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Birds of the savannah

Birds of the savannah

If someone talks about the savannah, most people will probably think about lions and elephants. Those species do indeed live there and they certainly are nice to look at! Still I can recommend everyone to pay also some attention in the birds around the pile of mammals. Of course there is the Ostrich, the largest bird in the world although it can’t fly. That’s a bird most people will still recognize and probably have on their Wishlist when they go on safari. And, to be fair, they are worth the trouble.

Still other birds should get some attention too. What about a Secretarybird. A bird a lot less people can be heard talking about. In my opinion it’s a bird that is a lot more appealing than the Ostrich. Be honest, what’s not to like about this bird. It’s a bird of prey, it has nice ornamental feathers on its head, not any of that fuzzy stuff like the Ostrich and it can fly at least! It’s also to be overlooked, it’s a big one: a wingspan of about 2 meters and when it walks in upright position it goes as high as 1.38 meters, it can give an eagle a run for its money! So there is a reason why this bird can be seen on the covers of a lot of birdguides in Africa, completely fair in my opinion.

Another iconic bird from the African savannah is the Kori Bustard. Again a stout bird with a special looking head. Apart from that it’s also the heaviest flying bird in the world, let an Ostrich or a King Penguin try that! So this is also a bird that deserves your attention when you travel to Africa.

Apart from that there are of course many other attractive birds of the savannah that may perhaps be more easier overlooked, but are quite beautiful if you pay attention to them. It makes the safari a bit more entertaining than it would be if you had just looked at the big mammals.

First there is the little nephew of the Kori Bustard: Northern Black Korhaan. A nice little fellow that moves it’s neck back in a funny way.

Then a fat chicken: the Helmeted Guineafowl. Call it ugly, the head is indeed not that attractive, but the pearly feathers are very nice. And the head is also actually quite interesting with the knobbed helmet on it.

Birds of prey appeal to a lot of people, also to me. Vultures are perhaps not favourite by most, but still when you look at them closely these animals also got something special, at least in my opinion. And if you don’t like them at all, don’t forget their huge wingspan, that should also count for something. Apart from that your savannah-experience is just not quite complete when you haven’t watched a kill over which vultures are quietly circling waiting for their turn. That behaviour can also be a nice help for finding a pack of lions that could be enjoying the fresh kill, useful birds those vultures! When you look at the picture closely you can see two vulture species near the kill.

Another bird of prey is the Black-shouldered Kite. A nice little bird of prey that is pretty common on safaris. With a little luck they even allow you to get very close.

De Pale Chanting Goshawk is also a species that belongs on the savannah. In Etosha they can’t be missed. This bird is also worthy of a second look.

Finally there are birds that make birders very happy, but that might not appeal so much to normal people. Still, have a go at looking for them, at least it’s a nice distraction and you will probably like them if you see them. They all got something!

There is for example the Magpie Shrike, a Shrike that looks very much like a Magpie!

Also chats can be seen on the savannah. In this case an Ant-eating Chat in nice lighting.

If you look closely you can encounter a stowaway on some mammals. In this case a Red-billed Oxpecker, on a normal cow.

Also Scrub Robins are nice looking birds, in most cases their tail stands fiercely straight. In this case a Kalahari Scrub Robin.

Except when it’s really hot then they don’t look so fierce anymore… Also another species: White-Browed Scrub Robin

When you’ve arrived at the camp all tired there is a bird that makes a lot of noise, but doesn’t look too bad either. A starling but a bit more shinier! A Cape Starling, if you feed it the right way it will look itself up in the birdguide.

Want to see more birds  of Africa? Have a look at birds of the African garden, the swamp and hornbills.

You can also read about mammals. Hippo’s in the Okavango, Elephants and the Ungulates of Africa.

We even saw some cats! Read about Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs.

Africa has some beautiful landscapes, check out the posts about Okavango, Spitzkoppe and Sossusvlei.

LennartVerheuvel

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