Lechwe and Lapwings

Greetings bush lovers!

This week I have introduced a new mammal and bird category. The mammal category is Lechwe, to be more specific the Red Lechwe, an antelope which is found on the open floodplains of Northern Botswana from the Okavango to the Chobe. Lechwe run into water to avoid predators. They are exceptionally fast  powerful runners through shallow water.

Alarmed, this Lechwe ram races off to put some distance between him and us on an island in the Chobe River.

Alarmed, this Lechwe ram races off to put some distance between him and us on an island in the Chobe River.The Lechwe females congregate in small herds usually dominated by one male.

This female Lechwe was looking intently at us from the water soaked island in the Chobe River.

This female Lechwe was looking intently at us from the water soaked island in the Chobe River.

The other antelope specific to Northern Botswana-Southern Zambia is the Puku which has quite a different face and is not nearly as good looking at the Lechwe – but they are for another time.

The bird category is the Lapwing family. I have included Thicknees in this grouping because you usually see them in the same places as Lapwings.

There is quite a big family of Lapwings (previously known as Plovers).Lapwings are very colourful and can be quite aggressive, dive bombing you if you get to close to their nest, which is usually on the ground and quite difficult to see.

Blacksmith Lapwing drinking from small pools of rainwater in the rocks in a river bed in Mashatu.

Blacksmith Lapwing drinking from small pools of rainwater in the rocks in a river bed in Mashatu.

Very small Blacksmith Lapwing chicks along the Chobe River. If it wasn't for the dark clay background we would not have seen them.

Very small Blacksmith Lapwing chicks along the Chobe River. If it wasn’t for the dark clay background we would not have seen them.

Long-toed Lapwings fighting - they can be very aggressive towards each other.

Long-toed Lapwings fighting – they can be very aggressive towards each other.

The Water Thicknees do no appear to be nearly so aggressive. They are usually sleeping on the side of the river bank during the day as they are nocturnal. Those big watery eyes are ideal for seeing at night. Their colouring make ideal camouflage. You often don’t see them until they move.

Water thicknees resting on the bank of the Chobe River.

Water thicknees resting on the bank of the Chobe River.

The Lapwings and Thichknees kneal down in a smiliar way to storks with the knee  bending forward.

Water-thicknee drinking by scooping up the water much like an Ostrich.

Water-thicknee drinking by scooping up the water much like an Ostrich.

I hope you liked the additions.  There is more to come next week.

I hope you get a chance to get into the bush soon – food for the soul.

Have fun

Mike

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