|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Here another picture been taken at Nhlananini waterdam,this picture has been made some time before my first upload from this serie,while we were observing the wildlife around this dam,the heron was sitting first at the other side of the water,as he changed position he landed close to us at the waterline,however a couple of blacksmith plovers which were breeding in this area were not happy with this close approach from this grey heron and succeeded with their attempt to chase the heron away,I made a couple of shots of this whereof this is one of them,the picture has bee cropped a bit,hope you like it|
The Blacksmith Lapwing or Blacksmith Plover
The Blacksmith Lapwing or Blacksmith Plover (Vanellus armatus) occurs commonly from Kenya through central Tanzania to southern and southwestern Africa. The vernacular name derives from the repeated metallic 'tink, tink, tink' alarm call, which suggests a blacksmith's hammer striking an anvil.
Blacksmith Lapwings are very boldly patterned in black, grey and white, possibly warning colours to predators. It is one of five lapwing species (two African, one Asian and two Neotropical) that share the characteristics of a carpal (wing) spur, red eye and a bold pied plumage. The bare parts are black. Females average larger and heavier but the sexes are generally alike.
The Blacksmith Lapwing occurs in association with wetlands of all sizes. Even very small damp areas caused by a spilling water trough can attract them. In South Africa they are most numerous in the mesic grassland region, less so in higher-rainfall grasslands. Like the Crowned Lapwing, this species may leave Zambia and Zimbabwe in years of high rainfall and return in dry years. It avoids mountains of any type.
Blacksmith Lapwings expanded their range in the 20th century into areas where dams were built and where intensive farming was practiced. Consequently they are now numerous and established in the western Cape region of South Africa, where they were absent until the 1930s. In this region they have also entered estuarine mud flats in winter where they aggressively displace other waders.
The species reacts aggressively to other lapwings or African Jacanas that may enter its wetland habitat. It breeds in spring, but its choice of nesting site and timing may be opportunistic. The young separate gradually from their parents and do not return to natal areas afterwards. They feed on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.
The Grey Heron
The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in the milder south and west, but many birds retreat in winter from the ice in colder regions. It has become common in summer even inside the Arctic circle along the Norwegian coast.
It is a large bird, standing 90-100 cm tall, with a 175-195 cm wingspan and a weight of 1-2 kg. Its plumage is largely grey above, and off-white below. Adults have a white head with a broad black supercilium and slender crest, while immatures have a dull grey head. It has a powerful pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, which extend their necks.
It is closely related and similar to the American Great Blue Heron, which differs in slightly larger size, and chestnut-brown flanks and thighs. The Australian White-faced Heron is often incorrectly called Grey Heron.
In flight with large numbers of them with Great Egrets in the background in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
This species breeds in colonies in trees close to lakes, the sea-shore or other wetlands, although it will also nest in reed beds. It builds a bulky stick nest.
It feeds in shallow water, catching fish or frogs with its long bill. Herons will also take small mammals and birds. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim.
In the Netherlands, the grey heron has become a very common species in recent decades by moving into urban environments in great numbers. There, the herons hunt as they usually would but also make use of food discarded by humans, will visit feeding times in zoos to birds such as penguins and pelicans and some individuals even make use of people feeding them at their homes.
The call is a loud croaking "fraaank".
mamcg, nasokoun, zetu, thor68, nglen, goldyrs has marked this note useful
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