Birds of Namibia
There are 5 families in the Order Corachformes. They are:
- Family Coraciidae - Typical rollers.
- Family Alcedinidae - Alcedinid kingfishers.
- Family Dacelonidae - Dacelonid kingfishers.
- Family Cerylidae - Cerylid kingfishers
- Family Meropidae - Bee-eaters.
Roller birds of this family have a mainly blue plumage with rufous and pink, cinnamon and olive. They are medium-sized birds with large heads and long, strong bills with either a hook (Coracias) or a curved, short broad bill (Eurystomus). Coracias twist their bodies left and right around on an axis, or rolling. They sport short to medium tails and have long, broad wings. Their legs are short and shuffle and hop awkwardly on the ground on small, robust feet. Members of this family are both sedentary and migratory in habitats that include dry savannah to dense woodland. Calls are loud and harsh. Food is mainly insects, foraging and dropping onto prey on the ground from open branches, nesting in holes in the trees, earth banks and cliffs. Females lay between 2 to 6 white, round eggs with both adult sexes contributing to incubation and chick-rearing. There are 5 species of this family found in Namibia. They are:
- European roller (Coracias garrulus)
- Lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus)
- Racket-tailed roller (Coracisa spatulatus)
- Purple roller (Coracias naevius)
- Broad-billed roller (Eurystomus glaucurus)
This family are small to medium-sized kingfishers with characteristic large heads, short necks and tails and robust bodies. Their plumage is blue above and white or orange in colour below. Legs and feet are orange to red, the bills are red or black and the legs very short. Kingfishers are mainly aquatic birds, hunting from a perch, diving onto their prey to take fish and aquatic invertebrates.
Some species of the Family Alcedinidae occur in woodland and forest, eating invertebrates found on the ground. They nest in burrows dug in the banks of rivers and females lay between 2 and 7 white eggs. Both sexes partake in the incubation process. There are 4 members of this family found in Namibia. They are:
- Half-collared kingfisher (Alcedo semitorquata)
- Malachite kingfisher (Alcedo cristata)
- African pygmy-kingfisher (Ispidina picta)
This particular family are medium-sized kingfishers with characteristic large and sturdy bills with some blue or greenish-blue in their plumage, a feature with all species of Dacelonidae. Their wings are fairly small and their legs are very short. They have a monosyllabic, high-pitched, squeaky, shrill. These kingfishers hunt from a perch, diving onto prey and nest in burrows dug by both male and female in banks, on the ground or in termite mounds. Females lay between 2 and 7 white eggs which are incubated by both sexes. The word Halcyon is a Greek word for a mythical bird, which has long been associated with the kingfisher, which apparently nested on the sea, hence the term halcyon days (peaceful and happy). There are 4 members of this family found in Namibia. They are:
- Grey-headed kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala)
- Woodland kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis)
- Brown-hooded kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris)
- Striped kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti)
These are small to large aquatic kingfishers with short tails on robust bodies supporting large heads. A typical plumage would be predominately pied or speckled grey or green and white, with chestnut, but absent of any blue colouration. Features include short legs, black bills and a loud voice, heralding a rather simple call.
Foraging begins by scanning prey from a perch. Fish, frogs, crabs and other molluscs are in particular danger of being beaten on a branch or rock after being caught, before being swallowed. Nests are excavated in burrows in river banks, more often than not above water. Females lay between up to eggs at daily intervals per egg which are incubated by both sexes. There are 2 species of this family found in Namibia. They are:
Meropidae are small to medium-sized bee-eaters. They are slender birds with long, decurved bills and short legs. Their plumage is a combination of bright colours in both male and female birds. They have small feet, long and pointed wings. Habitats include forest to dry savannah and they are agile and swift flyers. They eat mainly aerial insects such as wasps and bees, hunted from a perch in a combination of shorter sorties or longer raids. They nest singly in self-excavated burrows dug horizontally into a bank. Females lay between 2 and 8 white eggs incubated by both adults. There are 7 species of bee-eater found in Namibia. They are:
5, 3 or 2 Days - hiking trails in the Fish River Canyon. Hikers carry a day pack and additional luggage is transported to the overnight stops
4 Days - Guided hike on the Waterberg Plateau
3 or 4 Days - Absolutely brilliant! One of the best experiences in Namibia
3 Days - Excellent guided walking trail on the NamibRand private reserve (near Sossusvlei)
Several rustic log cabins in the Namib Desert which can only be reached via a short and informative guided hike
A day hike between two lodges on the very edge of the Namib Desert
The Rostock Ritz Lodge north of Sossusvlei (en-route to Swakopmund) has a variety of guided and un-guided hikes ranging in duration from an hour to an entire day
A lodge on the edge of the Namib Desert which offers exceptional hiking & walking