Skip to Content

Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern KNP

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
johanrebel
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 566
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:34 pm

Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern KNP

Unread postby johanrebel » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:00 pm

Observation of Three-banded Courser Rhinoptilus cinctus chick hatching

Observer: Simon Stobbs
Location: Pafuri, northern Kruger National Park
Date: 16 and 17 November 2012

Whilst at Pafuri Camp in November last year I joined former head ranger Simon Stobbs, on a number of birding drives. One of the days was spent seeing how many species we could record in a 24-hour period, whilst the others were spent searching for some of the Pafuri ‘specials’. One of the target species was Three-banded Courser as it is a bird which reaches the southern end of its distribution at Pafuri (there have however been sightings further south in the Kruger Park over the last few years). As a result of its distribution, people often require it for their South Africa list.

On 16 November we set out on a morning game-drive. planning to spend some time in some of the mopane woodland habitats found at Pafuri in search of the Three-banded Courser. We had found a nesting Three-banded Courser in November 2011 so we were all rather hopeful.

Shortly after entering the first patch of mopane woodland, Allon, one of the guests, yelled that we had just driven past a Three-banded Courser right next to the road. Simon reversed the vehicle so we could get a good view, but parked some distance away as we did not want to frighten the bird which was sitting on a nest. This was interesting to note as two other Three-banded Courser nests at Pafuri have been found right next to the road, one of these being the nest seen in November 2011. In his book “Nests & Eggs of Southern African Birds”, Warwick Tarboton makes mention of the fact that Three-banded Coursers often nest on road verges. There could be something in this, or it could simply be due to the fact that it is a tricky bird to see and one typically tends to view it if only if it is close to the road. Simon captured the first image of the bird at 6:29 am.

Image

We all trained are binoculars on the bird and after a while it briefly stood up. This allowed us to notice that the bird had a tiny chick beneath it. When the bird stood up a second time we all had a view of an egg on the ground. Here was a Three-banded Courser right next to the road with a recently hatched chick and an egg that was still to hatch! When the bird stood up for the third time, I saw that the chick inside the egg was busy hatching. Not wanting to miss this, we sat patiently and watched as events unfolded. After a few minutes, the bird stood up again and this time we had our first views of the newly-hatched Three-banded Courser as it lay in the scrape of a nest.

Image

We now had a view of both chicks together

Image

By this time, the non-incubating adult bird had appeared. The incubating bird proceeded to carry the pieces of egg shell away from the nest and the non-incubating bird began to eat them.

Image

The bird that had been incubating the egg then returned to the two chicks. She immediately sat back down covering the newly-hatched chick beneath her wings. The chick that had hatched first now stood in front of the incubating bird

Image

After a short while, it headed beneath the safety of the adult’s wing to join its recently hatched sibling. Simon took the picture of the adult bird with both chicks beneath it at 6:46 am which meant that all of this had happened in the space of 15 minutes.

We decided that we would head off as we did not want to place too much stress on the birds. We agreed that we would return the following morning to see what had transpired. We arrived at the site of the nest at 6:30 a.m., but there was no sign of any of the birds. We slowly drove back down the road and then spotted the Three-banded Coursers about 70 meters from where we had seen them the previous day. They were still in the Mopane woodland. We initially had views of two adult birds, but as we looked closer, we managed to spot the two chicks. One of them was lying beneath an adult bird and the other was huddled up next to a small branch. We watched them for a while and left them in peace when they both curled up beneath an adult bird.

Image

Image

Image


All photographs courtesy of Simon Stobbs.

Johan

User avatar
Johann
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 939
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:29 am
Location: Stuck in Gauteng

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby Johann » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:59 pm

We found some incubating birds in 2007 in the western part of Mapungubwe NP. They were also right next to the road but unfortunately we didn't have the privelege to observe this.

8) Awesome!
Thanks for posting Johan.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie

User avatar
Elsa
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13978
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby Elsa » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:22 pm

Incredible and interesting sighting and observations Johan. :thumbs_up:
Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

User avatar
davejenny
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:39 pm
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby davejenny » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:34 pm

What a wonderful encounter :dance: . Thanks for sharing. :clap: :clap:

Dave
Too far from the Kruger.... ahh memories of this trip....
Punda Maria - 3-4/11/2011
Pafuri Tented Camp - 5-6/11/2011
Shingwedzi - 7-8/11/2011
Letaba - 9/11/2011
Olifants - 10/11/2011
Satara - 11/11/2011
Skukuza - 12/11/2011
Berg-en-dal - 13-14/11/2011

User avatar
saraf
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8981
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:19 pm
Location: Portsmouth, England

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby saraf » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:44 pm

Wow, what an experience, thank you for sharing. And thanks too to Simon for allowing you to share the photos.
Want to say Thank You or Well Done to a fellow 'mite? Why not nominate them for a Kudu?

User avatar
Trrp-trrrrrrrr
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Award: Funniest/Best Forumite Name (2014)
Award: Forumite of the Year (2014)
Award: Video of the Year (2014)
FAC Member (2013)
Posts: 11135
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:57 pm
Location: 'Incorrect!!.......Need to be in the bush!'

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby Trrp-trrrrrrrr » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:43 am

What a wonderful experience to witness....they are so cute. :clap: :clap:

Thanks for sharing this special sighting. :thumbs_up:
"Listen to the voice of nature, for it holds treasures for you."~ Native American (Huron) Proverb

User avatar
wildtuinman
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 5508
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Location: Chasing down the rarities

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:36 am

A very rare and enormously special sighting! Super stuff.
668
Latest Lifer(s): Buff-spotted Flufftail, Tree Pipit, Dimorphic Egret, Lesser Jacana, Citrine Wagtail, Black-tailed Godwit

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman

User avatar
Philip1
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Quiz Whiz of the Year (2014)
Posts: 7508
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:58 am
Location: Far South in South Africa.

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby Philip1 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:55 am

:clap: Thank you for sharing pics and educating Tr :thumbs_up:
"Lose yourself in Nature and find Peace!" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
UNITE AGAINST POACHING...What we protect,
do not let poachers take it away!

Extinction is forever and survival is up to---every last one of us!

johanrebel
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 566
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:34 pm

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby johanrebel » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:39 pm

My pleasure.

I also saw some newly minted Bronze-winged Courser chicks in the middle of the road and in bright daylight one afternoon. Some of the funniest looking birds I've ever seen! I don't carry a camera, and am still waiting for pics I've been promised. Should I get hold of them I shall post them in a topic in this forum.

Johan

User avatar
Tilandi
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 13536
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Stilfontein

Re: Three-banded Courser chick hatches at Pafuri, northern K

Unread postby Tilandi » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:43 am

Wow! Thanks for sharing this lovely 'happening'. :thumbs_up:
Latest lifer Great Sparrow


Return to “Birding in Southern Africa”