On our travels we always keep our eyes open for unusual things, and we recently came across a rather sad or amusing (whichever way you looked at it) show. We were camping at Kalizo Lodge on the banks of the great Zambezi River and our hosts had mounted a large wooden African mask on the outside wall of the ablution block as a decoration. This mask had found favour with a Crested barbet that felt that it would be a good place to make a nest.
Judging by the amount of work that the Barbet had put in to making a nest, we had to conclude that in spite of its misguided perseverance, it was actually a silly goose. The mask shows the number of attempts made by the Crested barbet, all resulting in a hole with nowhere for a nest.
Undeterred by his first few futile attempts, the barbet decided that perhaps he should make a more sideways excavation so that he could make a nest within the thickness of the mask. While all his hard work was taking place his wife was sitting on a nearby wall watching the proceedings and probably wondering if they would ever get to make a nest!
Unfortunately we left before he finished his current excavation, so we don’t know how successful it was. No doubt, if it wasn’t, he would have tried somewhere else on the mask. We wondered what the resort owners thought of the destruction of their mask.
Crested barbets (Trachyphonus vaillantii) are related to the woodpecker family, hence their need to excavate holes in wood.