Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Post number 10 on birds seen in Southern Africa.

The white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus) is an accomplished scavenger that feeds on the carcasses of Africa’s large animals. Its plumage is dark brown with black skin on the neck and head, making the white lower-back, for which it is named, even more prominent....

As they age, the plumage of white-backed vultures becomes paler and plainer, especially the female’s; conversely, juveniles are darker, with lighter brown streaks on their feathers.  The two above are both immature birds...

The white-backed vulture is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List.  KwaZulu-Natal.

The Cape Vulture occurs near the mountains, in open grassland, arid savannahs and steppes. The mountains provide them with thermal currents necessary for the flight of these heavy birds. This species is less common in wooded areas. They breed and roost on cliffs....

The Cape Vulture is a scavenger, feeding at large carcasses where it takes fragments of bones, soft muscles and organ tissues. It has become a rare species. They are threatened by the lack of food due to the changes in farm practices involving fewer livestock mortalities. Collisions with power lines are also important threats.  These vultures suffer poisoning and persecution and are killed for traditional medicine, especially for their brain!
The Cape Vulture is listed as vulnerable with a small population.  Botswana.

The red-crested korhaan or red-crested bustard (Lophotis ruficrista).  KwaZulu-Natal.

It eats mainly invertebrates, supplemented with seeds and fruit. It mainly forages on the ground, picking up food items with its bill. The male puts on a spectacular courtship display to multiple females, who solely incubate the eggs and raise the chicks. She lays 1-2 eggs.

The African grass owl (Tyto capensis) is a species of the barn owl family. Grass owls are completely nocturnal and are only seen during the day if disturbed. They are listed as a vulnerable species. Mainly eats rodents, foraging nocturnally by flying low over the ground, twisting its head in order to locate by sight and sound. Once prey is located it dives to the ground and picks it up with its talons, feeding on the ground or on a nearby perch. KwaZulu-Natal.

Bateleur Eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus). The Bateleur spends most of the time in the day on the wing, soaring effortlessly.  It flies almost the entire day, until the cooler hours of the evening. It may fly well over 300 km every day, during 8 to 9 hours. During the day, it sometimes perches in a tree, close to carrion, where it may try to pirate smaller raptors. When not in flight, the Bateleur perches or stands on the ground usually near water.

Their diet includes small antelope, mice, birds, snakes, carrion, lizards and especially road kills.  I could watch them for hours as they soar so effortlessly. KwaZulu-Natal.


Linked to
Wild Bird Wednesday 304

22 comments:

  1. The eagle looks like it means business. I have never been fond of vultures but they do serve such a great purpose.

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    1. Marie the vultures are sadly in serious decline and yes they do a great job. Hope all is well, Take care Diane

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  2. Hi Diane. Spectcular photos again. You should be a professional photographer! I have seen all these birds in SA's different game reserves and my sister is lucky enough to see Bateleur eagles on her farm quite regularly. Hope you and Nigel are well and enjoying your week. It is beautiful weather here, typically Durban winter - cool, sunny and dry. We have had more rain this Autumn than is normal though.

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    1. Kim I would have an awful lot to learn to become a professional, I rely on the skill of my camera and am useless at different settings. We are both well, thanks for asking, though tired as with trying to get the garden underway and redecorating the house we have realised we are not as young as we used to be! How I miss my Mozambican gardener. Hope all is well with you,Diane

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  3. What a great variety of birds! The vultures are interesting (not pretty!!) but fun to see along with the others. The eagle is so majestic to see.

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    1. Thanks Betty for the comment much appreciated. I can only agree that vultures are not pretty but they are interesting and do a great job, The bateleur is one of my favourite eagles with the African Fish Eagle. Both stunning birds. Have a good week Diane

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  4. Wonderful shots of all the birds. The eagle is quite impressive. Happy Wednesday!

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    1. Thanks Betty, I am so happy that we saw the bateleurs, one of my favourite birds, beautiful to watch in flight and to see. Have a good day Diane

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  5. That white backed vulture in shot #3 is amazing! Also loved the last two birds. Great photos!

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    1. Thanks very much for the visit and the comment. Much appreciated. Have a good day Diane

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    2. I have tried to comment on your blog but unable to do so!!! Diane.

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  6. There are some spectacular birds and lovely photos there Diane. I can not imagine that the bustard is anything but almost impossible to photograph as the family is generally very shy. I especially liked to see the African Grass Owl as it is such a close relative of our barn Owl, a bird I see very regularly.

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    1. The bustard was really lucky, my friend said 'look there' as we were driving by in the game reserve, and I took two shots only from the back window of the car and it was gone! Wish our barn owl was still around, I used to see one quite regularly but I have not seen or heard it for a while now. We do though regularly hear the Little Owls, though again seldom do we see them, too easy to hide in all the vegetation. Happy coming weekend Diane

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  7. Vultures, owls, and eagles. What a proud trifecta!

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    1. Thanks Beth, Vutures may not be beautiful but they are very effective at thier job :-) Take care Diane

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  8. Vultures are really not the best looking birds in the world are they? But they are still fascinating.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Beauty is as beauty does LOL. I agree they are fascinating though. Cheers Diane

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  9. Like vultures everywhere (but prettier than the ones we see here) they do a great job of keeping things cleaned up in the natural order of things. (I'm surprised one of them is on the endangered list.) The eagles and the owl are beautiful... well, all of the birds are.

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    1. Sallie many of the vultures in South Africa are on the endangered list. Loss of habitat, and farmers not allowing carcasses to lie around. Numbers have dropped drasticaly of the birds. It is very sad. Thanks for the comment. Diane

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  10. Gorgeous photos of interesting species, here Diane!
    How lucky to get the Bateleur's back with its orange V!
    The rock behind the owl seems man made... Was it captive?
    I hope the sun will come out for good soon I too am fed up with this rain and humidity!!
    Warm hugs and enjoy your day :)

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    1. Thanks Noushka, I do love Bateleurs, one of my favourite birds. It is stil dull and grey here with lots of rain, I am trying to redecorate the house and it is just too dark to see properly!!
      Have a good week, hugs Diane

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  11. You're showing us yet another spectacular eagle Diane! What a handsome bird! Not sure that that owl is one of my favourite owls from an appearance point of view, however - it doeasn't look as intelligent or alert as most other owls! ;-}.

    With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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Thanks so much for commenting, it is appreciated and it is my policy to try to answer every one even if only to say thank you.