Wildlife

Blesbuck

Blesbuck

Scientific Name: Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi

Sighting Occurances: Common

The Blesbok or Blesbuck is an antelope endemic to South Africa. It has a distinctive white face and forehead which inspired the name, because bles is the Afrikaans word for a blaze such as one might see on the forehead of a horse.

Blue Wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest

Scientific Name: Connochaetes taurinus

Sighting Occurances: Occasionally

The blue wildebeest, also called the common wildebeest or the white-bearded wildebeest, is a large antelope and one of two species of wildebeest. It grows to 115-145 cm shoulder height and attains a body mass of 168-274 kg. They range the open plains, bushveld, and dry woodlands of Southern and East Africa, living for more than twenty years. The male is highly territorial, using scent markings and other devices to protect his domain. The largest population is in the Serengeti, numbering over one million animals. They are a major prey item for lions, hyenas, and crocodiles.

Brown Hyena

Brown Hyena

Scientific Name: Parahyaena brunnea

Sighting Occurances: Rare

Brown hyenas can measure 86 to 150 cm in head-and-body length, although they average 110 to 125 cm. The height at the shoulder is 71 to 88 cm and the tail is 25 to 35 cm long. Unlike the larger spotted hyena, there are no sizable differences between the sexes, though males may be slightly larger than the females. The average adult male weighs 40.2 to 43.7 kg, while the average female weighs 37.7 to 40.2 kg. The coat is long and shaggy, particularly on the tail and back. The general fur color is dark brown, while the head is gray, the upper body tawny and the legs grey with dark horizontal stripes. Erectile hairs 305 mm in length cover the neck and back.

African/Cape Buffalo

African/Cape Buffalo

Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer

Sighting Occurances: Occasionally

The African buffalo is a very robust species. Its shoulder height can range from 1 to 1.7 m (3.3 to 5.6 ft) and its head-and-body length can range from 1.7 to 3.4 m. The adult buffalo's horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield referred to as a "boss". It is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills over 200 people every year. It lives in swamps and floodplains, as well as mopane grasslands and forests of the major mountains of Africa. This buffalo prefers habitat with dense cover, such as reeds and thickets, but can also be found in open woodland. While not particularly demanding with regard to habitat, they require water daily, so depend on perennial sources of water. Like the plains zebra, the buffalo can live on tall, coarse grasses. Herds of buffalo mow down grasses and make way for more selective grazers. When feeding, the buffalo makes use of its tongue and wide incisor row to eat grass more quickly than most other African herbivores. Buffaloes do not stay on trampled or depleted areas for long.

Bush Pig

Bush Pig

Scientific Name: Potamochoerus larvatus koiropo

Sighting Occurances: Common

The bushpig, Potamochoerus larvatus, is a member of the pig family and lives in forests, woodland, riverine vegetation and reedbeds in East and Southern Africa. Adult bushpigs stand from 66 to 100 cm at the shoulder, and weigh from 55 to 150 kg. They resemble the domestic pig, and can be identified by their blunt, muscular snouts, small eyes, pointed, tufted ears and buckled toes. Their colour varies from reddish-brown to dark brown and becomes darker with age. Both sexes have a lighter-coloured mane which bristles when the animal becomes agitated. The upper parts of the face and ears are also lighter in colour. Their sharp tusks are fairly short and inconspicuous.

Bushbuck

Bushbuck

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus sylvaticus

Sighting Occurances: Common

The imbabala is larger than the kéwel and its colouration varies greatly with geography and habitat type. Bushbuck stand about 90 centimetres at the shoulder and weigh from 45 to 80 kilograms (depending on sex). Bushbuck have a light brown coat, with up to seven white stripes and white splotches on the sides. The white patches are usually geometrically shaped and on the most mobile parts of their body such as the ears, chin, tail, legs and neck. The muzzle is also white and horns are found only on the males and they can reach over half a metre with only one twist. At 10 months old, young males sprout horns that are particularly twisted and at maturity form the first loop of a spiral.

Caracal (Rooikat)

Caracal (Rooikat)

Scientific Name: Felis Caracal

Sighting Occurances: Rare

The caracal is classified as a small cat, yet is amongst the heaviest of all small cats, as well as the quickest, being nearly as fast as the serval. The caracal is a slender, yet muscular, cat, with long legs and a short tail. Males typically weigh 13 to 18 kilograms (29 to 40 lb), while females weigh about 11 kilograms. The caracal resembles a Eurasian Lynx, and for a long time it was considered a close relative of the lynxes. It has a tail nearly a third of its body length, and both sexes look the same. The caracal is 65 to 90 centimetres in length, with a 30 centimetres tail. Compared to lynxes, it has longer legs, shorter fur, and a slimmer appearance. The colour of the fur varies between wine-red, grey, or sand-coloured. Melanistic (black) caracals also occur. Young caracals bear reddish spots on the underside; adults do not have markings except for black spots above the eyes and small white patches around the eyes and nose. Underparts of chin and body are white, and a narrow black line runs from the corner of the eye to the nose.

