Southern African Birds with their Friends and Foes

“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.” — Suzy Kassem

The bird life in Botswana and Namibia is fantastically entertaining. One of my favorite birding activities was watching them interact with other animals.

In Chobe, Botswana we spent breathless minutes watching a male African fish eagle try – and fail – to fly away with the huge fish he’d killed. A trio of monitor lizards kept on coming, and the eagle finally dragged his catch across the grasses. In the end, the lizard won.

that’s a monitor lizard in the lower right hand corner, determined to steal the fish

On our last night in Botswana, at dusk (alas, too dark for photos) we watched a pair of Verreaux’s giant eagle owls hunting until it became too dark to see them. They were hands-down the largest owls we’d ever seen and absolutely magnificent.

A Verreaux's Eagle-Owl at Tarangire National Park, Tanzania.
Eagle owl photo courtesy of Animalia. We saw a pair in Ghanzi, Botswana

We loved watching the giraffes with birds. They eat the insects that plague the giraffe, and pluck hairs from the mane for their nests. We spotted this group in Moremi Game Reserve.

5 red billed ox birds. Their giraffe host looked so serene

Even more daring are the red billed ox birds who catch the flies and bugs that land on a water buffalo’s nose and eyes.

bird and buffalo in Chobe National Park

As I said in my first post on them, This Life is for the Birds!

NOTES: For more on Verreaux’s  eagle-owl go to ©2024 Jadi Campbell. Photos ©2023 Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photos of our trips and his photography may be viewed at

My books are Broken In: A Novel in Stories, Tsunami Cowboys,  Grounded and The Trail Back Out.

Tsunami Cowboys was longlisted for the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Award. Broken In: A Novel in Stories was semifinalist for the international 2020 Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award from Hidden River Arts and Finalist for Greece’s 2021 Eyelands Book of the Year Award (Short Stories).

The Trail Back Out was the 2023 San Francisco Book Festival Winner for General Fiction, American Book Fest 2020 Best Book Award Finalist: Fiction Anthologies, Runner-Up for the 2021 Top Shelf Award, 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award Short Story Collection Finalist, and awarded a 2021 Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon. The title story The Trail Back Out was longlisted for the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Award.

Click here for my author page to learn more about me and purchase my books.

One thought on “Southern African Birds with their Friends and Foes”

  1. One of my favorite authors. The Trail Back Out is a must read during these crazy times we live in.

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