Summer time in Zululand is hot and the bush is thick, well usually, when South Africa is not in drought. This last summer has been hot yes but the bush is scarce.

People tend to see this as a terrible thing which I do think is partly true but I also have faith in mother nature and the natural cycle of things. One thing that comes out of the bush being thin is seeing things that you wouldn’t normally see otherwise.

It is often thought that the leopard is the king of dense undergrowth of the Zululand bush, I believe it is the Gorgeous Bushshrike. Although they are fairly common they are usually next to impossible to see, they are notoriously shy and I personally feel like sometimes they’re just mocking me. But with the bush being so thin at the moment they seem to be everywhere. I have tried for many, many hours over many, many years to get a clear shot of one – I have never been so lucky! Until now… Not only did I manage to get what I thought was a pretty decent photo, I got a video of one of these birds calling.

There is nothing better then walking or driving through the bush and being stopped in your tracks by this captivating sound. My general theory on bird calls is; the more boring looking the bird, the more beautiful the sound and; the more beautiful the bird, the more boring the sound. As there are in many theories, the Gorgeous Bushshrike is the exception to the rule. Not only are they one of the most striking, beautiful species in South Africa, their call is simply exquisite.



I will never get bored of trying to spot these birds.