Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Post number 14 Birds from Southern Africa

As with the last post, this is a little different, as again these are photos taken by a friend, Christelle Miller, while in the Kruger national park in May 2018.
Thanks go to Christelle for allowing me to use these photos on my blog.
I hope that my identification is correct, please let me know if there should be any mistakes.

 Martial Eagle (Polemaetus Bellicosus).... 

 They are the largest of the African eagles and incredibly powerful, capable of knocking an adult man off his feet. They reputedly have enough power in one foot to break a man's arm....

The Martial eagle weighs in at almost 14 pounds (6.5 Kg.) and has a wingspan of about 6 feet 4 inches. It is about 32 inches long.

Burchell's Coucal, (Centropus burchellii). Also known as the rain bird.  Their diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws.... 

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators. Fairly common in South Africa.

Southern Pale chanting goshawk (Melierax canorus); they can be found throughout their range in arid habitats with less than 75 cm of rainfall per year. These habitats include the Namib Desert and other dry woodland, shrubland, and grassland areas. Pale chanting goshawks are often seen perching on trees and poles for power lines near the roads.  It sits upright on its long legs when perched on a tree. It is often seen walking about on the ground. It can run very fast when pursuing a prey. But it also hunts from a perch. When prey is selected, it dives and runs after it. It also performs agile aerial chases after birds or hares running on the ground.  It is found singly or in pairs. Pairs have a well-defined territory and usually stay in and around the same group of trees. When breeding season starts, the male performs some displays. It perches on the top of a tall tree and utters its melodious call, often for hours. Both mates can soar together, making circles at about 200 to 300 feet in the sky. They also perform an undulating flight display while calling.

The Hadada or Hadeda ibis (Bostrychia hagedash). It has a distinctively loud, penetrating and recognisable haa-haa-haa-de-dah call that is often heard when the birds are flying or when startled, hence the name.  It feeds mainly on earthworms, using its long scimitar-like bill to probe soft soil. It also eats larger insects, such as the Parktown Prawn, as well as spiders and small lizards. These birds also favour snails and will feed in garden beds around residential homes. It nests in isolation, sometimes on telegraph poles instead of trees or bushes. Males display and eventually choose a mate. The pairs then engage in mutual bowing and display preening. Males usually gather nest materials, which they ritually offer to their mates. Both sexes incubate the three to six eggs and feed the young.


Southern red-billed hornbill (Tockus rufirostris). This bird forms flocks outside the breeding season. It feeds mainly on small insects such as beetles, ants, termites, flies and grasshoppers, but it also eats larger arthropods, birds' eggs and nestlings also small seeds and fruits. The Red-billed Hornbill does most of its foraging on the ground, rarely hawking prey aerially.

During the incubation (brooding of the eggs), the nest entrance is typically blocked off with a plaster of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. The purpose for this is to keep the nest, including the brooding female, eggs and young chicks protected from predators, usually 3-5 eggs. A narrow opening is left to allow the male to transfer food to the mother and the chicks. See Here.

Hornbills are unique in that their first two neck vertebrae have been fused to support their large bill.


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13 comments:

  1. Such interesting birds. Love the look of the first one.

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    1. Marie I love all the birds of prey and this is a particulaly beautiful eagle. Hope all is well over there. Take care Diane

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  2. The eagle is impressive! I especially like the rain bird and the goshawk.

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    1. Thanks Betty, I am glad that Christelle's photos are so popular, I still have a few more. Cheers Diane

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    1. South Africa has sone interesting and beautifl birds. Keep well Diane

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  4. All stunning, but I have a soft spot for horned bills.

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    1. I find the horned bills interesting birds as well. Thanks for the comment. Diane

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  5. These birds have the most mesmerizing eyes! Gorgeous!

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    1. I find birds eyes are interesting to photograph if one can get close enough ! Keep well Diane

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  6. I am really taken by that Burchell's Coucal, such an unusual and interesting bird. The only coucals I have seen have been immensely shy so I amazed at these pictures. Likewise the Martial Eagle and the goshawk - incredible close-ups. Your friend Christelle has a great eye for a photo.

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    1. Phil she only really started taking bird photos last year. She has a Canon SX60 HS which has a great zoom and she is doing very well with it. Keep welll and have a good week Diane

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  7. Those birds of prey really are giving us the fierce eye! Very nice.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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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.