After last week’s post on doves, I thought I’d share some bird pics taken in the garden over the past year or so. This is an entirely random and not at all representative selection.

The bright header photo is of a village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) at the bird bath illuminated by morning sunshine. Most years, village weavers come and build nests in our fever trees, not that they ever seem to use the nests for actually breeding, but this year they gave nest building here a miss and have only been visiting fleetingly.  

Among the most regular avian visitors are dark-capped bulbuls (Pycnonotus tricolor). They usually visit in pairs and sometimes in small family groups and are generally very vocal with a loud chirping call that sounds cheerful to human ears. The yellow rump and small crest on the head are distinctive.

Hadeda ibis showing irridescent feathers

I have showcased before the odd postures of hadeda ibisis (Bostrychia hagedash) sunbathing with their wings outspread. As the one in the above photo is in the process of folding in its wings and stepping forward after sunbathing, the light catches on its feathers showing their colourful iridescence.

I had to lurk some distance away to catch this photo of a Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) taking a bath. They make a thorough job of bathing, frequently dunking their heads under water while they lift their wings slightly and fan their tails.

The grey cuckooshrike (Coracina caesia) can be hard to see (and hard to photograph) as it forages high up in the tree canopies, but its presence can be given away by its high-pitched drawn out call. The whitish ring around the eye gives it a slightly odd appearance. Cuckooshrikes are neither cuckoos nor shrikes, although some may slightly resemble cuckoos in appearance.

Like most thrushes the Kurrichane thrush (Turdus libonyanus) is a ground forager, running short distances and then stopping and apparently listening and sometimes searching for food rather noisily by energetically flicking leaves aside with its bill. This one paused a moment to inspect me as I took this photograph. I was sitting on the ground some distance away and it tolerated my presence as long as I kept as still as possible.

I quite like this photo of a forest canary (Crithagra scotops) as it reflects their preference for foraging in denser vegetation. Their natural habitat includes forest patches and coastal thicket but they have adapted to other well-wooded areas such as gardens that meet their requirements and the margins of plantations.

African dusky flycatcher in a garden in KwaZulu-Natal

The small African dusky flycatcher (Muscicapa adusta) is a quiet presence in the garden. I only see solitary birds – apart from once when I saw a parent bird feeding fledgling chicks. I often see one perched on a tree branch waiting to hawk insects flying by and I also see individuals visiting the bird bath.

Portrait of an olive thrush, South Africa

The olive thrush (Turdus olivaceus) is slightly larger than the Kurrichane thrush and it prefers denser more forested habitats than the kurrichane. However, their ranges do overlap in modified environments such as gardens where the vegetation is suitable for both species.

As autumn approaches more birds are visiting our garden, perhaps attracted by plants going to seed or by insects. Many insects are more evident at this time of the year, particularly butterflies. Despite it heralding winter, autumn is a lovely time of the year.

Posted by Carol