Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, 5th edition

10,000 Birds

For several years I lived and birded in the south of Africa , and still have my battered second edition (1997) of the Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, the most trusted local field guide. Before that, while you all know what South Africa is, what exactly is Southern Africa?

Birding crème de la crème: Africa – Ngorongoro Crater to Queen Elizabeth II National Park

10,000 Birds

This time we travel to Africa, or to narrow it further, to the Afrotropical region (since the north of the continent avifaunally belongs to the Palearctic). SERVIR Africa Workshop. Finally, South Africa has three 400+ hotspots, namely 1 Mkhuze Game Reserve 458 sp.

Horror in Africa

Critter News

ivory africa military poaching elephants endangered speciesAfrican elephants being poached in unprecedented numbers. They are disappearing from the continent as the poachers become increasingly militarized. Full story here at the New York Times.

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Dreaming of Africa

10,000 Birds

Phoebe Snetsinger had that experience while birding East Africa for the first time and seeing as many birds as she did in the US for the previous 50 years.). In “Where to Watch Birds in Africa”, Nigel Wheatley says: “In terms of its size, Uganda is the richest country for birds in Africa.” Trips Africa endemics Uganda

Huge Ivory Seizure in Africa

Critter News

More than two tons of illegal ivory have been seized and more than 100 people have been arrested in the largest international operation targeting wildlife crime across Eastern Africa, the Kenya Wildlife Service and INTERPOL announced today. Tags: ivory wildlife trafficking africa elephants From the Environment News Service.

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Africa – Birding down Memory Lane

10,000 Birds

Under that impossibly blue sky of Africa. Everything around you is new and the World is exciting again, or was it simply Africa? I did use the word “Africa” too many times. Trips Africa Botswana city birdsGaborone, Botswana; June 1999. Marvellous orange-pink sunrise high over the Indian Ocean… Then, landing on a small airport at Gaborone, Botswana. Impossibly bright blue sky. Billboards advertising safari operators in the north of the country.

Pink in Africa

10,000 Birds

Of course Africa could not to be left out of the pink weekend so I have researched all African species whose official or alternative names include the word “pink”. Definitely my personal favorite of Africa’s pink birds is the delicate Pink-throated Twinspot. Pink-backed Pelicans build untidy stick nests in tall trees usually near waterbodies but in tropical parts of Africa they even nest in villages and along roadways, as long as they are not persecuted.

Ghoulish Primate Experiment in South Africa

Critter News

animal experimentation animal research primates south africaWarning! This is just horrible and sick, sick, sick. It's at a vomit level with me. From news24.com. Johannesburg - A Bloemfontein man received a criminal record on Friday for a "backyard experiment" on a pregnant monkey, the NSPCA said. The NSPCA in November 2008 charged Jordaan for his "merciless treatment" of a heavily pregnant vervet monkey. He had severed her spinal cord to paralyse her for a "backyard experiment.

Africa’s endangered species

10,000 Birds

All the inhabited continents except Africa have experienced bird extinctions; however the 2012 update of the IUCN Red List shows a startling, but not altogether unexpected, trend in that more and more of our bird species are facing extinction. Even in Africa, where birds have co-inhabited the landscape with man since the evolution of our species, more and more bird species are joining the ranks of the threatened. Birds Conservation Africa endangered birds

The Bee-eaters of Africa

10,000 Birds

The wonderful family Meropidae contains 27 dazzling species, of which Africa is endowed with no less than 20 species, the balance occurring across Asia and with one as far afield as Australia. In Africa, our bee-eaters occur from the southern tip of the continent right through to the far north, occupying an incredible range of habitats and niches, from the interior of the deepest rainforests of the Congo to the arid steppes of the Sahel. Birds Africa Bee-eaters Meropidae

Picathartes – Africa’s strangest birds

10,000 Birds

The family Picathartidae consists of two very unusual birds; White-necked or Yellow-headed Picathartes , endemic to the Upper Guinea forests of West Africa; and Gray-necked or Red-headed , restricted to Lower Guinea forests of Central Africa. They diverged at approximately the same time as the rockjumpers (two quite unique bird species endemic to Southern Africa and now in their own family), and as a result for a while were even placed in the same family.

