Botswana: slaty egret


This is a slaty egret video.

From BirdLife:

Egret proves elusive in world’s largest Ramsar site

02-05-2006

A survey team from BirdLife Botswana and the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks recently completed a one-year survey of the 55,000 km2 Okavango Delta, the world’s largest Ramsar site and principal home of the Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula.

Valuable data on the ecology of this Vulnerable species were collected, but one question remains unanswered: where are Slaty Egrets currently breeding?

The species usually nests in dense reedbeds and water fig islands, but the major historical breeding sites have been destroyed by hydrological changes and fire, and no new sites were discovered in 2005.

Continuing survey work hopes to answer this question.

By contrast, Slaty Egrets feed in shallow seasonal floodplains with short, emergent vegetation, a habitat that is widespread throughout the Delta and has increased through fire and high grazing pressure.

Birds spend most of the day foraging for small fish, frogs and aquatic invertebrates which they locate by sight, but despite the abundance of prey, they appear to have a low feeding success.

Snowy egret USA: here.

For the past several years, the Independence Day fishing competition at the end of September has been held in the Okavango Panhandle, coinciding with the peak breeding time for the Near Threatened African Skimmer. This species nests on exposed sandbanks along the Okavango River, and the presence of a large number of fishermen and their boats has had a negative impact on its breeding success: here.

Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s most scenic and unspoiled wilderness areas, however, it is losing its wildlife at an alarming rate: here.

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7 thoughts on “Botswana: slaty egret

  1. Botswanan children celebrate migratory birds – More than three hundred children participated in the first drama and poetry competition organised by BirdLife Botswana (BirdLife in Botswana). The event was held on World Migratory Day and celebrated the migration of millions of birds from south to north and back again at the change of seasons. During the day the children performed act of or poems inspired by bird migration, and also had the opportunity to see a variety of waterbirds at the Bokaa dam. The celebrations were hosted by the Bokaa village chief, Sue Mosinyi, who in his speech urged his people to take notice of migratory species in Bokaa and to conserve Bokaa dam as a habitat for birds. To conclude the event the Chairman of BirdLife Botswana, Harold Hester, presented trophies, certificates and prizes to the winners which included BirdLife Botswana’s publication: The Beginner’s Guide to Birds of Botswana.

    http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2009/06/news_byte_12.html

  2. Botswana: Savute the Dead River Calls Again

    Mokagedi Gaobtlhobogwe

    Mmegi, 15 February 2010

    For wild animals, which know nothing at all about the tragic tale of how their ancestors perished in tens of thousands at the Savute Channel when it dried up 30 years ago, there is nothing to suspect as the river is again teeming with life.

    The channel or river, is sparkling with life once more after lying dead for 30 years leaving behind giant trees and shrubs.

    How tens of thousands of wildlife which used to be the residents of the Savute River perished there when it dried up in 1980, is best captured in the film, The Forgotten River by Derek and Beverly Joubert’.

    At the time the river dried up mysteriously forcing the wildlife, including hippos to try to journey back to the Chobe/Linyanti river, with many of them perishing on the way.

    After 30 years is this another deceptive sound of death calling in order to claim more wild animals, or just the gods of the Kalahari remembering these desert creatures?

    Historical records show that the Savute River, or the Savute Channel, has a habit of flowing and then drying for decades, wiping out wildlife along its banks in the process.

    Is it Charles Darwin’s process of natural selection – perhaps one way of nature controlling the soaring wildlife population in the environment to a manageable proportion in the ecosystem?

    How the Savute gets its water has remained mystery even to scientists. For instance, there has been countless times when the Savuti River was flooding but its water would never flow into the so-called channel measuring over 100km before it ends into the marshes of the Mababe Depression.

    What is clear today, however, is that after 30 years of lying dead deep in the Kalahari Desert, the once vibrant Savute River, which feeds from the Chobe/ Linyanti River is alive and calling again to multiples of wildlife species to perch, play, and make its waters and environs their homes again.

    And the wildlife species are responding to the call in a big way, according to tour operators with camps along the Savuti River.

    Alice Crowe, the assistant operations manager at Orient Express Safaris, which runs a camping facility along the Savuti Channel tells Monitor that the Savute River came to life on January 4 this year when they woke up to sights of floods. ” Now we see our camp is overlooking the river, which is a really nice view. It is exciting to have water flowing in after so many years…there is a lot more game coming down to the river now, in fact they are coming down right in front of our camp,” Crowe said.

    Crowe and his tourists guests also celebrating the return of new wildlife species such the fish eagle, pride king fishers, the egrets, wadding birds like the swan, while the number of the common species has vastly increased.

    It is now a matter of time before hippos, crocodiles, let alone fish, also start re-appearing in the Savute River, which is now heading towards the marshes of the Mababe Depression where it empties its waters.

    Records show that the Savute Channel and the marsh dried up during the 1880s. Explorer and missionary Dr David Livingstone commented, on his way to discovering the ‘Mosi O’Tunya’ (Victoria Falls) in 1851 that it was a “dismal swamp”.

    The Channel remained dry until the summer of 1957-58 when heavy rains in the catchment area of the Angolan highlands re-flooded the Chobe River system and the Channel flowed once again until 1966. Its irregular flowing pattern continued until 1981, when the channel seemed to dry up completely and be lost forever.

    For now, however, it is flood and more flood at the Savute Channel, according to one of the tour operators Craig Lamb, the general manager at Desert & Delta Safaris, which is also situated along the Savute Channel.

    And he says their Angolan and Namibian counterparts have warned them of more floods into the channel. In fact he says their marketing manager in Europe is now busy marketing this rare gigantic sight of the Savute Channel flowing again.

    Lamb says they would also be raving about this rarity at the Germany World Tourism Expo as well as the South African World Tourism Expo to woo overseas travellers.

    ” For now we foresee that water is going to be here for sometime, and we are glad to have more and more game and wildlife species here”, said Lamb sounding quite happy, although he confesses the floods have also made crossing the channel into their camp a bit difficult. Now they need a bridge to cross the river.

    Yes, for now it is the mystery of water, and water everywhere at the Savute Channel before nature at the opportune time yet again treats wildlife film-makers to another amazing story of calamity as the river, just like it has been the case In the past, engages in a killing spree; drying up and starving animals to death.

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