The African Finfoot is one of the most sought-after birds by all birders, both by South Africans and visitors from overseas. The habitat is fast-flowing rivers with plenty of overhanging vegetation on the banks where it can hide. It is very secretive and shy and thus not easy to see.
Towards the end of November this year, I was listing birds on the Likweti property shortly after daybreak. Hoping to find African Black Duck near the causeway over the river, I approached slowly and cut my engine. A movement in a backwater caught my eye and I thought I had found this river duck, but on lifting my binoculars I had an even bigger surprise. Right in front of me was a pair of African Finfoot. The male with a bright red beak was leading the female and they swam across the channel before disappearing in undergrowth on the opposite shore. The only sad part was that I had no-one to share the magic with me.
(Photos courtesy Navarre de Villiers / Jacques de Villiers)