Tag Archives: Bird Watching

Greater double-collared sunbird

The sunbird breeds in southern South Africa (and where Sibuya Game Reserve is situated). It is mainly resident, but partly migratory in the northeast of its range. It is common in gardens, fynbos, forest edges and coastal scrub.

The sunbird is usually seen singly or in pairs. Its flight is fast and direct on short wings. The sunbird breeds all year round, with a peak from July to November. The closed oval nest is constructed from grass, lichen and other plant material, bound together with spider webs. It has a side entrance which sometimes has a porch, and is lined with feathers.

It lives mainly on nectar from flowers, but takes some fruit, and, especially when feeding young, insects and spiders. It has the habit of hovering in front of webs to extract spiders. It can hover like a hummingbird to take nectar, but usually perches to do so.  The Greater Double-Collared Sunbird makes a shrill whistle and click: Wrew wrew wrew ch ch

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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.

Cape Glossy Starling

DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT

The Cape starling is found in the southern part of Africa, commonly found around Sibuya Game Reserve. Its range encompasses the extreme south of Gabon, the west and south of Angola, the extreme south of Zambia, the southern half of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa.

The Cape starling is found where trees in which it can roost and nest are found. It is not a bird of dense forest or of pasture and is not associated with any particular plant type. It does occur in open woodland, plantations, savannah, bushveld, rough grassland, parks and gardens and is quite numerous in the central Kalahari where isolated trees occur.

Cape Glossy Starling

(This phenomenal photo was taken by Senior Field Guide Christiaan)

BEHAVIOUR

The Cape starling is a gregarious bird and forms large flocks in the non-breeding season. It usually feeds on the ground often foraging alongside other species of starlings such as the pied starling, the common starling, the greater blue-eared starling, the lesser blue-eared starling, the wattled starling and Burchell’s starling. It is habituated to humans and its diet includes fruit, insects and nectar. It sometimes feeds on ectoparasites that it picks off the backs of animals and it sometimes visits bird tables for scraps.

A glistening Cape Glossy Starling following one of the mega-herbivores hoping that this giant will flush out some juicy insect as it stomps around.

White-backed vulture

We have had an incredible and rare sighting of a White-backed vulture again on Sibuya this week…and it’s brought along a mate…These vultures are not usually found in this coastal region due to the high winds and lack of thermals – so we and the birding community are very excited!

Photo taken by Ranger Christiaan

Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring over savannah. It also takes scraps from human habitations. It often moves in flocks. It breeds in trees on the savannah of west and east Africa, laying one egg. The population is mostly resident.

Did you know: A number of protected areas in Africa hold populations of white-backed vultures, including Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, a World Heritage Site. arkive.org

Green Wood-Hoopoe

The Green Wood-Hoopoe is a common resident breeder in the Sibuya Reserve, forests, woodlands and suburban gardens of most of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is found in groups of up to a dozen or so birds with only one breeding pair. The breeding female lays two to four blue eggs in a natural tree hole or old barbet nest and incubates them for about 18 days.

On hatching, she and the nestlings are fed by the rest of the group, even after they have fledged and left the nest hole. The group is fearless in defence of the nestlings against intruders. This species is parasitised by the greater and lesser honeyguide.

This abundant species is a metallic dark green, with a purple back and very long diamond-shaped purple tail. Distinctive white markings on the wings and white chevrons on the tail edges make it easily identifiable, as does its long, thin, curved red bill. Sexes are similar, but immatures have a black bill.

The green wood hoopoe is an insect-eating species. It feeds mainly on the ground, termite mounds, or on tree trunks, and forms flocks outside the breeding season. Its specialised claws enable it to cling easily to the underside of branches while closely inspecting the bark for insects.

This conspicuous bird advertises its presence with its loud Kuk-uk-uk-uk-uk call and other vocalisations.

Southern double-collared sunbird

This sunbird is common in gardens, fynbos, forests and coastal scrub. The southern double-collared sunbird breeds from April to December, depending on region. The closed oval nest is constructed from grass, lichen and other plant material, bound together with spider webs. It has a side entrance which sometimes has a porch, and is lined with wool, plant down and feathers.

The southern double-collared sunbird (as seen in the photo captured below while walking about in the Sibuya Game Reserve) is usually seen singly or in small groups. Its flight is fast and direct on short wings. It lives mainly on nectar from flowers, but takes some fruit, and, especially when feeding young, insects and spiders. It can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perches to feed most of the time.

Southern Double-Collared Sunbird

The call is a hard chee-chee, and the song is high pitched jumble of tinkling notes, rising and falling in pitch and tempo for 3–5 seconds or more.

Red-Throated Wryneck

The Red-throated Wryneck has a height of 20 cms and weighs around 55 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured grey. The Jynx ruficollis has a brown coloured throat, olive legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

This bird forages for food on the ground.  The Red-throated Wryneck is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage (as seen in the photo captured below while walking about in the Sibuya Game Reserve).  This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

 

 

With a juicy grub in its beak, a Red-Throated Wryneck peeps out of a hole in a rotten tree-trunk. This is a close relation of the Woodpecker family.

With a juicy grub in its beak, a Red-Throated Wryneck peeps out of a hole in a rotten tree-trunk. This is a close relation of the Woodpecker family.

Red-throated Wryneck Jynx ruficollis is an ant-eating specialist with adaptations to assist in the mopping up of large numbers of Hymenoptera (Ant) prey.  Capable of holding hundreds of ants or ant larvae in each beakful, it is impossible for these birds to control all subsequent movement of prey, resulting in ants crawling around the birds beak and head when delivering food to the chicks.