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Birds of Africa

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Baby OstrichOstrich is a well-known, enormous and flightless bird which is common in Botswana. Immature like small, scruffy female, usually accompanied by adults.
Habitat

Ostriches are normally found in parties but during the breeding season they tend to split up into pairs or a group consisting of a male and two or three females. Instances have been recorded where a single male was accompanied by a number of females which laid their eggs in the same nest. The nest is a wide hollow scratched in the ground in which the ten to twenty large eggs are laid.

Behaviour

Ostriches are usually seen walking slowly across the veld but when disturbed they can run at considerable speed. Their speeds can measure at more than 40 km/h. When they run, the wings are usually stretched away from the body. They occur widely throughout Botswana (less frequently in areas of human settlement) and are found in all habitats except wetlands, being most common in the more arid zones.

Food

The birds feed on plants, particularly succulents, berries and seeds.They also swallow hard objects such as pebbles to help crush the food.
Reproduction
During the breeding season the adults will defend the nest and try to kick or knock over an intruder.

African Fish Eagle

African Fish Eagle

African fish eagle is a common resident in Botswana. It is well known, adult distinctive. These free-flying birds are easily mistaken for other brown eagles, but pale demarcation line of emergent white upper breast is usually detectable beneath the heavy brown markings. At one year plumage pattern begins to resemble that of adult through heavy brown streaks still remaining on white breast and mantle.

Habitat

The Fish Eagle preys extensively on dead and dying fish, but it is quite capable of catching fish swimming near the surface of the water. The eagle does this by stopping and snatching the fish as it goes past

Behaviour

They are usually seen in pairs at large rivers, lakes, dams and pans. Common and conspicuous throughout the Chobe and Okavango systems, regular at most permanent large waters elsewhere. It also may appear on larger pans during periods of heavy rainfall.The outstanding field characteristic of the Fish Eagle is its loud ringing cry which is often heard long before the bird is visible. The ringing, far-carrying call is "weee-ah, hyo-hyo" or "heee-ah, heeah-heeah", (the male's voice is more shrill than that of female) calls while perched or in flight. The bird throws its head back when it makes the call.

Kingfisher

Blue Eared KingfisherKingfishers are colourful, short-legged,dagger-billed fish or insect-eating birds. The fish-eating species plunge-dive for their food from a perch or, in some cases, (such as the Pied Kingfisher) while hovering. The insect-eaters hunt from a low branch, watching for and seizing insects on the ground. Fish are taken to a perch or onto the ground and beaten into immobility before being swallowed. Their flight is rapid and direct.

They breed in holes in river banks or trees. Young kingfishers resemble adults but are duller. The giant kingfisher is much larger (46cm long) than any other kingfisher species. The male has a chestnut breast, while female has a chestnut belly.

Habitat

Sometimes the Giant Kingfisher hovers briefly before plunging, but not regularly, nor is the hovering ever sustained as in the other species

Behaviour

Kingfishers usually occur singly or sometimes in pairs, on wooded rivers or dams and a loud call often is the first indication of their presence. They perch inconspicuously on branches overhanging deep water. . Giant Kingfishers are usually found at water points in the north and east of Botswana, absent from the dry interior. The Woodland Kingfisher is independent of water.

Cape Vulture

Cape Vulture

Manyelanong is the name of the hill north of the village Otse, which is 15km outside Lobatse on the Gaborone road. In the sheer cliffs of the hills, the tiny Manyelanong Game Reserve protects a breeding colony of Cape vultures. The place was known for many years as Otse Vulture Colony.

The Cape vulture is an endangered species and fully protected under the laws of Botswana. Cape vultures have nested in Manyelanong for hundreds of years, but in the last 40 years or so their numbers have diminished considerably. In the late 1960s, the population dropped to 50 pair, but numbers have since increased. Today there are just under 70 breeding pairs of birds in the colony, but it is still one of the largest colonies of vultures in Botswana.

The vultures can usually be clearly seen flying about the area and, when in season, the young birds are sitting on the rocks, which cover the hill. Visitors are asked not to make excessive noise, disturb the birds in any way or leave any food lying around. At present it is though that the birds fly several hundreds of kilometres to the Kalahari Desert to scavenge food.

Nearby, north along the western side of Manyelanong Hill, is Refuge Cave, a large fault 50m up the cliff. Pottery has been found here, and the cave was probably used as a hiding place during the Boer invasions of the 1870s.
 

Feedback From Clients

Michelle Kimberley


Just got back last night - what a trip! Kenya versus Botswana.... It is a hard question to answer and something I have been thinking about a lot over the past 2 weeks. Botswana is very different - I like that there are less people and that you are on a private concession. But, on the other hand, it seems like you really need to visit at least 3 camps to really see everything. I think for someone like me, Botswana is really a great place to go - since I know I will go again and experience the other camps. But for people who are going only once in a lifetime, then I think I am inclined to suggest Kenya - you see it all at once and stay at one camp. I am so glad you convinced me to go to Botswana though - it really was a wonderful experience. I d...

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