Birds, Kruger National Park
One good thing about being a birdwatcher is that you don't need large animals to keep you amused! As we made our slow tours around Kruger, I was constantly on the alert for the more elusive bird life that inhabited the area. We started off the first morning with a flock of Helmeted Guinea Fowl ouside our rondavel. While on our first drive, we came across a Black and White Hornbill, then an impressive Saddle-Billed Stork in a waterhole, followed by a colourful Lilac-Breasted Roller perched on a dead branch. Of course, both the Cape Buffalo and Giraffe that we came across had Oxpeckers clearing them of parasites! I was also really happy to have two great sightings of Ostriches, not to mention some Spoonbills scything for fish in a water-hole, while a crocodile watched them! We finally finished things off with a very impressive long-tailed Shrike at Mopani followed by the White-Backed Vultures that gave the lioness away as we left Kruger on our final morning in the Park. After seeing amazing Papuan Hornbills during my time in Papua New Guinea, I have always since been interested in this species - and here we came across a Yellow-Billed Hornbill between Letara and Mopani Camps!
In addition to its large game animals, Kruger is also the home to a lot of interesting and photogenic bird species. These include eagles, spoonbills, storks, rollers, owls, cormorants, haws, and plovers. The biggest challenge is photographing them, since they are moving through the air when you spot them.
Of the birds that we saw in Kruger, our favorites were the marabou stork, lilac-breasted roller, and fish eagle.
These colorful birds are bee eaters. The park is full of exotic and coloful birds, Unfortunately the safari group was primarily interested in the big mammals and we did not stop for many of these birds
I can only recommend a night drive that is offered by the various camps, since one has the option to see a lot more of the game that is only active at night, such as the owl spotted in the early evening.
There are so many beautiful birds to be seen in Kruger. While getting excited about the animals we were equally thrilled to see so many colourful birds. We spotted the Great African Vulture, Eagle owl, Lilac breasted Roller, A bird that had 2 shades of blue whose name I do not know, Pelicans of some kind, and many others whose name we did not know but they were very pretty!
Be VERY quiet in bird hides. If there is a noise, this will unsettle the animals and birds and they will move on, away from your view!
Most hides are made of timber, too... so you should even walk as quietly as possible. Be considerate... and as quiet as possible.
Whenever you see a sign pointing to a bird hide... take that dusty road! There will be superb birds to view, plus other wildlife too... probably some crocodiles and hippos too. This is because the hides are usually near water holes.
When you arrive at a waterhole, if there are quite a few cars there already, it might be because one of the Big 5 has been spotted there. If you cant see anything, drive on. Traffic jams are not a good idea as most of the roads are very narrow.
When I was planning the safari in South Africa, I was mainly thinking "animals", so I was pleasantly surprised and quite fascinated by the enormous number of bird species we encountered. Many of them were migratory birds spending the season in South Africa and had flown from as far north as northern Europe to escape from the dark winter. We saw more bird species than I was able to photograph (the noise of the jeep often scared them away before we reached photographing distance), but those I was lucky enough to capture can be seen in the two travelogues: "Birds I" and "Birds II".
These birds are very common in the park. They are flightless and graze along side the roads and grasslands of the parks
These birds get there name from their hammer-like appearance. They also build very interesting and very large nests.
These very colorful birds are flightless and although rare are found in the grasslands and roadsides of Kruger National Park.
The park is amazing place for birds watching, I added here few images and more will be later on South Africa page as travelogue.
there are so many birds to watch and it really is a pity that most people only go to the park to see the big 5 and they never ever see the little animals.
These unique birds (I call them blue-headed chickens) congregate in large flocks. They move through the grass scratching the ground with their feet as they go, searching for seeds and insects.