Celebrating Independence

Bird of the Week: African Fish Eagle

In Honor of Zambian’s Independence Day on October 24th I decided to make my Bird of the Week the African Fish Eagle.

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African Fish Eagles are common on just about any body of water in Zambia.  They remind me of our own national emblem, the Bald Eagle, and I have enjoyed this coincidence of similarity with my fellow Zambians, that our national birds are so similar.

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Another beautiful bird. Happy 49 years Zambia!

For other great bird blogs, visit I’d Rather B Birdin’ for great posts and lots of links.

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Bird of the Week: Blue Waxbill

Water Feature:

  I have what I like to call a “water feature” on my front porch.  There is a leak in my solar water heater and also in my gutter so there is a slow drip that forms a pool on my front porch.  The birds like the water and often come to get a drink now that it is so hot and dry. 

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The water is very shallow but it seems to be just right for these little birds. Blue Waxbills are very common birds. They are often around houses and in gardens but I also see them when I go out to the village or the bush. Besides the Common Bulbuls, the Blue Waxbills are the least shy birds in the yard and so they are the most frequent visitor to my “water feature,”  which unfortunately is in a fairly high traffic area, being near my front door.  

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Despite being incredibly common (even my kids were appalled that I would feature them as my bird of the week) Blue Waxbills are really beautiful.  The males especially can be an incredible shade of blue that I would compare to Lapis Lazuli. It is a different shade than the Blue Birds, or Blue Jays back home, both of which are of a deeper shade.

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Here you can see that the male (above) has bright blue on his face, chest,sides and tail,  while the female (below) has a blue face with just a dusting of blue on her brownish chest and sides. Another beautiful bird.

Blue waxbill (2)

Lizard Buzzard

Birding in Zambia: Bird of the Week

In North America, the word buzzard is used colloquially to refer to either of the two common vultures, the turkey vulture or the black vulture.  In the Old World, buzzard is used to refer to certain types of hawks.  The Lizard Buzzard is one of these, and one of the most common in Zambia.  It is a beautiful gray bird with plain gray back and chest with gray barring on its belly.  It is easy to identify with its black chin stripe which no other raptors in Zambia have.

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As their name implies, they hunt mainly reptiles and also large insects, small mammals, and birds.  Here is one that we saw at Masuku lodge in Choma with a fairly long snake in its grasp.  Later he flew off with the snake though he seemed quite weighted down. 

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The last photo here is one of my favorites as he really looks quite fierce.  He looks like he should be the mascot for a sports team somewhere.  Another handsome bird.

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