“The Birder’s Guide to Africa” by Michael Mills

10,000 Birds

Starting in the mid-1990s, there was a “where to watch birds in…” series of five site guides written by Nigel Wheatley and covering South America (1994), Africa (1995), Asia (1996), Europe & Russia (2000) and Central America & the Caribbean (2001). As you probably know how mad about Africa I am, it comes as no surprise that I was head over heels when I spotted an announcement of a new Birder’s Guide to Africa. Is there a birder who doesn’t want to bird Africa?

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Ivory Bigger than Drugs in Africa

Critter News

Trafficking in ivory and game meat has become one of the most lucrative illegal trades in Africa due to rising demand in Asia, experts said on Friday. "In Tags: wildlife crime ivory africa trafficking asia elephants Sad, sad, sad. Why doesn't this greed ever end? Ivory means NOTHING. It's just a material. There is no magic, no power, NOTHING to it. And even with all the public education and media attention, there is just no abatement in demand. It's just so frustrating!

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Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa

10,000 Birds

The history of Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa is a slightly unusual one. It is a good place for South African birders, as several species are found here and nowhere else in South Africa, and it holds a small number of endemics that it shares with the Mozambique lowlands. The park did have a pack of African Wild Dogs, or Painted Wolves, the species I had gone to Africa to see. Birding Lion South Africa

Largest Ever Trafficking Bust in Africa

Critter News

An operation across five Africa countries over weekend, targeting wildlife crime has led to arrest of almost 60 people and seizure of one ton of illegal elephant ivory, Interpol has reported. Tags: wildlife crime ivory wildlife trafficking africa elephants Just five days ago. The one-day sweep, code-named Operation Baba, targeted more than 50 locations, including local ivory markets, airports, border crossings and smuggling points, international policying body said.

Africa’s Barbets

10,000 Birds

They occur in three biogeographic regions; the Neotropic, Afrotropic and Indo-Malaya ecozones, basically tropical South and Central America, Africa south of the Sahara and tropical Asia. In Asia, their 30 barbet species are placed into their own family Megalaimidae , and finally in Africa, we have 42 species in the family Lybiidae , the topic of this blogpost. In Africa, barbets occur throughout the continent from the tip of the Cape Peninsula to the fringes of the Sahara desert.

The Storks of Africa

10,000 Birds

Africa has more than its fair share of storks, with 8 of the world’s 19 species gracing the continent. This blogpost discusses and illustrates Africa’s stork species, with Shoebill added as a bonus or honorary stork! It is predominantly a wetland bird and most productive larger wetlands and lakes of Africa will support a population of these large, hulking birds that hang around the shallows searching for fish, waterbird nestlings and anything else remotely edible.

Nyala, Southern Africa’s Stunning Antelope

10,000 Birds

I’m a big fan of the antelopes, a group that is most commonly associated with Africa but which also occurs in Asia and, if you stretch the term to be cladistically meaningful, Europe and North America. But it is in Africa that the group reaches its most diverse, from the enormous Eland to the diminutive Suni, and a whole range of body types in between. Mammals antelope South Africa

South Africa’s endemic birds

10,000 Birds

My home country of South Africa can only be described as a birding paradise! In this post, I’d like to focus on a small selection of South Africa’s special endemic birds. The Cape Rockjumper (here a female) is best sought at Rooiels, on the east coast of South Africa, north of Cape Town. A plethora of colorful and busy sunbirds occur in South Africa, many of them filling niche’s occupied by hummingbirds in the New World. South Africa’s national bird is the Blue Crane.

Tanzania – Africa at its best

10,000 Birds

Nowhere else in Africa do the preconceived ideas of the continent really exist in such living detail; tall, red-robed Maasai herding their skinny cattle, endless grasslands studded with flat-topped Acacia trees and grazed by herds of zebras and wildebeest, and dramatic volcanic calderas brimming with big game and fierce predators! A question I am frequently asked by birders and wildlife enthusiasts is: “ if I only visit Africa once, where should I go ?” Destinations africa tanzani

Week 16: South Africa and Kruger National Park

10,000 Birds

After a very long day of 7 hours of driving, 11 hours flying and then 9 hours more driving, we have arrived at our temporary home here in South Africa. Daily park fees are such that we opted for the annual “Wild Card” that is good not only for Kruger, but nearly every park in South Africa. In the same first day plus a couple of hours, my Africa bird count is at 66 species. Trips Kruger National Park South Africa The Little Big Year

Week 19: Out of Africa!

