Readers’ wildlife photographs

Today’s post I’ll call “Pinker’s Birds.” Steve sent us a bunch of photos from his recent trip to Uganda, but the bulk of them were animals with feathers. To reduce the disparity among taxa (there were also herps, grazing mammals, and primates), I’m posting a few of his bird photos today.

Alcedo cristata (malachite kingfisher):

malachite kingfisher perpendicular-L

Haliaeetus vocifer: (African fish eagle; Pinker notes, “Not a bald eagle”).  JAC: the convergence is pretty remarkable; I wonder why the white head?

not a bald eagle but a fish eagle-L

Merops bullocki (Red-throated bee-eater):

two red-throated bee-eaters Murchison-L

Ardea goliath (Goliath heron):

Goliath heron Murchison-L

Iridescent crown on Chalcomitra senegalensis (scarlet-chested sunbird):

iridescent crown on scarlet-chested sunbird-L

Ceryle rudis (pied kingfisher) with fish:

kingfisher pied w fish-L



  1. wejuli
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Much love and greetings from Uganda. I don’t know how many readers there are from here. Always good to have the country mentioned in a positive light, considering what’s been happening here over the last couple of months.

    • BilBy
      Posted August 4, 2014 at 3:23 am | Permalink

      As an ex-S.African I’ll just say – Uganda rocks. I miss Africa every day.

  2. Dominic
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    That is the BLUEST BLUE EVER! Bluer than an Yves Klein…!

  3. Posted August 4, 2014 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Wonderful photos! As as an obsessive lover of patterns, the pied kingfisher is my fave.

    Sunbirds love the psychoactive (for humans) member of the mint family, yup, that pretty plant with the whorl of flowers:

  4. Pete Moulton
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing them with us, Dr Pinker.

  5. Posted August 4, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Cool pictures. Makes me want to visit the area.

    JAC: the convergence is pretty remarkable; I wonder why the white head?

    I don’t know why the white head, but I don’t think that’s convergence; the majority of Haliaeetus have white or light-colored heads, and almost all have white patches of some kind. It’s more like slight, random variations on a single theme.

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted August 4, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Interesting. I didn’t know that there are Sea Eagles, or that Bald Eagles were one of them. Maybe the white patches act as camouflage to fish, breaking up the birds’ silhouettes?

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! I love the Pinker’s pictures posts! 🙂 I especially like the bee eaters and kingfishers.

    I’m also impressed that Steve Pinker can hold that lens with all its f/2.8 glass (the heaviness is why I opted for the f/4 – that and I was too cheap to open my wallet wide enough for the f/2.8).

  7. Posted August 4, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos! That malachite kingfisher is absolutely stunning.

  8. Mark R.
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Great series of photos. Thanks for sharing. Uganda is just teaming with exotic species. Goliath Heron? How big are they? Knowing that our herons in North Am. are very large birds themselves.

    • Posted August 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      They are one of two candidates for biggest heron of all. They’re the tallest (5 ft.), but white-bellied herons are heavier (18 lbs.)

  9. Bernie
    Posted August 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    If you want to hear the call of the fish eagle, it’s used in the NBC (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation) Ovambo Service’s interval signal (a repeated audio clip used to tune radios in the days of analog receivers).

    Check out, scroll down to Namibia on the left and select the Ovambo Service. After the station identification, the fish eagle starts.

    It is in m3u format, so you might need some additional audio software depending on platform.

  10. Posted August 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Stunningly gorgeous photos!

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