Eland

Eland

Scientific Name: Taurotragus oryx

Sighting Occurances: Occasionally

The common eland, also known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. An adult male is around 1.6 metres tall at the shoulder (females are 20 centimetres shorter) and weighs an average of 500-600 kilograms (340-445 kilograms for females). It is the second largest antelope in Africa.

Giraffe

Giraffe

Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis

Sighting Occurances: Occasionally

The giraffe is an African even-toed ungulate mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. Its specific name refers to its camel-like face and and the patches of color on its fur, which bear a vague resemblance to a leopard's spots. The giraffe is noted for its extremely long neck and legs, as well as its horn-like ossicones. It stands 5-6 m tall and has an average weight of 1,600 kg for males and 830 kg for females.

Impala

Impala

Scientific Name: Aepyceros melampus

Sighting Occurances: Common

Impala range between 75 and 95 cm tall. Average mass for a male impala is 40 to 80 kg, while females weigh about 30 to 50 kg. They are normally reddish-brown in color, have lighter flanks and white underbellies with a characteristic "M" marking on the rear. Males, referred to as rams, have lyre-shaped horns, which can reach up to 90 centimeters in length. Females, referred to as ewes, have no horns.

Jackal

Jackal

Scientific Name: Canis mesomelas

Sighting Occurances: Rare

Black-backed jackals are small, foxlike canids which measure 38-48 cm in shoulder height and 68-74.5 cm in length. The tail measures 30-38 cm in length. Weight varies according to location. The general colour is reddish-brown to tan, while the flanks and legs are redder. Males tend to be more brightly coloured than females, particularly in their winter coat. The back is intermixed with silver and black hairs, while the underparts are white. Their tails have a black tip, unlike side-striped jackals, which have white-tipped tails. The back of the ears are light yellowish-brown, well covered with hair without and within. The hair of the face measures 10-15 mm in length, and lengthens to 30-40 mm on the rump. The guard hairs of the back are 60 mm on the shoulder, decreasing to 40 mm at the base of the tail. The hairs of the tail are the longest, measuring 70 mm in length.

Kudu

Kudu

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Sighting Occurances: Occasionally

Greater kudus have a narrow body with long legs, and their coats can range from brown/bluish-grey to reddish-brown. They possess between 4-12 vertical white stripes along their torso. The head tends to be darker in colour than the rest of the body, and exhibits a small white chevron which runs between the eyes. Male greater kudus tend to be much larger than the females, and vocalize much more, utilizing low grunts, clucks, humming, and gasping. The males also have large manes running along their throats, and large horns with average two and a half twists, which, were they to be straightened, would reach an average length of 120 cm, with the record being 187.64 cm. The horns do not begin to grow until the male is between the age of 6-12 months, twisting once at around 2 years of age, and not reaching the full two and a half twists until they are 6 years old; occasionally they may even have 3 full turns. Males weigh 190-270 kg, with a maximum of 315 kg, and stand about 180 cm tall at the shoulder. The body length is 185-245 cm. The tail is 30-55 cm long. The ears of the greater kudu are large and round. Females weigh 120-210 kg and on average stand 120 cm tall at the shoulder; they are hornless, without a beard or nose markings.

Leopard

Leopard

Scientific Name: Panthera pardus

Sighting Occurances: Rare

Leopards are agile and stealthy predators. Although smaller than other members of the Panthera genus, they are able to take large prey due to their massive skulls that facilitate powerful jaw muscles. Head and body length is between 95 and 165 cm, and the tail reaches 60 to 110 cm. Shoulder height is 45 to 80 cm. The muscles attached to the scapula are exceptionally strong, which enhance their ability to climb trees. They are very diverse in size. Males are about 30% larger than females, weighing 30 to 91 kg compared to 23 to 60 kg for females. Large males of up to 91 kg have been documented in Kruger National Park in South Africa; however, males in South Africa's coastal mountains average 31 kg and the females from the desert-edge in Somalia average 23 to 27 kg. This wide variation in size is thought to result from the quality and availability of prey found in each habitat.

Nyala

Nyala

Scientific Name: Nyala angasii

Sighting Occurances: Common

The nyala is a Southern African antelope. It is a spiral-horned dense-forest antelope that is uncomfortable in open spaces and is most often seen at water holes. Nyalas live alone or in small family groups of up to 10 individuals. The male stands up to 110 cm, the female is up to 90 cm tall. The male has loosely spiraled horns and a long fringe on throat and underparts; the female has no horns and no noticeable fringe. The male is dark brown, white on the face and neck, with vertical white stripes on the body. The female is reddish brown with white vertical striping.

