More beautiful African birds

So much avifauna to see!

More beautiful African birds
27th March 2007 Jane Tomlinson

Here are just a few more of the scores of species of birds we saw in south west Africa.

The wetlands of the Okavango delta in northern Botswana are, happily, crawling with lots of feathery friends. Above are a sacred ibis, a blacksmith plover and a spoonbill, just chilling together in the grasses.

Blacksmith plovers get everywhere, but that doesn’t make them any less thrilling on the eye. These two hung about our camp.

And isn’t it always exciting to see eagles? This is an African fish eagle.

And here’s an Egyptian goose:

This crazy thing is saddle-billed stork, hunting frogs in the shallows.

Pied kingfishers are pretty commonplace, but seeing them fishing is never dull. They’re so pretty.

Marabou storks are not pretty. They have naked heads so they can push their faces right into corpses more easily when they’re feeding:

Secretary birds carefully pace through the grass hunting for snakes. We saw this one in Etosha, Namibia.

What a beautiful sight this was! This Verreaux’s eagle owl was so perfectly camoflagued we could hardly ever see it until it turned its face to us and opened those incredible eyes.

This long-tailed paradise widow has an inconceivably long tail. For what purpose, who can say? It makes you look twice you can hardly believe it.

Another demonstration of biodiversity at its wondrous best. And how marvellous that these days we have the wit and intelligence to understand and properly explain it, rather than attributing it to some nonsensical, invisible sky god.