GREEN WINGED PYTILIA
Previously known as the Melba Finch (a name with slightly more charm if you ask me). These bright, tiny finches are little bubbles of brilliant colour that bounce around the African Savannah. Sightings are often fleeting due to their size and speediness. They generally spend their days hopping around the undergrowth of thorny scrublands.
Blueys as my family call them are unreasonably cute. They are a tiny species yet somehow these little birds always look like they’ve had just one to many pieces of cake. Often seen as an neon blue blur whizzing around the bush, their soft yet distinct call always gives them away. It’s such a treat when one sits still for just long enough to get a shot.
This batis sings the tune to ‘three blind mice’ and for such a minute bird the volume of this call is rather impressive! As they generally abide in the tree canopies they are often hard to spot, but they can always be heard.
GOLDEN BREASTED BUNTING
I remember this bird being one of the first species that I identified on my own as a child. I often see these buntings flitting along the sides of the dirt roads in game reserves, they look rather dull from behind but that gold breast is truly magnificent.
THREE RINGED PLOVER
How can you not take a second to admire the pure beauty of this water bird. This small plover species wades around in the shallows all day looking for tasty morsels. This shot was taken off a low bridge crossing in the Kruger National Park. I am just in love with their bold markings.
GREY GO-AWAY BIRD
The Grey Lourie or Go-Away Bird was my favourite birds as a child. They rule the Kruger camp sites with such attitude and their hard-core hair do is too awesome not mention. I photographed this particular Lourie at the Satara camp from the comfort of my tent.
Rollers are such wonderful, vibrant birds. The purple variety is the least colourful of the lot and yet they are still so striking.
SADDLE BILLED STORK
I find this enormous species to be one of the most interesting of its’ kind. I love that their brightly coloured bills can be seen from such a distance. Wading through shallow water sand looking majestic in the evening light is what these birds do best.
BLACK BELLIED BUSTARD
This female bustard actually looks a bit like a skinny chicken. They are rather comical in the way they move, they walk with their heads first so their large bodies look like they’re constantly playing catch up. This old lady had a lot of character that which made her lots of fun to photograph.
I love how distinct the sandgrouse markings are, especially the yellow ring around the eye. The best time to spot these birds is at dusk when they are coming down to drink. I have only ever seen them in small groups at water holes or shallow ponds next to the road. But rumour has it that in some areas the sky goes black due to the sheer numbers when the sandgrouse flocks come down to drink, I am determined to experience this one day.