Kalahari Scrub Robin.. another difficult bird..

Kalahari Scrub Robin (Erythropygia paena)

It is sometimes known as the Sandy Scrub Robin. It is found in northern South Africa, where it occurs in sandveld with low trees and scrub, on the edges of woodland, and in savannah. It will also inhabit human-altered environments including old fields and gardens.

But it won’t come to me and it won’t stand still… Urgh… it has taken me a while to capture these poor photos, but at least I can say now I’ve taken his photo…

It is a seasonal breeder, August to February, peaking in November. The species is monogamous and territorial, protecting sizes varying from 0.7 – 4.3 ha. Females build the nest, weaved of shrubs and grasses in low thorny bushes. The nest building stage takes around 5 days.

The average clutch size is around 2 eggs, although the go big later in the season. Only the female sits on the eggs and the male defends the nest, aggressively attacking intruders and warning when predators approach.

The incubation lasts around 12 days. When hatched the female removes the eggshells and drops them away from the nest to disguise the nest from  predators. Both parents help in feeding the chicks and removing the faecal sacks.

Here’s the poor photos, but they are photos…..   Click on the photo to enlarge them…

022

020

018

063

059

058

056

054

Olive Thrush… one of the common Thrush’s..

Olive Thrush (Turdus olivaceus)

One of the most common members of the thrush family (Turdidae). It occurs in east African highlands from Eritrea and Ethiopia in north to the Cape of Good Hope in south.

The female builds a cup nest, typically 2 to 9 m above the ground in a tree or hedge. The 1–3 (usually 2) eggs are incubated solely by the female for 14–15 days to hatching, and the chicks fledge in another 16 days.

The Karoo Thrush (Turdus smithi) is said to be a sub-specie of this bird and I have posted on it before (to see post CLICK HERE), and now that is enough of the scientific stuff…

This bird has the most beautiful singing voice and I’m going to try and add a YouTube recording… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTYjKzykq6g  sorry you’ll have to click on the link, but please do, it is beautiful…

And you must remember my singing Ground scraper Thrush, that pair of singers.?? (to see post CLICK HERE

Now for my photos of the Olive Thrush…..

trip 028

trip 034

trip 033

trip 031

Purple-crested Turaco… one SOB to capture..

Purple-crested Turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus)

I’ve always known this bird as one of the Lourie family, but somewhere down the line it became a Turaco… so we will go with that. This bird is the National Bird of the Kingdom of Swaziland. The crimson flight feathers of this and related Turaco species are important in the Ceremonial Regalia of the SiSwati Royal Family. I’ve never captured this bird in flight so I borrowed this photo from the web… thanks web…

images

This bird has a purple coloured crest above a green head, a red ring around their eyes, and a black bill. The neck and chest are green and brown. The rest of the body is purple, with red flight feathers.

trip 216

But this bird is so damn difficult to capture on camera… well it is for me… I hear the other birds saying “Oh it’s easy!!” well not for me…

trip 218

But this one did co-operate … for a change and I got some captures … finally… They live in moist woodland and evergreen forests, and they eat mainly fruits.

trip 217

trip 213

trip 209

trip 199

Ant-Eating Chat.. a first for my birding list.

Ant-Eating Chat (Myrmecocichla formicivora)

The ant-eating chat, is also known as the southern ant-eater chat, well whatever it is a new one for me. With the help of birders on the internet I got the correct ID. The light was not the best for photography yesterday, but when a bird that you do not know seems to want to be photographed, who cares about the light.

The ant-eating chat is an insectivore and is especially fond of eating ants and termites. It changes its hunting style seasonally. In winter it can be found foraging on the ground for insects and in summer it pounces on its prey from a low perch. Other than ants and termites, its diet includes grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars and millipedes. It is also known to eat fruit on occasion. Hummm… maybe a subject for my fruit salad tree…!!

The ant-eating chat builds its nest by burrowing a chamber into a sand quarry or sand wall. The chamber is typically 30-150cm long and the excavating is done by the parents over a period of 8-10 days. Egg-laying season is august to march, and the chat lays between two and seven eggs that are incubated by the female for 14-16 days. Chicks are fed by both parents and are sometimes helped by the juveniles from the previous clutch. (info with thanks from the Krugerpark.com site) Here are my photos… it is a female bird, as the male has a small white spot on the top of the folded wing…..

006

008

013

015

018

The internet is wonderful for getting aid in identifying a specie… there are so many enthusiast that have sharing sites on the internet, that an incorrect ID is almost impossible. If this was pre Internet, I probably would have taken days to ID the bird, now it takes no longer than minutes when one uses the sites…