South Luangwa National Park, Part 3: Birds, and other interesting things

This was my third and fourth visit to this beautiful part of Zambia. On the third trip, we saw a lot of birds, and giraffes were the highlight of the last trip.

Red-billed oxpecker feeds off the ticks that live on this impala. Their relationship was previously thought to be mutually beneficial – the bird gets a meal in the form of ticks, and the mammal has the pesty ticks removed. But recently it’s been found that the relationship is probably more parasitic! It’s the blood in the tick that the bird prefers, rather than the tick itself. So sometimes the bird feeds directly on the blood of the impala if there is a wound, thus keeping the wound open!
White-fronted bee-eaters eat bees but also other insects. It’s hard to get decent photos of birds without a telephoto lens, but my trusty Canon EOS RP did okay!
Another lilac-breasted roller, which is widely distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa. Apparently the bird is also a vagrant. That sounded to me like the bird was being naughty or something, but it just means it flies far outside of its normal range, as far as southern Arabia!
Lilac-breasted roller in flight.
We weren’t the only ones looking for birds!
Some of the locals still live directly off the land, although the Luangwa river is infested with crocs in these areas!
Carmine bee-eaters seemed to hang around in groups a lot.
I didn’t write down the name of this bird.
Nor this one.
I think these were yellow-billed storks. Can you see the giraffes in the background?

Of course there was more than just birds to see.

Giraffe enjoying a snack.
Elephant enjoying a quick shower.
Professional laziness. Our guide told us they’d just had a meal.
“Wash your face!”
Err… can you, like, get out of our way?!
What a giraffe staring competition looks like.
The more stubborn species won 😛

I’ll definitely miss South Luangwa!

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