10,000 Birds

And so we are out of Africa, or South Africa at least. Having done the lower end of South Africa, I truly long to get to see the parts farther north. Sunbirds, are in my interpretation, the hummingbirds of South Africa. The final destination for our time in South Africa, was the Rondevlei Nature Reserve. South Africa has certainly brought this clearly into focus. South Africa – 219 species.

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A Brief Tour of Uganda, The Pearl of Africa

10,000 Birds

While much of East Africa is deforested, Uganda retains its trees, particularly in places like Bwindi Inpenetrable and Kibale National Parks, two of the largest and most important expanses of forest in the region. Birding Birds Africa Uganda

Africa’s Big Five and Little Five

10,000 Birds

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Africa’s famous Big Five , but do you know there is also an equally fascinating Little Five ? Africa is famous for its large, charismatic mammals, and the Big Five epitomize the most sought-after of these fantastic beasts. Elephant The big – two species of elephant are now recognized as occuring in Africa, the smaller and more secretive Forest Elephant and the larger, more familiar African or Bush Elephant.

Birding and Safari-ing South Africa with the ABA

10,000 Birds

And so, I went on the American Birding Association Safari to South Africa. It was the right time of year, October–spring in South Africa, the right price, and the right people—president of the American Birding Association Jeff Gordon, energetic emissaries George Armistead and Liz Gordon, and, very importantly, fellow 10,000 Birds beat writer Adam Riley and the staff of Rockjumper, who masterfully organized and guided the ABA Safari. Trips ABA South Africa

Yellow-billed Kites in South Africa

10,000 Birds

It is now treated as its own species, confined to Africa and the tip of Arabia (Black Kites also migrate here from Europe and Asia). Birds kites South Africa Last weekend I finally caved and bought a new laptop to replace the one that swan-dived off my bed last November. My desktop simply can’t cope with the number and size of images that modern digital cameras produce, and this meant that I was finally able to start sorting through my many photos I took on my trip.

Wakkerstroom, South Africa: It’s a Lark

10,000 Birds

I’ve not made spectacular progress writing up my trip to Africa earlier this year, so perhaps I should get on that. So instead let’s talk about South Africa’s best kept birding secret (at least outside of the country) Wakkerstroom. The area also had some star finds, including South Africa’s national bird and one of the finest-looking birds in the world, the Blue Crane , and the exceptional Yellow-breasted Pipit. Birding South Africa

Week 25: A few of my South Africa Favorites

10,000 Birds

With no real chance of any internet connection to report whatever new birds I am able to find, I am scheduling this photo essay featuring a few of my favorite pictures from Kruger National Park, South Africa. Trips Kruger National Park Little Big Year South AfricaI am out on an off shore boat trip, from Seattle, north thru the San Juan Islands, and if the weather permits, up into the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada.

Review: Sasol eBirds of Southern Africa

10,000 Birds

I have to admit, I didn’t think it could when I left for Africa last year. I had a copy of Sasol’s eBirds of Southern Africa on my iPhone (and iPad), but I had bought it to brush up on my African birds in my spare time, like on bus trips or particularly long meetings. I had planned to buy a new copy of the Sasol Birds of Southern Africa when I arrived in Cape Town, to replace my 13 year old copy (which I brought as well).

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Hoatzins invaded South America from Africa … by raft

10,000 Birds

In Africa. go on to say that they believe the birds colonized South America from Africa and suggest that the most plausible explanation for this is that the birds traveled west across the Atlantic on “rafts” — huge floating tangles of debris often invoked to explain trans-Atlantic mammal dispersal events. But an out-of-Africa hypothesis certainly gives us more to ponder as we regard possible relationships with the African turacos and other clades.

Smuggled Parrots in South Africa

10,000 Birds

A sad reminder of what is ultimately behind the birds you find in cages: birds being taken from the wild and subjected to horrible stress and, often, death. Even birds that were bred in captivity are still not domesticated, have wild instincts, and are not meant to live in cages. Asides

Africa’s remarkable long tailed birds

10,000 Birds

However Africa has more long tailed species than any other region, and this blog post celebrates a few of these fabulous birds. Africa’s impressive Long-tailed Widowbird by Adam Riley. Males of this large passerine sport a tail of over 16 inches (more than double their body length) that is proudly displayed to the dull females of the species in a spectacular, heavy and slow flapping aerial display, low over the grasslands of South and East Africa.

