South Africa

ZEISS Sponsors Grand Prize for the 2019 Kruger Bird and Wildlife Challenge

At the Kruger Bird and Wildlife Challenge 2019 eight teams with nine members of birders and bird protectors started in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The funds raised from the event aimed to preserve the White-winged Flufftail, an endangered bird.

As a special highlight offered to the participants there was an encounter with the very rarely observed Golden Pipit. In total, over 300 species of birds as well as over 50 mammal species were observed. Learn more about the exciting competition and the winning team.

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Birding and Wildlife in South Africa

South Africa is, quite simply, one of the most pleasurable birding destinations on the planet, offering unrivalled wildlife viewing, world-class infrastructure and unbeatable value for money. Birders across the world visit South Africa for a myriad of different reasons. It boasts the most regionally endemic and near-endemic bird species of any African country, as well as a rich seabird assemblage and vast numbers of more widespread, yet no less spectacular African birds and wildlife.

Add to this the rich botanical heritage, fine food and wines, friendly people, fascinating history, the scenic splendour of Africa’s most varied nation and the fact that it is home to two very impressive endemic families – namely the striking Rockjumpers and Sugarbirds, and it is not hard to see why South Africa is so popular!

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Barn swallows - these astonishing birds can be found on every continent on earth except Antarctica. Like all swallows, barn swallows are particularly well suited to a life spent on the wing. They rest, eat and drink in flight and only set foot on solid ground at night. Their sleek, streamlined bodies offer very little wind resistance and their relatively long, narrow pinion feathers give them optimum lift through the air. Given how little time these birds spend on the ground, it is no wonder that their legs have become quite useless. These limbs are tiny, and can only be detected in flight through the use of top quality optics as they are well hidden in the plumage.

However, the long tail of this type of swallow is perfectly designed to enable it to carry out fast, agile manoeuvres and to capture its prey of choice - insects! The short, stubby beak gives little indication of its true skill: it is the perfect insect catcher, being exceptionally broad and able to open very wide indeed.

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