Tag Archives: Northern black korhaan

Etosha National Park in the rainy season

Rob and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this year by visiting the Etosha National Park in Namibia.  February isn’t the best time of the year to visit the park as it’s right in the middle of the rainy season and the grass is very long.  With all the water around the animals don’t come down to the waterholes to drink and you really have to go and hunt for them on game drives.  Fortunately not seeing animals didn’t phase us too much as the birdlife was outstanding and we made the most of photographing many summer migrants, like this gorgeous European bee-eater.

    European bee-eater

With an abundance of water comes the celebration of life.  Etosha was no exception and we saw many herds of antelope with babies – the strikingly beautiful Gemsbok are our favourites and are always exciting to spot.  Their young ones are easy to identify as they still have their brown baby coats.

    A group of Gemsbok

This mother and baby Black-faced impala hadn’t quite made up their minds about which way they were headed.

    Mother and baby - Black-faced impala

A Black-shoudered kite really stood out quite dramatically with the backdrop of dark rain clouds.  Rob will shortly be doing a blog about a fantastic sighting of a B.S. Kite eating a lizard.   His photos of this meal are magnificent.

Black-shouldered kite

It’s a good idea to check the ground occasionally or you could run over little creatures like this jaunty Namaqua chameleon that was also enjoying the water.

    Jaunty Namaqua chameleon

Not all the birds are pretty.  In stark contrast to the beautiful European bee-eater above, we also saw a not-so-pretty Maribou stork wading in some water next to the road.  Doesn’t he look like he’s wearing a waistcoast?

    Marabou stork - dressed to kill!

A visit to Etosha always offers up good sightings of the Northern black korhaan.  These little fellows are everywhere and are very vocal, especially when disturbed.

    Northern black-korhaan

Even though we didn’t see any of the more exciting animals like lions, elephants and leopards this trip, we so enjoyed spending time out in nature, just enjoying the birds and the thrill of seeing new life and lush vegetation.  What a magnificent way to spend a weekend!

 

Bird of the week – Week 4 : Northern black korhaan

If you are walking quietly through the veld, trying to catch a glimpse of an elusive Tchagra or some other well-hidden bird, the sudden, raucous, ear-splitting  kraaak, kraaak, krraka krraka kraka, kraka of a male Northern black korhaan bursting from the grassland a few metres ahead provides a heart-stopping moment.

Northern black korhaan

It is wonderful to watch these birds in ungainly flight, as they do not usually cover too much distance before coming back to earth with their legs dangling comically and their wings flapping rapidly.

They are quite large birds, about 50 cm in length, and the males are usually conspicuous walking slowly through the grass, quite striking with their black and white plumage and bright yellow legs. When disturbed he will often run with his head lowered, and then stop with his back towards the intruder, making him surprisingly difficult to see. Further perceived threat may see him taking to noisy flight. The females are less colourful than the males and in consequence are less frequently seen.

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Korhaans feed on a wide variety of insects, termites, beetles, ticks, spiders and also seeds. They forage while walking slowly, pecking food from the ground and chasing after insects.

Northern black korhaan

They are polygynous and their courtship is elaborate, with one male displaying for several females. He engages in undulating flight displays, playful chasing and displaying his white breast patches. He is very protective of his 200-300 square metre territory, ejecting male intruders by striking at them with his wings. Females, of course, are welcome.

They breed year-round, but do not build a nest, instead laying one or two eggs directly on the ground, among grass tufts and shrubs, sometimes under small thorn trees.

Northern black korhaan

The scientific name for the Northern black korhaan is Eupodotis afraoides, eupodotis from the Greek meaning “good feet”, perhaps referring to the birds fleetness of foot, and afraoides from the Latin for “like afra” (afra meaning from Africa), meaning that it is like the Southern Black Korhaan  – Eupodotis afra. Thus, a swift bustard that is like its southern relative.