Friday, May 16, 2014

Beautiful Birds in Namibia

There are some 620 bird species native to Namibia. The national bird of Namibia used to be the Crimson breasted shrike (now known as the Crimson breasted boubou) as it's colours matched those of the Imperial German flag. However, as that is no longer politically correct the African fish eagle has now been named Namibia's national bird.

Crimson breasted shrike

Birds are the only animals with feathers. All birds have feathers and wings. As the fastest of birds can reach speeds of up to 160km/hr they can travel faster than any other animal. However, not all birds can fly, ostriches and penguins are both flightless. Instead of flying ostriches walk or run and only use their wings for balance. Penguins swim and use their wings like flippers.

All birds hatch from eggs with most types of birds laying eggs in nests made by the female and her mate. The majority of birds have one mate at a time and some species keep the same partner for life. Birds belong to a large group of animals called vertebrates who have backbones. Woodland birds get their food from plants whilst others feed from small animals such as insects. Birds and their eggs in turn serve as food to rodents, foxes and snakes. Fruit-eating birds help spread seeds by eating the pulp of berries and other fruits and pass the seeds in their droppings, a feature common with some species of bats.

Every species has its own characteristic geographical range, which vary from local to worldwide. The distribution patterns can be established by mainly habitat extremes, as well as the ability to transit across unsuitable territory. Boundaries and habitats particular to Namibia include pans (Etosha), grassland, Nama Karoo, Namib Desert, succulent Karoo, Kalahari savannah and Kaokoland savannah. The Kavango (Okavango) River is a typical Okavango Delta swamp habitat.

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