Birds and Birding

Spotted Thick Knee

The Spotted Thick-knee is commonly known as the Dikkop in South Africa. It’s scientific name is Burhinus Capensis. It is a common resident in any open country area, including parks and fields. They are often found in pairs and are masters of camouflage. They can remain absolutely still such that they will not be noticed, but will fly immediately when a predator or a threat is too close. Their diet consists mainly of termites, locusts, beetles, other bugs and sometimes small reptiles. This picture was taken at a place called The Island near Seaview Lion Park, outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Spotted Thick Knee

Spotted Thick Knee

Spotted Thick KneeSpotted Thick Knee

A Google Map on the location of The Island

View The Island in a larger map

Greater Double Collared Sunbird

The Greater Double Collared SunbirdCinnyris Afer is a sunbird similar to the Southern Lesser Double Collared Sunbird, but is distinguished by its Longer bill and wider red breast band. These sunbirds mainly habitat the fynbos, forests and coastal bush areas. Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from the far south of Namibia to South Africa, with the bulk of its population centered around the Western Cape extending east and north to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province. It generally prefers fynbos and Karoo shrubland, woodland, Afromontane forest, gardens and Eucalyptus plantations. They mainly feeds on nectar, supplemented with athropods, gleaning prey from vegetation and spider webs and hawking insects aerially. The Afrikaans Name for this is the Groot Rooibandsuikerbekkie

Greater Double Collared Sunbird

Cape Wagtail

The Cape Wagtail or the Motacilla Capensis is a greyish brown wagtail with a shortish tail. It is a common resident to grasslands, gardens and also usually near water. It’s diet consists mainly of insects and other invertebrates as well as the occasional tadpole or small fish. The pictures were taken in my garden with a Canon 450D camera using a 100-400mm IS Lens.

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

African Hoopoe

The African Hoopoe or Upupa Africana, is a cinnamon-colored bird with a long slightly decurved bill and a long, black-tipped crest that is held erect when the bird is alarmed. African Hoopoes are Ground feeders and eat mainly insects, although they’ll also eat small reptiles such as lizards. They use their bill for probing the earth and animal dung. They also turn over leaf litter to find prey. Vegetable matter (seeds or berries) are eaten but in very small quantities. The African Hoopoe isn’t a sociable bird and is generally found either singly or in pairs. This photo was taken by my eldest daughter, Kira with an old Canon Powershot Pro1 Camera.

African Hoopoe

Another shot of this bird, but with my camera.

African Hoopoe

Another hoopoe picture, but this time much closer.

African Hoopoe

Red Eyed Dove Preening

The Red Eyed Dove or Streptopelia semitorquata is slightly larger and darker than the Cape Turtle Dove. Its habitat ranges from Bushes to gardens to parks. The Red-eyed Dove is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in Africa south of the Sahara. It is a common, if not abundant, species in most habitats. The Red-eyed Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, typically 34cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. When flying, it shows blackish flight feathers. The head and underparts are dark vinous-pink, shading to pale grey on the face. There is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs and a patch of bare skin around the eye are red. Red-eyed Doves eat grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They often forage on the ground. In this photo, the dove is preening itself next to it mate. This picture was taken at a place called The Island on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Red Eyed Dove Preening

Southern (Lesser) Double Collared Sunbird

The Southern (Lesser) Double Collared SunbirdCinnyris Chalybeus is a beautiful bird similar to the Greater Double Collared Sunbird, but is distinguished by its shorter bill and narrower red breast band. These sunbirds mainly habitat the fynbos, forests and coastal bush areas. Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from the far south of Namibia to South Africa, with the bulk of its population centered around the Western Cape extending east and north to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province. It generally prefers fynbos and Karoo shrubland, woodland, Afromontane forest, gardens and Eucalyptus plantations. They mainly feeds on nectar, supplemented with athropods, gleaning prey from vegetation and spider webs and hawking insects aerially.

Southern (Lesser) Double Collared Sunbird

Common Starling

The Common StarlingSturnus Vulgaris is part of the Order Passeriformes and family Sturnidae of the Genus Sturnus. This species of starling is native to most Europe and western Asia. It is resident in southern and western Europe and southwestern Asia, while northeastern populations migrate south and west in winter to these regions, and also further south to areas where it does not breed in Iberia and north Africa. It has also been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa. Also known in Afrikaans as the Europese Spreeu. These starlings are 19 to 22 cm long, with a wingspan of 37 to 42 cm and a weight of 60 to 90 g. Their plumage is shiny black, glossed purple or green, and spangled with white, particularly strongly so in winter. Apparently these birds carry a lot of lice.

Common Starling

Black Collared Barbet

The Black Collared Barbet or Lybius torquatus is a fairly large member of the barbet family. It has a bright red face and neck with a black border towards the chest. The juveniles have dark brown heads and throat with orange and red streaks. It is a common resident in gardens, forests and woodlands. Females will typically lay 2-5 eggs. Their diets consist mainly of fruit, but will eat insects and nectar. The Afrikaans name for this is the Rooikophoutkapper.

Black Collared Barbet

Butcher Bird

The South African Lanius Collaris is commonly known as the Butcher Bird or the Fiskaallaksman (Afrikanns). The colours are black and white with a little reddish-brown under the wings. It probably gets its name from the way it treats its prey. It tends to impale it food on sharp objects such as thorns or the barbs of barb-wire fences.
Butcher Birds are very territorial birds and will chase away and attack any unsuspecting trespasser in its territory.
The female is the nest builder and will lay 3-4 eggs at a time. The eggs will hatch in about 16 days.

Butcher bird

Cape Batis

The Cape Batis, or Batis capensis, is a smallish passerine bird in the wattle-eye family. A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. It is resident in the highlands of southern and eastern South Africa and Zimbabwe. Its diet consists mainly of insects and is usually found in moist evergreen mountain forests and wooded gorges. Both the male and the female will aggressively defend their territory. When larger birds of prey, animals or humans approach, the bird will often perch conspicuously near the intruder and angrily protest audibly.
The Cape Batis hunts by flycatching, or by taking prey from the ground like a shrike.
Thanks to Zane for this incredible picture with some references and thanks to SASOL Birds of Southern Africa by Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton.

Cape Batis