The Addo Elephant Park is a bird’s paradise. The third largest park in South Africa, and with a huge biodiversity, it’s no wonder that it’s home to almost 900 species of birds. You’ll find birds like the ostrich and various species of albatross, eagle and stork. Then there are the rare finds that only a seasoned bird-watcher would know to look out for.
Some of my favourites include:
The Maccoa duck (Oxyura maccoa) is a rare African stiff-tailed duck of relatively small size (48-51 cm). As of 2007 it has been listed on the IUCN Red List as Near Threatened.
When fully grown, females have a grey-brown body, a dark brown nape, crown and cheek stripe and a dark grey bill. Adult males, as seen above, have a chestnut body, black head and blue bill. The Maccoa duck breeds in areas of Eastern and Southern Africa. It prefers to breed in shallow fresh waters but in winter it can also be found in saltine and brackish lakes.
The Ludwig’s bustard (Neotis ludwigii), is named after Baron von Ludwig, a patron of the natural sciences who started Cape Town’s first botanical garden. The Ludwig’s bustard is a rare bird found in the bustard family and is found in parts of Southern and Central Africa. It is listed as Endangered. It prefers semi-arid grasslands but shifts locally to follow rainfall. It is a medium to large sized species and can weigh from 3 to 7.3 kg with a length ranging from 76 to 95 cm with the males being larger.
The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), also known as the black-footed penguin and jackass penguin (because of its donkey-like bray) is an endangered species of penguin, found only in Southern Africa where there is water. Fully grown it weighs between 2.2-3.5 kg and is 60-70 cm tall.
They are black and white and have pink glands above their eyes that allow them to deal with changing temperatures; the glands receive more blood when it gets hotter so that it can be cooled by the air, causing the gland to go darker pink.
Thinking about going to Addo Elephant Park to do some bird watching? Why not consider staying at Woodall Country House and Spa which is located on the park? Go on, make it a trip never to be forgotten.