Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Michelle de Villiers sent some photos from Botswana. Readers can fill in the IDs, as Michelle said this:

I recently had the good fortune to join in the trip of a lifetime to South Africa and Botswana. Herewith a sampling of pictures taken. None of the animals should need description for your readers, I’m sure. The photos were taken in Selinda and Moremi Game Reserves in Botswana. (More information on the trip can be found here.)

I’ll put up about a third of the photos, as there are many (more to come later):

And yes, Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) had troubles identifying some of these beasts, starting with this one:






JAC: I especially love this photo:









  1. Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing these Michelle!

    Botswana is moving closer to the top of the list!

  2. Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I’ll take a stab at the dinosaurs:

    Hamerkop – Scopus umbretta
    Lilac-breasted roller – Coracias caudatus
    Marabou stork – Leptoptilos crumenifer

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Hammerkop! Of course.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    It is fun to try to ID WWP’s.
    The first one has me stumped, though. I wonder if its a juvenile of whatever species it is.

  4. Hempenstein
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    JAC: I especially love this photo:

    Except for the leopard, it looks like it could be somewhere in western Maryland.

    And presume that’s a baobab tree. (Are there any that resemble baobabs but aren’t?)

    • Dominic
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Adansonia digitata?

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I see some of the magnificent animals Trump’s encephalitic older sons slaughtered on “safari.”

    Because it is bitter, and because it is my heart, as Jerry’s cat-buddy JC Oates put it.

  6. Richard Portman
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I guessed the hamerkop but what is the name of that magnificent antelope? Very nice photos.

    • Dave
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      The magnificent one is a kudu, the other one is a black wildebeest.

  7. Janet
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much, Michelle, these are quite wonderful. My favorite is the tree! Baobab?

  8. David Harper
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I believe #2 is a gnu. Flanders and Swann wrote a splendid serenade for this magnificent creature:

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      A gnu, however not the better known blue one (blue wildebeest), but its black cousin, the black wildebeest.

      • Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        I disagree – that’s a blue. There are no black wildebeest in Botswana as far as I know

  9. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The antelopes are a black wildebeest, Connochaetes gnou, and a kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros.

  10. Dominic
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I find it extraordinary that leopards are able to co-exist with & survive alongside lions.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      THIS IS AN INTERESTING ARTICLE that talks about lion-cheetah coexistence. I think the hardest thing must be the survival of cheetah & leopard cubs in lion territory. Lions take around 60% of cheetah cubs, but cheetah mums quickly produce replacements.

      I suppose non-lion cats survive around lions because lions save their energy & time for pride-sized meals. A lone leopard or cheetah is hard work to stalk & catch compared to prey in a herd. I’m just guessing re most of the above.

      • Dave
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Leopards are smaller than lions and much more adept at climbing trees, so as long as there’s enough vegetation cover they can keep out of the way of their bigger relatives. With cheetahs I think it’s almost the opposite: they do a lot of their hunting out on the treeless plains during the day, while the lions are snoozing in the shade.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for that

  11. J Cook
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Hamerkop, also called “Lightning Bird”.
    Title of a great book by Lyle Watson

  12. Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Our guide told us that it was a brindled gnu, which is the blue one. From Wikipedia it says the black one’s horns curve forward.

    • Dave
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I’m pretty sure it is a brindled gnu or blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), not the black wildebeest (C. gnou). The black wildebeest is confined to the Cape region of South Africa, where it’s found mainly on game ranches or private reserves. I don’t think it exists as a genuinely wild species any longer, and it doesn’t range as far north as Botswana. I’ve been to Moremi Game Reserve and saw plenty of C. taurinus but no C. gnou.

  13. Karen E Bartelt
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Wonderful photos. I esp like the elephants.

  14. Posted March 5, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Looks like a great trip. We were in Botswana a few years back but I think in different parks.

  15. Posted March 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photographs! I miss Africa…
    Unfortunately, none of my many, many photos I took during my six stays in Kenya have been digitalized. They are negatives, preciously stored.

  16. zytigon
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    While reading the Wikipedia article on Kudu i noticed: Kudu dung-spitting (Bokdrol Spoeg in Afrikaans) is a sport practiced by the Afrikaner community in South Africa. In the competition small, hard pellets of dung from the kudu antelope, are spat, with the farthest distance reached being the winner.

    “Mad dogs and English men go out in the mid day sun” springs to mind. There are in fact Youtube videos showing this activity.

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      No Afrikaner would appreciate being mistaken for an Englishman! The bokdrolletjies are usually dipped in witblitz (local hooch) to make them more ‘palatable’. Those of us who can roll our tongues make better bokdrol spitters apparently – I have never been persuaded to try.

  17. Stuart MacLeod
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Hello The first photo is a Hammerkop … which is Afrikaans for Hammer head, although the Afrikaans name is used as its common name by English speaking people as well. Cheers Stuart MacLeod

    Sent from SandrĂ© and Kayleigh’s iPad Pro


  18. Mark Joseph
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Very cool. Thank you!

  19. Posted March 5, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Lovely photos

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