Red Hartebeest

Red Hartebeest

Scientific Name: Alcelaphus buselaphus

Sighting Occurances: Common

This antelope is glossy red-brown in color while the blaze on the face, tail and outer sides of the legs are black with the backs of the legs brown. Both sexes have horns. Their shoulders are high and the back slopes down towards the backside. The male is 1.25m tall at the shoulder when fully grown and weighs 150kg and the female weighs about 120kg.

Steenbok

Steenbok

Scientific Name: Raphicerus campestris

Sighting Occurances: Occasionally

A member of the dwarf antelope group, Steenbok are petite, weighing 7-16 kg and measuring 70-95 cm in length. Unlike the crouched stance of forest duikers, steenbok carry their heads high and have long legs, with a shoulder height between 45 and 60 cm. The hind quarters and lower parts/belly are pure white. The male Steenbok have upright, slender horns projecting above the eyes. Conspicuous black, facial glands are situated in front of the large, dark brown eyes. These pre-orbital glands are noticeable in both sexes.

Warthog

Warthog

Scientific Name: Phacochoerus africanus

Sighting Occurances: Common

Warthogs range in size from 0.9 to 1.5 m in length and 50 to 75 kg in weight. A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The lower pair, which is far shorter than the upper pair, becomes razor sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed. The tusks are used for digging, for combat with other hogs, and in defense against predators—the lower set can inflict severe wounds. The head of the warthog is large with a mane that goes down the spine to the middle of the back. Sparse hair covers the body. Color is usually black or brown. Tails are long and end with a tuft of hair. Common warthogs do not have subcutaneous fat and the coat is sparse, making them susceptible to extreme environmental temperatures.

Waterbuck

Waterbuck

Scientific Name: Kobus ellipsiprymnus

Sighting Occurances: Common

Waterbuck stand 120 to 136 centimetres at the shoulder. Males weigh 200-300 kilograms and females 160-200 kilograms. Their coats are reddish brown in colour and become progressively darker with age; they have a white 'bib' under their throats and white on their rumps. The long spiral structured horns, found only in males, sweep back and up.

Zebra

Zebra

Scientific Name: Equus quagga

Sighting Occurances: Common

Zebras are several species of African equids (horse family) united by their distinctive black and white stripes. Their stripes come in different patterns unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. The plains zebra, also known as the common zebra or Burchell's zebra, is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra. The plains zebra is mid-sized, smaller on average than the other two zebra species, and thick bodied with relatively short legs. There is some variation in size, based on the animals' condition and subspecies. Adults of both sexes can stand from 1.1 to 1.47 m high at the shoulder, are 2 to 2.5 m long, not counting a 50 cm tail, and weigh 175 to 387 kg. Males may weigh 10% more than females.



Birdlife

Cape Sparrow

Cape Sparrow

Scientific Name: Passer melanurus

Sighting Occurances: Common

A medium-sized sparrow at 14-16 centimetres, it has distinctive plumage including large pale head stripes. Both sexes are mostly coloured grey, brown, and chestnut, and the male has bright some black and white markings. The breeding male has a mostly black head, but with a broad white mark on each side, curling from behind the eye to the throat. On the throat a narrow black band connects the black bib of the breast to black of the head. Underparts are greyish, darker on the flanks. back of the male's neck is dark grey, and its back and shoulders are bright chestnut. The male has a white and a black wing bar below its shoulders, and flight feathers and tail streaked grey and black. The female is plumaged like the male, but is duller and has a grey head with a different pattern from the male, though it bears a hint of the pale head markings of the male. The juvenile is like the female, but young males show black on the head from an early age.

Ring-necked Dove

Ring-necked Dove

Scientific Name: Streptopelia capicola

Sighting Occurances: Common

These doves are usually found alone or in pairs, although they do form larger flocks around sources of food and water, sometimes containing hundreds of birds. They are quite noisy in these groups, not only for the variety of calls they make throughout the day (and often into night), but also because their wings clap loudly when the birds take flight. Their usual call is a monotonous and high-pitched crooning sound, "kuk-COORRRR-uk" which they repeat ten to thirty times. They have a second, cackling call that sounds like laughter. Ring-necked Doves rest in treetops during the night and forage for food on the ground. They drink mainly in the morning. They feed mainly on seeds, but they also eat insects on occasion, especially flying ants. When they walk on the ground, their heads bob with each small step.

Southern Masked Weaver

Southern Masked Weaver

Scientific Name: Ploceus velatus

Sighting Occurances: Common

The Southern Masked Weaver is 11-14.5 cm long with a short, strong, conical bill and pinkish brown legs. The adult male in breeding plumage has a black face, throat and beak, red eye, bright yellow head and underparts, and a plain yellowish-green back. The female has a pinkish-brown bill, brown or red-brown eye and is dull greenish-yellow, streaked darker on the upper back. The throat is yellowish, fading to off-white on the belly. The non-breeding male resembles the female but retains the red eye. The juvenile of this species is like the female. The call is a harsh swizzling, similar to other weavers. It also utters a sharp chuk alarm note.

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