Likweti Estate’s birding list is growing rapidly and has just fewer than 200 species positively identified to date. According to bird expert Peter Lawson the following five special additions are well worth looking out for.
With its unmistakable crimson throat this species, formally known as Telophorus viridis, rates as one of the most strikingly beautiful woodland birds, if you are lucky enough to spot it. They tend to be quite shy and enjoy hiding in short, dense woodland. They lay speckled blue eggs in flimsy structures usually a meter or two above the ground in a dense thorn tree, or thorny thicket
Motacilla clara is widely spread from Guinea to Ethiopia and Southern Africa where it can be found in the north and eastern highlands of Zimbabwe and adjacent Mozambique, as well as in Swaziland and eastern South Africa, from Limpopo Province to Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. Although very widely distributed it is usually found in isolated patches and prefers small rivers and streams surrounded by forested hills. It feeds predominantly on insects, especially flies, and does most of its foraging along watercourses. Mountain Wagtails mate for life and are territorial and solitary.
Stephanoaetus coronatus is currently listed as near-threatened because of persecution through trapping, shooting, nest destruction, competition for prey from humans, and habitat loss through deforestation. The species has experienced a rapid decline in recent years and many initiatives have formed to protect it. They inhabit forest, woodland, savannah and shrub land, as well as some modified habitats, such as plantations and secondary growth. The crowned eagle is a very large eagle measuring from 80 to 99 cm in length.
Podica senegalensis specialises in underwater hunting with its long neck and striking sharp beak. The bright red, lobed feet can also aid in identification. The plumage varies by race, generally pale underneath and darker on top. Males are usually darker than the females. The African Finfoot is threatened by habitat degradation from increased river siltation and reduced river flow. It can most often be found at permanent streams, rivers, pools and lakes with well-vegetated banks. It nests in solitary territorial pairs and largely eats invertebrates such as adult and larval insects, spiders, millipedes, crustaceans, small snails, frogs, small fish, snakes and occasionally vegetation.
The Half-collared Kingfisher, or Alcedo semitorquata, has a height of 18cm and weighs around 40gm. The head is blue while the bill is black, the throat is white, legs are red and its back is blue. The eyes are brown. Although widespread it is rather uncommon with dotted populations across sub-Saharan Africa.
It mostly feeds on fish which is hunted by sitting on a perch for long periods before diving to catch it. Nests are burrows dug into vertical riverbanks by both males and females. Commonly 3-4 pink coloured eggs are hatched.