Tag Archives: Birding

Birding in Chobe National Park, Part 3

One last post to round off the birds we spotted at Chobe National Park. I’m running out of bird captions!

hamerkop

Hamerkop. I’m guessing this bird got its name because the backwards crest makes its head look like a hammer. It is a common resident around freshwater areas.

greater blue-eared starling

Greater blue-eared starling. Very glossy greenish sheen on the feathers that changes color in the light.

yellow canary

Yellow canary. This is one of several varieties of canary in southern Africa.

magpie shrike

Magpie shrike. It might be hard to notice the long tail hanging down in this picture, but that feature makes it very easy to identify this black and white bird, a common resident of Botswana.

long-toed lapwing

Long-toed lapwing. Another lapwing checked off the list! This bird is much less common than the blacksmith lapwing and can be found mainly in the Okavango Delta and Chobe River System.

squacco heron

Squacco heron. This heron’s habitat is freshwater shorelines.

black-crowned night-heron

Black-crowned night-heron. My best guess for this bird. They are usually nocturnal.

wire-tailed swallow

Wire-tailed swallow. This little bird decided to take a ride on the bow of our our tour boat on the way out of Chobe National Park. They are usually found in pairs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Peace Corps Namibia Blog

Birding in Chobe National Park, Part 2

Here are some more birds from our 3 day, 2 night trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana.

osprey

Osprey. Slightly smaller than a fish eagle with a broad eye-stripe that wraps around to the back of its head.

giant kingfisher

Giant kingfisher. Much larger than all other kingfishers in the region. This bird has a speckled body and a rufous chest.

great egret

Great egret. The largest white egret. Very similar to the yellow-billed egret, but the legs are completely dark in color. A large monitor lizard is visible in the background.

little egret

Little egret. Not entirely sure that my identifications of these egrets are correct. Unfortunately the telltale bright yellow feet of this species are not visible here.

red-billed oxpecker

Red-billed oxpecker. These birds eat the ticks and other parasites of large animals. This bird has a prime spot on a cape buffalo. This variety of oxpecker is considered near-threatened.

yellow-billed oxpecker

Yellow-billed oxpecker. This diseased giraffe’s parasites were prime feeding grounds for both variety of oxpeckers. The yellow-billed variety can be distinguished by the partly yellow bill and by the lack of a yellow ring around the eye.

lilac-breasted roller

Lilac-breasted roller. Commonly seen on safaris in southern Africa. Very strikingly colorful bird, especially in flight.

Swainson's spurfowl

Swainson’s spurfowl. Prefers grassland near water. The dark legs distinguish it from the the red-necked spurfowl.

red-billed hornbill

Red-billed hornbill. This is a common resident, one of many varieties of hornbills in southern Africa.

blue waxbill

Blue waxbill. Common resident bird found in flocks during the non-breeding season. We saw a couple of these birds during a bathroom break from our safari drive. You always have to have your camera ready in Chobe!

1 Comment

Filed under Birds, Peace Corps Namibia Blog

Birding in Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park has exceptional birding, especially when we were there during the rainy season in early January. All of my bird facts are taken from Roberts Bird Guide, a great birding resource for Southern Africa. We saw some nice birds out in the bush as well, but the river boat tours have been the best for spotting and photographing birds.

pied kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher. We also spotted this variety of bird on the Kavango River, but this is the first good photo I was able to get. The double breast band indicates that this bird is a male.

southern red bishop

Southern red bishop. The elusive red bishop! We were all pretty excited to see this bird looking like he had just put on his finest for church. The female of this species looks like a small brown sparrow and would be hard to distinguish.

white-winged tern

White-winged tern. This is the smallest freshwater tern in the region and migrates to southern Africa during the breeding season.

African sacred ibis

African sacred ibis. These large water birds are a common resident to the wetlands of southern Africa. Here they posed for a nice bill shot. We call that the “money shot” in birding.

African openbill

African openbill stork. One of the smaller storks in the region. The bill is used like a nutcracker for its main prey of snails and mussels. This bird is classified as near-threatened. This was the “yoga bird” in the last post.

goliath heron

Goliath heron. The largest heron in the world! Eats mostly large fish and frogs. It can reach a height of 1.4 m and weigh 4.3 kg.

goliath heron

Another photo of the goliath heron. The boat spooked it a bit and it flew off but it was a nice display of its massive wingspan.

African fish-eagle

African fish-eagle. Looks very similar to the bald eagle of North America. Very common in the river habitats of Namibia and Botswana that we have visited.

African jacana

African jacana. Also called the “Jesus bird” for its apparent ability to walk on water. Its large splayed toes allow it to wander on lily pads in search of food. I think this might be its nest. Another bird who can build its own island!

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Peace Corps Namibia Blog

Birding on the Kavango River part 2

More birds near Nunda River Lodge on the Kavango River. Most of these were taken from a boat tour. Lisa recommends the sunset cruises (even in the morning).

 

African darter

African darter. Also called snakebird for its long neck and straight bill.

white-breasted cormorant

White-breasted cormorant. Very large feet help to distinguish this bird. I think this one is a juvenile due to it having more white on its body.

