How common is hybridization really? Probably more common than you think. Some estimates suggest that at least 9% of all bird species have interbred in the wild. A case-in-point is this apparent male hybrid between a Great Sparrow and Cape Sparrow that Ursula Franke-Bryson ringed in Namibia. I hope that this short guest blog from Ursula will entice birders to keep an eye open for the unusual – even with birds as everyday as sparrows!
The swift and fearsome Eurasian Hobby migrates south from Eurasia into Africa, while its dragonfly prey, the Globe Skimmer, migrates across the Indian Ocean with the monsoon winds. These two species meet in Namibia, where ringer Ursula Franke-Bryson had an incredible encounter. In this guest post, Ursula highlights the distribution, migration, food and feeding strategies of this astonishing little falcon.
I am in love with the coastal town of Mtunzini! Apart from its lekker laidback, holiday-style atmosphere and beach-vibe, the entire area is simply pumping with wildlife; from Gaboon Adders cruising the suburban streets at night, to Palmnut Vultures lazing on the beach. Furthermore, nature-tourism facilities and opportunities are excellent with a plethora of trails, drives, monuments, outings, activities and adventures to be enjoyed.
In 1912 a missionary named Paschal Boneberg found an odd little frog in the streams behind Mariannhill Church near Durban...and the world was introduced to the Kloof Frog, Natalobatrachus bonebergi. These fascinating forest frogs have always been high on my wishlist, but I've always come up empty handed. That all changes when I teamed up with Nick Evans for an evening of kloofing in Kloof.
Welcome to Ngoye Forest! If you're a birder, you will end up here sooner or later, as this relict 3,900 hectare forest patch in the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal is the only place in southern Africa to see Green Barbet (aka Woodward's Barbet, if you're so inclined), among many other endemics. There is even now a tarred road right through the forest, so no excuses! I tried something a little different with the layout this time - hope it works!
My friend Justin Rhys Nicolau sent me this remarkable picture which he took in Namib Desert. I admit that I was stumped as to these two babies' identity (which I'm sure was Justin's devious plan all along). Can YOU guess to which species these two cuties belong? I'll give you some clues: it is a Namibian near-endemic which is sometimes active at night and spends part of its life in underground rodent tunnels...
Some good news that a lot of birders (I hope) have been waiting to hear. My book, CHAMBERLAIN's LBJs, is now available again in print (as well as a downloadable eBook version). If you think I'm exaggerating when I say that LBJs are among our most spectacular, thrilling, interesting, sought-after and memorable birds, this book is just for you.
Africa's Red-billed Quelea is possibly the planet's most numerous bird species, with a global population of around 1.5 billion birds. Here are some videos to show what you can do with an abundance of queleas, a lot of bird seed and a little patience.
Am I the only birder who secretly likes mynas? Despite their bad reputation, you have to admire their tenacity and adaptability. This post solves a mystery that has intrigued me for several years, and highlights a behavioural quirk of mynas that actually contributes to environmental conservation. Recycling!