Mkuze Game Reserve is in the Eastern part of South Africa, about 5 hours away from Johannesburg, and one of the best places I have ever been to for bird photography. In particular, there is one hide that is built over a watering hole, allowing great views of both birds and mammals (though for a dedicated bird watcher like me, those are more of an obstacle than a bonus).

At some point, I almost convinced myself that it would be a good idea to publish a coffee table photo book just showing Red-billed Oxpecker on various animals. I still think the idea is intriguing, but I have to admit that the potential range of buyers for such a book probably does not extend far from myself.

Alone time

Taking a bath …

And drying on a giraffe with your friends. What a life.

Kingfishers – the poor man`s Pittas?

African Pygmy Kingfisher

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

Cattle Egrets using public transport

I know it is a bit unfair to this Purple-crested Turaco, but I always wanted to use this Raymond Chandler quotation on a bird: “He wore a two-tone leisure jacket which would have been revolting on a zebra.”

The Red-billed Quelea is regarded as the most numerous undomesticated bird on earth. The photo shows less than 0.000001% of the global population.

A Red-chested Cuckoo that does not really look that different from cuckoos in Shanghai.

A hot bird watching tip: Watering holes are good places to see wet birds, such as this

Broad-billed Roller

Or a Little Bee-Eater

Some gorgeous looking smaller birds such as

Jameson`s Firefinch

Green-winged Pytilia

Common Waxbill

… or Blue Waxbill.

Not too many raptors, but at least an African Fish Eagle.

There seem to be more hornbills at Kruger NP, but Crowned Hornbill is also nice.

And one more of the stars of Mkuze: African Paradise Flycatcher.

Some more Mkuze birds for which I cannot come up with a semi-interesting caption right now …

African Jacana

African Pied Wagtail

Bearded Scrub-Robin

Black Cuckoo Shrike

Black-capped Bulbul

Black-winged Stilt (yes, I could have taken this one in Shanghai)

Burchill`s Coucal

Collared Sunbird

Crested Francolin

Crested Guineafowl

Emerald-spotted Wood Dove

Forked Drongo

Greater Blue-eared Starling

Kurrichane Thrush

Laughing Dove

Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike

Three-banded Plover

Violet-backed Starling

White-crested Helmet Shrike

Yellow-fronted Canary


More birds of South Africa here.

Written by Kai Pflug
Kai Pflug has been living in Shanghai for 20 years. He only became interested in birds in China – so he is much more familiar with birds in China than with those in Germany. While he will only ever be an average birder, he aims to be a good bird photographer and has created a website with bird photos as proof. He hopes not too many clients of his consulting company read this blog, as they will doubt his dedication to providing consulting services related to China`s chemical industry. Whenever he wants to shock other birders, he tells them his (indoor) cats can distinguish several warblers by taste.