Image of the Month
White-tailed Shrike by Markus Lilje
After the First World War, German Südwestafrika became the South African Protectorate of South-West Africa. It was only in 1990, after a long border war, that the independent nation of Namibia came into existence. This vast, open land with a tiny human population (second lowest population density in the world after Mongolia) harbors extensive pristine habitat - the world’s largest wild Cheetah population being testimony to this fact. Namibia is also blessed with numerous special birds; and although Dune Lark is the only true Namibian endemic, many other species including such sought-after ticks as Rüppell’s Parrot, Rüppell’s Korhaan, Rockrunner, Gray’s Lark, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Herero Chat, Hartlaub’s Francolin and this month’s featured bird, the unique White-tailed Shrike, are near-endemics, just spilling over into dry southern Angola.
This superb image, showing a White-tailed Shrike feasting on a grasshopper, was taken by Markus Lilje on a recent Rockjumper tour of Namibia. This species has no close relatives and its taxonomic affinities are still uncertain – its generic name Lanioturdus, meaning “shrike-thrush”, indicates the confusion of ornithologists at the time of description. It has since been placed in both the shrike and the bushshrike families, and is currently classified as an aberrant member of the wattle-eye and batis family. It is mostly a terrestrial species and at certain sites has become very tame and approachable, allowing brilliant photographic opportunities, as is typical of so many Namibian specialties!
Rockjumper combines a comprehensive tour of Namibia (covering the central Khomas highlands, Welwitschia-dotted gravel plains of the Namib-Naulkuft desert, the Skeleton Coast, Walvis Bay teeming with flamingoes and waders, the Erongo Mountains (considered the world’s most ancient mountains), game-filled Etosha National Park and the Caprivi Strip) with fruitful excursions into Botswana to experience the fabulous Okavango Delta, and also into Zambia to marvel at the mighty Victoria Falls. We have run over 30 of these tours over the past 12 years and it’s understandably one of our most popular departures. Our Namibia, Okavango & Victoria Falls I and II tours for 2011 have already filled so we have therefore opened two new departures:
Namibia, Okavango & Victoria Falls Overland III: 11 - 28 Aug 2011 (18 days)
Namibia, Okavango & Victoria Falls Overland IV: 18 Oct - 04 Nov 2011 (18 days)
Price: $6,575.00 (Single Supplement: $500.00)
Please visit the Rockjumper website to download a detailed itinerary for these tours, or contact the Rockjumper office for further information, previous trip reports or to book your space on these highly recommended birding adventures!
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