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Botswana & South Africa Nov 2010 (1 Viewer)

Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
I have just returned from a great couple of weeks in South Africa and Botswana. We started in the Linyanti region of Botswana for three days then moved to a camp in the Okavango Delta for four days. After a week of fairly hardcore safari'ing we then flew down to Cape Town for five days there followed by three days in Stellenbosch. These were of course a little more relaxed with possibly the odd glass of wine. I have made several trips to East Africa in the past, mainly my interest has been photographing the animals and the occasional bird, but this time I thought I would take a far greater interest in the birds and keep a list. Anyone who has been to Botswana and South Africa will know what an abundance of birdlife there is and no doubt this list would have been much longer had I been better at differentiating between all the LBJ's. Anyway here is my list, most of them (100 or so out of a total of 140) were seen in Botswana.

Common Ostrich
African (Jackass) Penguin
Little Grebe
White Breasted Cormorant
Cape Cormorant
Bank Cormorant
Reed Cormorant
African Darter
Grey Heron
Goliath Heron
Purple Heron
Great Egret
Little Egret
Yellow-Billed Egret
Black Heron
Slaty Egret
Cattle Egret
Squacco Heron
Green-Backed Heron
Rufous-Bellied Heron
Hamerkop
African Openbill
Saddle-Billed Stork
Yellow-Billed Stork
African Sacred Ibis
Glossy Ibis
Hadeda Ibis
White-Faced Duck
Egyptian Goose
Southern Pochard
African Pygmy Goose
Comb Duck
Spur-Winged Goose
Hooded Vulture
White-Backed Vulture
White-Headed Vulture
Yellow-Billed Kite
Black-Shouldered Kite
Tawny Eagle
Brown Snake Eagle
Black-Chested Snake Eagle
Western Banded Snake-Eagle
Bataleur
African Fish Eagle
African Harrier Hawk
Greater Kestrel
Crested Francolin
Red-Billed Francolin
Swainson’s Spurfowl
Helmeted Guineafowl
Wattled Crane
Barrow’s Koorhan
Red-Crested Koorhan
Black-Bellied Bustard
African Jacana
Greater Painted Snipe
African Black Oystercatcher
Blacksmith Lapwing
African Wattled Lapwing
Long-Toed Lapwing
Ruff
Black-Winged Stilt
Water Thick-Knee
Kelp Gull
Hartlaub’s Gull
Cape Gull
Swift Tern
Sandwich Tern
Rock Dove
Speckled Pigeon
African Olive Pigeon
Cape Turtle-Dove
Namaqua Dove
Meyer’s Parrot
Grey Go-Away Bird
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Jacobin’s Cuckoo
Black Coucal
Coppery-Tailed Coucal
White-Browed Coucal
Pearl-Spotted Owlet
Common Swift
African Black Swift
Little Swift
Pied Kingfisher
Woodland Kingfisher
Striped Kingfisher
Blue-Cheeked Bee-eater
Little Bee-eater
European Roller
Lilac-Breasted Roller
Broad-Billed Roller
African Hoopoe
African Grey Hornbill
Red-Billed Hornbill
Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill
Southern Ground Hornbill
Black-Collared Barbet
Crested Barbet
Bennett’s Woodpecker
Golden-Tailed Woodpecker
Bearded Woodpecker
Rufous-Naped Lark
Barn Swallow
Wire-Tailed Swallow
Common House-Martin
Banded Martin
Fork-Tailed Drongo
Pied Crow
Arrow-Marked Babbler
African Red-Eyed Bulbul
Dark-Capped Bubul
Yellow-Bellied Greenbul
White-Browed Robin-Chat
White-Browed Scrub-Robin
Zitting Cisticola
Marico Flycatcher
Cape Wagtail
Common Fiscal Shrike
Red-Backed Shrike
Magpie Shrike
Crimson-Breasted Shrike
Common Starling
Wattled Starling
Cape Glossy Starling
Greater Blue-Eared Starling
Red-winged Starling
Yellow-Billed Oxpecker
Red-Billed Oxpecker
Southern Double-Collared Sunbird
Dusky Sunbird
Cape White-Eye
Red-Billed Buffalo Weaver
White-Browed Sparrow Weaver
House Sparrow
Cape Sparrow
Southern Masked-Weaver
Blue Waxbill
Pin-Tailed Whydah
Cape Bunting

I was though lucky enough to meet a couple of keen SA birders in the camp one evening their total is over 600 so I guess that put me in my place!
 
