Monday, 31 March 2014

Nile Crocodile

Nile Crocodile – The largest reptile in Africa

The Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is the largest of any reptile in Africa, in fact the Nile Crocodile is the second largest of all living (extant) reptiles in the world, second only to another crocodile the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

When we look at the sheer size that can be obtained by the Nile Crocodile, specimens have been measured at over 6m (20ft) in length and weighing in at over 900kg (2000lb) we see how intimidating and deadly the Nile Crocodile can be to its prey.

Picture of a Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)
Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) Lake Panic - Kruger National Park

Monday, 24 March 2014

African Spoonbill

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

Being endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar the African Spoonbill (Platalea alba) is one of the most easily conspicuous and recognisable of birds, I say this is due to its extraordinary ‘bill’ which looks like a pair of long grey ‘paddles’ attached to its face.

With these paddles (or ‘spatulated’ bill) the African Spoonbill, continually forages in the freshwater wetlands, pans, rivers and flood plains for its food which consist of small fish, crustaceans, molluscs and insects.

Photograph of African Spoonbill (Platalea alba) stood in shallow water
African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

African Giraffe

African Giraffe the tallest living land animal

The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) is often passed by, by those either on safari for the first time after a few encounters or by those who like me spend a great deal of their time in the bush. The giraffe is one of my favourite and most interesting of animals to photograph as you can normally get quite close to them, especially in the Kruger National Park wher I take a lot of my photographs. 

Giraffe has many ticks against its name, besides being the tallest land animal they are for instance the tallest of the even toed 'ungulates' and also the largest 'ruminant'. Their are around 9 sub-species of giraffe but the one shown below is the South African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa).

Photograph of a South African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) stood in long grass
South African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis giraffa) - Kruger National Park

Monday, 17 March 2014

Southern Yellow-billed-Hornbill

The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) is one of about 10 Hornbill species that can be found in South and Southern Africa.  The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is along with the Red-billed Hornbill the most common of the Hornbill species in South Africa.

The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is found mainly in broad leaf woodland which in South Africa is in mainly in the far north east of the country. The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is a medium sized bird around about 50-60cm (18-24in) in length and feeds on the ground catching spiders,insects, scorpions and seeds.

The female Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill nests in a suitable hole or hollow in a tree which is sealed up by the male with as small gap from which he feeds her through. The female Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill also looses all her feathers while sealed in her nest hollow. Therefore if something should happen to the male Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill the female would not only starve also possibly her chicks, but she would also not be able to  get out and fly away or feed herself.

Photograph of a Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) perching on a branch.
The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) - Wildlife and Nature Pictures

African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

Africa and particularly South Africa is rich in its biodiversity and large carnivores, one of Africa's rarest and most endangered wildlife species is the African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) or  Cape Hunting Dog, Painted Dog, Painted Hunting Dog, Painted Wolf, it is known by many names but the best is the African Wild Dog. A large carnivore it is known for its hunting skills in packs and the  relentless pursuit of its prey.

Although in saying that I found this one on its own on a tar road in South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Picture of a African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) sat on the road in South Africa's Kruger National Park
African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) goes by many names- Kruger National Park-South Africa

Monday, 10 March 2014

Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne)

Long-tailed Widowbird ( Euplectes progne)

We are coming to the end of the 'breeding season' here in South Africa for many animals and as a consequence many male birds will loose their magnificent 'breeding colour's. Not only will this South African resident bird the Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne)  loose his contrasting black, red and white markings (feathers) and return to quite a drab looking individual but he will also loose his very impressive 500mm (18in) tail feathers (12no) as well. I captured this male Long-tailed Widowbird  just a few weeks ago displaying his 'magnificent' long tail as you can see. 

Male Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne) perched on a post displaying his long tail
Male Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne) displaying his 500mm (18in) long tail 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

European Roller (Coracias garrulus) - Wildlife and Nature Pictures

European Roller (Coracias garrulus) - One of South Africa's Summer Visitors

With five species of 'Roller' in South Africa the European Roller (Coracias garrulus) is quite common but is one of the largest of the 'Rollers' species. The European Roller is a summer migrant from Europe which is called here in South Africa a 'Paleartic Migrant'. Being a bird of warmer climes the European Roller will in the next few weeks start heading back to North Africa/Europe/Middle East.

Picture of a European Roller (Coracias garrulus) perched on a branch
European Roller (Coracias garrulus)-Summer visitor to South Africa

Monday, 3 March 2014

White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) - Wildlife and Nature Pictures

White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) Heading for extinction? 

The White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is one of only 2 species of Rhinoceros in Sub-Saharan Africa. The other species is the 'Black Rhinoceros' (Diceros bicornis). The White Rhinoceros is easily distinguishable by it broad square lip as its some times called the square-lipped rhinoceros, Black Rhinoceroses lips are a more 'pointed' affair.

These magnificent animals are being poached in South Africa at a rate faster than they can produce. Last year 2013 the White Rhinoceros alone was poached and horribly mutilated in the process, at a rate of nearly 3 a day in South Africa, todate March 2014 37 have already gone, thats almost 2 a day. They are slaughtered to service in most part the Far Eastern 'powdered' rhino horn trade, used amongst other thing as an aphrodisiac!!

This white rhinoceros photograph below could be all that is left to see in a few short years if we can not successfully combat this horrific barbaric act being commited it would seem at will by organised international gangs.  We need your help, Rhino Revolution is one such organisation trying to combat the senseless slaughter here in South Africa. 

Picture of a White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) standing by a waterhole
Under severe threat from poaching-White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) - South Africa