BOTSWANA SAFARI TRAVEL GUIDE - INFO ON BIRDS.

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Within the Okavango Delta about 460 of the 550 bird species in Botswana occur. Some of the rarer sightings or as birders would term it "Lifers"(a once in a life time sighting) within the Xaxaba area have included, Pel's Fishing Owl, Black Coucal, Pinkthroated Longclaw, African Skimmer and Wattled Crane.

AFRICAN FISH EAGLE

The African Fish Eagle is very similar in appearance to the American Bold Eagle. These birds do not only feed on fish, as many people believe. Up along the Savuti channel they have been known to catch Cape turtledoves, however in the Okavango, their main diet is fish.
Fish Eagle

PEL'S FISHING OWL

The Pel's Fishing Owl is one of the largest African owls and does not have the ear tufts that are characteristic of many of the other owl species. The rusty brown colour feathers with dark brown spots together with this birds rarity have lead it to being nicknamed "The Leopard with Feathers".

The Pel's fishing owl's main food is the fish. The bird has long talons and spiny soles to deal with slippery fish, such as catfish. As the Pel's is in direct competition with the Fish Eagle it hides in thick cover during the day and moves at night.
 

KORI BUSTARD

The Kori Bustard, which is the largest flying bird in Africa, is a common sight in the Savuti Marsh.This Afrikaans name for this bird is "Gompou" (Gum Peacock) and was given as result of itslove for the Camel thorn's gum.

The Kori Bustard is also one of the Big five of birds. The other members being the Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Pel's Fishing Owl and Saddlebill Stork.

Kori Bustard

BLACK COUCAL

The Black Coucal loves the long grass common in the sodden flood plains of the region. Here the bird moves around easily in search of spiders, insects, small reptiles and seeds.

The Black Coucal also like the African Jacana displays polyandry in its breeding behaviour. Only the male caring for the eggs and chicks.

PINKTHROATED LONGCLAW

The Pinkthroated Longclaw obtains its name from the cerise pink on the throat area. This bird is particularly difficult to find as its ability to move between the tufts of long grass allow sightings only if flushed.

The Longclaw flies stiff winged which is very often the significant in the early stages of identification.

AFRICAN SKIMMER

The African Skimmer is so called for its leisurely skimming action it performs to get food. The bird flies with shallow wing beats dipping its beak just below the surface of the water snapping food up as it goes.

WATTLED CRANE

Wattled Cranes have recently received massive amounts of attention within the Okavango Delta. This primarily because Delta is one of the main breeding sites for these birds.

The recent crane survey indicated there to be a population of about 1219 Wattled Cranes in the Okavango. This is a huge amount considering that there are only about 250 birds in South Africa.

Wattled Cranes

The recent crane survey indicated there to be an estimated 111 nesting pairs of Wattled Cranes within the Okavango Delta.

The Wattled Cranes status within South Africa is listed as endangered because of the loss of suitable habitat. The Okavango Delta of which the larger Boro flood plain has proved to be the ideal habitat as most of the birds recorded in the survey occurred in this region.

Wattled Cranes unlike other cranes only raise one chick. As soon as the first egg hatches the cranes stop incubating the other eggs.