For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Birds of Pilansberg - Part 2

The grass is still high and the dew clings to it in the early morning light.
In the centre is a huge dam. Because of the water, the birds and animals are plentiful.
The Grey Lourie peeps curiously at me through the branches. A noisy bird which gives warning to the animals if danger approaches and sounds like it is saying "go-away". Living in trees, in pairs or small groups. They usually mingle in groups of 3-20, occasionally up to 60 beside water hole, jumping, climbing agilely about in trees while raising and lowering crest.

The male is easily distinguished from other francolins by the plane reddish-brown head contrasting with the barred underparts. The female can be distinguished from other francolins (Shelley's francolin in particular) by the white eye stripe and lack of chestnut stripes on breast and flanks.
The Coqui francolin is arguably the smallest francolins in southern Africa, averaging 260 g and 240 g in weight for male and female respectively. The only other francolin species that can compete with it in terms of low weight is Hartlaub's francolin, which averages 270 g and 230 g for male and female respectively.
Stopping at a watering hole to drink my coffee, I watched the baby hippo which was part of this group.
The Lesser Striped Swallow is a common summer migrant to the warmer areas of the region. It is usually seen in pairs or small groups, and is most often seen close to the nest sites on a house or culvert, or some other man-made structure. The Lesser Striped Swallow eats mainly aerial insects, but also some seeds.
Fork-tailed Drongo - It is usually seen singly or in pairs, and is a conspicuous bird, as it usually perches in the open, using fence poles, telephone wires or dead trees as a hawking perch It sallies out to catch flying insects, chasing bees and butterflies with a fast strong flight. It is a bold and aggressive bird, and will harass raptors and other birds that are much larger than it, including owls and sparrow hawks, as well as cats.