Cuckoos Tracked from England to Africa

10,000 Birds

Tiny satellite tracking tags allowed scientists from the British Trust for Ornithology to track five cuckoos on their 5,000 km migration to Africa. The birds have dispersed rather widely: Four of the birds have already crossed the Sahara; two are in southern Chad, one is in northern Nigeria and the fourth one is in Burkina Faso. One cuckoo is lagging slightly behind the rest and has made it as far as Morocco. Birds, technology, and science together are simply fascinating. Asides

Birding Mkuze

10,000 Birds

Mkuze Game Reserve is in the Eastern part of South Africa, about 5 hours away from Johannesburg, and one of the best places I have ever been to for bird photography. More birds of South Africa here. Birding Africa Mkuze South AfricaIn particular, there is one hide that is built over a watering hole, allowing great views of both birds and mammals (though for a dedicated bird watcher like me, those are more of an obstacle than a bonus).

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King Juan Carlos, Honorary Head of World Wildlife Fund Spain, Caught in Elephant Hunt

Critter News

Apparently it isn't the first time the King has been shooting big game in Africa, or elsewhere (Apparently he killed a bear in Russia a few years ago too). africa spain blood sport hunting elephantsFrom the Wildlife Extra News. April 2012. King Juan Carlos of Spain, Honorary President of WWF Spain, is recovering in hospital after breaking his hip in Botswana where he was on an elephant hunt.

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Sierra Leone's Elephant Population Near Extinction

Critter News

Tags: ivory africa sierra leone poaching elephants

“Wild Rwanda – Where to watch birds, primates, and other wildlife”

10,000 Birds

Forget the old news, Rwanda of today is one of Africa’s safest, cleanest and most stable countries. Christian Boix left his native Spain to become an ornithologist at the University of Cape Town and a tour guide for Tropical Birding, specialising in new destinations throughout Africa. Keith Barnes has birded Africa intensively for 30 years and has led tours on the continent for the last 15 years, after creating the company Tropical Birding.

Rwanda Dreaming

10,000 Birds

In his book The Birder’s Guide to Africa (3), Michael Mills noted not only differences in plumage (has white on a folded wing), but also voice and habitat choice, suggesting that the Albertine ssp. nehrkorni spreading all the way to West Africa). Get a copy of the Birds of East Africa (2004) by Stevenson and Fanshawe – definitely the best guide for the region. 3 The Birder’s Guide to Africa by Michael Mills. Trips Africa east Africa endemics Rwanda

The Crocodile Safari (Botswana)

10,000 Birds

What happens when you put a naturalist in a kayak, adrift in Africa? Before it joins waters with the Matabele’s iliMphopho, the river of rapid rising and falling, known to the rest of the world as the ‘great, grey, green, greasy Limpopo’ of Rudyard Kipling’s writings, the Ngotwane River marks the boundary line between Botswana and South Africa. Walking away from us was the Nile Monitor ( Varanus niloticus ), Southern Africa’s largest lizard.

Where America dreams of/goes birding?

10,000 Birds

Several times, the answer was “Africa”, which, being a continent and not a country, I excluded from the statistics, but will further comment below. 4%: Mexico, West Papua (Indonesia), New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya. Not surprisingly, ten of these 19 countries are in the Americas, but what does surprise me, there are just 4 in Africa and just 1 in Asia (2 if you count Indonesia). Africa is a huge continent with varied landscapes and rich biodiversity.

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Another Dead Mountain Gorilla

Critter News

Tags: virunga africa congo gorillas

African Activists Work to Save Gorillas

Critter News

The Last Great Ape Organization in Cameroon is only one of them, but it's the only law enforcement nongovernmental organization in Africa. Tags: africa bush meat congo gorillas endangered species cameroon Bushmeat is horrific, especially the trade in apes. To me, eating apes of any kind is akin to human cannibalism. At least there are activists in African countries themselves that are working to stop this practice.

Mike And Corey Are Going To Uganda!

10,000 Birds

Yes, we’ll be heading to Africa, more specifically the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda. Both of those descriptive quotes come from Birds of East Africa by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe, which has been my constant companion for the last month-and-a-half during my commutes to and from work, before I fall asleep, and even, I am not afraid to admit, when I sit on the toilet. Destinations Africa Uganda