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Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
I have just returned from a great couple of weeks in South Africa and Botswana. We started in the Linyanti region of Botswana for three days then moved to a camp in the Okavango Delta for four days. After a week of fairly hardcore safari'ing we then flew down to Cape Town for five days there followed by three days in Stellenbosch. These were of course a little more relaxed with possibly the odd glass of wine.


Barrow’s Koorhan

Glad you enjoyed your trip, Paul. The Rufous-bellied Heron and Western Banded Snake-eagle are good spots. Took me years to find the WB Snake-eagle.
Where did you see your Barrow's Korhaan? You mention Linyanti/Delta, Cape Town and Stellenbosch. The Barrow's Korhaan seems largely absent from
Botswana, and appears restricted to northern RSA and the Eastern Cape, i.e along towards Port Elizabeth. It would be interesting if you've found one outside of its usual range.
Best wishes,
Dave
 
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Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
My notes indicate I saw that bird on November 13th in the Kwando Reserve in the Linyanti region of North Western Botswana (we were out at the time trying to find their Wild Dog packs). All can I say is that my guide was certain and my own observation confirmed as far as I could tell from my SASOL guide that he was right. As you probably know the Linyanti is right on the Botwana/Namibia border. I have just taken a quick look on line and its difficult to be clear on the distribution of this bird, but I am only a novice birder and maybe I/we were confusing it with a White-Bellied Bustard/Korhaan. My guide though did have considerable experience and wasnt prone to making extravagent claims and of course I was as diligent as I could be in seeing and verifying everything his eagle eyes spotted.

Paul

PS - I have seen Snake Eagles on many occasions during my trips to Kenya.
 
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Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
My notes indicate I saw that bird on November 13th in the Kwando Reserve in the Linyanti region of North Western Botswana (we were out at the time trying to find their Wild Dog packs). All can I say is that my guide was certain and my own observation confirmed as far as I could tell from my SASOL guide that he was right. As you probably know the Linyanti is right on the Botwana/Namibia border. I have just taken a quick look on line and its difficult to be clear on the distribution of this bird, but I am only a novice birder and maybe I/we were confusing it with a White-Bellied Bustard/Korhaan. My guide though did have considerable experience and wasnt prone to making extravagent claims and of course I was as diligent as I could be in seeing and verifying everything his eagle eyes spotted.

Paul
/QUOTE]

Thanks for your response, Paul. I'm sitting here with SASOL's third edition, and the only Korhaans listed for the Linyanti area are Black-bellied Bustard, Red-crested Korhaan and Northern Black Korhaan. Barrow's Korhaan was previously known as Southern Whitebellied Korhaan, and is shown as being restricted to South Africa. Do you have a photograph of this mystery bird? That would be instructive. Note that the female Black-bellied Bustard has a white belly. Perhaps that may have caused the confusion. Note that I was recently caught out in the Kgalagadi transfrontier Park by a Korhaan which I did not recognise. It turned out to be the female of the Northern Black Korhaan, of which I had seen many males, but this was the first time I had seen a female.
Have a look at the female Black-bellied Bustard in your SASOL and tell me what you think.
Best wishes,
Dave
 

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Maybe a moot point now, but hasn't Barrow's just been relegated to a ssp of White-bellied again?

