Imagine you are busy birding and walking in a field with low shrub vegetation in the southern Free State or in the Central Karoo and your attention is drawn to a constantly high pitched tee-tee-tee bird sound near you. Suddenly a small prinia-like bird with a long tail flies out of a low bush or runs like a mouse in front you. This bird is likely to be the elusive Rufous-eared Warbler…
Since the early 19th century collecting bird eggs was a popular hobby for naturalists worldwide. Many private collections were later donated to museums for curation. Egg collecting and the study of eggs is known as oology which is one aspect of ornithological research. Egg collectors mostly collect eggs from birds’ nests for their own private collections.
Adaptations in bill morphology, diet preferences and social structures: insights from some species in the Free State.
By Dawie de Swardt.
LBJ’s or “little brown jobs” in birding terms are cryptic or brownish birds and most of the time difficult to identify. Larks, together with other generally drab-coloured birds such as pipits, warblers and cisticolas; are small to medium-sized passerines with such cryptic plumages. They occur mostly in open, structurally simple habitats, ranging from desert and semi-deserts, the Karoo areas, to the moister transitional grasslands and savannah woodlands to the east. Many larks exhibit substrate colour-matching, the dorsal plumage in particular bearing a resemblance to the substrate of the environment it inhabits.
Image credit: Malachite Sunbird, Nectarinia famosa, male Derek Keats
Over 90 bird species have been recorded at the Oliewenhuis koppie and gardens, making it a bird lover’s paradise. The Oliewenhuis Art Museum is situated on Grant’s Hill in Bloemfontein and is surrounded by 12 acres of natural vegetation. The Oliewenhuis koppie stretches right up to the boundary fence on top of the hill. It has four well marked walking trails through the unspoilt natural surroundings.
Secretarybirds are loved and admired by birdwatchers, tourists, farmers and conservationists. This bird is also the first bird species which is referred to when I speak with farmers. Secretarybirds are grassland specialists known for catching snakes and killing them by kicking them with pin-point accurate stomps of their powerful feet. They also forage on grasshoppers, rodents, reptiles like lizards and also small birds. They even swallow grassland birds’ eggs like those of francolins and even a Northern Black Korhaan while foraging for food and bring these back to their nests.