Monthly Archives: March 2018

Dung beetle

Many dung beetles, known as rollers, roll dung into round balls, which are used as a food source or breeding chambers. Others, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. They are often attracted by the dung collected by burrowing owls. There are dung beetle species of different colours and sizes, and some functional traits such as body mass (or biomass) and leg length can have high levels of variability.

The nocturnal African dung beetle Scarabaeus satyrus is the only known non-human animal to navigate and orient itself using the Milky Way.

dungbeetle

Dung beetles live in many habitats, including desert, grasslands and savannas, farmlands, and native and planted forests and commonly found on Sibuya Game Reserve. They are highly influenced by the environmental context, and do not prefer extremely cold or dry weather. They are found on all continents except Antarctica.

Dung beetles play a remarkable role in agriculture and tropical forests. By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure. They are also important for the dispersal of seeds present in animals’ dung, influencing seed burial and seedling recruitment in tropical forests.

 

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Crowned hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus)

Description

It is a medium-sized bird, 50–54 centimetres (20–21 in) in length, and is characterized by its white belly and black back and wings. The tips of the long tail feathers are white. The eyes are yellow; the beak is red and presents a stocky casque on the upper mandible. In females, the casque is smaller. The crowned hornbill can be distinguished from the similar Bradfield’s hornbill by its shorter beak.

Crowned Hornbill

Habitat
The crowned hornbill is a common resident of the coastal and riverine forests of southern (only the eastern coast) to northeastern Africa as well as on Sibuya Game Reserve.

Diet
It forages mainly in trees, where it feeds on insects (often caught in flight), small rodents, small reptiles, seeds and fruits. This hornbill species can be seen in flocks, usually in the dry season. Four to five white eggs are incubated for 25 to 30 days; the juveniles remain with both parents for about 8 weeks.