

White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus

This is a vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is closely related to the European Griffon.The White-backed Vulture is a typical vulture, with only down feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail feathers. It has a white neck ruff. The adult’s whitish back contrasts with the otherwise dark plumage. Juveniles are largely dark.Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring over savannah.

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

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

©2015 Duncan Blackburn

Take Off....

Take Off….

African Fish Eagle  Haliaeetus vocifer

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 and Zambia and South Sudan. Its haunting call has become the iconic sound of the African bush.

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

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

©2015 Duncan Blackburn

The more the merrier!

The more the merrier!

This image is the companion image to that in the previous post.

No sooner had the Lappet-faced Vulture and Black-backed Jackal begun to size each other up, when out of the sky came a White-headed Vulture! The competition for the remains of the hippo calf just became more intense!

White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis

The white-headed vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis) is an Old World vulture endemic to Africa. It has a pink beak and a white crest, and the featherless areas on its head are pale. Its has dark brown upper parts and black tail feathers. The feathers on its lower parts and legs are white. It has a wing span of 2 m and spends a lot of time soaring looking for food. It roosts in tall trees near to water at night.

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

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

©2015 Duncan Blackburn

Stand off!

Stand off!

Shortly after arriving in the Masai Mara we learnt that some lions had killed a hippo calf. We went in search of the kill site only to find a stand-off between a Lappet-faced Vulture and a Black-backed Jackal!

Lappet-faced Vulture  Torgos tracheliotos

This is an Old World vulture belonging to the bird order Accipitriformes, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is the only member of the genus Torgos. It is not closely related to the superficially similar New World vultures, and does not share the good sense of smell of some members of that group. The Lappet-faced Vulture is a huge species, ranking as the longest and largest winged vulture.

Black-backed Jackal  Canis mesomelas

The Black-backed Jackal is a canid native to Africa. Compared to other members of the genus Canis, the black-backed jackal is a very ancient species, and has changed little since the Pleistocene, being the most basal canine alongside the closely related side-striped jackal. It is a fox-like canid with a reddish coat and a black saddle that extends from the shoulders to the base of the tail. It is a monogamous animal, whose young may remain with the family to help raise new generations of pups. The black-backed jackal is not a fussy eater, and will feed on small to medium sized animals, as well as plant matter and human refuse.

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

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

©2015 Duncan Blackburn

Head and Shoulders

Head and Shoulders

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill   Tockus leucomelas

The southern yellow-billed hornbill is a hornbill found in southern Africa. It is a medium sized bird, 48–60 centimetres (19–24 in) in length, characterized by a long yellow beak with a casque. The casque is smaller in the female. The skin around the eyes and in the malar stripe is pinkish. The related eastern yellow-billed hornbill from north-eastern Africa has blackish skin around the eyes.

They have a white belly, grey neck, and black back with abundant white spots and stripes. They feed mainly on the ground, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. Termites and ants are a preferred food source in the dry season.

Females lay three to four white eggs in their nest cavities and incubate them for about 25 days. Juveniles take about 45 days to mature. This hornbill is a common, widespread resident of the dry thorn fields and broad-leafed woodlands. They can often be seen along roads.

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

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

Snack!

Snack!

Malachite Kingfisher    Alcedo cristata

The malachite kingfisher is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate related movements.

This is a species common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow moving water or ponds. The flight of the malachite kingfisher is rapid, the short rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water. The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

This image was captured at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, a wetland area near the town of Nigel, South Africa on a very dull and wet day. The light was poor for photography; requiring high ISO settings to get any decent shutter speeds. ISO 3200 for most of the day.

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page

Darby and Joan

Darby and Joan

Reed Cormorant  Microcarbo africanus

The reed cormorant, also known as the long-tailed cormorant, is a bird in the cormorant family Phalacrocoracidae. It breeds in much of Africa south of the Sahara, and Madagascar. It is resident but undertakes some seasonal movements.

This is a small cormorant at 50–55 cm length and an 85 cm wingspan. It is mainly black, glossed green, in the breeding season. The wing coverts are silvery. It has a longish tail, a short head crest and a red or yellow face patch. The bill is yellow. Sexes are similar, but non-breeding adults and juveniles are browner, with a white belly. Some southern races retain the crest all year round.

The reed cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but usually feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. It takes a wide variety of fish. It prefers small slow-moving fish, and those with long and tapering shapes, such as mormyrids, catfishes, and cichlids. It will less frequently eat soles (which can be important in its diet locally), frogs, aquatic invertebrates, and small birds.

This image, of a pair of cormorants in breeding plumage (male on the left), was captured at Marievale Bird Sanctuary, a wetland area near the town of Nigel, South Africa on a very dull and wet day. The light was poor for photography; requiring high ISO settings to get any decent shutter speeds. ISO 3200 for most of the day.

View this and similar images on my Flickr site — Duncan’s Flickr Page