Consider the impossibility of a migratory bird’s odds. It weighs a few hundred grams or less, must brave storms and evade predators, and after flying thousands of kilometres must then build safe nesting site. If that wasn’t enough, it then reverses the journey just a few months later! It is safe to say this is another one of nature’s miracles.
Here are a few of the winged residents of the Nambiti Private Game Reserve that are members of this migration miracle:
Also known as the “nightmare bird” or “undertaker bird,” the Marabou Stork has the unfortunate title of being one the ugliest creatures in Africa. It is, however, greatly adapted to flight and, in the air, can be described as majestic. Strangely, the Marabou Stork is drawn to fire in order to prey on smaller animals that are fleeing the blaze.
This gorgeous blue beauty covers close to a thousand kilometres to breed in Europe over a route that was practically unknown up until now. This bird is the only member of the Roller family to breed in Europe.
The Wahlberg’s Eagle is one of the smallest Eagles and can often be confused with a Kite. They are mostly seen during South Africa’s summer months. In winter, they migrate north into Europe. This agile Eagle does most things while in the air, from hunting to courting. It is monogamous and stays with one partner throughout life.
The Steppe buzzard migrates over long distances and breeds from Eastern Europe to Siberia. It arrives in Southern Africa in September, where it will stay until March, but a few stay as late as early April. It is one of the smaller Buzzards and partners for life.
White Fronted Bee-Eater
Not only are these tiny birds a riot of colour but are also skilled in flight and excellent hunters. Unlike typical Bee-Eaters, the White Fronted Bee-Eater’s wings are more slender and pointed, which assist them in long flights during migration.
Barn Swallows are areal acrobats. They spend the European Winter in South Africa, where millions feed on flying insects and roost in tall grass crops or reed beds. Their journey Northwards entails a trip of up to 10,000km through the length of the African continent, including an epic flight across the searing Sahara Desert.
These little birds are the most colourful of all the Bee-Eaters and extremely gregarious. They are strongly migratory and have recently appear to be expanding their breeding territories as far north as Finland and Sweden. And, contrary to the norm, they typically migrate by day in small family groups.
Come back Peter, Come back Paul
What’s the best way to observe birds? Consider an exciting Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience walking safari to best capture the atmosphere, calls and smells of their natural environment.
World Migratory Bird Day
Each year, on the 12th of October, World Migratory Bird Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness of issues affecting migratory birds and to inspire people and organizations around the world to take measures for their conservation. This year’s World Migratory Bird Day theme is “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution!” and here are a few ways we all can help be that solution.
- Reduce our use of disposable plastic products
- Reuse and recycle what we can
- Use reusable grocery bags to cut down on plastic bag use
- Tell others about the dangers of marine debris
- Pick up litter
- Volunteer for beach and stream clean-ups