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Birds and Animals Zambia

Birds of Zambia

This post is dedicated to Philip (you know who you are), a friend and former patient, who is fed up with looking at photographs of doors and is desperate to go on safari in Africa.

Yellow billed storks on a dead tree. Dead trees might look sad and leafless, but they are often teeming with insects, and so attract birds. But these storks are just chilling en masse, enjoying the evening light
This is a hooded vulture. It actually walks just like the cartoon version in the Lion King. Poachers poison vultures because the carrion-eaters betray the position of the poachers. Circling vultures can be seen from a kilometre away, alerting the anti-poaching scouts that a kill has occurred, natural or poached.
Black-headed heron. When you have got an itch, you just have to scratch it.
This is a green-backed heron in pale, immature plumage.
Marabou stork at a fishing party. They might be ugly, but they are very efficient at catching fish.
White-fronted bee eater. “But it is orange, there is just a sliver of white,” I hear you, I hear you, but I don’t make the rules.
Carmine bee eaters burrow into the sandy walls of the river bank. Absolutely amazing colours, wonderful acrobatic skills. My favourite bird at the moment.

Above are two African Hawk Eagles. Eagle-eyed readers with good memories will recollect that I saw AHEs in Embu, Kenya.

Long-billed crombec, an uncommon bird, but seen here in woodland 20km away from the National Park.
Grey-hooded kingfisher on the lookout for a meal, not usually fish.
Orange-breasted waxbills, male in plumage, female in flight. What gorgeous colours!
Hamerkop – indeed the head does look a bit like a hammer, if you’ve had a few drinks. This bird is skilled at grabbing small fish, flipping them up in the air and catching them oriented so the fish slide head first down its gullet, avoiding awkward fins and spines.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

6 replies on “Birds of Zambia”

I guess you mean me!
And what fabulous photos you reward us with. I looked at that photo of the marabou stork and thought, I’d that a huge pink wattle hanging from its throat. And it is
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marabou_stork
properly called a ‘gular sac’ I’m not absolutely clear what purpose it serves but I guess it’s a temporary good store. It’s some ugly bird though.
Plenty of good-lookers though. Like you, I love those bee eaters, both Carmine and White fronted. I wonder if they actually eat bees. Wikipedia to the rescue, and the answer is Yes: “As their name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat flying insects, especially bees and wasps, which are caught on the wing from an open perch. The stinger is removed by repeatedly hitting and rubbing the insect on a hard surface. During this process, pressure is applied to the insect, thereby discharging most of the venom.”

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