Friday, April 22, 2011

The A - Z April Challenge: S

For today's letter S, I offer more amazing African birds...
S is for Secretary Bird
The Secretary bird is a large terrestrial predator, with an eagle-like body on crane-like legs. It is one of the few birds who prey on foot, feeding on insects, lizards, snakes and small birds. These birds do not hunt larger herbivores, although there have been reports of them killing young gazelles.
In mongamous pairs, they prowl for food on the savannah most of the day, covering as much as twenty miles. Just before dark, they return to the safety of their roosts high in the thorny acacia trees.
The Secretary bird has traditionally been admired for its striking appearance and ability to deal with pests. In South Africa, they are sometimes kept in captivity to destroy snakes and rats. As a result of this tolerance, they are in little threat from humans but are adversely impacted by deforestation and loss of habitat. 
The Secretary Bird is the National Emblem of Sudan and is prominently featured on the South African Coat of Arms.
S is also for Superb Starling

Also not threatened with extinction are the Superb Starlings, found in great numbers in East Africa, especially in Kenya. Glossy and bright with distinctive white eyes, they are easy fellows to spot.
These photos were taken just outside our cabin at the Samburu National Reserve, an altogether fine thing to see first thing in the morning as they come down to bathe in the ornamental pools.
Though it has a most discordant call, its wonderful colours and ease of training makes this Starling a popular bird for home aviaries. The white bands you see around the chest, indicate that they are adults.
Superb Starlings generally inhabit wooded areas and grasslands, but have clearly adapted well to human settlement.
For more A - Z posts, be sure to pop by Arlee Bird's site and see what others have done with the letter S...


Kay L. Davies said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, Lynette. I so envy you your African adventures, especially because of the wildlife. I would love to see a Secretary Bird, and I have a secret desire to raise a tame starling. These Superb Starlings would certainly add colour to my day-dream.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

adrielleroyale said...

Both are quite striking beauties! Your eyes must have gotten exhausted from all the glorious visual feasts! :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What wonderful birds! I am loving this safari across Africa........

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Simply Stupendous!

Catherine said...

So many color birds here today!

Happy Easter Weekend!
xo Catherine

Katy Cameron said...

Love secretary birds, they always remind me of the Lion King, and Zazu! Wonderful colours in the starlings too

Tins and Treasures said...

Good evening, Lynette,
All of your photos have been amazing. I thank you for taking along on your travels.

Anyway, not sure you know about my Etsy team should stop by and sign up!

Have a blessed Easter. ~Natalie

Pat said...

Those perb Starlings are stunning in their vividly-colored feathers. I recall seeing the unique Secretary birds at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in January. I, too, am really enjoying this virtual African safari! Thanks for taking us along, Lynette. I certainly do hope you are feeling better soon.