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Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby hilda » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:35 pm

Just caught up again with your TR Charbel! Lovely sightings and pictures! :D :D
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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:46 pm

Meandering Mouse wrote:It is worrying to see how all habitats are starting to decrease. :( Lovely and informative report, Charbel :thumbs_up:


Yes, it had to be an eye opener for all the peopler all around the world. This is happening everywhere, including (surely) Brazil. But it seems that nothing can stop business...

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Charbel

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:48 pm

Dear Pumbaa and Hilda,
Thanks for following the TR. I plan to post more landscape pictures as nice ones appear in the sequence of the travel.

Cheers
Charbel

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby hilda » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:03 am

Looking forward to those landscape pictures Charbel! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:31 pm

Sorry for the delay once again. Same reason: tons of work!

In S106, we just saw Impalas with Red-Billed Oxpeckers. Here are some pictures of this interesting interaction, which can be mutualistic, when the Oxpeckers help the Impalas (or other animals) in getting rid of parasites, but can be also parasitic, when the Oxpeckers keep wounds open to drink blood from it. This reminds us of how plastic are phenotypes and ecological interactions. The complexity of ecological interactions is discussed in this interesting paper, precisely using the red-billed oxpecker as an example: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/11/2/154.full

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Look how the Oxpecker gets into the Impalas’ ear. This seems to be a mutualistic case, since the Impala not only allows the Oxpecker to intrude its beak in her ears, but even bends the ear to make access easier.

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I also like this bucolic picture of the road

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Red-Billed Oxpeckers are classified as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, but with decreasing populations. However, the decline is not regarded to be sufficiently rapid to make the species approach the thresholds of vulnerability to extinction.

Here is a map of the distribution of this species: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=106006845

Recordings of their calls can be found here: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... d+oxpecker

Quite interesting calls.

They sometimes hawk termites aerially and glean prey from vegetation. Nevertheless, most of its diet is composed by ticks plucked from the skin of large mammals, especially Zebras, Rhinos, Giraffes, horses, donkeys, goats and bovines, specifically antelopes, cattle and African buffalo. As remarked above, they may also collect blood and mucus from mammals with long hair, often drinking blood from fresh wounds. This might be beneficial, since it keeps the area clean and prevents infection or infestation by fly larvae, but might also be detrimental, because it leaves the wound open and unhealed.

Regarding their reproductive behavior, it is worth mentioning that they are monogamous birds, and, also, cooperative breeders. The breeding pair are usually assisted by up to 7 helpers, usually unmated adults and juveniles from the previous breeding season.

We followed, then, through S140, where more sightings were awaiting for us: 3 Burchell's Starlings (Lamprotornis australis), Rhino’s spores, 2 European Rollers (Coracias garrulus), 3 Helmeted Guineafowls (Numida meleagris), 1 Levaillant’s (Striped) Cuckoo (Oxylophus levaillanti), 3 Giraffes + 2 Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis), at two different spots, 4 Red-Billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus), 1 Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas), 1 Fork-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis), 1 Three-Banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris), in N’waswitsontso river, 1 Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), in the same river, 1 Leopard Tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis), 2 juvenile Cape-Glossy Starlings (Lamprotornis nitens), 1 Purple Roller (Coracias naevius).

Here is a nice picture of one of the Burchell’s Starlings we saw, despite the branches.

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These birds are not threatened, even though their population trend is unknown. The species is, anyway, locally common. It occurs from southern Angola and western Zambia to southern Africa, generally preferring open woodland and savanna, especially with Camel thorn (Acacia erioloba) and Knob thorn (Acacia nigrescens) trees.

Regarding their ecological interactions, it is a known prey of Wahlberg’s Eagles, and a host for the brood parasite Great Spotted Cuckoo. They mainly eat arthropods, along with small vertebrates and fruit.

Spores are always nice to find and try to identify. Here is a picture of the Rhino’s spores.

I know they are so common, but Helmeted Guineafowls are such nice birds.

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Look how the Giraffes were following down the road, swinging high but not low. It looked like a scene from a cartoon, great to see!

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In the road, without the vegetation, they look even more majestic

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This one had lost the tail, who knows how.

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At a point they left the road. We were following them from a distance

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Close-ups of an eating time

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Look at this mane! Certainly a beauty!

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They look nice together, floating above the world

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I like the light in this picture

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For the butt calendar, now with Red-Billed Oxpeckers.

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A final picture, when one of them looked at us. You can see how tiny the head looks like above that tall neck.

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby Sheenaugh-Lee » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:54 pm

Glad to see your back Charbel :)
Lovely pics :) thanks for sharing
Im still In LOVE with my Kruger!


Home is where the Heart is and my Heart lies in the Kruger ...FACT!

