Common Fiscal

The Common Fiscal (Lanius collaris)

A member of the shrike family found through most of Sub-Saharan Africa. Some times named Fiscal Shrike, Jackie Hangman and Butcher Bird due to its habit of impaling its prey on acacia thorns to store the food for later consumption.

This is a fairly distinctive 21–23 cm long passerine with white under parts and black upper parts extending from the top of the head down to the tail. The bird has a characteristic white ‘V’ on the back and a relatively long black tail with white outer feathers and white tips on the other feathers. The bill, eyes and legs are black.

Juveniles identification is more of a challenge.  These were an easy ID, the mother was feeding them….

015

016

019

yard tania 008

yard tania 003

yard tania 006

yard tania 010

yard tania 013

003

032

Rufous-naped Lark

Rufous-naped Lark (Mirafra africana)

it is fairly common to common in a wide variety of open habitats with grass, such as savannah, open woodland grassy fynbos, fallow fields and open ground near cultivated land. It dislikes dense grassland, as it prefers having bare patches of soil for foraging and scattered bush and fence poles to use for singing.

It mainly eats arthropods supplemented with seeds, doing most of its foraging on the ground, gleaning food from the bases of plants and taking termites as they emerge from their mound.

This little fellow was so vocal… I heard him long before I saw him… and even then he continued to perform, before flying off….

Rietvlei 18-10-2012 003

 

Rietvlei 18-10-2012 006

Little Egret

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small white heron. It is the Old World counterpart to the very similar New World Snowy Egret.

The Little Egret is a small white heron. The adult Little Egret is 55-65 cm long with a 88-106 cm wingspan. Its plumage is all white. It has long black legs with yellow feet and a slim black bill. In the breeding season, the adult has two long nape plumes and red between the bill and eyes. The Little Egret is generally seen singly or in small loose groups.

Little Egrets are the liveliest hunters among herons and egrets, with a wide variety of techniques. They may patiently stalk prey in shallow waters. Or stand on one leg and stir the mud with the other to scare up prey. Or better yet, stand on one leg and wave the other bright yellow foot over the water surface to lure aquatic prey into range.

Here is a few photos I took of one stalking it’s prey…. and another standing looking on….

tania 011

tania 012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tania 018

tania 065

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rietvlei 28-10-2012 267

rietvlei 28-10-2012 025

rietvlei 28-10-2012 024

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tania 024

tania 031

Crowned Plover, or Crowned Lapwing.

Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus coronatus), or Crowned Plover.

Crowned Lapwings prefer short dry grassland which may be overgrazed or burnt, but avoid mountains. But one thing they don’t like is when a small green grass snake passes by too close… they raise their wings and peer closely at it, I suppose to intimidate it.. but it does add a certain enjoyment for me as I get to photograph the antics and wing displays, some of which I have to share with you…

rietvlei 28-10-2012 342

rietvlei 28-10-2012 331

rietvlei 28-10-2012 330

rietvlei 28-10-2012 328

rietvlei 28-10-2012 333

rietvlei 28-10-2012 366

rietvlei 28-10-2012 337

rietvlei 28-10-2012 352