The diversity of landscapes and wildlife in South Africa is impressive. There is a great system of protected areas and national parks, the most well known of which is Kruger National Park. The park boasts an enormous bird list, with several hundred species likely in a visit of three days.
Raptors are particularly well represented. The largest of all is the MARTIAL EAGLE which tends to favour guineafowl as a prey item. The individual below caught a CAPE TURTLE DOVE right in front of our car - landing on the road and then alighting right above us! We watched for nearly fifteen minutes as it plucked the dove clean and then proceeded to eat it.
Another stunning raptor that is common in Kruger is the BATALEUR. This medium sized eagle often scavenges at kills. The black adult and brown juvenile below are vying for the gut pack of an impala that was recently killed. Surprisingly, the juvenile dominated the adult!
But neither of these smaller birds were able to hold onto the prize once a TAWNY EAGLE appeared.
Another great moment came when we got close to this GIANT KINGFISHER (about the size of an AMERICAN CROW!). It was chomping down a small invertebrate which turned out to be a mudcrab - a small freshwater mollusc.
Not a raptor but a species that likes to feed on fish, so certainly a predator, is the rare AFRICAN FINFOOT. I had searched the streams of Kruger on every previous visit but always missed this bird. Paul's sharp eyes picked out an adult male swimming at a bridge just east of the Skukuza Camp. We watched the bird swim towards us and then eventually swim right underneath us and pass downstream!