One of our most colour­ful birds

Talk of the Town - - Classified Advertisements - ... with Tim Cock­croft

GREETINGS all! Here we go with an­other is­sue of the Chirp... here is our “bird of the week”.

The white-fronted bee-eater is a well-known bird up north, be­ing one of the most reg­u­larly-en­coun­tered and pop­u­lar birds from the North­ern Cape, rang­ing up into Gaut­eng, Lim­popo, Mpumalanga and all the way into Zim­babwe, north­ern Botswana and fur­ther up into Africa.

How­ever, this bird hasn’t al­ways been a “reg­u­lar” res­i­dent in the Eastern Cape.

Over the years they have slowly been es­tab­lish­ing them­selves in our area. The first white-fronted bee-eater I ever saw was at Ta­ble Farm, just about 10km be­yond Gra­ham­stown.

Since then I have seen them at Carlisle Bridge (Great Fish River) and near Colch­ester (Sun­day’s River). Here they have be­come res­i­dent and their range seems to be spread­ing out­ward from these lo­cal­i­ties.

There have been re­cent sight­ings at Cannon Rocks, Port Al­fred and also up the Bush­mans River.

To those of you who might not be fa­mil­iar, it is one of our most colour­ful birds. The fore­head and up­per part of the throat is white, sep­a­rated by a broad black line through the eye.

The lower part of the throat is bright red, with the chest be­ing a light golden-brown. The lower chest fades into a deep blue. The wings and up­per tail are green. So one can say the white-fronted bee-eater con­tains the colours of the South African flag!

The long, slightly de-curved bill is very use­ful for catch­ing their food – bees and other in­sects. They do this by perch­ing, watch­ing, wait­ing... then mak­ing grace­ful flap-and-glide flights up in the air. They nest in colonies wher­ever they can find suf­fi­cient large sand banks, where they bur­row out their nest­ing holes.

So, folks, that’s it for to­day. Please re­mem­ber I am avail­able for lo­cal bird-watch­ing tours in the area. You can con­tact me on 072-314-0069 for more in­for­ma­tion. Un­til next time... en­joy your bird­ing!

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