Scientific Name: Canis mesomelas
Tour: Addo Elephant Park Tour, Mountain Tour, Addo River Safari
It is highly adaptable, occupying a wide range of woodland and savanna habitats, provided there are streams, rivers or lakes. It also occurs in man-altered areas, such as parks, gardens and farmland.
Common across sub-Saharan Africa, although absent from arid areas such as the deserts of Somalia. In southern Africa it occurs in northern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), northern and eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa.
It is quite an adaptable hunter, feeding mainly on insects, supplemented with small vertebrates, such as fish, snakes and even other birds! It usually hunts from a perch, searching for food. Once it spots prey it dives down to the ground, grabs the prey item with its bill then flies back up to its perch, where it usually beats the animal to death
It usually nests in tree cavities, either natural or excavated by barbets or woodpeckers, such as Crested barbet, Black-collared barbet, Bearded woodpecker, Bennett’s woodpecker and Golden-tailed woodpecker. It also uses nest boxes and holes underneath the eaves of buildings.
Egg-laying season is from about November-March, peaking from December-January.
It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for an estimated period of 13-14 days.
The chicks grow rapidly and are cared for by both parents, leaving the nest at about 18-24 days old. They remain dependent on their parents for about 5 more weeks after fledging, after which they usually disperse.