Eastern Long-billed Lark

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As its name implies, the Eastern Long-billed Lark occurs in the moist grasslands and mountainous landscapes in the eastern half of South Africa. These are by far the least strikingly coloured of the five long-billed larks, but they can be instantly identified by their spectacular stooping display flights, accompanied by far-carrying whistled calls. This painting [...]

Cape Long-billed Lark

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These large and spectacular larks are denizens of South Africa's picturesque West Coast - as am I. They therefore have a special place in my heart. I pictured them here with a Euphorbia bush on the white sands of Langebaan. Also note the small white snails. These are Theba pisana - an alien species that [...]

Benguela Long-billed Lark

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This taxon remains somewhat of a mystery. As currently understood, it is restricted to the arid plains of Kaokoland in northern Namibia, from about Brandberg into southern Angola. The images here are based on a field trip I took a few years ago to study these and other specials of these stark landscapes. This painting [...]

Agulhas Long-billed Lark

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Described by Austin Roberts in 1941, this is the most restricted of the 5 long-billed lark taxa. It is endemic to the W Cape's Agulhas Plain. The background image depicts some Blue Cranes - South Africa's national bird - in a stubble wheatfield.

Creatures of Kimberley

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Some miscellaneous field notes from a trip to Kimberley in April 2008. This late in the austral summer, many of the migratory species had already completed their moult into breeding plumage, and were in immaculate condition. Large numbers of Western Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava patrolled the shoreline of Spitskop Dam, and many of the males [...]

Specials of the Spiny Forest

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South-Western Madagascar is a surreal place - much more arid than most people typically imagine Madagascar, and filled with bizzare Octopus trees adorned with dancing sifaka lemurs. The predominant vegetation in the area is called spiny forest - and for good reason, as one soon finds out when chasing after disappearing Long-tailed Ground Rollers . [...]

Black-throated Canary

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I suspect that few birders realise just how common the Black-throated Canary really is, even in urban areas...

Barred Wren-Warbler

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A member of the Cisticolidae family, the common name of the Barred Wren-Warbler Calamonastes fasciolatus was updated to avoid confusion with the unrelated Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria (family Sylviidae) that breeds in Central Europe and winters in North-East Africa. This attractive but furtive little insectivore is widely distributed across southern Africa's arid savannas, and is [...]

Agulhas Long-billed Lark

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The Agulhas Long-billed Lark Certhilauda brevirostris was originally described by Austin Roberts in 1941, but was subsequently lumped into a single wide-ranging species, Long-billed Lark C. curvirostris. Detailed research in the late 1990s, focusing particularly on genetic data re-erected this taxon as a full species. Of the six Certhilauda larks in southern Africa, this is [...]