Sunday, November 14, 2010


I can now say I am officially a little scared of birds. Well, some birds. I had a huge stork dive toward my head, found a chicken on my bed while staying at the Howards, walked beneath trees full of weaver birds, was emotionally tormented by calls of birds that sounded like laughing hyenas, was pecked on the foot by a chicken during dinner, and woke to a rooster crow at 4:30 am most mornings.

Some of the birds in Uganda are BEAUTIFUL. I just wish we had a better camera to photograph them. The ugly ones were somehow easier to capture on film!
Marabou Stork or 'Undertaker Bird'
The Marabou Stork is a huge 1.5 metre tall bird with a 2.6 metre wing span. In fact, it is so large and heavy that its leg and toe bones are hollow to reduce weight during flight. It has a long, dangling throat sac which is not associated with the ingestion of food; instead it is air-filled and probably used for courtship or breathing. The naked 18-inch inflatable pink sac is particularly conspicuous during the breeding season. It connects directly to the left nostril and acts as a resonator allowing the bird to produce a guttural croaking. While usually silent, the Marabou Stork will also emit a sound caused by beak clacking if it feels threatened. The pink head and neck is naked of feathers, with the rest of the plumage being black and white, and commencing with a white ruff at the base of the neck. Males and females are very alike with the female being slightly smaller.

Black-headed Weavers at the nearby resort

This battle between two chickens took place at the compound of the orphanage!

No comments: