For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Montecasino - Bird Park - Part 1

There is a beautiful Bird Park situated next to the Casino with the entrance by this hot air balloon. If you have not been in one of these balloons before and get the chance to try it out, do go. It is a fantastic flight.

Besides being a bird park with a show twice a day, they also have a host of smaller reptiles, monkeys etc. to be seen.
I arrived there early in the morning and this African Grey parrot was still a little bit sleepy. The history of African Grey parrots kept as pets dates back over 4,000 years. Some Egyptian hieroglyphics clearly depict pet parrots. The ancient Greeks also valued parrots as pets. This custom was later adopted by wealthy Roman families who often kept parrots in ornate cages. King Henry VIII of England also had an African Grey parrot. Portuguese sailors kept them as companions on their long sea voyages.
These two Scarlet Macaws were fighting over the feedbowl. Macaws eat nuts, seeds, fruit, and sometimes insects. They also gnaw and chew on various objects. They show a large amount of intelligence in their behaviour and require constant intellectual stimulation to satisfy their innate curiosity. They often learn tricks easily. Macaws have been said to live for up to 100 years; however, an average of 50 years is probably more accurate. The larger macaws may live up to 65 years.
The White-naped Crane is on the Endangered Species list with only about 5,000 left in the wild and 500 in captive breeding programs. The are found in Mongolia, China and SE Russia.
Flamingos filter-feed on brine shrimp. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue.
Both parents nurse their chick, and young flamingos feed on this milk, which also contains red and white blood cells, for about two months until their bills are developed enough to filter feed.
The Hyacinth Macaw is third on the Endangered Species list of birds. Macaws are native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and formerly the Caribbean. Most species are associated with forest, especially rainforest, but others prefer woodland or savanna-like habitats. It has been documented that a Macaw's facial feathers are unique as a human fingerprint.
Pelicans rub the backs of their heads on their preen glands to pick up its oily secretion, which they transfer to their plumage to waterproof it.
This is the Back-necked Swan fron South America. Swans usually mate for life, though 'divorce' does sometimes occur, particularly following nesting failure. The number of eggs in each clutch ranges from three to eight.

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