White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides)

The White-fronted bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) is a species of bee-eater widely distributed in sub-equatorial Africa.  They have a distinctive white forehead, a square tail and a bright red patch on their throat. They nest in small colonies, digging holes in cliffs or earthen banks but can usually be seen in low trees waiting for passing insects from which they hunt either by making quick hawking flights or gliding down before hovering briefly to catch insects.

They have a very large range in southern Africa.  I saw them in Zambia in both Machile IBA & South Luangwa NP.

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Birdlife

Mashatu

VIDEOS

Preening action

Just hanging out waiting for food.

 

 

 

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)

The Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), is a medium-sized wading bird. It is the only living species in the genus Scopus and the family Scopidae. The shape of its head with a long bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, which has given this species its name.

With such a large range, you are almost guaranteed to see one on an African safari.  I know I have seen them in several places, most recently at South Luangwa NP in Zambia.

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Birdlife

Mpala Live

VIDEOS

Building a nest

Fresh frog for dinner

So who’s afraid of crocodiles, not me!

 

Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum)

The Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a bird in the crane family Gruidae.  Although they are the national bird of Uganda and depicted on the flag, I didn’t see one in the wild until South Luangwa NP in Zambia.

They have a huge range throughout most of central and southern Africa so odds are good you will see one while on safari.  I took the photos above at South Luangwa NP in Zambia.  They are the national bird of Uganda and many people also see them in Tanzania.

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Birdlife

International Crane Foundation

VIDEOS

Not only are they beautiful and elegant, they can also bust some moves!

Match-making for cranes, love is in the air!

 

Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus)

The Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) or the Crimson-breasted Gonolek, (‘gonolek’ – supposedly imitative of its call), is a dramatically coloured southern African bird with black upper parts with a white flash on the wing, and bright scarlet underparts.

I don’t know why this beauty was trying to hide from the camera!

His Namibian cousin was not so shy!

They have a large range within southern Africa but even with that bright crimson breast they can be hard to find!  My eagle-eyed guide, Chiinga found the Zambian one as we were leaving the Machile IBA in Zambia.  I found the Namibian one on my own, he did stand out!

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Birdlife

Botswana Tourism

VIDEOS

It seems these birds have to work hard for their meals.  A grasshopper proves to be easy prey.

If you want to eat a scorpion, you have to work much harder!

 

Common Scimitarbill (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)

The Common Scimitarbill (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) is a species of bird in the family Phoeniculidae. It’s pretty obvious how they got their name!

Their range covers a large chunk of Africa including in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  I saw them at the Machile IBA which is near Livingstone, Zambia.

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Birdlife

Biodiversity Explorer

VIDEO

This nesting pair is busy feeding some chicks inside.

 

Blue Waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis)

The Blue Waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis), also called Southern Blue Waxbill, Blue-breasted Waxbill, Southern Cordon-bleu, Blue-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Blue-breasted Cordon-bleu and Angola Cordon-bleu, is a common species of estrildid finch found in Southern Africa.

They have a very large range all over Southern Africa so you are quite likely to see them.  I’ve seen them at Mosi-oa-Tunya NP in Zambia and Kruger NP in South Africa.

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Birdlife

Biodiversity Explorer

SA Venues

VIDEOS

Getting up close and personal with this little cutie!

I don’t know if this one is tired or just bored.

 

Foraging on the ground.

 

Bare-faced Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides personatus)

The Bare-faced (or Brown-faced) Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides personatus) is a species of bird in the family Musophagidae which is native to the eastern Afrotropics. It is named for its distinctive and uniquely bare, black face. Although the genus is named for the g’way call of its near relation, the grey go-away-bird; this bird seemed friendlier and didn’t tell us to “go’way”!

They are endemic to a small area of Ethiopia so I considered myself very lucky to see them near the Hara Langano Lodge.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BARE-FACED GO-AWAY BIRDS

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Birdlife

Turacos.org

VIDEOS

Hardly anything on Youtube for these guys!

The call

Soundless clip of foraging.

At least you can learn to draw one!

White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis)

The White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis) is a species of bird in the family Musophagidae.  I saw a couple of them at Hara Langano Lodge in Ethiopia but I didn’t get very good photos of them.  There are better images in the links below.

They have a large range throughout Ethiopia and Eritrea but logisitically speaking, the Lake Langano area is the easiest place to see them.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHITE-CHEEKED TURACOS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Turacos.org

VIDEOS

There wasn’t much available on wild birds so I have to use some videos of captive birds to show them in action.  The first one shows some cute chicks!

 

 

Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata)

The Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) is a turaco, a group of African near-passerines. It is the largest species of turaco.

They have a large range across Central Africa but the easiest place to see them is in Uganda.  I saw them both at Entebbe Botanical Gardens and Mpanga National Forest.

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Wikipedia

Birdlife

Turacos.org

HBW

VIDEOS

Thankfully I was able to find a couple good clips (both filmed in Uganda) on Youtube, mostly because these birds were hungry and therefore sitting still-ish!

Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus)

The Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus) also known as the Grey-cheeked Hornbill, is a large—approximately 70 cm (28 in) long—black and white hornbill. It has an oversized blackish bill with a large casque on top. The female is slightly smaller than the male and has a significantly smaller casque.

Although their range covers a large part of Africa it is very spread out so you have to be lucky to see one but they are well worth it, they are such cool looking birds!  I saw this one in the Entebbe Botanical Gardens in Uganda.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BLACK & WHITE CASQUED HORNBILLS

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Birdlife

HBW

VIDEOS

Hungry birds!

Just impressive!