Flamingos are found wherever their food source is found, which is a microscopic prawn-like creature, found in certain types of salt pans and lagoons. The colour of their feathers is from their food, so if they are in captivity and do not have access to the prawns, then their feathers will be much paler. The painting of these flamingos came from the Magkadikadi Pans, in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana where I worked for a few months. The giant salt pans are part of what was a massive inland sea, or super-lake, which stretched across the length and breadth of Southern Africa. Present day, all that is left are these salt pans, which stretch out flat and as far as the eye can see. Dry as a bone in winter, as soon as the rains begin, they start to fill up, but only to about 3 foot deep, making it ideal for flamingos to create their annual colonies for breeding, safe from predators in the middle of the pans.
Crowned cranes are extremely attractive birds, found in dry areas and savanna mainly. They live in flocks, and in the mating season, which is also the rainy season, the birds leap and dance around with their wings open wide, trying to attract a partner. In the animal world, it seems the male of the species is more enthusiastic about ‘flicking a hoof’, so to speak, than in the world of humans, where they have to be coaxed and bribed onto the dance floor, usually having to be dragged away from the bar!
Lovebirds are small parrots, about 15cm from beak to tail tip. Gregarious birds who live in large flocks, they actually pair off in the breeding season, and breed for life with the same partner. Their name comes from the way they cuddle up to one another, snuggling especially in the early morning to keep warm. There are a few different species in Africa, and they occasionally will cross-breed in captivity creating unusual colours.
Helmeted Guinea fowl are very comm0n in Africa, and can often be seen in huge flocks, scratching in the dust, fluffing up their feathers, grooming themselves and running after one another. Guinea fowl pair off just before the beginning of the rains, for breeding purposes, and then rejoin their flocks after their chicks have hatched.