Tough Cus­tomers

South African Country Life - - In This Issue -

Fear not the drought. Let suc­cu­lents make your day

1. An­other nest I’ve mon­i­tored for many years is that of an African Crowned Ea­gle (Kroonarend) pair. They’ve suc­cess­fully reared three chicks ev­ery two years. The first chick got to know me so well that when it heard my ve­hi­cle ap­proach, it would fly to­wards me to greet me – like old friends. (Pic­ture Anne Wil­liams)

2. The African Green Pi­geon (Pape­gaaiduif), with its soft, green plumage, fancy yel­low ‘socks’, bright-or­ange legs and feet, and scar­let cere and bill base is very colour­ful. I find its amaz­ing call im­pos­si­ble to im­i­tate ac­cu­rately. (Pic­ture Colin Ash­well)

3. Black-bel­lied Star­ling’s (Swart­pens­glansspreeu) pierc­ing or­ange eyes stand out in the glossy plumage and the bub­bling call is most at­trac­tive. (Pic­ture Anne Wil­liams)

4. The Pied Avo­cet’s (Bon­telsie) del­i­cate, ex­tremely thin up­turned bill is a re­mark­able fea­ture and, to­gether with its stream­lined legs, re­minds me of a grace­ful bal­let dancer. (Pic­ture Rod­nick Biljon)

5. Knysna Wood­peck­ers (Knys­naspeg) re­mind me of the won­der­ful years we spent in Knysna where I made many bird­ing friends – even its squeal is en­dear­ing. (Pic­ture Lau­rie Wood)

6. The metal­lic green plumage and flashy long tail of the Mala­chite Sun­bird (Jan­groen­tjie) would cer­tainly get my at­ten­tion if I were a mala­chite fe­male. (Pic­ture Tony Tree)

7. Long-crested Ea­gles (Langkui­farend) are easy to iden­tify with their ‘punk’ hair­styles. I find them very com­i­cal, es­pe­cially when their crest flut­ters in the wind. (Pic­ture John Richter)

8. The South­ern Red Bishop (Rooivink) male is a brave lit­tle fire ball that al­ways gets my at­ten­tion. I just love the way he puffs him­self up dur­ing display. (Pic­ture Anne Wil­liams)

9. Af­ter mon­i­tor­ing Black Har­ri­ers (Witkruisvleivalk) breed­ing here for ten years and send­ing data to the Percy Fitz­Patrick In­sti­tute of African Or­nithol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Cape Town, a very spe­cial bond of trust has formed. My best mo­ment was ap­proach­ing an in­cu­bat­ing fe­male while softly speak­ing to her. We kept eye con­tact un­til my hand was 30cm away from her – only then did she flush, re­veal­ing her pre­cious day-old chick. (Pic­ture Anne Wil­liams)

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