What to do when you’re stuck in the mud

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Dear Traveler,

As we sit upon our thrones, feeling more fools now than conquerors, we attempt to become unstuck. The mud is not forgiving nor sympathetic to human pride so we are unfortunately left here waiting to be rescued.

A sense of stillness envelopes the now quietened vehicle, offering time of reflection on our journey thus far. We have seen two members of the famous big 5: the African lion and the rhino, taking note of some of the other crucial players in the bush along the way.

While we are stationary, I ask you to take a look at the wildlife that surrounds us. There are a diverse range of bird species in the bush making it truly a birders paradise.

This is the Red-Billed Hornbill, commonly known as the character Zazu in The Lion King (1994).

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A Red-billed Hornbill, its mate in a nearby tree

The Red-Billed Hornbill is characterized by its long grey tail, white belly and a curved red bill, it is also the smallest of the Hornbills. There is not much difference between the male and female except that the females bill is slightly smaller. These birds mostly live on the ground and nest in the trunks of trees, using their long curved beak for digging out insects.

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The other half of the Red-billed Horn bill pair waits in a nearby tree

The female usually lays a clutch of about 3-6 eggs. She will then seal herself, using a cement-like substance made out of mud, droppings and fruit pulp, within a tree cavity. The female  will make a narrow opening for the male to feed her and the chicks once they have hatched. At around 20 days the female will expand the nest so that the male can feed the chicks as well. After about six months the chicks will leave the nest and never return.

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Lilac breasted roller perched on a thorny tree

This is the Lilac Breasted Roller, another beautiful bird found throughout Africa and is probably the most photographed bird on the continent. Although, it may not look that impressive perched on the branch, but when in flight the Roller is incredible with bright blue wings.

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Wings of lilac breasted roller, Image by Brian Scott

The Roller gets its name from its unique courtship behavior. These little guys like to impress the ladies through orchestrating a really fast shallow dive from extreme heights with a rolling motion.

This is the Black Korhaan:

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The side of a Black Korhaan

The Black Korhaan is aggressively territorial towards other members of its species and other birds. It is normally found in plateau grassland. The Black Korhaan’s call sounds very similar to that of a frog. This bird is very much threatened by habitat loss and has been classified as vulnerable.

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Profile of black Korhaan

All of a sudden a herd of Wildebeest come running past our vehicle. The herd is on high alert and is grouped together.

What could be scaring the Wildebeest?

 

All will be revealed on Wednesday!

Relive the journey: The Journey Begins

Sources:

*all images and gifs are owned by Samantha Smyrke unless otherwise stated
*other images under creative commons license
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