Could be, I don't know. All I can say is I am sick to death of people fiddling with common names. I thought that was why we were supposed to have binomial scientific names, which are unique to each species. After all the whole point of a common name is that is what the bird is commonly called in a given area. There is no need to standardise common names. It's part of the atmosphere of whichever part of the world you're visiting.
Regards,
Dave
Hey, a milestone - I see this is my one thousandth post.
 

Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
No it most definitely wasnt any of those. I recall seeing the bird clearly, it was maybe 20 feet from the vehicle ,in open ground and I used good quality bins. I wish I had taken a photo of it for you. I did check in SASOL after your message and as you say its not shown in that area but on-line it seems like the distribution may be wider.
As I said I not an expert and don't discount the possibility that my guide and I were mistaken, but it did look exactly like a Barrow's Korhaan (White-Bellied Bustard - sorry didnt realise the similarity), and definitely not like the other candidates your mentioned. In fact my guide called it without having to check so I got the impression that he didnt regard it as unusual. I do have his email address so can try and check with him.
I guess at the end of the day I can only call as I saw it, but the male is a pretty distinctive bird and the photos on the net look exactly like the bird I saw.
Kind regards
Paul
PS - think I forgot to put Gymnogene on my list.
 
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Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
No it most definitely wasnt any of those. I recall seeing the bird clearly, it was maybe 20 feet from the vehicle ,in open ground and I used good quality bins. I wish I had taken a photo of it for you. I did check in SASOL after your message and as you say its not shown in that area but on-line it seems like the distribution may be wider.
As I said I not an expert and don't discount the possibility that my guide and I were mistaken, but it did look exactly like a Barrow's Korhaan (White-Bellied Bustard - sorry didnt realise the similarity), and definitely not like the other candidates your mentioned. In fact my guide called it without having to check so I got the impression that he didnt regard it as unusual. I do have his email address so can try and check with him.
I guess at the end of the day I can only call as I saw it, but the male is a pretty distinctive bird and the photos on the net look exactly like the bird I saw.
Kind regards
Paul
PS - think I forgot to put Gymnogene on my list.

You'll be delighted to know, in view of the comments about common names, that the Gymnogene is now an African Harrier-hawk. It drives me crazy.

What a pity you don't have a photo of the korhaan! You may, if your ID is correct, have spotted something unusual for the area. Birds have wings, after all - and they do turn up in surprising places from time to time.
Best wishes,
Dave
 

Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
Thanks Dave, I appreciate your time and this has been an educational exchange for me. At least I know a bit more about Korhaan's and Gymnogene's than I did!
kind regards
Paul
 

Dave Kennedy

Well-known member
Thanks Dave, I appreciate your time and this has been an educational exchange for me. At least I know a bit more about Korhaan's and Gymnogene's than I did!
kind regards
Paul

It's been a pleasure, Paul. Your original post has engendered some lively discussion, which is the whole point of Birdforum. Keep up the good work, let's have more postings, and come and visit the Southern Africa Birding forum, where you can learn lots more about Southern African Birds.
Best wishes,
Dave
 

Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
Yes I definitely will, if only to try and keep the memories of the wonderful birds in Botswana and South Africa, and forget about the snow and ice here!
Best wishes
Paul
 

Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
I agree completely, why change it! Gymnogene is far more memorable and individual than harrier-hawk.

Paul
 

Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
Here's a couple of photos from my trip, more to follow. Alas they aren't of anything very exciting, just a Blue-Cheeked Bee-Eater flipping a cicada in the air and Yellow-Billed Stork at the amazing heronry in the Delta.

Paul
 

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Paul E

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
Sorry one more, mating Southern Ground Hornbills, unfortunately not a clear view though.

Paul
 

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Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Hello Paul -

Very good to see this report - Botswana is definitely up near the top of my "most-wanted" list of countries to visit. Lots of intriguing birds on your list! (I believe I've seen a grand total of, ah, maybe four of those - possibly five, depending on what the taxonomists say).

Peter

P.S. That's one ambitious Bee-eater!
 

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