Little bee-eater

Little bee-eater. Colorful bird commonly found along the Kavango River in Namibia.

white-fronted bee-eater

White-fronted bee-eater. An even more colorful bee eater. These birds were very close to one another during our river boat tour.

African pied wagtail

African pied wagtail. “Pied” just means black and white. when it comes to birds and this wagtail is a fine example.

southern black flycatcher

Southern black flycatcher. Hmm or in another photo it does look a bit more iridescent so this might be a variety of starling.

comb duck

Comb duck. This is a female comb duck so it it lacking the large “comb” on the bill that gives the duck its name.

white-faced duck

White-faced duck. We caught this one in mid-flight, but its head is visible enough to easily identify. No other duck in Namibia has a similar head coloring. A female comb duck is to the right.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Parental Visit, Peace Corps Namibia Blog

Birding on the Kavango River

One of our favorite places in Namibia is along the Kavango River near Divundu. East of Rundu, the river joins with the Cuito River from Angola and flows south, eventually forming the Okavango Delta as it empties into the Kalahari desert. We like to stay at Nunda River Lodge, with very friendly owners and great accommodations and camping.

blacksmith lapwing

Blacksmith lapwing. Very common bird along the riverbanks in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. Also would be a great name for a band!

white-crowned lapwing

UPDATED JUNE 2015 African wattled lapwing. This photo was taken from across the Kavango River so the quality is not very good. Originally confused this bird with the white-crowned lapwing. I took a much better photo of this species recently at Hakusembe River Lodge.

African paradise-flycatcher

African paradise-flycatcher. I spotted this male and female at Nunda River Lodge. They would not cooperate and hold very still for a photo but you can get an idea of the length of the male’s tail here.

african paradise-flycatcher

The female posed in a little better light to show off her striking blue beak and eye.

laughing dove

Laughing dove. The band on the neck makes this dove easy to identify.

grey go-away bird

Grey go-away bird. Very distinct sound, “Gweh.” Also has a sweet mohawk that is semi-visible here.

golden weaver

Golden weaver. Might be wrong about this identification, but the female golden weaver is the closest I best I could come up with.

red-faced mousebird

Red-faced mousebird. Commonly seen, beautiful bird with a very long tail.

Water thick-knee

Water thick-knee. A fine-looking bird that deserved better than to be named for a slightly above average size knee joint.

2 Comments

Filed under Birds, Parental Visit, Peace Corps Namibia Blog

Birds of Erindi – Part 3

The final countdown! But don’t worry bird fans, upcoming posts will feature many more winged friends from Nunda River Lodge on the Kavango River and from Chobe National Park in Botswana.

tawny eagle

Tawny eagle. This bird was sitting on the very top of a tree while a pack of African wild dogs were just waking up for the day under its lower branches.

 

Southern pale chanting goshawk

Southern pale chanting goshawk. These birds seems to be more common in the southern regions of Namibia.

 

Helmeted guineafowl

Helmeted guineafowl. Very common all over southern Africa. The turkey of Africa. Our game guides seemed to get pleasure over almost running over these things as they crossed the road. In future travels, I hope to see the crested guineafowl which has an Elvis-style pompodour.

 

lappet-faced vulture

Lappet-faced vulture. The largest vulture in Southern Africa. Considered to be one of the “ugly five.”

 

Unidentified bird

I really like this photo but I can’t identify the bird. Maybe it is a female or juvenile bird of a common species? It seems to have a very yellow beak, and I can’t match it to any of the yellow birds in Roberts.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Parental Visit, Peace Corps Namibia Blog

Birds of Erindi – Part 2

More birds from our December 2014 trip to Erindi Private Game Reserve. Future posts will feature some of the animals we saw during the 12 hours of games drives. My main birding resource is Roberts Bird Guide, a great field guide to the birds of southern Africa. Highly recommended.

 

Woolly-necked stork

Woolly-necked stork. Look at that plumage! A very sweet find for a bird nerd such as myself since this bird was a couple hundred kilometers south of its usual region. Our guide was excited as well and took photos himself so you know it was a proper rare bird sighting.

 

Black-winged stilt

Black-winged stilt. Look at those sexy legs! (and you can only see the top half of the legs in the photo) This wading bird has the distinction of having the longest legs relative to body size of any bird.

 

Wood sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper. This was one of the four different bird species we were able to spot at a small marshy area.

 

Little grebe

Little Grebe. Not the best photo of this most common grebe in the region. This rufous-chestnut necked bird builds a floating nest. It owns a personal island just like Johnny Depp!

 

white-browed sparrow-weaver

White-browed sparrow-weaver. They make messy nests (especially compared to the southern masked weaver) but they can sit casually in a very thorny acacia tree.

 

Kori Bustard

Kori bustard. My favorite bird name so far. This distinguished looking bird is the largest bustard and one of the world’s heaviest flying birds. It is classified as vulnerable.

 

Red-backed shrike

Red-backed shrike. This is my best guess for this bird based on what our guide said. It is a juvenile shrike we think.

 

Shaft-tailed whydah

Shaft-tailed whydah. The tail will get much longer later in the breeding season.

 

Egyptian geese

Egyptian geese. A very commonly found goose species here in Southern Africa.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Parental Visit, Peace Corps Namibia Blog