On many of our game drives we have spotted these hornbills on top of termite mounds, feeding on termites early in the morning. They feed mainly on insects, seeds and fruits, and rarely on small reptiles and mammals. We have seen one kill and consume a chameleon.
Red-billed hornbills are common residents here. They are monogamous and only have one mate for life. They nest differently from other birds – they choose a natural cavity in a tree and the female goes inside it. She then seals the opening leaving only a small hole for the male to feed her through. He passes food to her while she is safely inside the sealed cavity incubating her eggs.
Recently my tracker spotted this bird and we were able to photograph it. After few minutes we saw him fly to a dead tree close by, and my tracker spotted a nest. We zoomed in on the nest with binoculars and watched him fly back and forth feeding the female inside. It was early in the morning and he was feeding her termites. Termites are most active early in the day.
We have observed that they tend to nest close to termite mounds so that they have a constant supply of food nearby.
It was an amazing sighting to observe with our guests and it was the highlight of our game drive.
In the bush, as a guide, you never know what to expect to see when you wake up in the morning and start your day. My typical alarm went off at 4.20 am, however the alarm was not the only sound that I could hear. What I heard was the sounds of a progressive increase of excited hyenas that were harassing a predator of some sort. I got up and got ready for the day and became more and more excited for what was out there. I knew it was going to be an incredible morning if we could find out what all the commotion was about.
This was one of the most interesting and heart-warming drives with a phenomenal sighting. We were on a morning drive with Mother Nature, where beauty is always more profound.
The grass towers over the shoulders of the impala herds at the moment. As the rutting season comes to an end, the last few large rams are making the most of the colder conditions and shorter days and continue to pursue the ewes for mating. Despite an abundance of impalas, witnessing mating is surprisingly unusual. I have only witnessed this on one occasion.
One night in May this magnificent male lion, one of my favourites, was attacked by another two male lions and almost got killed. He managed to escape from the them and retreated north. There wasn’t much area for him there as another territorial male lion has that land claim, so he decided to come back in his territory.