Always Stop for Birds in the Okavango Delta

Wonderful photographic captures by the talented Kevin MacLaughlin who spent time on safari in Botswana last year and brought back a collection of images that truly showcase the enigmatic wealth of this wild country. The birdlife of the Okavango Delta is spoken about around the world, with keen birdwatchers coming from far and wide to discover both the rarely seen and the overly abundant species that flock to the waterways. This is a black-winged stilt, and rather a regularly seen wader of the shallows. Take a look at this deeply captivating shots and be transported to the seat of a mokoro gliding through the Okavango Delta.

Black-winged stilt

Black-winged stilt

Black-winged stilt

Inspired by the birth of the new year, we’re ‘taking flight’ and sharing images that capture the beauty of birds. These elegant creatures might not rule the wild kingdom with deadly teeth and reverberating roars, but they occupy a crucial role in nature, and we personally can not get enough of them! In our previous image, a black-winged stilt tested the waters first thing in the morning, while the next featured images capture great white egrets as they fan their wings in combat, challenging each other at a crowded site during breeding season. The Okavango Delta is the location of countless heronries and breeding grounds for water birds, and so bird watching becomes a safari activity well deserving of admiration. Twitchers for life!

Great white egret

Great white egret

Great white egret

A lilypad-hopping waterbird possessing incredible grace considering the size of its feet; the African jacana is one of the firsts to be spotted on an Okavango Delta birding tour and will quickly become a favourite. It is endlessly entertaining to watch as this little bigfoot pads along gently, scrutinizing the surface of the water for little creatures to prey upon.

African jacana

African jacana

Some birds have boggling behavioural displays, and often these ‘performances’ revolve around the breeding season when the males of the species put on their best, most elaborate shows in order to impress the female and be granted mating privileges. It’s animal nature and it is quite fascinating to watch! This particularly impressive sight is of a pink-backed pelican, perched on top of a communal nesting tree along a waterway in northern Botswana. During the breeding season these trees are heavy with the number of pelicans inhabiting it.

Pink-backed pelican

Pink-backed pelican

Pink-backed pelican

Seeing double: a diminutive African pygmy goose skims over the surface of mirror-like Delta waters before splashing out with an eventual landing. Immense pleasure can be found in the quiet activity of bird watching, and when you’re ready with your camera in focus, you capture moments in time that celebrate the individual movements and expressions of the birds behind the lens. Pygmy geese are notorious escapists, taking flight almost immediately when a motorised boat or a mokoro is detected. Fortunately, Kevin was taking aim when this goose made a break for it and managed to snap this series of beautiful images.

African pygmy goose

African pygmy goose

African pygmy goose

The true Jewel of the Kalahari: the malachite kingfisher. These gem-toned miniature birds are harder to spot than you’d think considering they are so brightly coloured, but your mokoro guide will impress you with exceptionally sharp eyesight and point this little fishermen out frequently as you cruise through the papyrus-lined channels. Immaculate feathers of iridescent shades glimmer in the light and completely capture your heart.

Malachite kingfisher

Malachite kingfisher

Finishing off our bird features in the one and only Okavango Delta is this bright-winged squacco heron. Often disguised by reedbeds as it perches at the edge of the water in wait of passing prey, we only really spot this well camouflaged heron when it takes flight and reveals its very white wings.

Squacco heron

Squacco heron

Squacco heron

Author: Chloe Cooper

Share This Post On