I thought I would share a bit of the bird life here in SA for those animal and nature lovers here on ATS.
African jacanas are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are about 30 cm long, but females are larger than males. They have chestnut upperparts
with black wingtips, rear neck, and eyestripe. The underparts are also chestnut in the adults, only in juveniles they are white with a chestnut belly
patch. The blue bill extends up as a coot-like head shield, and the legs and long toes are grey.
African jacanas feed on insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the surface of the water.
The saddle-billed stork is a large wading bird in the stork family, Ciconiidae. It is a widespread species which is a resident breeder in sub-Saharan
Africa from Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya south to South Africa, and in The Gambia, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and Chad in west Africa.
This is a huge bird that regularly attains a height of 150 cm (59 in), a length of 142 cm (56 in) and a 2.4–2.7 m (7.9–8.9 ft) wingspan. The male
is larger and heavier than the female, with a range of 5.1–7.52 kg (11.2–16.6 lb), with a mean mass of 6.38 kg (14.1 lb). The female is usually
between 5 and 6.84 kg (11.0 and 15.1 lb), with a mean mass of 5.95 kg (13.1 lb). It is probably the tallest of the storks (though not the heaviest),
due in no small part to it extremely long legs (tarsus length is up to 36.5 cm (14.4 in)). The long bill measures from 27.3 to 36 cm (10.7 to 14.2
in). The sexes can be readily distinguished by the golden yellow irises of the female and the brown irises and dangling yellow wattles of the male.
They are silent except for bill-clattering at the nest. Like most storks, these fly with the neck outstretched, not retracted like a heron; in flight,
the large heavy bill is kept drooping somewhat below belly height, giving these birds a very unusual appearance to those who see them for the first
time. To experienced birdwatchers on the other hand, this makes them easily recognizable even if seen from a distance. It has been suggested that due
to the large size and unusual appearance in flight, this species is the basis for the "big bird" and kongamato cryptids.
The pied kingfisher is a water kingfisher and is found widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Its black and white plumage, crest and the habit of
hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish makes it distinctive. Males have a double band across the breast while females have a
single gorget that is often broken in the middle. They are usually found in pairs or small family parties. When perched, they often bob their head and
flick up their tail.
This kingfisher is about 17 cm long and is white with a black mask, a white supercilium and black breast bands. The crest is neat and the upperparts
are barred in black. Several subspecies are recognized within the broad distribution. The nominate race is found in sub-Saharan Africa, extending into
West Asia. A former subspecies syriaca is considered as merely a larger northern bird of the nominate species (following Bergmann's rule). Subspecies
leucomelanura is found from Afghanistan east into India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos. The subspecies travancoreensis of the Western Ghats is darker
with the white reduced. Subspecies C. r. insignis is found in Hainan and southeastern China and has a much larger bill. Males have a narrow second
breast-band while females have a single broken breast band.
The giant kingfisher is the largest kingfisher in Africa, where it is a resident breeding bird over most of the continent south of the Sahara Desert
other than the arid southwest.
The giant kingfisher is 42–48 cm (16½-18⅞ inches) long, with a large crest and finely spotted white on black upperparts. The male has a chestnut
breast band and otherwise white underparts with dark flank barring, and the female has a white-spotted black breast band and chestnut belly.
The lilac-breasted roller is a member of the roller family of birds. It is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and the southern Arabian
Peninsula, preferring open woodland and savanna; it is largely absent from treeless places.
The average size of the Lilac Breasted Roller is 14.5 inches. The washed green head is large, the neck is short, the greenish yellow legs are rather
short and the feet are small. The beak is strong, arched and hooked-tipped. The tail is narrow and of medium length. The back and scapulars are brown.
The shoulder of the wing, outer webs of the flight feathers and the rump are all violet. The bases of the primaries and their coverts are pale
greenish blue and the outer tail feathers are elongated and blackish. The chin is whitish, shading to rich lilac of the breast. The underparts are
greenish blue. The bill is black and the eyes are brown. It has large wings and strong flight.
Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects,
lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about at ground level. Nesting takes place in a natural hole in a tree where a clutch of
2–4 eggs is laid, and incubated by both parents, who are extremely aggressive in defence of their nest, taking on raptors and other birds. During
the breeding season the male will rise to great heights, descending in swoops and dives, while uttering harsh, discordant cries.
The African green pigeon is a species of bird in the Columbidae family, and one of 5 green pigeon species in the Afrotropics. As with others in their
genus, they frequent tree canopies where their parrot-like climbing ability enable them to reach fruit, but rarely also forage on the ground. The
species has a wide range in Sub-Saharan Africa with around 17 accepted races.
Adult birds have maroon shoulder patches (olive in immatures) and rufous undertail coverts. They reach a length of 25–28 cm. Their call is a series
of flowing whistles, rendered as ‘thweeeloo, thweeeoo’. They inhabit riparian forest, woodland and savanna, where they associate with fruiting
trees, especially wild fig (Ficus) species, including Ficus sycomorus and Ficus sur, and in cities the ornamental Chinese banyan. They also take fruit
of Saffrons (Cassine spp.), Jacket plum (Pappea capensis), Buffalo thorn (Ziziphus mucronata), Water berry (Syzygium cordatum) and Jackalberry
(Diospyros mespiliformis). They may also feed on exotic Loquats and Mulberries, or on carrion by occasion.
Their upperparts are greyish green to yellowish green, their thighs are yellow with mauve patches on the top of the wing. The green plumage provides a
great camouflage in the tops of trees. Their bills are red at the base white at the tip. Their feet are also red.