Malachite Kingfisher .. A Bulldog Swan song.

Malachite Kingfisher (Alcedo cristata)

I cannot tell you how long I’ve tried to get a photo of this bird, but at 5 inches, tail to beak tip, you got to be lucky to get close enough.

I got a photo once which was the best I’ve ever got before yesterday, and this wasn’t even in focus… a classic for the “Worst Bird Photography Ever.”

rietvlei 05-06-2012 247

This is a species common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow moving water or ponds. The flight of the bird is rapid, the short rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has a regular stand from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive. No wonder it’s called a “KING fisher”..

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both work together to excavate. the burrow inclines upward before the nesting chamber is reached. There is no nest, but 3-6 round white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is a short shrill “seek.” The breeding song is a chuckling “li-cha-cha-chui-chui.” and in case you’re not sure, the Bulldog’s bark after this capture is “Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”

Now drum roll please….. druuuuuum, druuuuuum, Bulldogs capture… (Applause… Applause… Applause)…





Green Backed Heron..or Striated Heron..

Striated Heron, Butorides striata

There seems to be some controversy about this heron group.. this bird is one that falls within a series that is now broken up into different names.. and to be quite honest I’m not even sure if this is still called a Green Backed heron or just a Striated Heron..

There is now a Green Heron, which is found in North America and Panama which for all I know looks the same as this bird… so here’s a few photos and maybe someone will recognise it and tell us more…



Thur 21-07-2011 060

Kori Bustard.. Big Bird..

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori).

The Kori Bustard is a large bird native to Africa. It is a member of the bustard family. It may be the heaviest bird capable of flight.

The male Kori Bustard is 120 to 150 cm (3.9 to 4.9 ft.), stands 71–120 cm (2.33–3.9 ft.) tall and have a wingspan about 230 to 275 cm (7.5 to 9.02 ft.). On average, male birds weigh between 10.9–16 kg (24–35 lb.), averaging 13.5 kg (30 lb.) but exceptional birds may weigh up to 20 kg (44 lb.).

Kori Bustards spend most of their time on the ground, though can forage occasionally in low bushes and trees. Being a large and heavy bird, it avoids flying if possible. This bustard is a watchful and wary bird. This large bird has a loud, booming mating call which is often uttered just before dawn and can be heard from far away.

they are quite omnivorous birds. Insects are an important food source, with common species such as locusts, grasshoppers, dung beetles and caterpillars being most often taken. Small vertebrates may also be taken regularly, including lizards, chameleons, snakes, small mammals and bird eggs and nestlings.

The breeding season is between October and March, the males hold their heads backwards, with cheeks bulging, the crest is held erect, the bill open and they inflate their gular pouches, forming a white throat "balloon". They have polygamous breeding habits, where one male displays to attract several females and mates with them all… typical macho man…

Wed 27-07-2011 105

Wed 27-07-2011 106


















Wed 27-07-2011 007

Wed 27-07-2011 005

Wed 27-07-2011 103

Wed 27-07-2011 102

Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne)

Do you remember my post about this bird getting dressed for sex… here’s a link if you missed it… I said I was going to try and capture its flight pattern when it shows off its plumage… well today Linda and I went out and tried .. this is what we got, and we will get better but just thought I’d share a few… little blurred, the wind was howling today…



Rietvlei 18-10-2012 146


rietvlei 034

rietvlei 105

rietvlei 071

rietvlei 115

rietvlei 111









rietvlei 114

Capped Wheatear.. an Old World flycatcher..

Capped Wheatear (Oenanthe pileata).

This wheatear is found in open dry sandy and stony habitats and short grassland with a few bushes and termite mounds. This solitary species feeds on insects, especially ants. Like other wheatears, it perches on mounds and hops over the short grass, or flies low over the ground. (wonder where the Old world Flycatcher name comes from, they don’t even eat flies.)

The Capped Wheatear’s song is a loud melodic warble interspersed with slurred chattering, (not due to the intake of alcohol) and it has a chik-chik alarm call. It is monogamous and builds a nest of straw, grass, and leaves in a hole in the ground or a termite mound. Typically it lays three or four, and sometimes more, eggs.

It is 17–18 cm long and weighs 32 g. Its legs and pointed bill are black. This common species is striking and unmistakable in appearance. The adult has a black cap, cheeks and breast band, and a white eye stripe and throat.

Now for some photos… again this bird was talking and I could hear it.. (getting worried about that.!!)

Radermeyer and rietspruit 164

Radermeyer and rietspruit 163

Radermeyer and rietspruit 162

Radermeyer and rietspruit 161

cape wheatear