At the same day of the morning walk (January 7th), after resting for a while we took the car and made the following roundtrip: we followed H7 up to N’wamatsatsa, where we entered S106, going down S140 and S145. From there, we came back through S36 and H7 to Tamboti, where we slept for a second day.
When we left the small road to Tamboti and entered H7 (Orpen-Satara Road), we found the same group of Impalas, Burchell’s Zebras, and Blue Wildebeests. The new sighting was a Lesser Black-Winged Plover or Senegal Lapwing (Vanellus lugubris
I like this pic of the wildebeests crossing the road in front of the Orpen gate, with small cubs.
The cars had to wait for the cubs.
It is easy to find Blue Wildebeests, but they are magnificent animals, which, just like the Impalas, one never gets tired of looking at.
Here is a pic of the Senegal Lapwing.
Even though the population trend is unknown, this species is regarded as of Least Concern with regard to its extinction, in the IUCN Red List. This assessment follows from the fact that this species has an extremely large range and the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds for extinction. However, it is rare in South Africa, where it is thus susceptible to regional extinction, although not threatened globally.
Its range of distribution can be seen here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=106003168
You can see that KNP is at one extreme of its distribution, and, also, that the species suffers from fragmentation of its distribution range.
The Senegal Lapwing is an intra-African migrant that may undertake regular seasonal movements or more irregular movements due to brush fires. Only some populations remain largely sedentary. In Southern Africa, its movements are not well understood. It is mainly resident in Zimbabwe but is a regular non-breeding summer visitor to the KNP, while it is a breeding winter visitor to northern KwaZulu-Natal. It departs from KwaZulu-Natal in the period from December-January, probably heading to Mozambique and the South-African lowveld.
Breeding takes place in loosely colonial groups with several pairs scattered over a small area. This is a monogamous bird, with the male defending a small territory by calling from an elevated mound and chasing intruders away. The species is gregarious throughout the year, usually foraging in flocks of 5-10 individuals and migrating in large flocks. It might be rare, then, to see a single isolated individual, as we did. Habitat The species inhabits dry, open habitats, for instance, lightly wooded savannas, open grassland with bushes and scrub, patches of burnt grass in Acacia spp. woodland and sparsely vegetated short grassland. In particular, it prefers burnt grassland with newly sprouted grass, especially in the vicinity of water.
It feeds on adult and larval insects (especially beetles), other small invertebrates (such as termites) and grass seeds. Most of the foraging is done visually, plucking from the ground by day and night. It often forages along with other birds.