The white-backed vulture is part of the Old World vultures that include hawks, kites, eagles, and buzzards. Soaring over the Savannahs and woodlands of Africa, its population is increasingly under threat. White-backed vultures will feast on the carcass of any animal. However, it isn’t inclined to share the spoils with others of its species. It also has to contend with the snapping jaws of intruders such as jackals and hyenas.
Having a fondness of Acacia trees for building nests, these birds construct the nests from sticks, leaves, and grass that extend for up to one meter in diameter. After approximately eight weeks, the chicks hatch and will stay put for about five months before taking off.
In the last 10 years, the conservation status of the white-backed vulture has been downgraded several times because of a continuous decline in numbers. It is currently classed as ‘Critically Endangered’.
The Okavango Delta is the best place to spot special species such as the wattled crane, lesser jacana, slaty egret, herons, larks and babblers.
With the Kafue, Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers providing sustenance, beautiful birds like the African pitta and shoebill stork will be a thrill to the searching eyes of birders.
For those keen on records, Kenya provides the opportunity to spot more than 300 species in any given day—the record is 342 in 24 hours.
The pristine coastline is home to coastal migrant waders, while further afield the red and blue double collared sunbirds, mangrove kingfisher, tiny greenbul, and olive-headed weaver can be observed.