When I hear the words Safari I think of Lions. Lots of Lions. Followed by Giraffe, Rhino, and perhaps Buffalo. One thing I don’t usually think of is birds. In part because most birds are fairly small, delicate, and hard to see and also because when I think Safari I think dry arid land. I suppose that if you were to say wetland safari, or wet season safari then I would, perhaps, also think of massive flocks of light colored birds resting atop small sandbars. Still, if you had told me that one of my favorite parts of my Chobe Safari in Botswana would be the birds, I’d have probably given you a funny look.
Yet, I think this photo speaks for itself. As will future photos of some of the region’s other bird life. You see, the Chobe River and the National Park that calls it namesake are awash in fantastic birds. Some of which are small, like the local Love Birds (Parrots). Others, like this African Fish Eagle are quite large. This shot was taken from what was quite nearly the base of the tree. A rare and wonderful experience given the normally elusive nature of these great predators. The size of a small-medium dog, the Fish Eagle can regularly be found hunting the Chobe River’s calm waters, grasslands, and surrounding area for prey. Lucky safari goers have been known to catch the fish eagles with fish mid-air, or in the process of spearing fish with their large, razor sharp talons.
The Fish Eagle is an incredible bird. They remind me in many ways of America’s Bald Eagles – which as an American, have a special place in my heart. If you’re planning a safari definitely make sure to check if you’ll be in an area populated by Fish Eagles, and if so, to keep your eyes wide open!