Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader John Conoboy went to Africa and photographed some birds. Weird birds. Here are his photos, with his notes indented:

We saw a lot of birds. Here are a few pics of my favorites.

First is the Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori struthiunculus). These were  pretty common and although they are the largest flying bird in Africa,  they were always on the ground. Males display by puffing up their necks  (gular pouches) creating a large white throat balloon. This guy seems to  be slightly puffed up, but he is not going to get the girls like this.

There was a tree near our camp in the Serengeti that was a roosting spot for Marabou Storks (Leptoptilos crumeniferus). Every night we were treated to this lovely view. Joe Dickinson had a nice shot of a Marabou in his Africa photos.  Folks can check out his photo and see why this bird is listed as one of ugly five you see on a safari. Personally, I did not find any of the animals we saw as ugly.

Next is a Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum). It is listed as endangered.

Finally, my favorite bird, the Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius). The Secretary Bird struts along and periodically stomps on its prey and after eating moves on to find something else. It is great fun to watch them. Like the bustard, they can fly but we always saw them on the ground.

Here’s one of them stomping a venomous snake to death. Be sure to watch the last half of the video, which shows how much force this bird can impart in its stomps:


  1. Posted April 27, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Kori bustard and Secretary Bird images appear to be in each others’ spot.

  2. David Coxill
    Posted April 27, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Hi ,think you have your photos mixed up ,the first photo is a secretary Bird.

    • Posted April 27, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Fixed that, thanks!

      • David Coxill
        Posted April 28, 2017 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        Hi,the Great Bustard used to breed in GB until the 19th Century .
        There is a group of 40 living on the army training ground on Salisbury Plain where there is no public access ,so the only threat they face is getting blown up .

  3. Posted April 27, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I believe the descriptions are out of order for the secretary bird (first pic) and the kori bustard (last pic).


    • Posted April 27, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Yes. The secretary bird and kori bustard photos have been exchanged for each other.

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted April 27, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Had to go over to You Tube to see the video but have never seen anything like that in a bird. Great photos.

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 27, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I can say that two zoos in the USA – southeast and northeast – together have these birds except not absolutely sure about the storks, and less sure of the endangered Grey Crowned Crane – I’ll be on the lookout next time.

  6. Debbie Coplan
    Posted April 27, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Great photos! and amazing video. It was astounding to see such skinny legs delivering such a strong punch.

  7. Posted April 27, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Great pictures and story! The secretary bird is especially elegant and also weird.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted April 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      It is great fun to see them in the wild, but did not get to see them stomp on and eat anything large enough to identify.

  8. Posted April 27, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Looks like the still photos of the Kori Bustard and the Secretary Bird were reversed.

  9. rickflick
    Posted April 27, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    The secretary bird is unbelievably quick and strong. I can’t imagine any snake having any chance against it. The sound of the impact tells you it’s going to win every time. *BIFF*, *BAM*, *BOOM*!

  10. Mark R.
    Posted April 27, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That’s one tough stomp! Cool looking birds, all. Thanks.

  11. Richard Bond
    Posted April 28, 2017 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    I was surprised to see the Grey Crowned Crane listed as “endangered”. Perhaps I have simply been lucky, but I have seen quite a few of them in Kenya.

    I have never seen a Secretary Bird actually flying, but I did see one on top of an acacia tree, so it must have flown to get there. It appeared to be using the tree as a lookout.

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