Tuesday, 2 December 2014

WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY - Birds in Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi

I cannot believe that although I was in Africa for 6 weeks, I am still posting from the first week that I was in Blantyre, Malawi!  These are some of the birds I saw my on trip to Majete Game Park which was about one and a half hours away from my daughter’s house.  These were the birds I was able to photograph (very badly), however as well as showing you what I found in Africa, the post is also for me as a record and a memory.

African Hoopoe
25–28 cm; 40–60 g

Unmistakable, with its long, decurved bill, cinnamon, black and white plumage, and long, black-tipped crest that is raised when the bird is alarmed. Flight buoyant on broad, rounded wings. Female duller with face and breast washed grey; less white at the base of the secondaries. Juv. dull buff below, with a shorter bill and crest; white wingbars tinged buff. 

 Voice: ‘Hoop-oop' or ‘hoop-oop-oop', typically all notes at the same pitch. Status and biology: Common resident and local nomad in savanna, broadleafed woodland, parks and gardens. Probes in ground for prey.

Trumpeter Hornbill
50–65 cm; 480–900 g
A medium-large, black-and-white hornbill. Smaller than Silvery-cheeked Hornbill with a white belly and lower breast, a black (not white) back and a smaller, darker bill.   At close range, has pinkish-red (not blue) eye skin. Female has smaller bill and casque. Juv. has almost no casque. 

Uppertail coverts white.
Voice: Wailing, plaintive ‘waaaaaweeeee- waaaaa'.

Common resident and local nomad in lowland, coastal and riverine evergreen forests; also well-wooded suburbs.

In flight, has white trailing edges to its wings and white underwing coverts 

Now you may be wondering what Crocodile and Hippopotamus are doing on this bird post however look more closely and there are 3 birds in the shot!!!  Go them? Maybe a bit closer then!

Any better?  Not close enough yet?

I am sure you can see them now.

Water Dikkop  
I was pleased to have seen these 2 birds as they are nocturnal.

 White-crowned Lapwing (Plover)

28–32 cm; 150–210 g; wingspan 80 cm
A striking lapwing, with large, pendulous, yellow wattles and a diagnostic white median crown stripe from the forehead to the nape; legs greenish yellow. White (not brown) breast and plain grey sides of the neck.  In flight, upperwings mostly white, with only the outermost primaries and inner coverts black. Underwings white, except for black outer primaries. Tail is predominantly black. Juv. resembles ad. but has barred upperparts, less white on crown and throat, and smaller wattles. Voice: A repeated, ringing ‘peek-peek'.  Uncommon resident and nomad of sandbanks and sand bars along major rivers; numbers may be decreasing.

 I was amazed that we were allowed out of our car to go to this platform which overlooks the river.

This is our car seen from the platform and from 
it we saw the Helmeted Guineafowl which is 55–60 cm; 1.1–1.8 kg. (Below)

A large, well-known gamebird with blue-grey plumage, uniformly spotted with white. Head pattern varies geographically, but generally naked blue and red with cheek wattles and a pale casque on the crown; male has a larger casque than female. Birds with white faces and yellowish toes are usually hybrids with domesticated strains. Juv. plumage browner; head partly feathered, with dull blue skin and greatly reduced casque and wattles. Voice: Soft ‘kek' contact calls given during the day, but noisy at dawn and dusk, making raucous ‘kek-ek-ek kaaaaaa' and ‘eerrrrk' calls.  Common resident in grassland, woodland, savanna and fields; may flock in hundreds.

Jameson's Firefinch, seen in the thick bushes left off the platform.
11 cm; 8–13 g

Paler pink than African Firefinch, with the crown, nape, back and wing coverts suffused pink. Dark bill, legs, tail and vent separate it from Red-billed Firefinch.   Common resident and local nomad in thickets and grassy tangles in savanna and dry woodland. 

 Voice: Long trills, interspersed with sharp ‘vit-vit-vit' and ‘sweet sweet sweet' whistles. Brood host of Purple Indigobird.

                            Male is pink below; female pinkish buff, with red lores.
                            Juv. is duller than female; lacks red lores.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these birds even they were not the best images.

I am linking this post with WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY.

Many thanks for visiting and also to those who leave comments.


  1. Nice birds! I saw my first (and so far only!) hoopoe in a hotel garden in Oman! I need to get to some more overseas locations!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  2. What an amazing selection of bird you took in Malawi. The African Hoopoe is prolific in our garden in South Africa yet we don't see it here. I first saw the Water Dikkop/Thick-knee in Kenya. Here I've only seen Spotted Thick-knee. They make lovely photo subjects. Thanks for the offer to help with videos. I'll pop over to you via e-mail. Jo

  3. A great selection of birds Margaret and great photos. Love the Hoopoe :) What a wonderful six weeks you had :)

  4. Going out of the car to explore (even just on a platform) is fun. Great collection of wildlife shots you cam home with.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  5. Very interesting creatures, Margaret.

  6. great bird (and critter) sightings!

  7. Hi Margaret, wonderful post. I get such an education here. What is funny is that sometimes when watching a nature show on TV with my hubby I name a bird or animal before they say what it is and my hubby is impressed with my vast knowledge of things. LOL He is always amazed at what I know. Thanks! LOL

  8. Thank you, Margaret!
    You show us the beautiful birds and exotic animals.
    I always like your photos.

  9. One of these days I'm going to have to make a trek over there. You spotted some incredible birds! Congrats!

  10. Interesting birds to see. I love the hoopoe and the hippos as well.

  11. A great series of very exotic birds and scenery.

  12. What a treat - for you and for us. Thank you.

  13. Wow, this was an awesome trip with great birds! Some of my favorites are the Hoopoe and the Hornbill, great post!

  14. I am waiting to see the wonderful Hoopoe, brilliant images Margaret.

  15. I am still in love with the Hoopoe, it is extraordinary!!! I love everything about it!! You must live an extraordinary life.

  16. Ooohh, I'd love to see a hoopoe one day! These are really great shots. So many birds!

  17. I really love all these birds! They are each so unique and interesting and I am so glad you took the photos, even if you felt they weren't the best shots. I enjoyed seeing them.

  18. Thanks so much for visiting my blog after my long absence with leukemia.Looks like you got many good photos on your trip...Great bird shots.

  19. Oh my goodness. These are great shots of birds that I have never seen.

  20. Stunning images of the Hoopoe bird. I have never seen these birds before.

  21. How wonderful to have Hornbills flying around suburbs! And Hoopoes are one of my favourite birds, so always enjoy seeing photos of them.

  22. What a variety of birds! I've never seen them. So nice that you get to go to these trips and watch these beautiful birds. The hoopoe is so pretty!

  23. lol, 6 weeks is quite a trip. Of course it takes a long time to be able to share what you want to share. :)

    Love the Hoopoe it is on my wishlist. I have seen it twice but only from far away. Thanks for sharing. :)

  24. Hi Margaret,
    Beautiful series of particularly birds.
    I love the hops and the hippos.
    I think you had a great holiday.
    Best regards, Irma

  25. You showed us some typically exotic African birds there Margaret. I'm wondering if African Hoopoe is just a little different from the Hoopoes I see in the Med. It does look marginally different.

    I like that platform - hopefully too difficult for the crocs to climb!

  26. There's always that extra frisson of excitement in the African countryside….what could be lurking behind the next bush ? Good birds.