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby hilda » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:38 am

Thanks for another very interesting episode about the Red-billed Oxpeckers Charbel! Guineafowls are beautiful birds, lovely colours! :clap: :clap:

Awesome pictures of the Giraffes too, especially those close-ups! :dance: :dance:
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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:20 am

Dear Sheenaugh-Lee and Hilda
Thanks for being such faithful followers of this slow slow slow TR..... I really hoped I had more time for it...

Cheers
Charbel

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby Sheenaugh-Lee » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:16 am

Theirs a saying charbel quality is better than quantity :) whether you do this TR fast or slow I thoroughly enjoy reading about all the extra info you put into it, so when you have time I will still be waiting in the pages to read it so thank you for taking the time to post it :)
Im still In LOVE with my Kruger!


Home is where the Heart is and my Heart lies in the Kruger ...FACT!

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:40 pm

Dear Sheenaugh-Lee
Thanks for the support. This stimulates me indeed to keep writing!

All the best
Charbel

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby Super Mongoose » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:36 pm

Hey Charbel, I had to catch up from way way way back, but enjoyed every moment!

Just stunning the Long-necks! Great pictures and all the info!
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!
Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!
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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:58 pm

Hi Super Mongoose,
Nice to know you're still following. Long time between postings, but I hope to make another posting today or tomorrow!

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Charbel

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:36 pm

Going on with the TR, down S140 in January 7th.

Here is the single picture from a short encounter with a Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill.

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This bird is classified as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, but with decreasing population. The main reason for the classification lies in the extremely large range of distribution, which you can check here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=100600934

If you click in Protected Areas in the webpage, you can see the overlap with protected areas, including KNP, at the south part of the distribution.

Although the population trend appears to be decreasing, this decline is not sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for being classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. It is still widespread and common.

Here you can hear recording of their calls, including one from Satara camp in KNP, particularly good recording: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... d+Hornbill

This hornbill can be regarded as near-endemic to southern Africa. It prefers dry, open Acacia and broad-leaved savannas. It eats a wide range of animals and plant parts, mainly foraging on the ground, looking for small animals, fallen fruit and seeds. It also captures flying insects and digs for insects, but this is not so frequent and usually happens in the dry season.

Although in the shade, I like this picture of a Fork-tailed Drongo.

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Also classified as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, with stable populations. The range of distribution is shown here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=160031347

It occurs across sub-Saharan Africa, with very large distribution. It is absent only from extremely arid areas. Massive populations are found in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa, with the exception of some grassland and arid habitats. Its preferential habitats are woodland, such as savanna and riverine woodland, but is also common in exotic tree plantations, forest edges, grassland with scattered trees, farmland, gardens and parks.

The N’waswitsontso river offered us a Three-Banded Plover (no good picture) and a Ruff.

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Another Least Concern in IUCN classification, with decreasing population. This is a very widespread migratory bird. I saw them in Doñana, Andalucia, last November. They breed in the far northern hemisphere and the populations found in Africa are non-breeding. See here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=106003062

Different processes seem to be taking place in distinct parts. Evidence suggests that the European population (200,000-510,000 pairs, 50-74% of the global breeding range) has declined up to 30% over ten years. This amounts to three generations of these birds. However, this may simply reflect shifts in breeding populations. Asian populations are not thought to be declining, while wintering populations in Africa appear to be increasing.

It is threatened by petroleum pollution, wetland and flood-plain drainage for irrigation and water management, peat-extraction, and land abandonment and changing land management practices that lead to scrub and reed overgrowth. Global climate changes may affect this species. It is also susceptible to avian influenza, avian botulism, and avian malaria. Thus, it may be threatened by future outbreaks of these diseases.

It mainly eats invertebrates, such as insects and crustaceans. Most of the foraging takes place by wading through shallow water or mud, just as we saw it doing.

Here are some recordings of the Ruff calls: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... query=Ruff

One picture, cropped from a distance, from our single encounter with a Purple Roller.

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Here is a recording from a Purple Roller: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... ple+roller

This species is classified as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, with decreasing populations. You can see its distribution here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=106001037

It generally prefers dry woodland and savanna. This bird mainly eats insects, supplemented with other small animals. Most of its hunting is done by sitting and scanning the vegetation. He remains perched until a prey appears, just as he was perched in this tree.

Finally, three Leopard Tortoise pictures, including one of the tortoise eating in the middle of the grass. An incredible animal!

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For the butt calendar!

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charbel
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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby charbel » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:58 pm

I'd like to add some landscapes from S140.

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Abs
Charbel

1 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren
2 June 2013 - Kieliekrankie
3-4 June 2013 - Kalahari Tented Camp
5 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren
6-8 June 2013 - Nossob
9 June 2013 - Gharagab
10 June 2013 - Grootkolk
11 June 2013 - Nossob
12 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren

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Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011

Unread postby Pumbaa » Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:10 am

I simply love your landscape pictures, Charbel,

they do make me extreme homesick :clap: :clap: :clap:


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