Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, contests and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Birds of South Africa’s pristine Lowveld landscape

Photo by Matt Mendenhall

African Paradise-Flycatcher

Africa is home to seven paradise-flycatcher species — spectacular crested songbirds. Many of the species have mostly rufous plumage, and in several, the males have notably long tails. In this species, which is found around most of the continent, the male’s tail is about 7 inches long (18 cm), approximately as long as his body. I had seen the species earlier at Grootbos, and shortly after I arrived at Sabi Sabi, I spotted this bird in a tree outside the main building at Earth Lodge. An absolute stunner!

Photo by Matt Mendenhall

White-backed Vulture

Sabi Sabi is home to five vulture species, including White-backed. Despite a broad distribution in Africa, the species is in trouble. It has been listed as Critically Endangered since 2015 due to significant population declines in many countries. I shot this photo at the site of an elephant carcass. Hyenas and a few vultures were working over the dead animal, and at this moment, a hyena nipped at the vulture that is in the air. It landed quickly and resumed feeding. Another White-backed and a Hooded Vulture can be seen on the far side of the elephant. Lazarus and Louis said the elephant, which had been dead for a week, had likely died of old age.

Originally Published

Read our newsletter!

Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, photos of birds, attracting and ID tips, and more delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up for Free
Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall

Matt Mendenhall is the editor of BirdWatching magazine and You can reach him at [email protected].

Matt Mendenhall on social media